Kansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence

In The News

Chapes named interim director of cancer research center

Keith Chapes*S. Keith Chapes is the K-INBRE Undergraduate Coordinator Office Director, a Network Steering Committee Member, a Summer/Semester Scholar mentor, the 2012 Joan Hunt Mentoring Award recipient, and a 2010 Faculty Scholar Award recipient.

November 4, 2016—Stephen Keith Chapes has been named the interim director of the Johnson Cancer Research Center at Kansas State University. Chapes will replace Rob Denell, university distinguished professor of biology, who is retiring after directing the center for 13 years. 

Chapes, who is a professor in the university's Division of Biology specializing in immunology, innate immunity, macrophage biology and gravitational and space immunology, has served as the center's associate director since 2003. His duties included reviewing applications for funding by the center and providing input on the center's role at the university. He will serve as interim director for roughly a year while a national search is conducted for the position. 

"The college is fortunate to have Dr. Chapes as interim director," said Beth Montelone, associate dean for research in the university's College of Arts & Sciences and member of the internal hiring committee. "His long tenure with the Johnson Cancer Research Center as a faculty scientist and associate director will allow the work of the center to go forward during the interim period."

Chapes' research group at K-State has made groundbreaking strides in the immunology and microgravity fields. They developed novel cancer cell lines that allowed research into mechanisms on how the immune system recognized and destroyed cancer cells. Read More >>

Inaugural inventor prize recognizes KU researcher

Joanna Slusky*Joanna Slusky is a 2015 Summer/Semester Scholar Mentor, and a 2016 Developmental Research Project Awardee

November 2, 2016—A University of Kansas professor has been selected as one of the five inaugural recipients of a major fellowship for outstanding inventors for her work to combat superbug resistance to antibiotic drugs.

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation announced Joanna Slusky, assistant professor of molecular biosciences and computational biology, as a Moore Inventor Fellow. This new fellowship program recognizes early-career innovators at U.S. universities with a high potential to accelerate progress in scientific research, environmental conservation and patient care.

Slusky’s invention is a protein that will resensitize bacteria to common antibiotics, thereby overcoming drug-resistant superbugs. Her invention could have a global effect on antibiotic resistance and re-establish the efficacy of antibiotics.

“This is a highly competitive award. For Joanna to be selected among the first class of recipients speaks volumes to her talents as a researcher and innovator,” said Carl Lejuez, dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. “Her invention holds tremendous promise, and I am thrilled to see her recognized among the premier early-career researchers in the U.S.” Read More >>

Rajesh Pahwa: Developing new treatments for Parkinson's Psychosis

*Rajesh Pahwa is a 2002 K-INBRE Faculty Scholar award recipient

May 20, 2016—Up until recently there had been no approved treatment methods for patients diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease psychosis or treatment options for patients. This changed recently with the approval of pimavanserin.

Rajesh Pahwa, M.D., of the University of Kansas Medical Center, discussed the use of anti-psychotics for the treatment of Parkinson’s psychosis during the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting in Vancouver prior to the drug's approval. Pahwa said that the anti-psychotics for dementia, for example, are not necessarily a treatment for a Parkinson’s psychosis.

“They not only affect dopamine but they also affect other neuro-transmittors,” Pahwa said.

Pahwa also discussed access to treatment, and how a patient from a rural center versus a research center might have difficulty, such as finding a specialist who treats Parkinson’s psychosis and other Parkinson’s symptoms, compared to a general practitioner. Read More >>

Senior earns NIH Oxford Cambridge Scholarship

Jessica van Loben Sels*Jessica van Loben Sels is a 2014 & 2015 Summer/Semester Scholar at the University of Kansas

May 5, 2016—essica van Loben Sels’ latest scholarship will allow the University of Kansas senior to continue her research at the University of Cambridge and at the National Institutes of Health, studying serious, disease-causing viruses.

Van Loben Sels, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, is a recipient of an Oxford Cambridge Scholarship from the National Institutes of Health. The scholarship pays for graduate work — including tuition, fees and a stipend — at Oxford University or Cambridge University in the United Kingdom and at the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland.

She is one of about 16 students across the country to receive the award and the first KU student to receive the scholarship since 2009. The scholarship seeks to train a new generation of top biomedical researchers to investigate human diseases and develop new treatments and cures. Read More >>

Pond scum and the gene pool: One critical gene in green algae responsible for multicellular evolution, understanding of cancer origin

Pond Scum*Brad Olson is a Summer Scholar and Star Trainee Mentor, and Tara Marriage is a 2013 and 2014 Post-doctoral Award Recipient at Kansas State University

May 5, 2016—Kansas State University biologists are skimming pond scum for clues of multicellular evolution and possible origin of cancer.

Brad Olson, assistant professor in the Division of Biology; Erik Hanschen, doctoral student at the University of Arizona; Hisayoshi Nozaki, University of Tokyo; and an international team of researchers found a single gene is responsible for the evolution of multicellular organisms. The study is published in a recent issue of Nature Communications. 

Olson and Hanschen were looking for what caused single-celled organisms to evolve into multicellular organisms when they discovered the importance of a single gene, retinoblastoma, or RB. Olson and Hanschen found that RB, known for being defective in cancer patients, is a critical gene necessary for multicellular life. According to Olson, previous theories indicated that multiple genes might be responsible for multicellularity.

"Rather than the situation where hundreds of genes have to evolve simultaneously, it's a very subtle change in one gene that causes a reprograming of the cell cycle," Olson said. "Not only did we find a critical gene for multicellularity, it turns out it turns out to be a tumor suppressor and it is much easier to evolve multicellularity than anticipated." Read More >>

Student’s undergraduate research selected for award

Alderman & Roberts*Christopher Alderman is a 2015 Summer/Semester Scholar at Emporia State University

March 28, 2016—A paper on cancer research done by Emporia State University junior Christopher Alderman has been chosen to receive a Great Plains Honors Council Boe Award next month at the group’s annual conference.

He also will present his paper, “The in vitro and in vivo effects of MicroRNA-15a on human malignant melanoma and the newly discovered target gene of microRNA-15a,” during the conference. The Great Plains region includes Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

He is one of six students who will receive cash prizes and plaques that accompany the award.

Alderman, who is from Emporia majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology, is a student in the Honors College that replaced the honors program at Emporia State in 2014. He is the second Emporia State student to receive the Dennis Boe Award, established in 2008 by the Great Plains Honors Council. Read More >>

Six KU juniors nominated for Goldwater, Astronaut scholarships

*Emily Binshtok is a 2015 Summer/Semester Scholar, and Annie Lynn is a 2016 Star Trainee at the University of Kansas

March 24, 2016—Six University of Kansas students who have been actively involved in undergraduate research during their university careers are competing for two prestigious scholarships: Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships and Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Astronaut Scholarships.

