Kansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence

2017 K-INBRE Symposium Speaker Biographies

Yasuhiro (Yass) Kobayashi, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas
Title: Understanding human obesity through studying a bottom-feeding fish

Kobayashi, YassYass Kobayashi is an associate professor of Biological Sciences at Fort Hays State University in Hays, KS. He received a Ph.D. in molecular endocrinology from the University of Missouri-Columbia and completed post-doctoral training in functional genomics at the University of Arizona and Michigan State University. Prior to his current appointment at Fort Hays State University, Dr. Kobayashi was a faculty member at Delta State University in Cleveland, MS, from 2006 to 2010. His current research focuses on studying the physiological and molecular mechanisms associated with the development of obese-like phenotype in channel catfish that are selected for increased growth in order to determine whether channel catfish can be used as a model organism to investigate development of obesity in humans.



Randolph J. Nudo, Ph.D.

Professor, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas
Title: Repairing the Injured Brain with Direct Neural Interfaces

Randolph J. NudoRandolph J. Nudo, Ph.D. is Professor and Vice Chairman of Research in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, and the Marion Merrell Dow Distinguished Professor in Aging. He is also the Director of the Landon Center on Aging, and the Institute for Neurological Discoveries. He is a leading authority on neuroplasticity and recovery after brain injury, and is recognized internationally for his work on the effects of physiotherapy on functional plasticity after stroke; funded by NIH for over three decades. He currently holds grants from the Department of Defense and private foundations for his research in traumatic brain and spinal cord injury. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Neurorehabilitation & Neural Repair, the leading journal in the field of rehabilitation, and serves on the National Advisory Board for Medical Rehabilitation Research at NIH-NICHD. In addition to continuing fundamental research on post-stroke neuroplasticity, he and his colleagues are now developing microimplantable devices for repairing neural circuits after brain and spinal cord injury.


Thomas E. Prisinzano, Ph.D.

Professor, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas
Title: Salvia divinorum: A Unique CNS Active Plant

Thomas PrisinzanoThomas E. Prisinzano is Chair of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Co-Director of the Graduate Certificate Program in Chemical Biology, and Director of the Chemical Biology of Infectious Disease COBRE at the University of Kansas. He graduated from the University of Delaware (1995) and received a doctorate in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the School of Pharmacy at Virginia Commonwealth University (2000). From 2000-2003, he was an Intramural Research Training Award Fellow in the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases in Bethesda, MD. His research combines natural product isolation and synthetic medicinal chemistry and has mainly focused on understanding the chemistry and pharmacology associated with Salvia divinorum, a hallucinogenic mint plant native to Oaxaca, Mexico. He has received a number of awards, including the D. John Faulkner Travel Award from the American Society of Pharmacognosy (2005), the Jack L. Beal Award from the Journal of Natural Products (2006), the Matt Suffness Award from the American Society of Pharmacognosy (2008), the Joseph Cochin Young Investigator Award from the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (2011), and the David W. Robertson Award for Excellence in Medicinal Chemistry from the American Chemical Society (2012).


Michele Pritchard, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas
Title: Scarless wound healing in the liver: Role of the extracellular matrix carbohydrate, hyaluronan

Michele PritchardMichele Pritchard received her Ph.D. at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where she explored how to improve macrophage mediated tumor cell killing at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. She then performed postdoctoral research at CASE Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic where she studied mechanisms of liver injury and repair after hepatotoxin exposure, focusing on the role of the transcription factor early growth response 1, macrophages and complement activation in these processes. Once starting her independent research career at the University of Kansas Medical Center in the Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutics in August 2012, Dr. Pritchard started focusing more on mechanisms of wound repair instead of the wounding process itself. Her recent research has discovered novel roles for hyaluronan (HA), an extracellular matrix carbohydrate, and the Receptor for HA-mediated Motility (Rhamm), a receptor involved in HA-mediated wound healing processes, in liver wound healing after acute and chronic injury.


Santimukul Santra, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas
Title: Designer nanomedicines and nanosensors: Important roles in human health

Santimukul SantraSantimukul Santra, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Pittsburg State University. He is a synthetic chemist and nanotechnologist and teaches organic chemistry, polymer chemistry and nanobiotechnology classes to the students from chemistry, biology, pharmacy and other disciplines. He received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Indian Institute of Technology (I.I.T.)-Bombay, India and was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, USA. His laboratory research is focused on the Nanotechnology-based pharmaceutical theranostics for the early detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancers, neurodegenerative disorders and infectious diseases. He is the author of more than 20 high impact, peer reviewed journals, and contributed to more than 9 US Patents.



Michael Veeman, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Kansas State University
Title: Shaping the Ciona notochord

Michael VeemanMichael Veeman, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Biology at Kansas State University. His research program seeks to understand how genomes encode spatial information in developing embryos. He completed his undergraduate studies in Genetics at the University of Alberta. His doctoral work with Randall Moon at the University of Washington focused on non-canonical Wnt/PCP signaling in Xenopus and zebrafish. He switched to working on the simple invertebrate chordate Ciona as a postdoc with William Smith at UCSB because of its remarkably small and simple but stereotypically chordate embryo. His lab is working to understand the relationship between cell shape and spindle positioning in asymmetric cell division, and also to develop a systems-level understanding of notochord morphogenesis. His work is funded by both the NSF and the NIH.