Chris Brooke

Principal Investigator

Writes grants and does random experiments. Cooking, cycling, and music in his spare time. 

B.A. Biology from Washington University, Ph.D. Microbiology & Immunology from University of North Carolina, Postdoc training at NIH

twitter: @c__brooke


Cris Vera

Bioinformatics Analyst

Received a PhD at Penn State University for investigating the functional genomics and transcriptomics of insect flight evolution.  Later he worked on the genomics of viral/cancer interactions for the NCI in Frederick, MD.  Currently a bioinformatics analyst at the IGB, embedded in both the Brooke and Whitaker labs, helping to develop analysis pipelines designed to probe the mysteries of flu evolution and microbial/viral interactions.  Originally from Chile, although he grew up in the greater DC metropolitan area.  Enjoys tapping on keyboards for long stretches of time, cooking, reading, occasionally lifting heavy objects, and hand-waving story-time over beers.


Morgan Samanic

Undergraduate Researcher

Morgan is an undergraduate at UIUC studying MCB and psychology. She is from Mokena, a small suburb south of Chicago. She joined the lab in January 2018 and is working with Fadi to study influenza virus defective interfering particles. When she is not in the lab or studying for classes, she enjoys playing music, traveling, exploring the outdoors, learning French, and watching Parks and Recreation. 


Fadi Alnaji

Postdoctoral Fellow

Fadi joined the lab in March 2017. He completed his PhD at the University of Warwick in the UK with David J Evans. His project used poliovirus as a model system and utilized next generation sequencing and various bioinformatics tools to study viral evolution. Fadi is continuing his journey with evolution and is currently studying influenza virus defective Interfering particles. When he is not practicing science, Fadi enjoys practicing on his musical instruments and drinking local ale.


Meghan Diefenbacher

Graduate Student

Meghan is a proud native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She received a B.S in Biochemistry from Denison University in 2015, and started in the lab in January 2016. Meghan is primarily interested in uncovering novel epistatic interactions between the IAV gene segments, their underlying molecular mechanisms, and the degree to which they influence IAV evolution. In her free time, she enjoys reading and learning how to cook new things.


Izabella Lach

Undergraduate Researcher

I am currently an undergraduate at UIUC in the IBH program with minors in Chemistry and Slavic Language, Literature & Culture. I am from Des Plaines, Illinois (the best suburb of Chicago). I started in the lab in Fall of 2018 and am working with Brigitte. I am always caffeinated, practically live in the Natural History Building, have watched Planet Earth and Parks & Rec way too many times, and hammock on around campus on the rare occasion that the weather is actually bearable.


Brigitte Martin

Postdoctoral Fellow

Recent graduate from Mississippi State University with a Phd in Veterinary Science while working on antigenic characterization of influenza virus in avian, swine, and humans. Brigitte started her postdoctoral studies in the Brooke lab in July 2017. She enjoys reading, knitting, and drinking coffee.


Jiayi Sun

Graduate Student

Came from Beijing, China. Got his B.S. at Purdue and joined the lab in Jan 2016. Has been exploring whether and how semi-infectious particles modulate the evolutionary potential of influenza virus populations. Refreshing and motivating himself by gaming at home.