KU’s nominees include:

  • Emily Binshtok, a junior from Overland Park majoring in biochemistry, who is nominated for Goldwater and Astronaut scholarships.
  • Mackenzie Bloom, a junior from Superior, Colorado, majoring in biology, who is nominated for the Astronaut scholarship.
  • Mark LaFollette, a junior from Olathe majoring in chemical engineering, who is nominated for the Goldwater scholarship.
  • Annie Lynn, a junior from Overland Park majoring in chemical engineering, who is nominated for the Goldwater and Astronaut scholarships.
  • Emily Smith, a junior from Lenexa majoring in physics and interdisciplinary computing, who is nominated for the Astronaut scholarship.
  • Kevin Tenny, a junior from Leawood majoring in chemical engineering, who is nominated for the Goldwater scholarship.

 Read More >>

Richard Barohn Receives ALS Award

*Richard Barhon is a 2004 & 2005 K-INBRE Core Facility Award recipient at the University of Kansas Medical Center

March 8, 2016—Watch George Brett introduce Dr. Barohn!

Climate Change Could Send Venomous Snakes Slithering North

Snakes*A. Townsend Peterson is a 2002 K-INBRE Faculty Scholar

March 7, 2016—New research has found that rising temperatures could drive several deadly species northward to new areas, bringing them across the U.S. border with Canada. By 2050, some snakes could make their way as far north as Alberta, Quebec and southern Ontario.

Researchers at the University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute used climate models to predict the ranges of more than 75 poisonous snake species across the Americas. Their research, published in the journal Climate Change, found that snakebite risk could increase in considerably in new areas, especially in remote, rural regions, as temperatures rise.

But the uninvited guests shouldn't be cause for alarm, researchers caution.

Only a few snake species are likely to make it across the border — and the ones that do will not be the most deadly, said study co-author A. Townsend Peterson, a professor at the University of Kansas in the ecology and evolutionary biology department. Read More >>

Kansas State University nominates four students for Goldwater Scholarship

*Adam Schieferecke is a 2014 Summer/Semester Scholar

March 2, 2016—Kansas State University has nominated four students for the 2016 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. The nominees are Adam Schieferecke from Bennington, Muriel Eaton from Leawood, Aaron Messerla from Riley and Raquel Ortega from Wichita.

Established by Congress in 1986 to honor Sen. Barry M. Goldwater from Arizona, the scholarship is awarded to nearly 300 college students across the country every year. Awardees receive up to $7,500 annually for college-related expenses. With 72 Goldwater scholars to date, Kansas State University ranks first among the nation's 500 state-supported universities.

All four of this year's nominees have active research projects and intend to pursue careers in mathematics, science or engineering — a requirement of the scholarship. Scholars will be selected in mid-March. Read More >>

Excellence in Postdoctoral Scholarship Awards

Postdoc Scholarship Awardees*Heather Wilkins is a 2008 KSU Summer/Semester Scholar and a 2014 KUMC Postdoctoral Awardee

March 1, 2016—The Excellence in Postdoctoral Scholarship Awards recognize the promise and contributions of postdoctoral scholars at the University of Kansas Medical Center.  These awards elevate those who exemplify excellence in education and research in postdoctoral scholarship, which is a critical part of the mission of the University and its research enterprise.  Each award includes financial support for the continued professional development of postdoctoral scholars at a critical time in their careers, as well as acknowledgement of the important contributions made by scholars at the University.  In addition, designated awards highlight and support underrepresented minority and women scholars, recongizing that historically, these groups of scholars have been significantly underrepresented in STEM fields.  These awards are an important part of increasing the visibility of these early career role models and supporting their continued success in their fields. 

The Excellend in Postdoctoral Scholarship Awards are made possible by a grant from the KUMC AuxiliaryRead More >>

49 students receive Undergraduate Research Awards for spring

*Emily Binshtok, Cori Jones, and John Kelsh are all K-INBRE Summer/Semester Scholars

February 10, 2016—This spring, 49 University of Kansas students will receive Undergraduate Research Awards (UGRAs). UGRA recipients are awarded $1,000 to support them as they work on mentored research and creative projects.

“Students who earn an Undergraduate Research Award are learning the various aspects of the research and creative process,” said John Augusto, director of the Center for Undergraduate Research. “Each of these students is gaining expertise on a particular question or focus.”

Students apply for UGRAs by writing a four-page research proposal under the guidance of a mentor. Faculty reviewers evaluate the applications based on the merit of the proposal and the student’s preparation to undertake the project. Read More >>

KU startup earns $300K contract to develop cancer-fighting drug technology

*Laird Forrest is a 2010 Partnership for Translational Research Training recipient

January 25, 2016—A University of Kansas startup company has received a federal contract to continue its work on new drug delivery methods for developing more effective cancer treatments.

HylaPharm, founded in 2010, has received a $300,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract to repurpose an existing drug for the treatment of breast cancer. The National Cancer Institute, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, issued the award.

“The SBIR application process is highly competitive,” said Daniel Aires, HylaPharm’s president and CEO and KU Medical Center division director of dermatology. “These awards are designed to give small businesses access to critically needed research and development funds to develop new treatments for patients. Receiving this award validates the promising preclinical results and significant potential of our work.” Read More >>

KU scientists among select few "Highly Cited Researchers"

*Jorge Soberon is a Summer/Semester Scholar Mentor, and A. Townsend Peterson is a 2002 K-INBRE Faculty Scholar

January 17, 2016—hompson Reuters recently named three KU scientists as the only KU researchers ranked "Highly Cited Researchers" for 2015.

Biodiversity Institute scientists Jorge Soberon and A. Townsend Peterson, as well as incoming professor James Bever, were selected for the list, which represents some of world’s most influential scientific minds. About three thousand researchers earned the distinction by writing the greatest number of reports officially designated by Essential Science Indicators as “highly cited papers.” This ranked them among the top 1% most cited for their subject field and year of publication, earning them the mark of exceptional impact.

Soberon’s interests are in documenting and understanding large-scale spatial patterns in the biodiversity of terrestrial species, using tools such as Geographical Information Systems software, mathematical models and software specifically for niche modeling. He also studies the political and institutional aspects of biodiversity governance. Read More >>

From a cotton seed to a potential cancer drug

cotton*Liang Xu, a K-INBRE Star Trainee Mentor, and Kristi Neufeld, a 2010 & 2014 Pilot Award, 2005 Faculty Scholar, 2001 Recruitment Package, 2014 Bridging Award recipient, and a Star Trainee Mentor

January 5, 2016—The genes that cause cancer are so tiny, yet so complex, that finding something to destroy or stop them is one of the top struggles for cancer researchers today.  At The University of Kansas Cancer Center, understanding these microscopic processes and making drug discoveries is a priority in helping make the road for cancer patients easier and curbing recurrence.

