April Blackmon
KU Medical Center

Students honored for research posters, presentations at bioscience symposium

Thu, 02/06/2014

KANSAS CITY, KAN. — 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, including eight students from the University of Kansas and the University of Kansas Medical Center.

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 KU Medical Center, 10 campuses in Kansas and northern Oklahoma are a part of this collaborative network.

“This program is vital for the continued development and recruitment of biomedical researchers in Kansas,” said Doug Wright, principal investigator for K-INBRE and professor of anatomy and cell biology at KUMC. “With this program we hope to keep the biosciences in Kansas growing and thriving.”

Students work in laboratories alongside scientist mentors to develop research projects. These projects give students early “hands-on” experience in putting the scientific method into practice. Overall, 133 students presented their findings at the symposium.

“The symposium is a great opportunity for students to learn how to package and present their hard work and exceptional research to their peers and mentors,” Wright said.

The annual K-INBRE Symposium brings together the network of students, faculty and staff from KU, KUMC, Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University, Haskell Indian Nations University, Kansas State University, Pittsburg State University, Washburn University, Wichita State University and Langston University in Langston, Okla.

The following students, listed by campus, received cash prizes for their presentations.


  • Rachel Gehringer, doctoral student in chemistry, “Measurements of serotonin release in Huntington’s disease model R6/2 mice,” poster presentation.
  • Albert Kim, senior in cell biology (pre-med), “Optimization of RdRp expression for HANTAVIRUS cap-snatching process,” poster presentation.
  • Ryan Limbocker, junior in chemistry, “Neurochemical analysis of Chemobrain,” poster presentation.
  • Mitchell Newton, sophomore in chemistry, “Utilization and development of methods for the analysis of brain dialysis to understand oxidative stress,” oral presentation.
  • Timothy T. Turkalo, senior in cell biology, “Ewing's sarcoma Ewsa protein regulates Sox9 during skeletogenesis in zebrafish” – oral presentation.
  • Sarah Woody, doctoral student in pharmacology/toxicology, “Sumo-modification alters PXR transactivation” – poster presentation.


  • Angela Pierce, doctoral student in neuroscience, “Pelvic organ-specific increase insensitivity and dysregulation of the HPA axis following neonatal maternal separation in female mice” – poster presentation.
  • Nathan Wilson, doctoral student in anatomy and cell biology, “SPECC1L deficiency causes neural crest cell delamination and migration defects in facial clefting” – oral presentation.

Without a Wounded Warrior scholarship, Timothy Hornik probably wouldn’t be at KU pursuing a doctoral degree in therapeutic sciences. And he definitely wouldn’t have led the Pledge of Allegiance during President Barack Obama’s visit to the university in January — a moment he will never forget. Hornik, a retired Army officer, lost his sight while serving as an air defense artillery platoon leader in Iraq. The Wounded Warrior Educational Initiative, launched at KU in 2008, provides financial support and specialized training to help injured veterans and their family members pursue advanced degrees. With his education, Hornik plans to counsel soldiers through trauma. “All of the opportunities and services I’ve received originated from the efforts of someone else paying it forward or back,” he says. “I simply hope to continue this cycle and change the lives of others.” Learn more about the Wounded Warrior Scholarship:

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
46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times