Faculty Spotlight

  • How would you describe your background? I’m an evolutionary biologist who is interested in behavior. I would say that I have always been interested in animals and animal behavior, but I didn’t really know you could study it in a scientific way until I went to college and I took my first animal behavior course as a freshman. I realized that what I was really interested in was thinking from an evolutionary point of view why animals do what they do. I’ve come to appreciate is that knowing something about how they do what they do is important to understanding why.
  • How would you describe your background? (I.E. where you are from? How did you first get interested in your area of research? Etc.) I was born in Hungary, and I always wanted to be an ornithologist. I never wanted to be anything else, so when I got the chance to come to the US to study at university I continued focusing on birds and I’ve been doing that ever since. The neuroscience aspect came during my Ph.D. when I was a neurobiology and behavior Ph.D. student at Cornell, and I started becoming interested in how the brain of the birds that I study differ from the brain of other birds. We study birds that are non-parental. We study parasites that don’t engage in parental care at all and that distinguishes them from 99% of bird species that are parental.
  • How would you describe your background? (I.E. where you are from? How did you first get interested in your area of research? Etc.) I always wanted to do biology. I always found that interesting, I took AP biology in high school and said, “This is what I want to major in.” Even though I went to two different undergrads, I was always a biology major. I guess I would say I say that my Ph.D. and post-docs were all in hormones and biological rhythms. I entered graduate school to do reproduction, but I had a lab that also did biological rhythms, which I knew nothing about. So that’s the area I’ve been in since 97.
  • How would you describe your background? I am a physicist by training as well as a conservatory-trained dancer and teacher, I combined that knowledge to study human movement using dance.
  • Mark E. Nelson served as the Associate Director for Student Affairs and the NSP Liason for the SfN Chapter in Champaign.  Mark was honored at the End of Year Awards and Recognition Reception on April 30th with a small glass trophy in thanks for his time and service as well as in acknowledgment of his upcoming retirement.  After 28 years at the University of Illinois, Mark will be moving on to spend time in another place he loves to be, nature.  He will be hiking the trails out west.   Check out his spotlight to see the latest Beckman article featuring Dr. Nelson!
  • We welcome Brian B. Monson to the Neuroscience faculty.  Dr. Monson is an assistant professor of Speech and Hearing Science.  He received his Ph.D. in Speech, Language, and Hearing Science at the University of Arizona with minors in Neuroscience and Theatre Arts.  His Masters in Physics (Acoustics) is from Brigham Young University with a minor in Vocal Performance and his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering was received from Utah State University. 
  • The Neuroscience Program is excited to welcome new NSP faculty member Daniel McKim. Dr. McKim is the most recent addition to the Animal Sciences department starting as an assistant professor in November 2018.