Liang Xu, Ph.D., KU Cancer Center Drug Discovery, Delivery and Experimental Therapeutics Research Program member, associate professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Kansas Medical Center and associate professor of Molecular Biosciences at The University of Kansas, is looking at the protein Musashi, which is overexpressed in many types of cancer, but especially in colorectal cancer. It is thought that the increased presence of Mushashi causes abnormal cells to divide and tumors to start growing. It also appears to play a role in cancer stem cells that can divide endlessly into cancer cells in all parts of the body. Read More >>

Professors named as AAAS fellows

*Erik Lundquist is a Faculty Scholar, Bridging Grant, and Pilot Grant recipient, and a mentor/PI for Summer Scholars and a Developmental Research Project. Ilya Vakser is a 2003 Recruitment Package recipient

Decmebr 7, 2015—Two University of Kansas professors have been selected as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for their distinguished efforts to advance science and its applications. Erik Lundquist, professor of molecular biosciences, and Ilya Vakser, professor of computational biology and molecular biosciences, were among the class of 347 fellows chosen in 2015. The new fellows will be recognized in February at the AAAS annual meeting in Washington, D.C. The tradition of electing AAAS Fellows began in 1874. AAAS is known as the world’s largest general scientific society. Read More >>

Kansas State University researchers develop cell line to study obesity, other diseases

*Stephen Chapes, mentor and the K-INBRE Undergraduate Office Director

November 24, 2015—A Kansas State University research team has created a cell line that can be used in studies aimed at understanding obesity and other disease in humans, a discovery that has caught the attention of a Canadian company that markets innovative work in the life sciences.

Stephen Chapes, professor of biology at Kansas State University, said the researchers have studied a protein that regulates body weight, called the leptin receptor, and its impact on large white blood cells called macrophages.

"Macrophages are located throughout your body, protecting you from infection," Chapes said. "Macrophages are important in obesity because if you become obese, your immune function is disrupted." Read More >>

Night @ the Lab Winners attend K-INBRE Symposium

N@TL WinnersNovember 20, 2015—Three students from Shawnee Mission North High School that took home top honors at the Night @ the Lab, a health science education event November 19, 2015 in Kansas City, Kansas, have been invited to the 2016 Kansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE) Annual Symposium, January 16-17, at the Overland Park Sheraton in Overland Park, Kansas.

Edan Belihu, Nancy Dinh-Phan, and Oluoma Obi, all juniors, received the highest marks from judges for their presentation on “How Does Cancer Effect Ethnic Populations?” Connie Gandy is their teacher and mentor for the competition.

The annual K-INBRE Symposium brings together a network of students, faculty, and staff from 10 campuses in Kansas and northern Oklahoma: The University of Kansas Medical Center (lead school), Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University, Haskell Indian Nations University, Kansas State University, Langston University, Pittsburg State University, University of Kansas-Lawrence, Washburn University, and Wichita State University. Read More >>

From medical research to American literature, this year’s Chancellors Club professors cover many bases

Kenneth Peterson*Kenneth Peterson, KU Medical Center, is a 2006 K-INBRE Bridging Award recipient

October 1, 2015—A University of Kansas Medical Center researcher who has discovered compounds that give hope to patients diagnosed with sickle cell disease and other genetic blood disorders, and a longtime KU English professor revered by students and colleagues alike are being honored respectively for their research and teaching by KU Endowment’s Chancellors Club. Kenneth Peterson has been named the 2015 recipient of the Chancellors Club Research Award. James Carothers is the 2015 recipient of the Chancellors Club Career Teaching Award. Each will receive a $10,000 award and will be honored at the Oct. 30 Chancellors Club celebration in Lawrence.

Kenneth Peterson—A faculty member at KU Medical Center since 1998, Peterson is known not only for his research but also for his excellence in training graduate and post-graduate students. “Working in the lab and discovering something nobody ever knew before is hugely satisfying,” Peterson said. “Teaching others how to do experiments and seeing the look on their faces when they discover something new is simply exhilarating.”

In nominating Peterson, Joseph Fontes, James Calvet and Michael Soares praised him for his research that uncovered key mechanisms by which DNA elements called locus control regions affect genes and for his identification of protein factors required in the process. Peterson devised a way to dissect the genetic mechanisms regulating the globin genes, which are spread over a large chromosomal segment in humans. By using yeast artificial chromosomes containing human globin chromosomal fragments inserted into the mouse genome, the effects of changes made in the human DNA can be tested in these transgenic mice. Read More >>

KU Medical Center team finishes near the top in the Prostate Cancer Dream Challenge

Biostats Team*Brooke Fridley, Devin Koestler, and Rama Raghavan comprise the K-INBRE Bioinformatics satellite core at the University of Kansas Medical Center

September 30, 2015—A team of faculty and students from the University of Kansas Medical Center Department of Biostatistics was among the top finishers in the Prostate Cancer Dream Challenge. The worldwide competition was designed to encourage teams to develop prognostic models that predict survival, disease progression, and toxicity of chemotherapy treatments in prostate cancer patients.

Devin Koestler, an assistant professor of biostatistics at KU Medical Center, said the teams participating in the challenge were given raw data sets from four different Phase III clinical trials with over 2,000 castration resistant prostate cancer patients who had been treated with a cancer drug called docetaxel. The teams were then charged with developing a statistical model to predict the survival probability of the patients involved in the clinical trials.

Koestler said while it was exciting competing with teams from around the world, the primary reason the KU biostatistics team wanted to participate was to help come up with better strategies for understanding outcome-disparities among prostate cancer patients.

"We were excited about the opportunity to help establish an effective new treatment protocol for this particular group of patients and helping researchers better understand how the disease progresses," Koestler said. Read More >>

15 students receive Undergraduate Research Awards for fall

*Justin Massey is a 2015 K-INBRE Summer/Semester Scholar at The University of Kansas

September 10, 2015—This fall, 15 KU students will receive Undergraduate Research Awards, which provide $1,000 to support mentored projects.

“These students are taking full advantage of the opportunities available to them at KU,” said John Augusto, director of the Center for Undergraduate Research. “They have learned concepts and techniques in class and are now applying what they’ve learned to their UGRA projects.”

Students apply for UGRAs by writing a four-page research proposal under the guidance of a mentor. Faculty reviewers evaluate the applications based on the merit of the applicant's proposal, the applicant's academic record,and a recommendation letter from the mentor. Read More >>

Blagg earns Mitscher Professorship

Brian Blagg*Brian Blagg, 2003, 04, 05, 07, & 08 Summer/Semester Scholar Mentor at The University of Kansas.

September 2, 2015—Professor Brian Blagg, Department of Medicinal Chemistry, received the Lester and Betty Mitscher Professorship, the University of Kansas School of Pharmacy announced this week.

The Lester and Betty Mitscher Professorship, named for the late Lester Mitscher, a former university distinguished professor and professor emeritus in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry, and his wife, Betty, a longtime supporter of the School of Pharmacy.

Mitscher joined the KU faculty in 1975. He served as chairman of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry for 16 years. In addition to his distinguished work in the lab and in the classroom, Mitscher served as editor of Medicinal Research Reviews and on the editorial boards of 13 journals. He co-authored or edited six books and was the senior author of nearly 250 scientific papers. Read More >>

Mabel A. Woodyard Fellowships in Neurodegenerative Disorders awarded

*Heather Wilkins is a 2008 Summer/Semester Scholar at Kansas State University, and a current Post Doc in Neurology at the University of Kansas Medical Center

August 31, 2015—The Institute for Neurological Discoveries at the University of Kansas Medical Center has announced the 2015 recipients of the Mabel A. Woodyard Fellowships in Neurodegenerative Disorders. This is the fourth year that the awards have been presented to students and fellows at the University of Kansas and KU Medical Center. Read More >>

Eighty-four undergraduates present summer research

*Emily Binshtok, Justin Massey, Kyle Monize, Gregory Reeves, and Rana Aliani are 2015 K-INBRE Summer/Semester Scholars, and Alexandria Roy is a 2015 Star Trainee.

