Chemistry at Illinois University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Ryan C. Bailey

Professor of Chemistry

Professor Bailey received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Eastern Illinois University in 1999. He then went on Northwestern University, obtaining his Ph.D. in 2004. While at Northwestern, Ryan was the recipient of an American Chemical Society graduate student fellowship. Following a joint post-doctoral fellowship at the California Institute of Technology and the Institute for Systems Biology, he joined the faculty at Illinois in 2006. Ryan is also affiliated with the University of Illinois' Institute for Genomic Biology


With the sequencing of the human genome, researchers are armed with the fundamental blueprint for human life. It is becoming increasingly clear that the programming architecture which executes the genetic code is tremendously complex and that single biological measurements are incapable of truly describing even the simplest system. To further the understanding of biological processes, hierarchical levels of data (DNA, mRNA, proteins, metabolites) must be measured simultaneously from homogeneous sample populations and in near real-time in response to environmental stimuli. The requirement of measuring large numbers of biological parameters on increasingly small sample sizes is not currently possible given today's diagnostic technology.

As medicine strives to become more personalized and predictive, new technologies are needed to perform high-throughput multiparameter analysis on blood and routinely available pathology samples (e.g. skinny needle biopsies). My group takes an interdisciplinary approach towards developing new bioanalytical tools to understand the onset and progression of disease. Areas of particular interest include cancer metastasis and immunotherapy, which due to tissue heterogeneity and immune cell diversity, represent challenges that necessitate single cell investigation.

We are exploring multi-dimensional surface receptor gradients to stratify heterogeneous tissues, spatially separating cells according to disease state. Once identified, genomic and proteomic analysis of single altered cells will reveal the molecular perturbations responsible for disease progression and differentiation. Single-cell genomic and proteomic characterization, however, is not currently feasible using available analytical approaches. To facilitate these studies, we are currently developing integrated arrays of label-free biological sensors based upon high-Q optical resonators. Features such as high sensitivity and real-time detection enable investigation of dynamic processes such as the temporal secretion patterns of effector molecules from individual T-cells in response to tumor-specific antigen stimulation.

A related long-term goal of the group is the comparative analysis of protein diversity within individual cells. In order for this to be realized in a practical manner, new technologies must be developed that allow for cellular contents to be cataloged in a high-throughput fashion. Promising platforms for these efforts are arrays of metallic nanopores, and we are investigating both the electrokinetic transport and nanoscale plasmonic properties of these materials.


The combined effects of matrix stiffness and growth factor immobilization on the bioactivity and differentiation capabilities of adipose-derived stem cells, J.M. Banks, L.C. Mozdzen, B.A. Harley, R.C. Bailey, Biomaterials, 2014, ASAP. DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.07.012

Strategies to balance covalent and non-covalent biomolecule attachment within collagen-GAG biomaterials, J.C. Pence, E.A. Gonnerman, R.C. Bailey, B.A. Harley, Biomaterials Science, 2014, ASAP. DOI: 10.1039/C4BM00193A

Photopatterning of VEGF within collagen-GAG scaffolds can induce a spatially confined response in human umbilical vein endothelial cells, A.T. Alsop, J.C. Pence, D.W. Weisgerber, B.A. Harley, R.C. Bailey, Acta Biomaterialia, 2014, ASAP. DOI: 10.1016/j.actbio.2014.07.002

Collagen Scaffold Arrays for Combinatorial Screening of Biophysical and Biochemical Regulators of Cell Behavior, S.R. Caliari, E.A. Gonnerman, W.K. Grier, D.W. Weisgerber, J.M. Banks, A.T. Alsop, J.-S. Lee, R.C. Bailey, B.A. Harley, Advanced Healthcare Materials, 2014, ASAP. DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-800281-0.00015-4

Benzophenone-based photochemical micropatterning of biomolecules to create model substrates and instructive biomaterials, A.J. Turgeon (A.T. Alsop), B.A. Harley, R.C. Bailey, Methods in Cell Biology, 2014, 121, 231-42.

Refractive Index-Based Detection of Gradient Elution Liquid Chromatography using Chip-Integrated Microring Resonator Arrays, J.H. Wade, R.C. Bailey, Analytical Chemistry, 2014, 86, 913-919.

Bromelain Decreases Neutrophil Interactions with P-selectin, but not E-Selectin, In Vitro by Proteolytic Cleavage of P-selectin Glycoprotein Ligand-1, J.M. Banks, C.M. Herman, R.C. Bailey, PLoS One, 2013, 8(11): e78988.

Subpicogram Per Milliliter Detection of Interleukins Using Silicon Photonic Microring Resonators and an Enzymatic Signal Enhancement Strategy, J.T. Kindt, M.S. Luchansky, A.J. Qavi, R.C. Bailey, Analytical Chemistry, 2013, 85, 10653-10657.

Biomolecular analysis with microring resonators: applications in multiplexed diagnostics and interaction screening, J.T. Kindt, R.C. Bailey, Current Opinion in Chemical Biology, 2013, 17, 818-826.

Interfacing Lipid Bilayer Nanodiscs and Silicon Photonic Sensor Arrays for Multiplexed Protein-Lipid and Protein-Membrane Protein Interaction Screening, C.D. Kuhnline Sloan, M.T. Marty, S.G. Sligar, and R.C. Bailey, Analytical Chemistry, 2013, 85, 2970-2976.

Single Domain Antibodies for the Detection of Ricin Using Silicon Photonic Microring Resonator Arrays, Winnie W. Shia and R.C. Bailey, Analytical Chemistry, 2012, 85, 805-810.

Chaperone Probes and Bead-Based Enhancement Improve the Direct Detection of mRNA Using Silicon Photonic Sensor Arrays, J.T. Kindt and R.C. Bailey, Analytical Chemistry, 2012, 84, 8067-8074.

Nonlinear Analyte Concentration Gradients for One-Step Kinetic Analysis Employing Optical Microring Resonators, M.T. Marty, C.D. Kuhnline Sloan, R.C. Bailey and S.G. Sligar. Analytical Chemistry, 2012, 84, 5556-5564.

Label-free, Multiplexed Detection of Bacterial tmRNA Using Silicon Photonic Microring Resonators, O. Scheler, J.T. Kindt, A.J. Qavi, L. Kaplinski, B. Glynn, T. Barry, A. Kurg and R.C. Bailey, Biosensors & Bioelectronics, 2012, 36, 56-61.

High-Q Optical Sensors for Chemical and Biological Analysis, M.S. Luchansky and R.C. Bailey, Analytical Chemistry, 2012, 84, 793-821.

Label-Free Virus Detection Using Arrays of Silicon Photonic Microring Resonators, M.S. McClellan, L.L. Domier, and R.C. Bailey, Biosensors & Bioelectronics, 2012, 31, 388-392.



  • MIT Technology Review TR35, 2012
  • Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, 2011
  • Outstanding Young Alumnus, Eastern Illinois University, 2009
  • 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award, 2009
  • National Institutes of Health Director's New Innovator Award, 2007
  • Teaching Excellence Award, UIUC School of Chemical Sciences, 2008
  • Faculty Ranked as Excellent by Their Students, UIUC Center for Teaching Excellence, 2007
  • Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation New Faculty Award, 2006
  • Northwestern University Presidential Fellowship, 2003
  • Division of Analytical Chemistry Graduate Fellowship (American Chemical Society), 2003



Photo of Ryan C. Bailey