Cancer Center at Illinois

The Cancer Center at Illinois, also known as the CCIL, began in 2011 as the Cancer Community, led by current Director, Rohit Bhargava, and a group of over 50 Illinois faculty. These initial members started to organize regular activities and enabled interactions among faculty through symposia, workshops, and thematic research groups. Within a decade, the community had grown to over one hundred Illinois faculty and several hundred postdoctoral researchers and Illinois students.

The Center lives under the umbrella of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation (OVCRI), which is led by Susan Martinis.

Rohit Bhargava, director

Rohit Bhargava, CCIL Director, has pioneered the development of infrared spectroscopic imaging, starting from his doctoral thesis, which was the first in this field. Bhargava has developed several new capabilities in IR instrumentation, provided new methods to analyze spectral data, and developed high-throughput methods for pathology. Bhargava runs the Chemical Imaging and Structures Laboratory. His research team has performed large-scale studies on prostate, breast, colon, brain, and skin tissue samples. His lab has also focused on fundamental science by developing optical theory for spectroscopy. It has created cell culture methods for 3D tumor mimicking systems – building a 3D printer to develop biomedical scaffolds and engineering cancer models. Instruments developed in his laboratory provide new means to characterize and define cancer using chemical imaging, leading to the emergence of the field of digital molecular pathology. His most recent research seeks to create designer cancers in the laboratory using 3D printing and engineered tumor models.

Bhargava was the first faculty hired in the Department of Bioengineering at Illinois, and he helped develop all academic and administrative aspects of the department. He founded the Cancer Community at Illinois in 2011, and under his leadership, it became the Cancer Center at Illinois, one of only nine campuswide research institutes. Bhargava is passionate about training the next generation of cancer researchers, and he has served as a mentor and advisor to dozens of postdoctoral, graduate, and undergraduate students.

Bhargava received his Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University in 2000 and his undergraduate degree from Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, in 1996.

Advancement staff

David Dibble, Senior Director of Development

Open positions
Chief Advancement Officer

Foundation partners
Prospect Development Analyst Liaison: Joanna Pike
Manager, Research and Portfolio Management: Jane Cronkhite

Fundraising information

Learn more about Cancer Center of Illinois

CCIL grant programs

The Cancer Center provides various grants to units on campus to encourage interdisciplinary research.

Building project

The Cancer Center is developing plans for a Cancer Center Research and Innovation Building (CCRIB) that harnesses collaboration between CCIL researchers, administration, student scholars, and cancer survivors and transforms cancer research, detection, and treatment at the University of Illinois. The building will be located east of the Beckman Institute and west of the North Campus Parking Deck on the southwest corner of University Ave. and Mathews Ave.

Student and alumni demographics

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