August 13, 2015—Each summer, undergraduate students from around the world join current University of Kansas students in conducting research with KU faculty. Eighty-four of these students presented their research last month at the KU Summer Undergraduate Research Poster Session at The Commons.

“This year’s Summer Poster Session was a wonderful mix of KU students and students from other universities who have spent their summer conducting research. The presentations give these students the opportunity to share their findings with the larger KU community,” said John Augusto, director of KU’s Center for Undergraduate Research. Read More >>

The Right Dose of Exercise for the Aging Brain

*Jeffrey Burns is a 2007 K-INBRE Faculty Award recipient

August 12, 2015—A small amount of exercise may improve our ability to think as we age, but more may not be better, according to a new study of exercise and cognition.

We all know that working out is good for us. But precisely how much or how little exercise is needed to gain various health benefits, and whether the same dose of exercise that bolsters heart health, for instance, is also ideal for the brain has remained unclear.

For the new study, which was published last month in PLOS One, scientists with the University of Kansas Alzheimer's Disease Center in Fairway, Kan., and other institutions recently decided to see if they could determine just how much exercise is needed to improve the ability to think.. Read More >>

Finding a Fingerprint for an Invasive Cancer Still in Hiding

*Fariba Behbod is a 2013, 2014 K-INBRE Scholar Mentor and a 2013 Partnership for Translational Research Training Recipient

August 11, 2015—Biomarkers are an important part in detecting certain cancers such as the BRCA gene in breast cancer and the PSA antigen in prostate cancer. They are easy to identify in a blood test and can help in diagnosing and giving a prognosis.

Biomarkers help detect cancer in its earliest stages, or sometimes before it shows up at all, making it particularly useful in early stage breast cancer diagnosis that can sometimes progress rapidly or lay dormant.

Fariba Behbod, Pharm.D., Ph.D., a member of the Cancer Prevention Program at The University of Kansas Cancer Center and associate professor of cancer and developmental biology, wants to make it easier to determine which patients will develop aggressive breast cancer. Read More >>

Emporia State prof spends time in crime lab

Melissa Bailey*Melissa Bailey is a 2013, 2014 K-INBRE Mentor

August 8, 2015—An Emporia State University professor recently finished a nine-week internship at the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office Criminalistics Laboratory that will help her develop the first master of science in forensic science program in Kansas.

Melissa Bailey, associate professor of biological sciences and interim director of the master’s in forensic science program at ESU, reported to the Olathe crime lab in late May and completed the internship on Aug. 1. By the end of the internship, she had spent time in every section of the crime lab familiarizing herself with current practices in such areas as the rifling on gun barrels, glass fragments and fiber and hair analysis.

“I will take this knowledge back to the classroom,” Bailey said. “We want to create a realistic classroom.” Read More >>

Seven undergraduate students present research for annual SUROP

SUROP Students*Tajae Lloyd and Rashid Troupeare 2015 K-INBRE Summer/Semester Scholars

August 6, 2015—Seven undergraduate students gave oral presentations about their summer research at the Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program, or SUROP, finale Friday, July 31, in Justin Hall. Undergraduate students, alongside K-State faculty and graduate students, conducted research in the departments of psychological sciences, biology, chemistry, and anatomy and physiology. This is the 20th year the Graduate School has hosted the program.

"I had great mentorship in this program," said Tina Ding, undergraduate from the University of California, Berkley who was mentored by Brad Olson and Tara Marriage. "I got to experience how labs are ran and the support everyone gives to one another."

"I loved learning and studying as a scientist," said TaJae Lloyd, undergraduate from Langston University, who was mentored by Masaaki Tamura. "I learned it is so important to know exactly what you are doing and how to explain it on different levels." Read More >>

Fighting Alzheimer's through diet

Alzheimer Brain*Jeffrey Burns is a 2007 K-INBRE Faculty Award recipient

July 17, 2015—Living with Alzheimer's disease is an intense and emotional struggle for both the patient and their family.

There is currently no cure or treatment, but some doctors are looking into the prevention of Alzheimer's simply by eating. The idea around the new MIND diet is that loading up your plate with foods you already eat to stay healthy – like fish, berries, leafy greens and nuts – are also considered brain boosting foods.

Sylvia LaVine is taking part in the University of Kansas Alzheimer's Disease Center study looking into if simply walking more can prevent Alzheimer's disease. Every step on the treadmill shows her determination.

"I really thought I really have nothing to lose. I don't have to take a pill, this is not an injection. I have everything to gain and nothing to lose so I investigated," she said.

When she walks, a mask is placed around her face. Read More >>

New research shows older adults can improve brain function by raising their fitness level

Jeffrey Burns*Jeffrey Burns is a 2007 K-INBRE Faculty Award recipient

July 10, 2015—New research conducted at the University of Kansas Medical Center indicates that older adults can improve brain function by raising their fitness level.

Jeffrey Burns, M.D., professor of neurology and co-director of the KU Alzheimer's Disease Center, led a six-month trial conducted with healthy adults ages 65 and older who showed no signs of cognitive decline. The results of the study were published on July 9 in the journal PLOS ONE.

The randomized controlled trial attempted to determine the ideal amount of exercise necessary to achieve benefits to the brain. Trial participants were placed in a control group that did not have monitored exercise, or they were put into one of three other groups. One group moderately exercised for the recommended amount of 150 minutes per week, a second exercised for 75 minutes per week, and a third group exercised for 225 minutes per week.

All groups who exercised saw some benefit, and those who exercised more saw more benefits, particularly in improved visual-spatial processing - the ability to perceive where objects are in space and how far apart they are from each other. Participants who exercised also showed an increase in their overall attention levels and ability to focus. Read More >>

The final frontier: Space sex

*Joseph Tash is a 2004 K-INBRE Semester/Scholar Mentor

June 22, 2015—Space colonization is pretty much the cornerstone to any techno-futurist's fantasy. This month SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced he's working to get a million people on Mars, within the next century. But these dreams of humanity's future in space have one major hurdle...sex. Scientists aren't sure whether it's even possible to reproduce in outer space.

To consider reproduction in space, it's helpful to start with plant sex, because plants are actually one of the only organisms we've seen get down to business in a space-like setting.

Our two plant sex voyeurs are Anja Geitmann, a plant biologist at the University of Montreal, and her lab manager, fellow plant biologist, Youssef Chebli. They study pollen, the male sex cells of the plant world.

Chebli showed me one of the capsules of pollen grains they store in the lab freezer. It looks like a little yellow pill. He opens one in my hand, and pollen resembling turmeric powder spills out of it. These, he says, are pollen grains. Read More >>

Good as new? KU tissue engineering steps in when injured bodies can’t do it alone

Michael Detamore*Michael Detamore is a 2008 K-INBRE Bridging Grant Recipient and 2015 Scholar mentor from the University of Kansas.

June 15, 2015—A badly broken jawbone — bad enough to require a total joint replacement — leaves patients with permanently implanted plastic and metal.

"Wouldn't it be nice if you could just replace it, and it'd be like new?" Kansas University engineering professor Michael Detamore says.

