CABBI Outreach

CABBI scientists will showcase their research and their knowledge by staying involved with events and projects on campus and in local communities. The Center is excited to be involved with educational partnerships, public presentations, and student mentoring. A sampling of outreach initiatives:


CHECK OUT RISE: Paid Summer Research

Program for Underrepresented Undergrads!

Annual Programs at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

2020 AI Machine Learning BRC Workshop

Bioenergy Research Center scientists participate in a breakout session at the February 2020 AI and Machine Learning Workshop in Washington, D.C. Photo by Elizabeth Murphy

2020 AI Machine Learning BRC Workshop

On Feb. 26-27, CABBI facilitated an inter-BRC workshop on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) for Biosystems Design at the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. Fifty researchers from CABBI, the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC), the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), and the Center for Bioenergy Innovation (CBI) gathered for a day and a half program centered on:

  • applications of artificial intelligence in systems biology and biosystems design;

  • integration of experimental design, automation, and modeling; and

  • determining appropriateness of different modeling strategies (AI, ML, biophysical modeling) to address different types of problems relevant to the BRCs.

The researchers shared presentations and posters on the current state of research on these topics and discussed how the BRCs can collaboratively harness AI and ML to achieve research goals. A white paper is forthcoming.

2019 Events Sponsored by CABBI

2019 BRC Modeling Workshop

On May 2-3, CABBI hosted Bioenergy Research Center scientists for a modeling workshop at the University Club in downtown Chicago. Dozens of researchers from CABBI, the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC), the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), and the Center for Bioenergy Innovation (CBI) worked together on improving understanding for modeling methods. They also explored how to:

  • project potential feedstock yields,
  • understand greenhouse gas flux dynamics in relation to land use change,
  • analyze the implications of alternative feedstocks on water quality,
  • quantify marginal land for energy crops,
  • conduct technoeconomic and life-cycle analyses of biofuel and bioproduct supply chains, and
  • integrate biophysical and economic information to examine potential land uses.

The researchers further identified opportunities to collaborate on data underlying the computational analyses, and they discussed the potential to develop user-friendly platforms to share models and data.  


Switchgrass V Conference: Dedicated Energy Crops and Native Grasses for the Emerging Bioeconomy

CABBI Co-PI D.K. Lee and his U.S. Department of Energy-funded team hosted the fifth annual international conference on July 22-25, 2019, in Champaign, Ill.

Participants discussed state-of-the-art research into switchgrass and other dedicated energy crops grown for forage, conservation, and bioenergy feedstock production.

Switchgrass V included keynote speakers; sessions on genomics and genetic improvement, microbiomes and ecosystem services, agronomy and sustainable production, and postharvest processing and economics; as well as a student poster competition. Participants visited Illinois’ 320-acre Energy Farm, a model of production for large feedstock grasses.

Visit the conference webpage >>>


At CABBI Partner Institutions

A Sampling of 2023 Outreach Events at CABBI Partners

At West Virginia University 

  • CABBI researchers from WVU to part in the fifth annual Research Week March 20-24, celebrating public research breakthroughs and research expertise nurtured at West Virginia University that extend far beyond its labs, experimental sites, and classrooms. Full story >>>

A Sampling of 2021 Outreach Events at CABBI Partners

At the University of Nebraska at Lincoln 

  • CABBI researchers and staff from Nebraska will participate in the UNL Women in Science Day in April 2021 with hands-on laboratory activities for female high school students from across Nebraska to promote interest in STEM education and careers. CABBI also participated in the event in 2018 and 2019; the 2020 event was postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Sampling of 2019 Outreach Events at CABBI Partners

At West Virginia University

  • In May 2019, Eddie Brzostek (photo, above) and his lab members hosted a group of fifth-graders from Eastwood Elementary School to the WVU research site.

At the University of Nebraska at Lincoln 

  • Nebraska scientists highlighted CABBI research on May 18. 2019, at its Fascination of Plants Day (larger photo, right) in the Maxwell Arboretum on the UNL East Campus.
  • CABBI researchers and staff from Nebraska participated in the UNL Women in Science Day in March 2019 (smaller photo, right) with hands-on laboratory activities for women high school students from across Nebraska to promote interest in STEM education and careers. CABBI also participated in the event in April 2018.

A Sampling of 2018 Outreach Events at CABBI Partners

At Brookhaven National Laboratory

  • BNL is participating in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships (SULI) program. In 2018, an internship went to Stony Brook University’s Brian Samuelson, a Biology major. Samuelson’s description of his work: “My work at Brookhaven National Laboratory focuses on understanding how oil is synthesized and stored in plant vegetative tissues such as leaves and stems. We use Arabidopsis thaliana and tobacco as model systems to help identify enzymes and metabolic regulators involved in oil metabolism in leaves. In the lab, I help with Arabidopsis seed planting on agar plates and seedling transfer from plates to soil. I use adult plants for DNA extraction, oil quantification by thin layer chromatography, protein analysis by Western blotting, and SDS-PAGE for protein expression. I also help with agrobacterium-mediated plant transformation to test some candidate genes for their ability to alter oil production in leaves. This work is exciting to me because increasing oil accumulation in vegetative tissues has potential to expand biofuel production from renewable resources, therefore reduce our dependence on depleting petroleum fuels.”


At West Virginia University

  • Members of the Eddie Brzostek Lab helped judge a local school science fair in May 2018 that focused on how light, nutrients, and talking to plants impacted growth. Later in the day, the team participated in a family Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fair, which included activities to introduce students and families to the science of climate change, and how soil respiration shifted as a function of air and soil temperature as well as carbon content. The team also walked families through a poster showing how bioenergy grasses might help mitigate future environmental change and provide energy security.
  • A field site event in West Virginia in June 2018 (photo, right) was attended by 100 elementary school students, who learned about carbon and nitrogen cycling in ecosystems — and how healthy ecosystems store carbon, provide clean water, and promote biodiversity. The students measured photosynthesis, soil respiration, invertebrate diversity, nutrient levels, and root biomass.


At HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology

  • A researcher at HudsonAlpha discussed CABBI work in 2018 with high school educators enrolled in Genetic Technologies for All Classrooms (GTAC): Advanced Concepts, and spoke at a workshop to more than 100 high school life science educators about “genomics in the field.”


At the University of Nebraska at Lincoln 

  • The university developed a curriculum and hosted a two-day high school teachers’ workshop on plant oils in 2018.


At the USDA Agricultural Research Service

  • CABBI scientists participated in the 2018 Engineering Day in Peoria, Ill., with a biopolymers theme that was attended by approximately 1,800 people.


At Iowa State University

  • CABBI scientists participated in 2018 outreach activities directly to the farming community through extension programs in Iowa.