Campus Announcements

Professor named to leadership position at Energy Biosciences Institute

12/21/2012  8:00 am

Professor Isaac Cann has been chosen by the Governance Board of the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) to be the next Deputy Director. Cann will be taking over this position from fellow Illinois professor Stephen Long, who steps down at the end of 2012. Cann is a professor of microbiology and animal sciences, program leader in the EBI, and affiliate of the biocomplexity theme at the Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB). Cann has been heavily involved with the EBI for many years, serving as a principal investigator within their biomass depolymerization research initiative. His program concerns the discovery of genes encoding enzymes that provide efficient conversion of cellulose to sugars. Further, his group’s work to isolate cellulose-degrading enzymes from microbes found in hot springs is being integrated into the research on fermentation systems that other EBI scientists are developing.

Cann joined the University of Illinois in 2001, after studying animal science at the University of Ghana and later earning his Ph.D. in rumen microbiology from Mie University, Japan. He has been the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2003 and was named a Center for Advanced Study fellow at Illinois in 2005. In addition to his work with plant cell wall deconstruction, his laboratory also uses biochemical and genomic approaches to study the evolutionary relationships of DNA replication proteins, specifically in archaeal/eukaryotic lineages.

The EBI is now at the halfway point in its 10-year commitment, with a history of strong leadership, a remarkable record of scientific advancement, and an understanding of the value of interdisciplinary research within a unique public/private partnership. We salute Steve Long for his vision, leadership, and exemplary accomplishments and we congratulate Isaac Cann on his new appointment. We are sure he will continue to provide outstanding vision and leadership, both to the EBI as well as the IGB.


Peter Schiffer

Vice Chancellor for Research


Gene E. Robinson

Director, Institute for Genomic Biology