And when he says "like new" he doesn't mean bionic.

Detamore, a biomedical engineer, specializes in tissue engineering. In his labs at KU, he and students are building various replacement parts designed to transform over time into the real thing.

Doctors encounter all kinds of injuries and conditions where the body can't heal itself, Detamore said. "We're trying to creatively solve those problems."

Detamore's tissue engineering projects are in various stages, with some just beginning and others that have shown success in animals and could be tested on people in the near future. Read More >>

KU announces nominees for prestigious astronaut scholarship

*Jessica van Loben Sels is a K-INBRE Scholar

May 28, 2015—Four outstanding University of Kansas undergraduates are the first nominees representing the university in the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Astronaut Scholarship program.

The six surviving members of the Mercury 7 mission founded the ASF and the Astronaut Scholarship in 1984 as a means to encourage students to pursue scientific endeavors to keep the U.S. on the leading edge of technology. Astronauts from the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab and Space Shuttle programs have joined the ASF, which has awarded $4 million in scholarships to more than 370 of the nation's top scholars.

The ASF Board of Directors selected KU to join the program based upon the excellence of the university's science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) academic programs for undergraduates and the strong research capabilities and opportunities for undergraduate students. Admission into the scholarship program is highly competitive, and only the top research universities in the country are chosen to participate.

"KU's nominees are among an elite group of science, math and engineering students in the nation and the world," said Jeffrey S. Vitter, provost and executive vice chancellor. "The engaged learning and research opportunities available to our students have helped create an exceptional environment where KU students can thrive. I'm proud of their accomplishments thus far, and I know KU will continue to see them do amazing work." Read More >>

Division of Biology undergraduates recognized for outstanding achievements

*Luke Kicklighter, Erika Peters, Adam Schieferecke, Madeline Colter, Jordan Parker, and Konner Winkley are K-INBRE Summer/Semester Scholars

May 12, 2015—Each spring the Division of Biology honors several of its students majoring in biology, microbiology, and fisheries, wildlife and conservation biology for outstanding achievement. This year's awardees and their guests were recognized at a luncheon on Saturday, May 2.

The Most Promising Student Award is intended to encourage students who are early in their careers and have demonstrated enthusiasm, creativity, and imagination in biologically-oriented courses and projects. Students are nominated by the faculty and award recipients are chosen by a committee within the Division of Biology. Selection is based on faculty letters of recommendation, quality and quantity of classroom work and extracurricular accomplishments, and an interview with the selection committee. Read More >>

KU Med-Wichita’s first four-year students graduating this weekend

KU Med Wichita*Kyle Rowe, Ashley Venegas, and Caitlin Chiles were all K-INBRE Scholars at Wichita State University

May 11, 2015—The eight students who were the first to go through four years of medical school in Wichita are graduating this weekend. The University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita students will take part in graduation ceremonies this weekend in Kansas City and Lawrence.

Those completing courses in Wichita will graduate with other fourth-year medical students in Salina and the medical school's main campus in Kansas City. The entire KU Medical School also will participate in university-wide graduations Sunday in Lawrence.

The eight students were the first ones to benefit from the expansion of the Wichita campus of the KU Medical School in 2011. The school was expanded from a site where students came to Wichita from Kansas City for two years of learning in a clinical environment, to one that affords students the opportunity to go through all four years of their medical education and training locally.

Now, school leaders say the group helped prove that the Wichita campus of the KU Medical School could accommodate and sustain a four-year program, justifying further expansion.

The Wichita Business Journal caught up with the eight last summer as they began their fourth year of medical school for their take on how they helped demonstrate a four-year medical school can work — and is working — locally. Read More >>

For children, adults with muscular dystrophy, research at KU holds new hope

Richard Barohn*Richard Barohn is a 2004 & 2005 K-INBRE Core Facility Award recipient at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

May 2, 2015—Kara Jacobs of Eudora, Kan., knows better than most parents what it’s like to live every day between hope and reality.

The reality is that Zane, 7 and youngest of her three boys, was diagnosed two years ago with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

“Zane!” Jacobs, 29, called recently as she stood in her backyard. She watched with a half smile, knowing he wouldn’t listen as he and brothers Aidan, 10, and Taegan, 9, drenched their new sneakers while ambling about in the creek behind their home. “Get out of there.”

Duchenne is a genetic neuromuscular disorder that is linked to an X chromosome mutation and affects boys. It robs them of the vital protein called dystrophin, wastes muscles and puts boys in wheelchairs, typically by age 13, until it eventually affects their hearts.

The reality is that although this is a good day for Zane — he’s not stumbling or falling as if his ankles have turned to gel — his dad, 1st Sgt. Josh Jacobs, a U.S. Army recruiter, will continue to say the same prayer on this night as he’s said every other night.

“I pray to switch places,” said Josh Jacobs, 32. “Give him my life. I’ll take his disease.” Read More >>

Of mice and machines: Old, new technology mix in genomic research at KU Medical Center

Peter Smith*Peter Smith is a past K-INBRE Associate and Communications Core Director.

April 25, 2015—A pairing of next-generation and century-old research methods is helping scientists at Kansas University Medical Center learn more about genetic disorders in children.

The new is a roughly $1 million machine that can sequence a person’s DNA in as fast as two days.

The old has been used in labs for a century or more: watching mice run mazes.

Peter Smith, KU Medical Center professor of molecular and integrative physiology, directs the Institute for Neurological Discoveries and co-directs the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center. Read More >>

University of Kansas researchers make breakthrough in potential cancer treatment

*Liang Xu is a 2015 K-INBRE Star Trainee Mentor at KU.

April 9, 2015—It might not be a cure just yet, but scientists at the University of Kansas have discovered what they consider a breakthrough in treating cancerous tumors.

Dr. Liang Xu has already helped develop drugs from his studies at Michigan, Stanford and Georgetown. Now his team at KU has released its findings in the current issue of ACS Chemical Biology, stating what they’ve developed could lead to a new class of cancer drugs.

Xu and his team of scientists have spent three and a half years developing six chemical compounds that inhibit HuR, a protein in every human that promotes tumor growth. So far, tests have been successful in lab cultures and mice. Read More >>

Two juniors win Goldwater scholarships

Jessica van Loben Sels*Jessica van Loben Sels is a Summer/Semester Scholar at Wichita State University.

April 1, 2015—Bryce Tappan, a junior in chemistry, and Jessica van Loben Sels, a junior in microbiology, have each been awarded a prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, the nation’s premier undergraduate award for academically gifted students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The Goldwater Scholarship program — established by Congress in 1986 to ensure a continuing source of scientists, mathematicians and engineers — provides annual scholarships to cover winners’ cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

Tappan and van Loben Sels become the 57th and 58th University of Kansas students to be recognized with a Goldwater scholarship. In addition, Daniel Rhodes, a junior in physics, was recognized with an honorable mention.

Schools may nominate a maximum of four students for Goldwater scholarships each year. Tappan, van Loben Sels and Rhodes — along with junior David Gier — were nominated by KU earlier this spring. Read More >>

Researchers find 'Affinity Switch' for proteasome assembly process in cells

Roelofs Diagram*Jeroen Roelofs is a 2009 K-INBRE Recruitment Package Recipient and a 2012, 2014-15 Summer/Semester Scholar Mentor at KSU.

