Roberta Pokphanh
Research and Graduate Studies

KU graduate students to showcase research at Capitol

Wed, 02/13/2013

LAWRENCE — Thirteen University of Kansas graduate students from the Lawrence campus and KU Medical Center were selected to showcase their research projects for state lawmakers and the public at the Graduate Student Research Summit from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14, in the rotunda of the state Capitol in Topeka.

The KU representatives will join graduate students from Kansas State and Wichita State universities at the event, which is intended to raise awareness of the graduate programs at all four institutions and the importance of graduate students’ research at state universities.

Among the topics KU students from Lawrence and the Medical Center will present:

  • The role of hormones in prostate and breast cancer treatment
  • A study of the structure of the Ogallala Formation aquifer
  • The barriers that contribute to a shortage of baccalaureate-prepared nurses in rural Kansas hospitals
  • The production of biofuels from algae grown in wastewater
  • The impact of requiring photo identification at Kansas polling places

Following the presentations, awards funded by KansasBio will be presented to two projects from each campus. KansasBio was founded in 2004 by the Kansas Technology Enterprise Corp. and the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute to unify the state’s bioscience industry, academic research institutions and economic development organizations. Its goals are to enhance the state’s business and research climate in the state and to work with leaders across the state to attract and retain bioscience talent, companies and funding.

Participating students, their departments and presentations titles:

• Stephanie Bishop, pharmacology, Merriam, “A Click Chemistry-Mediated Approach to Understanding Survivin: Caspase-9 Protein-Protein Interactions”

• Chelsie Bright, political science, Bucklin, Mo, “Got ID? An Analysis of Kansas’ Voter ID Law”

• Kevin Colbert, bioengineering, Overland Park, “Development of a Porcine Model to Characterize the Wound Healing of Transcutaneous Osseointegration Prostheses”

• Charlie Fehl, medicinal chemistry, Farmington, Miss, “Targeting Sex Hormone Production at the Source – Next-Generation Therapeutics for Prostate and Breast Cancers”

• Russell Harlow, geology, Prosper, Texas, “Employment of Non-Traditional Techniques to Improve Stratigraphic Correlation of the High Plains Succession and Their Applications for Future Groundwater Management”

• Alison Nuttle, Hays, and Natalie Tarbutton, Overland Park, occupational therapy, “Retrospective Chart Review of Distress Among Cancer Survivors”

• Marlene Pietrocola, nursing practice, Wichita, “Nurse Executives' Perceptions of the Barriers Associated with Reaching an 80% Baccalaureate Prepared Nursing Workforce in Rural Kansas by the Year 2020”

• Lauren Ptomey, medical nutrition science, Prairie Village, “An Innovative Weight Loss Program for Adolescents with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities”

• Lei Qiu, pathology, Emporia, “The Histone Demethylase JMJD2B Regulates Genes that Contribute to Ovarian Cancer Metastasis”

• Griffin Roberts, chemical and petroleum engineering, Decatur, Ill, “Integrated Approach to Algal Biofuels: Overcoming Challenges for New Industry”

• Lei Shi, electrical and computer science, Wichita, “Air Collision Avoidance Radar for UAVs”

• Benjamin Wolfe, educational leadership and policy studies, Olathe, “Measuring the Effectiveness of Interdisciplinary Field Studies for General Student Populations at Community Colleges.”



"Even on an ordinary Saturday, when I am pressed for time to complete the (at times) overwhelming amount of schoolwork I have, there are moments so extraordinary — like looking up at the sun through the mosaic of colored leaves on campus — that remind me why I love what I do and why I love KU." - Sam Henkin, first-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Geography, University of Kansas #exploreKU

The University of Kansas — Shaping those who shape the world Their feats are outstanding, extraordinary — even mythical. They are known as heroes. Discoverers. Innovators. Legends. But before they began shaping the world, they were each shaped themselves on a legendary Hill known as Mount Oread. And they all share one name that you should share too: Jayhawk. (See notable alumni at

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
1 of 9 public universities with outstanding study abroad programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
$260.5 million in externally funded research expenditures
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times