Inside the Department of Comparative Biosciences

Inside the Department of Comparative Biosciences

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  • Dr. Indrani C. Bagchi Holds Field Chair in Reproductive Biology

    The endowed chair is part of an estate gift from Mrs. Thanis "Billie" Alexander Field, a 1929 graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her bequest goes to further research at the university's veterinary college and its medical college in Chicago. A lifelong cat lover with concerns about animal welfare, Mrs. Field was very interested in supporting research that could address the problem of companion animal overpopulation.


    Background on Professor Indrani C. Bagchi
    As a leading researcher in her field, Dr. Bagchi has published prolifically in top-ranked journals in the biological sciences--Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Development, and Endocrinology, to name a few--and is in demand internationally as a speaker. Her laboratory has garnered significant NIH support throughout her career, and in 2008 was designated as part of a national Center for Reproduction and Infertility on the University of Illinois campus through the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

    Her tireless service to her profession includes being a permanent member of the NIH Reproductive Biology Study Section as well as serving on multiple NIH review panels and editorial boards. She is a member of the NIH Endometrial Research Focus Group, a selective panel of scientists that helps identify priorities for research in female reproductive health.


    As an educator, Dr. Bagchi has mentored dozens of young scientists in reproductive biology and infertility research, and she engages hundreds of veterinary students, fostering their appreciation of science through her lectures on reproductive physiology.

    Dr. Bagchi completed a master's degree at the Indian Institute of Technology and a PhD at the University of Nebraska, and has held positions at Baylor College of Medicine and the Population Council at Rockefeller University. She joined the veterinary college in 2001.

    Background on Mrs. Thanis "Billie" Alexander Field
    The endowed chair was made possible through an estate gift from Mrs. Thanis "Billie" Alexander Field. Mrs. Field graduated from Austin High School in Chicago and also studied at the University of Illinois College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in Urbana-Champaign.

    A longtime Chicago resident, Mrs. Field designated a portion of her bequest to the University of Illinois-Chicago Medical Center to support research pertaining to ophthalmology, an interest of hers arising from her own macular degeneration. She also had a fondness for cats and wanted to address the problem of overpopulation in dogs and cats through research into birth control measures.

    Background on the College of Veterinary Medicine
    The University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine is one of 32 colleges of veterinary medicine in the United States and Canada and the only one in Illinois. Veterinary medicine's role in society encompasses comparative biomedical research, environmental health, food safety and security, and the sociological implications of the human-animal bond. All these areas work together in the effort to improve human, animal, and ecosystem health.

    The College's Department of Comparative Biosciences is home to numerous faculty members working in the area of reproductive, endocrine, and developmental biology. They participate with other scholars at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the NIH Training Program in Reproductive Biology and provide leadership for the campus's NIH Training Program in Endocrine, Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology.

    The Field Chair in Reproductive Biology was initially held by Dr. Paul Cooke from 2004 to 2011.