March 16, 2015—A Kansas State University-led study is helping uncover the intricate workings of how a specific "molecular machine" inside of cells is assembled. Fully understanding this process may present new target sites for drugs and may lead to better treatments for neurological diseases, cancers and other disorders.

Jeroen Roelofs, assistant professor in the Division of Biology and a research affiliate with the university's Johnson Cancer Research Center, led a study on a specific step in the assembly of proteasomes.

Proteasomes are complexes inside cells that are responsible for the degradation of damaged and unnecessary proteins, which in turn keep the cells healthy. Proteasomes are formed when 66 components come together in the correct order. The process is orchestrated by a number of proteasome-specific chaperones. Read More >>

Students say these faculty members are ‘Outstanding!’

PSU Awardees*Phillip Harries is a 2009 K-INBRE Recruitment Package Recipient and a 2010-14 Summer/Semester Scholar Mentor at PSU

March 12, 2015—Phil McNew never imagined becoming a teacher. Jeff Poe spent 25 years in the business world before trading the executive office for the classroom. Phillip Harries’ father was a college professor, so he was naturally drawn to teaching.

Pittsburg State University’s 2015 Robert K. Ratzlaff Outstanding Faculty Award recipients came to teaching in different ways, but they all share a passion about teaching that has earned them the respect of their students.

The award, presented at the university’s annual Apple Day ceremonies, is based on nominations from students, which all three of this year’s recipients said, makes it very special. Read More >> For Dr. Harries video reaction, click here.

ESU working on first in-state forensics graduate program

*Melissa Bailey is a 2009 Recruitment Package recipient and 2014, 13, & 09 Mentor. Tim Burnett is the Undergraduate Coordinator for K-INBRe, and an active Mentor since 2004. Scott Crupper is a 2005 and 2010 Core Facility Award recipient, a 2003-05, 2014 Summer/Semester Scholar Mentor, a 2002 Facutly Scholar Award Recipient, and a 2002 Pilot Grant Recipient. Marah Carney is a 2014 Summer/Semester Scholar at Wichita State University.

February 12, 2015—Emporia State will be the home of the only forensic science graduate program in the state of Kansas. The science department introduces the program in the fall of 2015.

“I really don’t know why it hasn’t been explored before, but I am excited that we are going to start offering this program,” said Melissa Bailey, interim director of the master’s of science in forensic science program.

Forensic science is the method of gathering and analyzing evidence from a crime scene.

“The baggy of white powder that the cop found in the car, is it cocaine or is it just baking soda,” Bailey said. “You answer those types of questions.”

The program was developed with the help of major crime labs in Kansas including the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office Criminalistics Laboratory, the Sedgwick County Regional Forensic Science Center and the Kansas City Kansas Police Crime Laboratory. Read More >>

Senior Ryan Limbocker named a Gates Cambridge Scholar

Ryan Limbocker*Ryan Limbocker is a 2014 Star Trainee at the University of Kansas

February 2, 2015—How do you follow up on being named the 56th Goldwater Scholar at the University of Kansas?

If you’re Ryan Limbocker, senior from Overland Park, you keep accelerating toward your goal of finding the origins of diseases such as Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s. Limbocker’s research will receive a rocket-powered boost from his latest honor — today, he was named a Gates Cambridge Scholar, one of only 40 U.S. collegians to be awarded the prestigious scholarship.

The Gates Cambridge Scholarships were established in 2000 by a donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the University of Cambridge. They are awarded to outstanding applicants from countries outside the United Kingdom to pursue a full-time postgraduate degree in any subject available at the University of Cambridge. Limbocker plans to pursue a doctorate in chemistry at Cambridge. Read More >>

Molecular biosciences professor wins mentoring award

James Orr*James Orr is a 2010 K-INBRE Faculty Scholar and previous Undergraduate Campus Coordinator for the University of Kansas

February 2, 2015—James Orr, University of Kansas professor of molecular biosciences, recently received the Joan S. Hunt Distinguished Mentoring Award from the Kansas Institutional Development Award Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE).

K-INBRE is a multidisciplinary program to enhance Kansas' research capacity through faculty development, retention and infrastructure, as well as inspire undergraduate researchers to pursue careers in biomedical research. Ten campuses in Kansas and northern Oklahoma are part of this initiative.

The Joan S. Hunt Distinguished Mentoring Award was established in 2012 to recognize upper-level faculty for their mentoring success. The award honors Hunt's commitment to mentoring by recognizing K-INBRE past and present faculty who have made outstanding contributions to the states of Kansas and Oklahoma mentoring students, post docs and faculty. Read More >>

Four named recipients of 2014 Higuchi-KU Endowment Research Achievement Awards

Higuchi Group Photo*Craig Lunte is a 2004 K-INBRE Summer/Semester Scholar Mentor

November 10, 2014—Four faculty members at two universities in Kansas have been named recipients of the state's most prestigious recognition for scholarly excellence: the Higuchi-KU Endowment Research Achievement Awards. The four will be recognized Tuesday, Dec. 9, during a ceremony at the Lied Center of Kansas.

This is the 33rd annual presentation of the awards, established in 1981 by Takeru Higuchi, a distinguished professor at the University of Kansas from 1967 to 1983, and his wife, Aya. The awards recognize the exceptional long-term research accomplishments of faculty at Kansas Board of Regents universities. Each award includes a citation and a $10,000 award for ongoing research efforts. The money can be used for research materials, summer salaries, fellowship matching funds, hiring research assistants or other support related to research.

This year's recipients are Victor Bailey, Charles W. Battey Distinguished Professor of Modern British History, KU; Craig Lunte, professor of chemistry, KU; Susan J. Brown, University Distinguished Professor of Biology, K-State; and Frank F. White, professor of plant pathology, K-State. Read More >>

Research success continues for COBRE in protein structure, function

*Robert Hanzlik is a 2002 K-INBRE Core Facility Award Recipient, a 2003 Recruitment Package PI, and a K-BRIN Undergraduate Campus Coordinator at the University of Kansas

February 2, 2014—The deep study of complex biomedical problems requires stable, long-term research funding. Robert Hanzlik, a professor of medicinal chemistry at the University of Kansas, understands that better than most.

In 2002, the National Institutes of Health awarded Hanzlik a five-year, $10 million grant to create the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence in Protein Structure and Function (COBRE-PSF). The success of Hanzlik’s team, which included Mary Lou Michaelis, now-emeritus professor of pharmacology and toxicology, led to a second five-year, $10 million grant in 2008. Read More >>

KU Medical Center receives $19 million National Institutes of Health grant to support multi-university bioscience program

June 3, 2014—The University of Kansas Medical Center has received a five-year, $19 million grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health, which will continue a Kansas cell and developmental biology research program that has brought $64 million into the state since it was first funded in 2001.

One of the largest biomedical research grants awarded in Kansas, the award is for the Kansas Institutional Development Award Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE). K-INBRE is a multi-disciplinary program to enhance Kansas' research capacity through faculty development, retention and infrastructure, as well as inspire undergraduate researchers to pursue careers in biomedical research. Ten university campuses in Kansas and Oklahoma are a part of the initiative.

