Kansas, Oklahoma students honored for research in biosciences

KANSAS CITY, KANSAS — Eighteen undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students were honored for their scientific research presentations at the 15th annual Kansas IDeA (Institutional Development Awards) Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE) symposium last month in Manhattan, Kansas.

The annual symposium is part of the K-INBRE initiative to identify and recruit promising university students into careers in biomedical research in Kansas. Led by the University of Kansas Medical Center, 10 campuses in Kansas and Oklahoma participate in the collaborative network.

“Developing and recruiting biomedical researchers in Kansas is a priority for the K-INBRE program,” said Doug Wright, principal investigator for K-INBRE and professor and director of graduate studies in anatomy and cell biology at KU Medical Center. “With this program we strive to keep the biosciences in Kansas growing and thriving.”

Students work in research laboratories or in their communities alongside scientist mentors to develop research projects. These projects give students early “hands-on” experience in laboratory or field research practice to better inform their future career choices in the biosciences. Overall, more than 140 research posters were accepted for presentation at the symposium in a new digital poster format.

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

The following students, listed by campus, received cash prizes for their oral and poster presentations:

University of Kansas – Lawrence campus

  • Haifa Al-hadyian, doctoral student in molecular, cellular and developmental biology from Dammam, Saudi Arabia, “Macroglobulin complement-related plays essential role in Drosophila melanogaster morphogenesis” – poster presentation.
  • Collin Clay, junior in chemistry, “Reactivity Profiling studies with Sultams, Sulfonamides and known drugs as electrophilic probes” – poster presentation. His parents are Tom and Gina Clay from Edmond, Oklahoma.
  • Peter Kleindl, doctoral student in pharmaceutical chemistry; “Development of novel immunosuppressant prodrugs for treatment of ulcerative colitis” – poster presentation. His parents are Brad and Jane Kleindl from Parkville, Missouri.
  • Meagan Kurland, doctoral student in molecular, cellular and developmental biology, “Underachievers and Overachievers: Wnt signaling in axon growth” – poster presentation. Her parents are Tim and Vicki Kurland from Etters, Pennsylvania.
  • G. Adam Reeves, senior in genetics, “Patterns of transposable element expression in heads during Drosophila aging” – oral presentation. His parents are Greg and Angel Reeves from Pleasant Hill, Missouri.
  • Kayla Wilson, junior in molecular, cellular and developmental biology, “Control of tissue-specific growth in the larval trachea of Drosophila melanogaster” – poster presentation. Her parents are Clifton and Latasha Wilson from Stillwell.

University of Kansas Medical Center

  • India Claflin, sophomore in biology and French at Creighton University, “Effects of a Ketogenic Diet on Peripheral Nerve Function” – poster presentation. Her parents are Dave and Lauren Claflin from Leawood.
  • Everett Hall, graduate student in biomedical sciences, “SPECC1L deficiency in human and mouse disrupts neural crest cell function during craniofacial morphogenesis in a dosage and function-dependent manner” – poster presentation. His parents are Jeanine and Michael Hall from Wildwood, Missouri.
  • Ram Sivakumar, sophomore in molecular and cellular biology, at Johns Hopkins University; “RNA sequencing analysis of pre-cystic kidneys of Thm1 ciliary mutant mouse reveals upregulation of STAT3 and endothelin-MAPK signaling pathways” – oral presentation. His parents are Kala and Siv Sivakumar from Overland Park.
  • Kellen Wright, sophomore in molecular, cell, and developmental biology at the University of Kansas, “Influence of Aging and Bnip3 in Skeletal Neuromuscular Junctions in Mice” – poster presentation. His parents are Douglas Wright from Mission Hills and Rhonda Wright from Overland Park.

Fort Hays State University

  • Miriam Sears, senior in medical diagnostic imaging, “Prevalence of the Magic-angle Effect in PD-weighted Images of the Supraspinatus Tendon” – oral presentation.

Kansas State University

  • Ruben Shrestha, doctoral student in chemistry, “Mechanistic characterization of surface exposed radical site of Dye-decolorizing Peroxidase from Thermomonospora curvata” – poster presentation. His parents are Surya Kumar and Sani Shrestha from Kathmandu, Nepal.
  • Kasey Swilley, doctoral student in biology, “A Golgi-localized protein, Gdt1, is important for multicellularity” – poster presentation. Her parents are Georgie Stephens from Red Lion, Pennsylvania and Roger Swilley from Temple, Georgia.
  • Vaithish Velazhahan, junior in microbiology and medical biochemistry, “Investigating the molecular mechanisms underlying the anti-cancer action of dietary flavonoids” – oral presentation. His parents are Rethinasamy Velazhahan and Subramanian Kalaivani from Tamil Nadu, India.
  • Molly Zych, junior in biology, “Drosophila Importin-7 is required for proper muscle attachment site formation” – poster presentation. Her parents are Kellie and Gary Zych from Shawnee.

Langston University, Langston Okla.

  • Ashley Michalski, junior in biology, “The effect of PD-1-PD-L1 pathway blockade on activated T lymphocyte response against lung carcinoma cells” – oral presentation. Her mother is Amy Michalski-Boster from Lake Elsinore, California.

Washburn University

  • Nicholas Wagner, senior in biology, “Comparative Analysis of the Drosophila elegans Genome” – oral presentation. His parents are William and Kelly Wagner from Topeka.

Wichita State University

  • Elvin Salerno, senior in chemistry, Wichita, Kansas, “Use of Cyano-Substituted Scorpionate ligands to model Nickel Superoxide Dismutase active site” – poster presentation.

K-INBRE is a multi-disciplinary network designed to inspire undergraduates to pursue careers in biomedical research, enhance research capacity through faculty development and retention and expand the biomedical research infrastructure connecting several academic institutions. More information about the program can be found at www.k-inbre.org.

Tue, 02/07/2017


Sarah Velasquez

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Sarah Velasquez