Kansas State University


Johnson Cancer Research Center Newsletter

Author: marcia


We can’t fight cancer alone. We thank our supporters for making it possible for us to pursue our vision to conquer cancer in our lifetime. Big thanks to all the sponsors and supporters of the recent fundraisers listed below!

Please consider supporting K-State cancer research and education. You can give online here or learn more about supporting our center here.

Beta Boo on Halloween
Beta Theta Pi fraternity hosted a haunted house and raised $1,600!
Beta Boo Haunted House










Cowley Co. 4-H county fair fundraiser
Cowley County 4-H members donated $334 that they earned in tips at their county fair food stand!

Downtown Parking Lot Party

Downtown Dental Group, Manhattan, hosted a lunchtime party in their parking lot, along with Tasty Traveler food truck and DJ Slice. This year, they added a big fundraiser raffle and were able to donate $1,239!




Quantum Party in Pink
Quantum Health and Wellness Center, Manhattan, held their second annual pink party in October and collected freewill donations totaling $111!

MHK Girls Pint Out
This group of beer fans gets together monthly and dedicates each gathering to a Manhattan-area cause. In October, they chose the JCRC and donated $150!

Rob Regier Memorial Golf Tournament


The Regier family, Overland Park, hosted their 21st annual tournament Oct. 12 at Colbert Hills. It was dedicated in loving memory of Les Regier, Rob’s father, who passed away from cancer in February 2018. Thanks to many generous sponsors and supporters, it raised $36,200!





Manhattan High School Volleyball Pink Night
The team hosted a pink night in memory of Coach Ray Kujawa and sold shirts to raise money for cancer research. They donated $250!

Mason’s Wish
Mason Wolfe, Colorado, and her family, along with Western States Fire Protection, raised $24,100 for K-State cancer research! Mason started raising money for us about 10 years ago by selling candles and other items, and later added a golf tournament with Western States Fire Protection. They’ve raised more than $124,000 over the years!

Tallgrass Tap House Movembeer

In November, Tallgrass Tap House, Manhattan, crafted a special beer called Movembeer to celebrate “Movember,” or “No-Shave November,” a movement in which men grow out their facial hair to promote men’s health and cancer awareness. They donated 30% of proceeds, totaling $2,180!


New Beginnings Hairstyling annual pink fundraiser
The generous ladies of this Manhattan salon held another breast cancer awareness fundraiser raffle for us in October and donated $175!

Young Trustees Chili Cook-Off
The Greater Manhattan Community Foundation Young Trustees sponsored their second annual chili cook-off to support many worthy, local charities. We’re grateful for their $100 gift!

Smoky Valley Chiropractic annual fundraiser in Lindsborg, Kan.
Darrel Loder, a chiropractor in Lindsborg, was a student of the late Dr. Terry Johnson, our center’s founding director and namesake. Dr. Loder and his staff dedicate a special day each year to raise cancer awareness and funds for our center. With their patients’ support, they gave $1,270 this year!

Fighting for a Cure Shirts and Matching Gift Campaign

Our thanks to everyone who bought Fighting for a Cure shirts to raise awareness and funds for K-State cancer research! Nearly $9,500 was raised in 2018! The associated matching gift campaign, made possible by an anonymous donor, raised another $21,700! Thank you, supporters!

The Bill Snyder commemorative Fighting for a Cure shirts are still available. Get yours before they’re gone!


Choose Foods that Lower Your Risk of Cancer brochureThe Johnson Cancer Research Center was pleased to collaborate with K-State Research and Extension to produce a brochure that guides consumers in choosing a variety of fruits and vegetables that help lower cancer risk and promote long-term health.

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines urge all Americans to “consume a healthy eating pattern” that includes a variety of plant foods of all subgroups. Research suggests that diets rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains may offer protection against cancer and other diseases.

Learn more and link to downloadable brochure


Dr. Rob DenellRob Denell, university distinguished professor emeritus of biology and former director of the Johnson Cancer Research Center, passed away Friday, Nov. 23, 2018, in Kansas City, Kan.

