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  • Writer's pictureClaire Benjamin

Two EBI members join the new Center for a Sustainable Environment

Illinois professor Evan Delucia will lead new center to promote sustainability.

Two members of the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) are joining the newly formed Center for a Sustainable Environment (CSE) at the University of Illinois to help jumpstart this exciting initiative.

CSE’s newly appointed Director, Evan DeLucia, a faculty member of the EBI, will be joined by Jenny Kokini, former Sr. Deputy Program Manager of the EBI.

As the first Director of the CSE, DeLucia will work with many individuals and campus organizations to address environmental sustainability as part of theVisioning Future Excellence at Illinois process.

According to the CSE’s mission statement, the Center will provide national and international leadership on sustainability by providing support for interdisciplinary education, research, and engagement in addition to developing and implementing strategies for a sustainable campus environment.

The Academic Senate approved establishment of the CSE, which merges the Environmental Change Institute and Office of Sustainability, on December 3, 2012. The Center is supported through a generous gift from the Alvin H. Baum Family Foundation.

DeLucia brings years of knowledge and experience to his new role. He joined Illinois in 1986 and has served as the founding Director of the Program in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and as the Head of the Department of Plant Biology. Today he is the Director of the School of Integrative Biology and the G. William Arends Professor of Biology. He is also a member of the Institute for Genomic Biology’s Genomic Ecology of Global Change research theme.

In addition, DeLucia’s research interests intersect with the Center’s mission. He studies how global change affects the carbon cycle, the responses of forest and agro-ecosystems to elevated carbon dioxide, trophic dynamics between plants and insects, and other elements of global change using ecological, physiological and genomic approaches.

DeLucia is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of multiple other professional societies. He received a B.A. from Bennington College, an M.F.S. in forest ecology from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in plant ecology and physiology from Duke University.

At CSE, Kokini will work closely with DeLucia to manage the day-to-day and strategic work of the CSE. She will help support the work of individual CSE faculty by providing financial, human resources, and operations assistance. She will also advise and support DeLucia on implementing and achieving the strategic goals of the Center.

While with the EBI, she served as the administrative lead for all activities at Illinois and coordinated with the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to many organizational and planning duties, she assisted current and potential program and project leaders in developing their budgets.

Prior to joining Illinois, Jenny was Business Manager of the Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Department at Princeton University and was a Senior Supervisor of Grants and Contracts at Rutgers University.

Please join the IGB and EBI in wishing DeLucia and Kokini the best of luck in their endeavors to create a more sustainable world at the CSE.


The Energy Biosciences Institute, supported by a 500-million, 10-year award from energy company BP, pursues solutions to the global energy challenge through collaborative research between the University of California, Berkeley; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The EBI’s efforts at Illinois take place at the Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB), an interdisciplinary research institute.

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