Mission and Values > Programs > Vincentian Mission Institute > Current VMI Cohort > Phillip Funk

Phillip Funk


I am the youngest of seven children and the first of those seven to complete my bachelor’s degree, so DePaul’s mission to educate first generation college students resonates with me.  I earned my B.S. in Microbiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana. After some time studying methanogenic bacteria I started graduate school at Loyola University, where I joined Pam Witte’s lab to study B lymphocyte development.  After graduate school I did a postdoc with Craig Thompson, then a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at the University of Chicago. I did a second postdoc with Joe DiMario at the Chicago Medical School before joining the faculty at DePaul.  My research is generally focused on cell decisions; how does a single cell receive information and then go on to a specific role or fate in an organism. My model system of choice is the development of B lymphocytes. At DePaul I teach Immunobiology, Microbiology, and Explore Chicago.

Why DePaul?

In honesty I applied to DePaul because I wanted a job, I wanted a place where I could do my research and teach students. The answer to the question ‘Why DePaul?’ evolved once I started working here. I have had the opportunity to step outside the lab and learn how a university works. I have been able to work with some gifted and caring faculty and staff. I have been able to work in faculty governance, help launch the College of Science and Health and develop exciting new opportunities for our students.  I like the idea of a university where one can step outside of one’s normal role and take on new challenges.

Why VMI?

My entire faculty career has been at DePaul, and I realize that DePaul’s fortunes are my fortunes as well. Consequently, I feel a responsibility to help steward DePaul in my own small way. I think that a deep and nuanced understanding of our history and mission will be vital tool in helping DePaul move forward.