Matt Downen
Center for Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate researcher Kade Townsend wins KU award

Mon, 11/29/2021

LAWRENCE — Kade Townsend, a junior from Topeka at the University of Kansas, has been awarded the Courtwright Award for Undergraduate Research Excellence through KU’s Center for Undergraduate Research.

Kade Thompson, senior in microbiology at the University of KansasTownsend is majoring in microbiology and is being mentored by Josephine Chandler, associate professor of molecular biosciences. Townsend’s undergraduate research project explores the evolution of antibiotic resistance of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium that causes severe infections in patients with cystic fibrosis and other immunocompromising conditions. Townsend has been conducting experiments in the Chandler Lab in the Department of Molecular Biosciences with the intent that the research could lead to creating efficient treatments for infections. Townsend has presented this research at local, regional and national conferences, with plans to submit to a scientific journal. To learn more about Townsend’s research project, view this poster from the Kansas Undergraduate Research Day held in March 2021.

The Courtwright Award for Undergraduate Research Excellence was established at KU Endowment in 2020 through the contributions of David (c’74) and Chris Courtwright (c’83, j’83). The Courtwright Award seeks to recognize undergraduate students with majors in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences whose research and creative works stand to make meaningful contributions to their fields of study. Townsend will receive $500 in addition to the normal $1,000 Undergraduate Research Award that they received this summer.

“We are grateful that the generosity of the Courtwrights allows us to recognize some of the exceptional research done by undergraduates at the university,” said Alison Olcott, director of the Center for Undergraduate Research. “The work done by Kade Townsend, as well as that done by this semester’s Courtwright Award finalists, has the potential to be transformative in their fields and reflects the benefits of the opportunities offered by a vibrant research university like KU.”

Courtwright Award finalists are selected from applications for the Undergraduate Research Awards each semester. Along with Townsend, the other finalists for the Courtwright Award:

  • Casey Carlile, of Lawrence, “Merger Signatures of Cold Quasars in the Distant Universe,” mentored by Allison Kirkpatrick, assistant professor of physics & astronomy
  • Aisha Mohammed, of Lagos, Nigeria, “Patriarchy from Marriage and Empowerment Through Western Education for Senegalese Women in Mariama Bâ's Une Si Longue Lettre,” mentored by Gillian Weatherley, lecturer in French, Francophone & Italian studies
  • Nicola Santangelo, of Lawrence, “Analyzing the Spoken Language Abilities of Children who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing,” mentored by Dr. Jena McDaniel, postdoctoral researcher with the Life Span Institute.

KU Endowment is the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

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