Cancer Center at Illinois (CCIL) members Ying Diao, Viktor Gruev, and Erik Nelson were named “Researchers to Know” by the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition (ISTC). The ISTC honor is given to faculty nominated by university partners throughout the state according to the ISTC’s Illinois Innovation Index that uses metrics and benchmarking for the state’s innovation economy. This index includes annual data on the volume of startups founded by students and faculty at universities in Illinois, as well as research activity and output across the state’s campuses. An emphasis was also placed on researchers that have recently achieved milestones, such as publishing an influential paper, receiving national recognition, or commercializing a new innovation. 

The 2024 Researchers to Know come from ten institutions of higher education, and includes those working to advance biotechnology, improve sustainability practices through design and engineering; explore mental health challenges and improve solution equity; use advanced data, AI, and quantum computing to pioneer analytics; and push the boundaries of physics and material science. 

Ying Diao

Ying Diao

Associate Professor, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Diao was recognized for her research impact in the areas of organic materials, molecular assembly, material phase transformations.

Learn more about Diao’s research.


Viktor Gruev

Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering
Program Leader, Cancer Measurement Technology & Data Science (CMD

Gruev was recognized for his research impact in the areas of image guided surgery, underwater remote sensing, optical nanostructures.

Learn more about Gruev’s BioSensors Lab.

Erik Nelson

Erik Nelson

Associate Professor, Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Program Leader, Cancer Discovery Platforms (CDP)
Cancer Research Advocacy Group (CRAG) Faculty Advisor

Nelson was recognized for his research impact in the areas of reproductive physiology, pharmacology, and bone biology.

Learn more about Nelson’s research.