Status Full-time Faculty

Home Department of Cell and Developmental Biology

Phone 244-1355


Address 2265 Beckman Institute, 405 North Mathews Avenue

  • Biography

    Cell and Developmental Biology Alumni Professor Martha U. Gillette received her Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Toronto, completed her postdoctoral research at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and joined the U. of I. faculty in 1989. She directs the U. of I. Neuroscience Program and has many affiliations across campus, including with the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, the College of Medicine, and the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology. Gillette studies the brain’s plastic responses to experience, investigating signals that shape and wire the nervous system. Her work builds upon campus strengths in molecular and cellular biology, nanoscale analytical chemistry, and bioengineering. Cross-disciplinary collaborations are enabling her to apply cutting-edge technologies to identify critical molecules and processes that can aid in neural repair and restoration of cognitive function. Gillette is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, recipient of the 2004 Mika Saltpeter Lifetime Achievement Award by Women in Neuroscience, and was named a Center for Advanced Study professor in 2009.

  • Honors

    Faculty Champion, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and Vice Chancellor for Research, 2014-present

    Center for Advanced Study Advisory Board, University of Illinois, 2014-present

    Executive Committee, Abbott-Illinois Center for Nutrition, Learning, and Memory, 2014-present

    Center for Advanced Study Professorship, University of Illinois, 2009-present

    Cell and Developmental Biology Alumni Professor, University of Illinois, 2005-present; 3rd competitive renewal, 2015

  • 2015

    • Froeter, P.; Huang, Y.; Cangellaris, O.V.: Huang, W.; Dent, E.W.; Gillette, M.U.; Williams, J.C.; Li, X, Toward intelligent synthetic neural circuits: directing and accelerating neuron cell growth by self-rolled-up silicon nitride microtube array. ACS Nano. 2015 8, (11), 11108-17. DOI:10.1021/nn504876y. Epub 2014 Nov 3. PMID: 25329686; PMCID: PMC4246008 [Available on 2015-10-20]
    • Jain, A.; Gillette, M.U., Development of microfluidic devices for the manipulation of neuronal synapses. In Microfluidic and Compartmentalized Platforms for Neurobiological Research: Neuromethods 103, Emilia Biffi, Ed., Wolfgang Walz, Editor-in-Chief, Springer Science+Business Media New York, 2015, 127-137. DOI 10.1007/978-1-4939-2510


    • Gillette, M.U.; Wang, T.A., Brain oscillators and redox regulation in mammals. In Forum Issue on “Circadian clocks and redox signaling,” A. Reddy, Ed. Antioxidants & Redox Signaling (ARS) 2014 20, (18), 2955-2965. [Epub 2014 Feb 10]. PMID: 24111727; PMCID: PMC4038987
    • Iyer, R.; Wang, T.A.; Gillette, M.U., Circadian gating of neuronal functionality: a basis for iterative metaplasticity. In “Sleep and Circadian Rhythms in Plasticity and Memory,” J. Gerstner, H.C. Heller, S. Aton, Eds. Front. Systems Neurosci. 2014 8, 164; DOI:10.3389/fnsys.2014.00164. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 25285070; PMCID: PMC4168688
    • Mir, M.; Kim, T.; Majumder, A.; Xiang, M. K.; Wang, R.; Liu, S. C.; Gillette, M. U.; Stice, S.; Popescu, G., Label-Free Characterization of Emerging Human Neuronal Networks. Scientific Reports 2014, 4, DOI: 10.1038/srep04434.
    • Southey, B. R.; Lee, J. E.; Zamdborg, L.; Atkins, N.; Mitchell, J. W.; Li, M. X.; Gillette, M. U.; Kelleher, N. L.; Sweedler, J. V., Comparing Label-Free Quantitative Peptidomics Approaches to Characterize Diurnal Variation of Peptides in the Rat Suprachiasmatic Nucleus. Analytical Chemistry 2014, 86, (1), 443-452, DOI: 10.1021/ac4023378.


    • Gillette, M.U., An introduction to biological timing in health and disease. In Chronobiology: Biological Timing in Health and Disease. M.U. Gillette, Editor, 119, Progress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science, Editor-in-Chief Michael Conn for Academic Press (an imprint of Elsevier) 2013. xi-xvi.
    • Gillette, M.U., Editor, Progress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science 119, Chronobiology: Biological Timing in Health and Disease 2013. Editor-in-Chief Michael Conn for Academic Press (an imprint of Elsevier) 2013.


    • Gillette, M.U.; Abbott, S.M.; Arnold, J. M., Biological timekeeping. In: Sleep Medical Clinics, Biology of Sleep, 2012. Guest Edited by T. Lee-Chiong. 7, (3), 427-442.
    • Millet, L.J.; Gillette, M.U., New perspectives on neuronal development using microfluidic environments. Trends in Neuroscience 2012; 35, (12), 752-61. Epub 2012 Sep 29. PMID #23031246; PMCID # 3508261
    • Millet, L.J.; Gillette, M.U., Over a century of neuron culture: From the hanging drop to microfluidic devices. Yale J. Biol. Med. 2012; 85, (4), 501-21. Epub 2012 Dec 13. PMID #23239951; PMCID #3516892


    • Shepherd, J.N.; Parker, S.T.; Shepherd, R.F.; Gillette, M.U.; Lewis, J.A.; Nuzzo, R.G., 3D microperiodic hydrogel scaffolds for robust neuronal cultures. Advanced Functional Materials 2011, 21, (9), 47-54. DOI: 10.1002/adfm.2010.01746, PMID #21709750; PMCID #3120232


    • Lee, J. E.; Atkins, N. A.; Hatcher, N. G.; Zamdborg, L.; Gillette, M. U.; Sweedler, J. V.; Kelleher, N. L., Endogenous Peptide Discovery of the Rat Circadian Clock: A Focused Study of the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus by Ultra-High Performance Tandem Mass Spectrometry. Molecular and Cellular Proteomics 2010, 9, 285-297.
    • Millet, L. J.; Bora, A.; Sweedler, J. V.; Gillette, M. U., Direct Cellular Peptidomics of Supraoptic Magnocellular and Hippocampal Neurons in Low-Density Cocultures. ACS Chemical Neuroscience 2010, 1, (1), 36-48.


    • Hanson, J. N.; Motala, M. J.; Heien, M. L.; Gillette, M.; Sweedler, J.; Nuzzo, R. G., Textural guidance cues for controlling process outgrowth of mammalian neurons. Lab on a Chip 2009, 9, (1), 122-131.


    • Wang, Z.; Millet, L. J.; Gillette, M. U.; Popescu, G., Jones phase microscopy of transparent and anisotropic samples. Optics Letters 2008, 33, 1270.


    • Lee, M.K.; Rich, M.H.; Shkumatov, A.; Jeong, J.H.; Boppart3, M.D.; Bashir, R.; Gillette, M.U.; Lee, J.; Kong, H., Hydrogels: Glacier moraine formation-mimicking colloidal particle assembly in microchanneled, bioactive hydrogel for guided vascular network construction. Advanced Healthcare Materials 2015, 4, (2), 195-201. PMID: 24898521; PMCID: PMC Journal - In Process
    • Yang, N.; Irving, S.J.; Romanova, E.V.; Mitchell, J.W.; Gillette, M.U.; Sweedler, J.V. , Neuropeptidomics: The characterization of neuropeptides and hormones in the nervous and neuroendocrine systems. International Neuroendocrine Federation (INF) Masterclass Series: Molecular Neuroendocrinology. 2015, In Press.