Kansas State University


Johnson Cancer Research Center Newsletter

Author: marcia


CETCOR webpage banner imageThe College of Veterinary Medicine, with support from the Johnson Cancer Research Center, has established the Center of Excellence for Translational and Comparative Oncology Research to focus on improving the diagnosis, management and treatment of both human and animal cancers. This brings us one step closer to our Bold New Vision to achieve NCI designation.

“The overriding objective of CETCOR is to expedite the pre-clinical and clinical development, production and/or licensure of novel or improved medical interventions — drugs, immunotherapeutics and medical devices — for the treatment, diagnosis and monitoring of both human and animal cancers,” said Principal Investigator Dr. Raelene Wouda, clinical sciences.

Read full story from College of Veterinary Medicine


Bascom Lecture to feature HPV Vaccine Expert

Kevin Ault, Obstetrician-Gynecologist at the University of Kansas Medical Center, will present “The HPV Vaccine: A Missed Opportunity for Cancer Prevention” at 7 p.m. Mon., March 12, at the K-State Student Union Cottonwood Room, for our George S. Bascom Memorial Lecture Series on Current Issues in Clinical Medicine. The public is invited to this free event, which is co-sponsored by Lafene Health Center.


Pink & Purple Polyester Party logoThe Pink & Purple Polyester Party, presented by CivicPlus, will be at 7 p.m., Fri., April 6, at the K-State Alumni Center.

Shake your booty with Disco Dick & the Mirrorballs of Kansas City! Vote for your favorite “Off the Hook” bra art and enjoy party food, libations and a fun photo booth! Best retro costume wins $100!

In conjunction with the party will be the “Off the Hook” Bra Crawl March 20. Enjoy food and drink specials at downtown Manhattan restaurants while previewing the “Off the Hook” bras.

Info and photos are available on the party’s website and Facebook page.


Hope For a Cure Paint & Sip by Uncorked Inspiration & Iron Clad Working

Hope for a Cure Paint & Sip, presented by Uncorked Inspiration and Iron Clad Coworking, will be March 25. Have fun painting and drinking your favorite beverage as you create artwork in a comfortable environment.


Pink Up the Pace 5K imagePink Up the Pace, Downtown Manhattan‘s 2nd Annual 5K for K-State cancer research, will be at 8 a.m. Sat., March 31! A portion of the proceeds will be donated to our center. Run/Walk up Poyntz Ave. to Sunset Zoo and back to AJ’s for the Pink Party!



Walk Kansas 5K for the Fight Logo

The third annual Walk Kansas 5K for the Fight and 1.5-mile fun walk will be Sat., May 5. A kids’ fun run will also be offered. This event is open to everyone, not just Walk Kansas program participants. Make this 5K your goal as you work towards better health! Exercise reduces cancer risk! Learn more.


Ladies' & Men's Shirts

It’s back! Our original Fighting for a Cure shirt with pink Powercat is available again, while supply lasts! They are $20 and all proceeds benefit our center. Learn more.



All Upcoming Events

Bascom Lecture “The HPV Vaccine: A Missed Opportunity for Cancer Prevention” – presented by KU Medical Center’s Kevin Ault, MD, 7 p.m. Mon., March 12, K-State Student Union, Cottonwood Room

Translational and Comparative Oncology Research Symposium – March 17, K-State Student Union, sponsored by K-State CETCOR

Off the Hook Bra Crawl in conjunction with Pink & Purple Polyester Party – Tue., March 20, downtown Manhattan

Hope for a Cure Paint & Sip by Uncorked Inspiration – Sun., March 25, Iron Clad Coworking, Manhattan

Pink Up the Pace 5K by Downtown Manhattan, Inc. – Sat., March 31

Pink & Purple Polyester Party – Fri., April 6, at K-State Alumni Center

K-State Open House – Sat., April 7, 2018. Visit our center, 1 Chalmers Hall, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. to learn about K-State cancer research and see a laboratory.

