Graduate students win awards for research presentations at Capitol

Thu, 02/23/2012


Roberta Pokphanh

Gov. Sam Brownback, left, meets with Kyle Jansson, Shawnee student at KUMC studying molecular and integrative physiology. Photo by David McKinney

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LAWRENCE — Four projects by graduate students from the University of Kansas and KU Medical Center each received $500 awards at the ninth annual Capitol Graduate Research Summit, which was Feb. 16 in Topeka.

The winners:
• Laura Dean, doctoral student in political science from Seattle.
• A. J. Mellott, doctoral student in bioengineering from Lawrence.
• Lacey Luense, doctoral student in molecular and integrative physiology from Merrill, Iowa.
• Jessica Witherspoon, doctoral student in rehabilitation science from Greensboro, N.C.

Gov. Sam Brownback and members of the Kansas House of Representatives and Senate attended the poster session that featured graduate students from KU, KU Medical Center, Kansas State University and Wichita State University. Brownback thanked the students for sharing their research and encouraged them to continue their good work that raises the quality of life for citizens of the state of Kansas.

Following the presentations, awards were presented to two projects from each campus. KansasBio funded the awards.

Thomas Heilke, dean of graduate studies, noted that KU was represented by 12 graduate students — seven from the Lawrence campus and five from KU Medical Center. Their work represents issues important to Kansans, including turning biomass into everyday products like water bottles, regenerating inner ear hearing cells and providing better rehabilitation for stroke patients.

"The research represented here today is a small sampling of the research being conducted by graduate students at both the Lawrence and Medical Center campuses, as well as the Wichita State and Kansas State campuses. The work that these students are doing will have positive, long-term impacts on our society in many ways," Heilke said.

KansasBio was founded in 2004 by the Kansas Technology Enterprise Corp. and the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute to unify Kansas’ the bioscience industry, academic research institutions and economic development organizations in Kansas. 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.

The presenters are listed below by hometown, area of graduate study and titles of their research presentations.

From KU:
• Madhav Ghanta, from Hyderabad, India, petroleum and chemical engineering: “Towards a Carbon Dioxide-Free, Sustainable, Ethylene Oxide Technology.”
• Jeff Lamping, from Olathe, bioengineering: “Effects of Negative Pressure to Induce Bone Growth into Porous Titanium Implants.”
• A.J. Mellott, from Lawrence, bioengineering: “Approaching Inner Ear Hair Cell Regeneration through Non-Viral Gene Therapy.”
• Laura Dean, from Seattle, political science: “Leading Kansas? Determinants of Policy Variation in the United States and the Case of Kansas.”
• Dennis Eck, from Colwich, geography: “Towards an Enhanced Understanding of Preferential Soil Water Flow.”

• Juli Pitzer, from Cordova, Tenn., film and media studies: “Preserving the Past: Topeka's Jayhawk Theatre.”
• Clayton Wauneka, Las Cruces, N.M., doctoral student in bioengineering: “Stroke Survivor Rehabilitation: How Much Effort is Needed for Recovery?”

From KUMC:
• Christine Hober, WaKeeney, nursing: “Promoting Safe Student Nursing Care: Gaining BSN Student Perspectives on Technology Supported Patient Simulation.”
• Kyle P. Jansson, Shawnee, molecular and integrative physiology: “Ouabain Is A Modifiable Factor That Increases Cyst Growth in Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease.”
• Lacey Luense, Merrill, Iowa, molecular and integrative physiology: “MicroRNAs Are Necessary for Female Fertility.”
• Anand Venugopal, Urbandale, Canada, molecular and integrative physiology: “Targeting Cancer Stem Cells; Overcoming Multidrug Resistance in Colon Cancer.”
• Jessica Witherspoon, Greensboro, N.C., rehabilitation science: “Shoulder Instability May Depend on Labral and Capsular Properties.”

Thu, 02/23/2012


Roberta Pokphanh

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Roberta Pokphanh

Research and Graduate Studies