Denell came to K-State in 1973. He was a professor in the Division of Biology, rising quickly through the ranks to full professor by 1983 and named a university distinguished professor in 2000. He served as director of the JCRC from 2003 to 2016.

Denell had a prolific research career in genetics and evolutionary developmental biology, and mentored numerous students and postdoctoral fellows.

As a cancer survivor, serving the cancer research center was especially meaningful to Denell. Moreover, his impact was profound. He helped the young center mature and thrive, seeing impressive growth of its faculty and endowment.

Read Denell’s full obituary.

Fighting for a Cure campaign offers gift matching opportunity and Bill Snyder commemorative shirts

Coach Bill Snyder holding 2018 Fighting for a Cure shirt

The K-State Family is fighting, ever fighting, for a cure! K-State’s 5th Annual Fighting for a Cure Day is Oct. 13, and this year, you can join the fight in two special ways!

Get the 2018 Bill Snyder commemorative Fighting for a Cure Shirt, which features Coach’s signature, and wear it Oct. 13 for K-State’s 5th Annual Fighting for a Cure Day.

Make a gift now and have it matched! A generous supporter of our center will match gifts up to $10,000 between now and Oct. 13!

On Oct. 13, wear your Fighting for a Cure shirt to the football game or anywhere in honor of the K-State Family’s cancer survivors and researchers. Cheer on the ‘Cats with us at our Tailgate Party in Cat Town and enjoy the Pride of Wildcat Land Marching Band’s special halftime salute.

More info is on our Fighting for a Cure webpage.

Research Spotlight

Faculty Achievements

Annelise Nguyen, diagnostic medicine/pathobiology, was featured in a Kansas City Area Life Sciences “Expert Exchange” video, in which she discussed her research on cell communication and her patented compound that can both stop tumor development and increase efficacy of anti-cancer drugs so that doses can be smaller and thus less toxic.


Dr. Amir Bahadori


Radiation expert Amir Bahadori, mechanical & nuclear engineering, received the Zeldovich Medal from the COSPAR Scientific Commission F, Life Sciences as Related to Space. read more




Dr. John Tomich's BPACs

A bio-delivery technology invented by John Tomich, biochemistry & molecular biophysics, has been licensed by Phoreus Biotechnology. Tomich’s Branched Amphiphilic Peptide Capsules are a nano-material designed to deliver biomolecules that can improve vaccines and cancer therapies, among other uses. read more



Stefan Bossmann


Stefan Bossmann, chemistry, was named a 2108 Kansan You Should Know. read more





Dr. Brad Behnke


Brad Behnke, kinesiology, was awarded the College of Human Ecology’s Faculty Research Excellence Award, in recognition of his superior accomplishment in research. read more



Dr. Punit Prakash

Punit Prakash, electrical & computer engineering, received the Paul L. Spainhour Professorship in Electrical Engineering.

He is currently principal investigator for a five-year study that is expected to lead to a bronchoscopic microwave ablation system for treating lung tumors. The project is funded by a more than $1 million grant from the National Cancer Institute. read more


Dr. Sunghun Park

Sunghun Park, horticulture & natural resources, will serve as co-principal investigator on a National Science Foundation-supported study to improve plant tissue culture methods for genome engineering. The $2.4 million grant is to improve understanding of the genetic basis underlying the ability of plant tissues to regenerate into whole plants, a process critical for plant genome engineering. Read more



Spring Awards and Student Recognition Banquet

Thanks to our generous supporters, we invested $125,017 in K-State cancer research and education last semester! We awarded faculty $50,000 for innovative research projects, $19,000 for laboratory equipment, and $2,665 for travel to collaborate or receive training. We awarded graduate students and post-docs $6,250 for travel and $47,102 in summer stipends. The awardees are listed on our Faculty and Student Awardee webpages. Funds were also set aside for a new Center of Excellence in cancer research.

Jazmine Snow receives Regier AwardWe honored undergraduate student cancer researchers at our Cancer Research Awards Banquet April 13. Recognized along with the students were their faculty mentors and families, and the donors who made the awards possible. Photos are available in an album on Facebook.