"The INBRE is a critical program for the state of Kansas," said Douglas Wright, Ph.D., program director and professor of anatomy and cell biology at KU Medical Center. "This award will continue to enhance and strengthen our network of researchers, students and others in the biomedical field, and help researchers in Kansas remain competitive for national research grants. It also brings together universities in Kansas that work together to help make students and faculty successful in their biomedical research." Read More >>

Cowley instructor to represent Kansas graduate students at national conference

*Timothy Eberl is a 2011 and 2013 K-INBRE Star Trainee, and an ARRA Scholar

April 22, 2014—Part-time Cowley College instructor Timothy Eberl has been asked to represent Kansas graduate students at a national IDeA Biomedical conference in Washington, D.C. He will present his research to a large group of colleagues, members of Congress and members of academia from across the country.

The IDeA (Institutional Development Award) network is a national program dedicated to developing and funding research at the college level and focuses on assisting and fostering student interest in working within the cellular development and bio-medical fields. Read More >>

Overland Park junior Ryan Limbocker wins Goldwater Scholarship

*Ryan Limbocker is a 2014 K-INBRE Star Trainee

March 25, 2014—Ryan Limbocker, University of Kansas junior from Overland Park, has been awarded a prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. The awards are the nation’s premier undergraduate award to honor academically gifted students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Three additional KU juniors were recognized with an Honorable Mention.

Limbocker is the 56th KU student to be recognized with a Goldwater scholarship. All four students are members of KU’s nationally recognized University Honors Program. Read More >>

University students from Kansas, Oklahoma honored for research posters, presentations at annual K-INBRE bioscience symposium

January 31, 2014—Eighteen undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students were honored for their scientific research presentations at the 12th annual Kansas IDeA (Institutional Development Awards) Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE) symposium Jan. 18-19 at the Downtown Marriott Muehleback Towers in Kansas City, Mo.

The annual symposium is part of the K-INBRE initiative to identify and recruit promising college science students into careers in biomedical research in Kansas. Led by the University of Kansas Medical Center, 10 campuses in Kansas and northern Oklahoma are a part of this collaborative network. Read More >>

Researchers in the KU Schools of Medicine and Health Professions Collaborate to Better Understand Diabetes and its Complications

November 19, 2013—Translational medicine is the process of turning biological and epidemiological discoveries into cures and treatments. The approach has been described as taking research from the "bench to bedside."

A team at the University of Kansas Medical Center is studying peripheral neuropathy, one of the major complications of diabetes. But in this instance, discovery is moving in more than one direction. Results from a human exercise study informed the way basic scientists designed a study in mice. The "bedside to bench" approach, as it were, has helped add to the understanding of various pain syndromes. Read More >>

Wichita State Students Discover Frog-killing Fungus in Kansas

August 28, 2013—For nearly 15 years, biologists around the world have been watching as millions of frogs succumb to an infectious fungus called chytrid.

Now a group of Wichita State University students has discovered evidence of the deadly chytrid fungus in the Wichita area. This is the first report of chytrid in Kansas.

The pathogenic fungus is found in all neighboring states and has caused the decline and extinction of amphibian species globally.

Wichita State's findings are based on two years of undergraduate and graduate research as part of a field ecology class in WSU's Department of Biology. Read More >>

Research Leads to Successful Restoration of Hearing and Balance, Shows Potential for Human Application

July 24, 2013—The sounds of success are ringing at Kansas State University through a research project that has potential to treat human deafness and loss of balance.

Philine Wangemann, university distinguished professor of anatomy and physiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine, and her international team have published the results of their study in the July issue of the journal PLOS Genetics: "SLC26A4Targeted to the Endolymphatic Sac Rescues Hearing and Balance in SLC26A4 Mutant Mice." Read More >>

Studies of the Assembly of a Protein Degradation Machine Could Lead to Treatments in Cancer, Neurological Diseases

June 5, 2013—Kansas State University scientists helped discover new details about an intricate process in cells. Their finding may advance treatments for cancer and neurological diseases.

Kansas State University researchers Jeroen Roelofs, assistant professor, and Chingakham Ranjit Singh, research assistant professor -- both in the Division of Biology -- led part of the study. Both also are research affiliates with the university's Johnson Cancer Research Center. They worked with colleagues at Harvard Medical School, the University of California-San Francisco and the University of Kansas. The scientific journal Nature recently published the team's observations, titled "Reconfiguration of the proteasome during chaperone-mediated assembly." Read More >>

Finney among 2011 Kansas IDeA Network scholarship recipients

March 10, 2011—Joel Thomas Finney of Winfield is one of 11 students at the University of Kansas to receive 2011 undergraduate research scholarships through the Kansas IDeA (Institutional Development Awards) Network of Biomedical Research Excellence program.

Finney, a senior in biochemistry and chemistry and son of Susan and James Finney, is a K-INBRE Scholar. Minae Mure, assistant professor of chemistry, is his mentor. His project is “Biochemical Characterization of Prolyl-4-hydroxylase from Bacillus anthracis.”

Seven students received scholarships for spring and summer 2011 funded by the Kansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence, or K-INBRE. Four more received summer scholarships funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The K-INBRE undergraduate scholarship program at the Lawrence campus is funded through a $25.6 million National Institutes of Health grant to KU. Joan Hunt, vice chancellor for biomedical research infrastructure at the KU Medical Center and University Distinguished Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology, is principal investigator.

The Lawrence campus is one of 10 participating campuses that receive support. James A. Orr, professor of molecular biosciences and director of the Office for Diversity in Science Training, is the Lawrence campus coordinator for the program. Read More >>

Warring molecules keep the colon cancer-free

February 18, 2011—A molecular battle is going on inside your colon, and University of Kansas researchers want neither side to win.

KU associate professor of molecular biosciences Kristi Neufeld and her graduate student Erick Spears study how a molecule, a protein called APC, suppresses colon cancer. In a recent article in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, they explain how a drug might someday treat the disease by blocking the action of one of APC’s molecular opponents.

Currently, no drug specifically treats colon cancer. The vast majority of cases derive from a faulty gene in intestinal cells that produces a defective APC protein. APC — whose hefty full name is Adenomatous Polyposis Coli — is named after the intestinal polyps it helps prevent. Polyps can turn malignant if not removed by surgery.

“Many researchers are trying to figure out now why this protein is so critical for preventing polyp formation,” Neufeld said. “Mine has been one of those labs.” Read More >>

KU announces 2011 Kansas IDeA Network scholarship recipients

February 10, 2011—Eleven students at the University of Kansas have received 2011 undergraduate research scholarships through the Kansas IDeA (Institutional Development Awards) Network of Biomedical Research Excellence program.

Seven students received scholarships for spring and summer 2011 funded by the Kansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence, or K-INBRE. Four more received summer scholarships funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The K-INBRE undergraduate scholarship program at the Lawrence campus is funded through a $25.6 million National Institutes of Health grant to KU. Joan Hunt, vice chancellor for biomedical research infrastructure at the KU Medical Center and University Distinguished Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology, is principal investigator.

