Symposium honors Featherstone

David Featherstone

David Featherstone

A symposium honoring the life of researcher David Featherstone will be held on campus April 6.

“David Featherstone: A Celebration of His Life and Scientific Achievements” will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Illinois Room, Student Center East. Speakers will share memories and stories about Featherstone.

Featherstone, professor and former director of undergraduate studies in biological sciences, died Jan. 28. He was 50.

A leading educator and researcher, Featherstone was a neurobiologist interested in gene function. He focused on brain genes, specifically synapses — information-transferring and processing points that brain cells use to communicate with each other — and glutamate receptors, which receive messages from other cells.

Among his most notable discoveries was a gene mutation in fruit flies that allowed Featherstone and his team to learn how they could use genetic manipulation or drugs to turn homosexual behavior in flies on and off within hours. His labs also worked to confirm findings in mice.

During his 15 years at UIC, Featherstone received more than $2 million in grants and research awards — from places like the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, formerly the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression.

A David E. Featherstone Memorial Scholarship Fund has been established at UIC. Checks should be made payable to the University of Illinois at Chicago with DEF Scholarship Gift written in the notes section. Mail or deliver checks to Thomas Lagen, director of finance, UIC Department of Biological Sciences (MC 066), 845 West Taylor Street (room 3370 SES), Chicago, IL 60607. Email Thomas Lagen with questions at

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