Libby Haywood, Ph.D.
Instructional Professor of Biology
BS in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology from Illinois State University- Normal, IL
MS in Microbiology at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Ph.D. in Microbiology at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
My research has sought to inform the development of Bacterial Toxin-Inspired Drug
Delivery (BTIDD) vehicles, whereby we exploit the native cell-entry mechanisms of
bacterial toxins to deliver therapeutics into the host cell cytosol. These AB toxins
are secreted by bacteria into their extracellular environment during infection and
ultimately enter host cells to deliver their cargo into the cytosol. This class of
toxins are named for their functional domains: “A” for “activity” and “B” for “binding.”
The A domain is the active cargo that is delivered to the cytosol. Our understanding
of the B domain has grown to encompass both the cell-binding and translocation functions
of the toxin which are required to deliver the A domain into the host cell.
My research has involved (1) assessing the compatibility between delivery vehicle
and cargo domains of the cytotoxic necrotizing factor (CNF) toxin family and (2) elucidating
the determinant region of these toxins that senses and responds to the endosomal pH
environment to trigger translocation of the cargo into the cytosol.
I am a scientific educator, passionate about teaching and learning- actively seeking
out innovation and continuously developing my teaching strategies. I am responsible
for the coordination and instruction of our foundational biology course laboratories
(BIOL 101/102). In this course, students are introduced to the process of science
and encouraged to experimentally design and conduct their own research projects. Students
learn how to analyze and communicate their results to a wider audience. In addition,
the General Biology labs provide students an in-depth study of the physiology and
structure of a variety of organisms with additional opportunities to develop dissection
As an educator, my role is not to simply provide information, but rather to facilitate
the learning of that information. I utilize active learning strategies and student
feedback to create opportunities that will help them learn best. I strive to create
an inclusive environment and I am committed to the personal development of my students.
My work in teaching and learning has been incredibly fulfilling and I am dedicated
to continuing the conversation and advocating for the use of informed and effective
teaching methods in higher education.