Our Story

The Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute ignites and accelerates health research and innovation at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Illinois' commitment to health and well-being transcends any one department, college, or institute. At IHSI, we collaborate with campus units and external partners to advance the health sciences. We provide infrastructure, develop education and training programs, and launch strategic initiatives that ultimately improve the health of our local, national, and global communities.


One of the university’s 10 campus-wide interdisciplinary research units, IHSI creates and manages core infrastructure essential to the health sciences. Our cores provide resources, services, and expertise for clinical and translational research.

  • Biostatistics, Epidemiology, & Research Design (BERD)
  • Clinical Partnerships (including the Mayo Clinic & Illinois Alliance)
  • Community-Academic Partnerships
  • Health Equity
  • REDCap
  • Research Development

Learn About Research Support Cores

Education & Training Programs

IHSI supports the development of current and aspiring health researchers and innovators. We provide education, training, and engagement opportunities and offer programs that guide all stages of research development.

  • Grant Seeking Workshops
  • Professional Courses (including Computational Genomics)
  • Student Fellowships & Programs

Explore Education & Training

Strategic Initiatives

IHSI builds partnerships and facilitates the launch of centers and initiatives to improve the health of our community and strengthen Illinois’ impact in the health sciences.

  • Center for Social & Behavioral Science
  • Chicago ARC Partnership
  • Health Innovation Visioning Committee
  • Illinois NeuroBehavioral Assessment Laboratory
  • Mayo Clinic & Illinois Alliance
  • Microbial Systems Initiative
  • We CU Community Engaged Scholars

See Strategic Initiatives

Partnerships & Collaboration

Partnership and collaboration are woven into everything we do. IHSI works with campus, community, and clinical partners in priority areas to strengthen our health sciences ecosystem.

Browse our site and connect with us to explore ways we can, together, advance health and wellness in our society.

Connect With Us

Interactive Historical Timeline

IHSI's first year

Illinois launches two major Health and Wellness goals of the Visioning Future Excellence initiative: the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Initiative (replacing and growing beyond an earlier effort, the Division of Biomedical Sciences) and the Carle Illinois College of Medicine.

IHSI starts three program areas in Cancer, Clinical & Translational Neuroscience (to later become Brain Health), and Precision Medicine. IHSI manages the university's side of the Carle Illinois Research Affiliation, including the Biomedical Research Center, and the Mayo Clinic & Illinois Alliance. 

Professor Neal Cohen selected as founding director for IHSI.


Translational research at the BRC

Prof. Rashid Bashir joins Prof. Stephen Boppart (2010) and Prof. Dipanjan Pan (2013) as the third occupant of the Biomedical Research Center (BRC), located in Carle's Mills Breast Cancer Institute. At the BRC, Carle physicians and Illinois investigators work side-by-side on translational science. Illinois oversight of the BRC transitioned from IHSI to the Cancer Center at Illinois in 2019.

February 2015

NIH Grant Writing Series

NIH Grant Writing Series logoIHSI launches its first training program for researchers, the NIH Grant Writing Series.

September 2015

Mayo Clinic & Illinois Alliance welcomes its first fellows

The Mayo Clinic & Illinois Alliance welcomes its first cohort of three Illinois graduate students for the Fellowship for Technology-Based Healthcare program. The fellowship offers two years of support for students conducting research on new technologies and clinical tools aimed at advancing individualized medicine. 

August 2016

Gnotobiotic and Transgenic Mouse Facilities

A campus subcommittee, chaired by former IHSI Deputy Director John Erdman and supported by IHSI, recommends the establishment of a gnotobiotic and transgenic mouse facility to enhance productivity of preclinical researchers. 

February 2017

IHSI granted institute status

IHSI balloonsIHSI is officially designated as an institute and joins six other Interdisciplinary Research Institutes at Illinois. 

June 2017

Cancer Center is launched

image of a mammary tumorIHSI's Cancer Community is launched as the Cancer Center at Illinois to formalize and build on the interdisciplinary cancer-research activities at Illinois.

July 2017

Grand Challenge research project begins

The Mayo Clinic & Illinois Alliance begins its first "grand challenge" project using high-performance computing for rapid genome sequence analysis.

Mayo Clinic & Illinois Alliance logo

August 2017

Promoting health equity

Health Disparities (later renamed to Health Equity) becomes IHSI's fourth program area.

September 2017

A strategic vision for health

The Next 150 logoThe 8-month effort of the Health Sciences Strategy Task Force culminates with a final report to inform The Next 150 Strategic Plan.

December 2017

Microbiome Initiative launches

The Microbiome Initiative (to later become the Microbial Systems Initiative) launches with support from the OVCRI, IHSI, IGB, the School of MCB, and the Department of Microbiology.

December 2018

Community collaboration

The Community-Academic Partnerships core launches. The inaugural cohort of Community-Academic Scholars participate in community-based research addressing issues of health equity over the summer. 

Community Academic Partnerships for Health

January 2019

Social and Behavioral Science

The Social & Behavioral Sciences Research Initiative (SBSRI) was elevated to the Center for Social & Behavioral Science (CSBS) as part of The Next 150 Strategic Plan. IHSI provides continued support for its launch as an independent center.

February 2019

Illinois MS Research

IHSI hosts Illinois MS Research Day, the founding event for the Illinois MS Research Collaborative.

Illinois MS Research Collaborative logo

April 2019

IHSI and partners bring REDCap to Illinois

REDCap logo

IHSI, Technology Services - Research IT, and the University Library launch Illinois REDCap.

May 2019

INBAL opens its doors

The Illinois NeuroBehavioral Assessment Laboratory (INBAL), a collaboration of the Department of Psychology, CSBS, and IHSI, offers free academic assessments during its "sneak peak" grand opening.

INBAL office space

August 2019

Biostatistics Core expands

The Biostatistics Core, launched in 2017, expands to include epidemiology and research design. The core is renamed BERD.

November 2019

Veteran brain health

The Chez Veterans Center partners with the Beckman Institute, Carle, College of AHS, and IHSI to address Traumatic Brain Injury among Veterans. A collaborative event, "Making the Invisible Visible" fostered discussion among Military Service Members, Veterans, caregivers, researchers, and providers.

November 2019

We CU responds to community needs

We CU logoThe We CU Community Engaged Scholars program launches to meet community needs during COVID-19 with support from the Office of the Chancellor, School of Social Work, IHSI, College of Education, CSBS, and Siebel Center for Design.

May 2020

IHSI joins SHIELD team

IHSI provides administrative and research support for Illinois' SHIELD inititive. An Illinois student explaining to someone how to provide a saliva sample for the COVID test

July 2020

SHIELD CU launches in partnership with OSF HealthCare

Based on the successful campus SHIELD testing program, SHIELD CU is launched to help reduce the Champaign County community COVID-19 positivity rate, keep it low, and allow schools, businesses, and activities to safely stay open. 

March 2021

Interim Director and Health Innovation Visioning

Prof. Stephen Boppart is recognized as Interim Director and serves as chair of the Health Innovation Visioning Committee (HIVC), charged by Chancellor Jones to consider a new technology-inspired academic health research and education model at Illinois for global impact on human health.

Summer 2022