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Animal Sciences


#askACES – Preparing for the Next Step: College

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

We know high school students have long to-do lists and tons of commitments, especially senior year. Learning how and what to focus on to prepare for the application process may lessen the level of stress they feel come fall. By following a few simple guidelines, students can navigate the application process and make college a more enjoyable and affordable experience. Join us over your lunch break on Dec. 14 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. CT for a Twitter chat with ACES experts Brianna Gregg and Debra Korte. They’ll answer your questions about application essays, scholarships, campus visits, and more!


#askACES - The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful: Birds in Urban Areas

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Twitter - Use #askACES to ask your questions!

Many people enjoy watching and feeding birds, however in some cases birds can become a pest and in rare cases pose a threat to human health and safety. Many bird species are also becoming more common in urban areas which could contribute more conflicts between birds and humans. Conversely, with more birds coming into towns and cities it provides people the opportunity to landscape their yards to maximize them for birds. Join us for a Twitter chat on Nov. 16 from noon to 1 p.m. CT with ACES experts from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences. Mike Ward, associate professor, and Jeff Brawn, professor and head, will answer your questions about Canada geese, hunting season, and their research findings on the topic.


Funk Awards Banquet

6:00 PM - 10:00 PM

ACES Town Hall with Dean Kidwell

2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Monsanto Room, ACES Library, Information & Alumni Center

Please join Dean Kim Kidwell for an open discussion at our next ACES Town Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 10 from 2-4 p.m, in the Monsanto Room of the ACES Library, Information and Alumni Center.

The following topics will be discussed:
• Progress Report
  o College unit efforts
  o Extension 3.0
  o What We Do & Why It Matters launch
  o Relationship building

• Campaign launch

• Stabilizing our financial future

You are invited to enrich the conversation by asking questions and/or providing input during the discussion. The intention of this meeting is to discuss what we are going to do, how we are going to do it, and who will be responsible for making it happen. This is your opportunity to share your thoughts with us and make your ideas heard.

ACES Town Hall is open to all ACES faculty, staff, and students. Seating is limited. If we reach capacity or you cannot attend in person, visit our website. This event will be livestreamed. You may watch the livestream at or join the event via Skype for Business at You may also attend by phone at 888-983-3631. When prompted, enter the conference ID 44745705.


#askACES: Figuring out the Farm Bill

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Twitter - use #askACES to ask your questions!

Believe it or not, the Farm Bill impacts many areas of our lives, regardless of our connection to the farm. With sections including commodity programs, disaster assistance, conservation programs, and nutrition programs, the Farm Bill’s reach extends to many unexpected spaces. With scheduled 2018 expiration, the debate is heating up. Join us for a Twitter chat on Sept. 27 from noon to 1 p.m. CT with ACES experts from the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics and the Gardner Agriculture Policy Program. Jonathan Coppess, clinical assistant professor, and Gary Schnitkey, professor, will share what you need to know about how the Farm Bill impacts your life. Use #askACES to ask your questions and engage in the conversation!

New microscope technique reveals internal structure of live embryos

Published August 8, 2017
Research team
Research team

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — University of Illinois researchers have developed a way to produce 3-D images of live embryos in cattle that could help determine embryo viability before in vitro fertilization in humans.

Infertility can be devastating for those who want children. Many seek treatment, and the cost of a single IVF cycle can be $20,000, making it desirable to succeed in as few attempts as possible. Advanced knowledge regarding the health of embryos could help physicians select those that are most likely to lead to successful pregnancies.

The new method, published in the journal Nature Communications, brought together electrical and computer engineering professor Gabriel Popescu and animal sciences professor Matthew Wheeler in a collaborative project through the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the U. of I.

Called gradient light interference microscopy, the method solves a challenge that other methods have struggled with – imaging thick, multicellular samples.

In many forms of traditional biomedical microscopy, light is shined through very thin slices of tissue to produce an image. Other methods use chemical or physical markers that allow the operator to find the specific object they are looking for within a thick sample, but those markers can be toxic to living tissue, Popescu said.

“When looking at thick samples with other methods, your image becomes washed out due to the light bouncing off of all surfaces in the sample,” said graduate student Mikhail Kandel, the co-lead author of the study. “It is like looking into a cloud.”

GLIM can probe deep into thick samples by controlling the path length over which light travels through the specimen. The technique allows the researchers to produce images from multiple depths that are then composited into a single 3-D image.

To demonstrate the new method, Popescu’s group joined forces with Wheeler and his team to examine cow embryos.

“One of the holy grails of embryology is finding a way to determine which embryos are most viable,” Wheeler said. “Having a noninvasive way to correlate to embryo viability is key; before GLIM, we were taking more of an educated guess.”

Those educated guesses are made by examining factors like the color of fluids inside the embryonic cells and the timing of development, among others, but there is no universal marker for determining embryo health, Wheeler said.

“This method lets us see the whole picture, like a three-dimensional model of the entire embryo at one time,” said Tan Nguyen, the other co-lead author of the study.

Choosing the healthiest embryo is not the end of the story, though. “The ultimate test will be to prove that we have picked a healthy embryo and that it has gone on to develop a live calf,” said Marcello Rubessa, a postdoctoral researcher and co-author of the study.

“Illinois has been performing in vitro studies with cows since the 1950s,” Wheeler said. “Having the resources made available through Gabriel’s research and the other resources at Beckman Institute have worked out to be a perfect-storm scenario.”

The team hopes to apply GLIM technology to human fertility research and treatment, as well as a range of different types of tissue research. Popescu plans to continue collaborating with other biomedical researchers and already has had success looking at thick samples of brain tissue in marine life for neuroscience studies. 

This research was supported by the National Science Foundation, the U. of I. Computational Science and Engineering fellowship and the U. of I. Yuen T. Lo Outstanding Research Award.


ACES Young Alumni, Family Spirit and Career Achievement Award Nominations Due

All Day Event

ACES Young Alumni, Family Spirit and Career Achievement Award Nominations are due to the ACES Alumni Association.


ACES Alumni Board of Directors Meeting

10:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Board Meeting


ACES Tassel Turn

2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Colonnades Club, Memorial Stadium

It's time to celebrate! We are pleased to invite graduates and their families to a complimentary reception at Memorial Stadium's Colonnades Club. The ACES Alumni Association along with the ACES administrators, faculty and staff will be on hand to congratulate the College of ACES graduates and their families as well as welcome them to the ACES Alumni Association!

Graduates, please wear your cap and gown. Great photo opportunities await you at Memorial Stadium! Premiere access to the columns and field view will be moments you won't want to miss!


ACES Award of Merit Luncheon

11:30 AM - 1:30 PM
I-Hotel and Conference Center

Award of Merit Luncheon