Cancer Research Awards Banquet – Fri., April 13

Advisory Council Spring Meeting – Sat., April 14, 2017

Walk Kansas 5K for the Fight – Sat., May 5, K-State Manhattan campus

K-State Fighting for a Cure (Shirt) Day – Sat., Oct. 13

Rob Regier Memorial Golf Tournament – Fri., Oct. 12, Colbert Hills


Dr. Raelene Wouda & dogRaelene Wouda, clinical sciences, served on a panel of experts who discussed attacking cancer with a One Health approach at the Kansas City One Health Day event Nov. 1 at K-State Olathe. K-State’s College of Veterinary Medicine and life science partners in Greater Kansas City invited the community to celebrate One Health and learn how the comprehensive approach is accelerating research in human, animal and environmental health. read more

Yulong Xiong, anatomy & physiology, is focusing on a transgenic solution for tackling Parkinson’s disease. Her findings were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. read more



Dr. Zhoumeng Lin

Zhoumeng Lin (pictured left), anatomy & physiology, Majid Jaberi-Douraki, mathematics, both with the Institute of Computational Comparative Medicine, recently published with international collaborators the paper “Bacterial endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide) binds to the surface of gold nanoparticles, interferes with biocorona formation and induces human monocyte inflammatory activation,” in Nanotoxicology. read more


Dr. Anna Zinovyeva

Anna Zinovyeva, biology, received $1.8 million NIH grant for her microRNA research. read more





Dr. Robert DeLongRob DeLong, Nanotechnology Innovation Center in the anatomy and physiology department, was invited to deliver keynote speeches on cancer nanotechnology or nanobiotechnology at, and/or co-organize: the 2nd World Summit on Nanotechnology and Nanomedicine Research, St. Hugh’s College, University of Oxford, UK; and Nanotechnology 2018, 6th World Congress and Expo on Nanotechnology and Materials Science, Valencia, Spain.



Marta Stetsiv photo from Shawnee DispatchMarta Stetsiv, a junior and Cancer Research Awardee working in Dr. Erika Geisbrecht’s lab in biochemistry, was featured in the Shawnee Dispatch.





Vaithish VelazhahanVaithish Velazhahan, senior and Cancer Research Awardee working with Dr. Kathrin Schrick in biology, has received a prestigious Gates-Cambridge Scholarship to study towards a PhD in the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology at Cambridge University in England.






4th Annual K-State Fighting for a Cure Day Oct. 14K-State Marching Band formation spells Beat Cancer

Wildcats wore Fighting for a Cure shirts to the home football game and elsewhere in celebration of K-State Fighting for a Cure Day Oct. 14.Mary Joerg, 101-year-old K-State retiree

One-hundred-one-year-old K-State Research & Extension retiree Mary Joerg (pictured left) and many other friends showed their pride by wearing their shirts.

More than 700 shirts were purchased in 2017, raising around $9,200 for K-State cancer research, bringing total funds raised to more than $35,000!

Photos of our shirt campaign supporters are on Facebook, including K-State Football Coach Bill Snyder and Athletic Director Gene Taylor.

K-State Head Football Coach Bill Snyder holding Fighting for a Cure shirt

A highlight of Fighting for a Cure Day was the K-State Marching Band’s formation of “BEAT CANCER” during halftime! We also enjoyed our annual Tailgate Party in Cat Town.

We are grateful to N Zone, our media partners and many others who have supported this effort over the years!

The 2018 Fighting for a Cure Day will be Oct. 13. Get your shirt!


8th Annual Pink Power Luncheon Oct. 11

Peggy Johnson speaking at 2017 Pink Power LuncheonAlmost 200 people attended our Pink Power Luncheon Oct. 11! Our guest speaker was Peggy Johnson, CEO and COO of Wichita Medical Research and Education Foundation. She presented “Research and Breast Cancer Survivorship.” This special, free event is co-sponsored by Komen Kansas and offers lunch, breast cancer-related information, exhibits by local health-related resources and door prizes.


20th Annual Rob Regier Memorial Golf Tournament Oct. 12

Regier Family 2016The 20th Annual Rob Regier Memorial Golf Tournament was Oct. 20 at Colbert Hills Golf Course in Manhattan. It raised nearly $29,000 for K-State cancer research!

Hosted by the Regier Family of Overland Park, this annual tournament honors Rob Regier, a K-State grad in pre-dentistry who died of cancer at age 26. This year’s event also honored Beth Winans, a close friend of the family and K-State alumna who died of cancer in December 2016.