The Lawrence campus is one of 10 participating campuses that receive support. James A. Orr, professor of molecular biosciences and director of the Office for Diversity in Science Training, is the Lawrence campus coordinator for the program. Read More >>

ESU professor as faculty scholar

January 18, 2011—The study of “gut bacteria” is bringing notice to an Emporia State University researcher.

Dr. Tim Burnett, associate professor of biology, recently received the Undergraduate Campus Faculty Scholar Award from the Kansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence.

Burnett, who came to ESU in 2002, studies mucosal immunity in the small intestine.

“We’re trying to figure out how the immune system determines a response to bacteria that might be harmful and at the same time ignores bacteria that many times is beneficial,” Burnett said.

“I tell people I study gut bacteria and our response to gut bacteria,” Burnett said, with a laugh.

As more information is gathered both in Burnett’s work and by other researchers studying mucosal immunity, practical applications could be possible in treatments of diseases like food allergies, cystic fibrosis, Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Read More >>

FHSU professor receives $10,000 research award

December 22, 2010—Dr. Michael Madden, professor of allied health and director of medical diagnostic imaging and radiologic technology programs at Fort Hays State University, recently received a $10,000 Undergraduate Campus Faculty Scholar Award from the Kansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence.

Through grant proposals and awards, K-INBRE works to attract and keep the brightest students and faculty in Kansas biomedical research initiatives, Madden said.

"These grants established a cooperative inter-campus biomedical research program at 10 campuses throughout Kansas and Oklahoma," he said.

Those universities are Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University, Haskell Indian Nations University, Kansas State University, Langston University, Pittsburg State University, the University of Kansas Medical Center, the University of Kansas, Washburn University and Wichita State University.

Altogether, the National Institute of Health grant funds awarded through the K-INBRE to FHSU have provided over $900,000 for biomedical research projects, with the majority of the funds going toward scholarships and supplies, allowing students to conduct biomedical research projects with FHSU faculty mentors. Read More >>

KU nominates three to compete for Rhodes, Marshall scholarships

October 20, 2010—Two seniors and one recent graduate of the University of Kansas have been nominated to compete for prestigious Rhodes and Marshall scholarships, which provide for graduate study in Great Britain.

Christopher Winters Martin, a senior majoring in architectural engineering from Dodge City, Kan., and Geneva, Ala., is competing for a Marshall scholarship.

Rachelle Briana Netzer, a spring 2010 graduate in political science from Lawrence, is competing for a Rhodes scholarship.

Chantz Palmer Thomas, a senior majoring in microbiology and history from Lindsborg, is competing for both a Rhodes and a Marshall scholarship. Read More >>

Wichita State biology labs to receive major upgrade

June 9, 2010—The National Institutes of Health recently approved a $2.2 million WSU Combined Core Facility Renovation Project to significantly upgrade four research laboratories at Wichita State University. About $700,000 will be used to purchase new equipment.

The renovation project in Hubbard Hall is scheduled to begin June 2011 and be completed by March 2012.

The laboratory upgrade will complement a $6.6 million, five-year, multi-investigator, multi-institutional infertility research project, "The Aging Pituitary/Gonadal Axis" by biology professor George Bousfield. Read More >>

Computing facility receives $4.6 million grant to help boost power

May 26, 2010—The vast computing power needed to sequence genomes and peer into molecules depends upon powerful hardware that generates heat along with scientific breakthroughs. 

Now, a University of Kansas computing facility dedicated to life sciences research will provide the infrastructure necessary to enable a 20-fold boost in computing power thanks to a $4.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. What’s more, instead of throwing off yet more heat from the machines, the upgrade will lead to a 15 percent cut in the computer complex’s use of natural gas and a drop in its electricity need.

“This is a superb example of a win-win,” said Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. “Investigators on the cutting edge of biological research will have much more robust computing at their command and see that their research is energy efficient and sustainable — a priority for our campus.” Read More >>

Students Awarded for Research Presentations, Posters at Annual University Forum

April 5, 2010—Thirty-three undergraduate and graduate students have earned honors for their research posters and presentations at the 18th annual K-State Research Forum.

The forum took place on Wednesday, March 27, and included oral presentations and poster presentations from more than 89 graduate students and 18 undergraduate students from across disciplines. Research topics included engineering, math, physical sciences, agricultural sciences, biological sciences, social sciences, humanities and education, among other topics. Read More >>

K-State student finds that therapeutics given to trauma patients might not be effective when a certain undiagnosed infection is present

March 16, 2010—A Kansas State University study aimed at alleviating intestinal damage in trauma patients digressed to an important finding that could affect medication given to the individuals.

Diana Hylton is a K-State senior in microbiology, nutritional sciences and pre-medicine and a 2006 graduate of Cair Paravel Latin School in Tecumseh. She is analyzing how the immune system is involved in damage to the intestines following hemorrhagic shock. While studying the effects of a complement inhibitor given following hemorrhage, she found that Helicobacter infection changes the body's mechanistic response and would therefore affect the therapeutics given to trauma patients.

"The understanding of the different immune processes involved after hemorrhage suggests that the therapeutic potential of some drugs might not be effective on trauma patients with undiagnosed Helicobacter infections," Hylton said.

Hylton is working with Sherry Fleming, assistant professor in the Division of Biology. Hylton's project involves studying a mouse model of hemorrhage, which is associated with a sudden rapid loss of a significant amount of blood, and it is common in trauma patients. Hemorrhage causes intestinal damage, and the body responds by activating the complement system. Read More >>

KU announces 2010 Kansas IDeA Network scholarship recipients

March 12, 2010—Ten students at the University of Kansas received 2010 undergraduate research scholarships through the Kansas IDeA (Institutional Development Awards) Network of Biomedical Research Excellence program.

Six students received scholarships for spring and summer 2010 funded by the Kansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence, or K-INBRE, and four more received summer scholarships funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The K-INBRE undergraduate scholarship program at the Lawrence campus is funded through a $25.6 million National Institutes of Health grant to KU. Joan Hunt, vice chancellor for biomedical research infrastructure at the KU Medical Center and University Distinguished Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology, is principal investigator.

The Lawrence campus is one of 10 participating campuses that receive support. James A. Orr, professor of molecular biosciences, is the Lawrence campus coordinator for the program. Read More >>

Science students land competitive K-INBRE grants

January 27, 2010—Eleven students studying science at PSU have been awarded highly competitive research grants through the Kansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE).

The students, who plan to attend professional or graduate school upon completing their degrees, each received $4,000 ($1,000 of which goes toward their research supplies) through the grant program, which provides money to qualifying university scholars throughout the state. The funds come through the National Institutes of Health, which aims to provide money for biomedical research in states that have traditionally been underfunded.

Dr. Virginia Rider, PSU's campus representative for K-INBRE, said the university has received more than $700,000 since the program became available in Kansas. With the addition of chemistry majors competing for grants for the first time this year (four were awarded), more science majors have received funds this year than ever before.

"We probably have the most competitive students of any university in Kansas. Their maturity, their drive, their grades, their ethics - they can compete with students at any university in the state," Rider said. "Research is expensive, and we couldn't sponsor undergraduate research projects without this." Read More >>