We are so grateful for the Regiers’ support! Thanks also to premier sponsor Grand Mère Development. Mark your calendars for Oct. 12, 2018


Thanks also to these supporters!

Manhattan Assoc of Realtors 2017 Gala
Manhattan Association of Realtors raised more than $5,000 for us at their annual gala!
K-State Credit Union staff with JCRC's Marcia Locke
K-State Credit Union raised $286 for us at the grand opening of their new building!
Downtown Dental & Tasty Traveler Food Truck
Downtown Dental and Tasty Traveler Food Truck raised $270 for us at their Lunch for a Cause.


K-State’s 2017-2018 Undergraduate Cancer Researchers

Thanks to our generous supporters, we were able to invest $237,380 in K-State cancer research and education last fall! Our competitive awards foster excellence among K-State cancer research faculty and students, and help advance the most promising research projects. Awards are offered each semester. Spring award applications are due March 1.

Faculty Awards

We awarded $151,000 in Innovative Research Awards for eight research projects spanning six departments, and $2,500 to help pay travel expenses of two faculty affiliates visiting collaborators in Japan.

We also awarded $12,000 to two faculty affiliates planning Centers of Excellence in cancer research.

View full list of faculty awardees.

Student Awards

Thirty-three outstanding undergraduate students were selected for our Cancer Research Award program, which offers faculty-mentored laboratory research experiences and $1,000 awards to each student. Faculty mentors receive $1,000 per student to cover research expenses. We’ll recognize these students at our annual awards banquet April 13.

A Travel Award of $880 was provided to one graduate student to attend a meeting and present his research.

A Heart Research Award of $5,000 was provided to one graduate student.

View full list of student awardees.



Dr. Stephen Keith ChapesThe Johnson Cancer Research Center is in its 37th year and impacting K-State research more than ever. We are now poised to expand our capabilities even further.

With outstanding scientists in 100 laboratories across five colleges, we are in a position to initiate the process of becoming a National Cancer Institute-Designated Basic Laboratory Cancer Center.

Currently, the NCI has only seven Basic Laboratory Cancer Centers. Basic research provides the basis for understanding cancer, and leads to the clinical research and new treatments that save lives. K-State excels in basic research.

NCI-designated cancer centers are recognized for their scientific prowess and are allotted more resources. NCI designation would help K-State achieve its vision of becoming a top 50 public research university.

A first step of this mission is to hire a new director—an effective administrator, proven fundraiser and world-class scientist who can guide the Johnson Cancer Research Center toward NCI designation.

To recruit an outstanding director, the highest priority is to endow that position. To do this, we need to raise $5 million. Accomplishing this now could mean millions of dollars more for K-State cancer research down the road, as the center achieves NCI designation.

As part of our growth, our scientists are already busy forming Centers of Excellence to fight cancer as teams, focusing on specific cancer problems through multidisciplinary approaches.

To learn more and support the Johnson Cancer Research Center in the College of Arts & Sciences, please visit our Bold New Vision webpage.


S. Keith Chapes, Interim Director
Johnson Cancer Research Center
Professor, Division of Biology
Kansas State University


K-State Fighting for a Cure Day Oct. 14

K-State Head Football Coach Bill Snyder holding Fighting for a Cure shirtShow your pride in K-State cancer research with a Fighting for a Cure shirt!

Wear the shirt to the home football game or anywhere Oct. 14 for the 4th Annual K-State Fighting for a Cure Day.

Join First Lady of K-State Football Sharon Snyder and the Snyder family, Emmy Award-winning “Modern Family” actor and K-State alum Eric Stonestreet, K-State Band Director Frank Tracz and many others in celebrating K-State’s fight against cancer and honoring the K-State family’s cancer survivors and researchers.

Eric Stonestreet wearing Cure shirtGet the shirt!  Shirts are available from our center for $20 each. We’ll ship too! All proceeds support K-State cancer research.

Spread the word!  Post photos on social media of yourself and friends wearing the shirt and use #HelpKStateFightCancer! See past photos: 201620152014.

Tailgate with us!  Cheer on the ‘Cats with us Oct. 14 at the College of Arts & Sciences Tailgate Party in Cat Town!

Thanks to all who have supported this campaign over the years! You’ve raised $30,000 and immeasurable awareness for K-State cancer research!

K-State Marching Bands Beat Cancer FormationWatch the Pride of Wildcat Land’s special halftime salute Oct. 14!

Rob Regier Memorial Golf Tournament Oct. 20

Regier Family
The Regier family hosts the tournament.

The 20th annual Rob Regier Memorial Golf Tournament will be Fri., Oct. 20, at Colbert Hills. Check-in opens at 11 a.m. with the shotgun start at 1 p.m. Prizes will be awarded during a steak dinner following the tournament.

Rob was a K-State graduate in pre-dentistry who passed away from cancer at age 26.

This year’s tournament is dedicated in loving memory of Beth Winans, who died of cancer last December.

Pink Power Luncheon Oct. 11

Peggy JohnsonThe Pink Power Luncheon for breast cancer awareness will be Oct. 11 at Holiday Inn at the Campus, 1641 Anderson Ave., Manh. The event is free but reservations are required.

The guest speaker will be Peggy Johnson, breast cancer survivor and Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of Wichita Medical Research and Education Foundation. She will present, “Research and Breast Cancer Survivorship.”


See all upcoming events.


K-State scientists engineer virus to kill cancer cells

Pragyesh Dhungel & Shuai CaoZhilong Yang‘s team in biology has made a discovery that could lead to improved targeted therapies for cancer and many viruses.

Messenger RNA is the template to produce proteins in all organisms. Poxviruses, which can infect people, mammals and some reptiles, use a poly(A) leader in their messenger RNA to synthesize more proteins.

“If we can stop a poxvirus’s use of poly(A) leader, we can kill the virus,” said Shuai Cao, postdoctoral researcher. “This could help develop a novel anti-poxvirus strategy, which could be very important for finding cures for infections and diseases.”

This relates to cancer because a poly(A) leader is present in vaccinia virus, which…can be engineered to selectively infect cancer cells, Dhungel said.

read more


Jun Li and Duy Hua receive large NCI grant

Jun Li (pictured here with his lab team) and Duy Hua, both in chemistry, have been awarded $1,371,309 from National Cancer Institute for “Rapid protease profiling with a multiplex electronic method for detection of metastatic triple-negative breast cancer.” Dr. Priyanka Sharma, of University of Kansas Medical Center, was a collaborator, detecting protease biomarkers in specimens from cancer patients. Previous support from the Johnson Cancer Research Center helped Li and Hua start this project in 2011. A patent on this cancer detection technology was recently granted.

Wallace helping military fight skin cancer

Nicholas Wallace, biology, received $510,231 from the U.S. Dept. of Defense to investigate the role of human papillomavirus in skin cancer. HPV is known as a sexually transmitted disease that causes cervical cancer, but the HPV family of viruses infects the skin of a majority of people. read more

Magnetic Nanotech image
Stefan Bossmann, chemistry, and Hongwang Wang, grain sciences, have published their edited book, “Magnetic Nanomaterials: Applications in Catalysis and Life Sciences,” which appears in the Royal Society of Chemistry series “Smart Materials.” read more



Bossmann and Schlup honored for teaching excellence

Stefan BossmannJohn SchlupStefan Bossmann, chemistry, and John Schlup, chemical engineering, have been selected to receive the Segebrecht Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award, which recognizes professors who provide inspiration and excellence in teaching. read more


Dr. Dong LinGUINNESS WORLD RECORDS ™ names engineers’ graphene aerogel as world’s least dense 3-D printed structure

The world’s lightest 3-D printed structure is so lightweight that it can be placed on top of a cotton ball or the petals of a flower. The record-breaking material is 3-D printed graphene aerogel and it was developed by Dong Lin, industrial and manufacturing systems engineering, and others. read more

Dr. David Poole


David Poole, kinesiology, earned distinguished lectureship award from the from the Environmental and Exercise Physiology section of the American Physiological Society. read more



J. Scott Smith


K-State researcher shows black pepper helps limit cancerous compounds in meat

J. Scott Smith, animal sciences and industry, recently discovered that black pepper reduces carcinogenic compounds in grilled meats. read more




Biology student uses national fellowship to study baculovirus

Kathlyn Gomendoza


Kathlyn Gomendoza uses undergraduate research fellowship from American Society for Microbiology to study baculovirus in Lorena Passarelli‘s lab in biology. read more



Undergraduate students study yeast ribosomes to reveal a fundamental process of cancer formation

Asano Lab TeamCancer Research Awardees Chelsea Moore, Eric Aube, Ian Harmon and others mentored by Katsura Asano in biology, are using yeast to better understand what goes wrong in cancerous cells. read more

Bassette selected for Amgen Scholars Program

Molly Bassette


Molly Bassette, an alumna of Peying Fong‘s lab, was an Amgen Scholar over the summer. She had a paid, mentored research experience at Univ of California, San Francisco, where she studied genes involved in cancer cell response to multiple myeloma treatments. read more


Sandhu received Grad Student Award


Bhupinder Sandhu, in Christer Aakeroy‘s lab in chemistry, received a University Distinguished Professor Graduate Student Award for her crystal engineering work to improve solubility of potential cancer drugs. read more


Undergraduate Cancer Researchers honored by Division of Biology

Jazmine Snow

Kathlyn GomendozaHaley Smalley






Jazmine Snow, Kathlyn Gomendoza & Haley Smalley were named 2016-2017 Biology Most Promising Students.

Adam Schieferecke


Adam Schieferecke received the 2016-2017 Haymaker Award for Excellence.

read more


We awarded $247,269 for cancer research last spring!

Dr. Raelene Wouda & dog
Raelene Wouda was awarded $25,000 for her work deriving new canine tumor cell lines and characterizing their transcriptome and microRNA generation.

Thanks to our generous supporters, we invested $247,269 in K-State cancer research and education last semester! We awarded faculty $89,000 for innovative research projects, $50,755 for laboratory equipment, and $500 for travel to collaborate or receive training. We awarded graduate students $100,705 in summer stipends and $6,309 for travel. The awardees are listed on our Faculty and Student Awardee webpages.



Cancer Research Awards Banquet honored 46 undergraduates

Students selected for our undergraduate Cancer Research Award (CRA) program last fall were recognized at our annual CRA Banquet April 21. Also recognized were their faculty mentors and the donors who made the awards possible. All awardees are listed on our Student Awardees webpage and in this news release. View banquet photos

Stefan Bossmann, Julia Tung, awardee Jose Covarrubias, Sarah Young
The Sarah Young and Alex Tung Cancer Research Award was presented by Sarah Young (far right) and her daughter Julia Tung to Jose Covarrubias, senior in chemistry, for his research with Dr. Stefan Bossmann (left).
Dave Lewis & Fernando Nieto selfie on stage
Banquet emcee Dave Lewis, a radio news show host and the public address announcer for K-State football and men’s basketball, took a “selfie” onstage with guest speaker Fernando Nieto, a senior in biology and past awardee.


Willie the Wildcat at Race to Save 2nd Base 2017Race to Save 2nd Base

Downtown Manhattan, Inc., had its inaugural Race to Save 2nd Base April 22. With the support of major sponsor AJ’s NY Pizzeria and other sponsors and participants, $1,500 was raised for K-State cancer research! View photos


dancers at Pink & Purple Polyester Party 2017

Pink & Purple Polyester Party

The groovy party-goers, sponsors and planners of the 6th annual Pink & Purple Polyester Party, which was presented by CivicPlus April 7, raised $9,700! Attendees had fun supporting the fight against cancer with live disco music, retro costumes and decorated bras! View photos and mark your calendars for April 6, 2018.

Kids at Tough Enough to Wear Pink Rodeo 2017



Tough Enough to Wear Pink Rodeo

Lots of rodeo fans proved they were tough by wearing pink to the Kaw Valley Rodeo Fri., July 28! Thanks to the Kaw Valley Rodeo Association and its “pink committee,” and to the TETWP sponsors, spectators and volunteers, K-State has $5,200 more for cancer research! View photos


Team Hartley at Walk Kansas 5K for the Fight 2017Walk Kansas 5K for the Fight

K-State Research & Extension’s Walk Kansas program sponsored the 2nd Annual Walk Kansas 5K for the Fight and fun walk May 6 to promote exercise and support K-State cancer research! Thanks to major sponsor Central Kansas Cancer Center, other sponsors, participants and volunteers, $2,600 was raised! View photos and mark your calendars for May 5, 2018.