Cancer Journal Club

Cancer Journal ClubThe Cancer Journal Club is a forum for K-State students, faculty and friends interested in hot topics in cancer biology. Undergraduate students are especially encouraged to participate. For each meeting, a professor or graduate student involved in cancer research chooses a high-impact research article in the field of cancer biology for all club members to read, and then leads discussion about it at the meeting. Undergraduate students can elect to present papers to improve their oral presentation skills.

The club generally meets every other week. For more information, contact Dr. Katsura Asano at kasano@ksu.edu.

Fun, easy ways to support K-State cancer research

21st Annual Rob Regier Memorial Golf Tournament

Regier FamilyFri., Oct. 12, 2018
Shotgun Start 1 p.m.
Colbert Hills Golf Course
Manhattan, Kansas
Registration Form/Brochure

This tournament is dedicated in loving memory of Les Regier, who passed away from cancer Feb. 10, 2018.

This annual golf tournament honors Rob Regier, a 1988 K-State pre-dentistry alum who died of cancer in 1992, when he was just 26 years old. Hosted by Rob’s family, this 4-person scramble at Colbert Hills, offers prizes and a steak dinner. It was started in 1998 by some of Rob’s Sig Ep fraternity brothers in Kansas City. Rob’s parents Les and Sandy continued it with help from Rob’s twin brother Randy and Randy’s wife Juli.

Sadly, Les passed away February 10, 2018, after a long battle with melanoma. The 2018 tournament is dedicated in loving memory of him. Non-golfers are welcome to the banquet to join in celebrating Les’s life.

We appreciate all the work the Regiers do, and thank them and the participants and sponsors for their generosity and commitment to K-State cancer research.

Dillons Community Rewards now supports K-State cancer research

Spend just a few minutes to register on the Dillons Community Rewards page, and Dillons will donate to us a portion of the amount you spend every time you shop there!

Dillons Community Rewards Program flier

Pink Power Luncheon to feature KU Medical Center breast oncologist Anne O’Dea October 23

Pink Power Luncheon logoThe annual  Pink Power Luncheon for breast cancer awareness, which we co-host with Komen Kansas, offers a free lunch, guest presentations, and information about breast health, healthcare resources and cancer risk reduction, as well as a souvenir item and door prizes.

Dr. Anne O'DeaThe 9th Annual Pink Power Luncheon will be Oct. 23, 2018. Our guest speaker will be breast medical oncologist Anne O’Dea, MD, assistant professor and medical director for breast cancer survivorship at University of Kansas Medical Center.

The event is free to attend, but space is limited and reservations are required. Reserve your spot by contacting Marcia Locke at marcia@ksu.edu or 785-532-6705.

Recent fundraisers

Walk Kansas 5K for the Fight

Walk Kansas 5K for the Fight 2018 participantsThe 3rd annual Walk Kansas 5K for the Fight on May 5, 2018, raised $2,550 for K-State cancer research!

That would not have been possible without K-State Research & Extension/Walk Kansas, Cancer Center of Kansas, many volunteers and the participants! We also thank Sunny 102.5 FM for their major support, as well as the K-State Marching Band, HyVee, Blue Diamond Almonds, Kansas Wheat and Pat Melgares of Manhattan Cross Country Club and LetsGoRun.com.

Results and photos are available on our Walk Kansas 5K for the Fight webpage.


American Legion Auxiliary Dinner Theater

Performers at American Legion's mystery dinner theaterThe Auxiliary of Pearce-Keller Post No. 17 The American Legion, in Manhattan, raised $3,870 by hosting a dinner theater February 9! The On the Edge Players presented “Trouble at the Tropicabana,” an audience-participation murder mystery-comedy featuring the characters Lucy, Ricky, Fred, and Ethel.

We’re so grateful for the American Legion and their Auxiliary’s decades of support!

Annual magazine showcases K-State cancer research

Conquest 2018 magazine coverMany of you have received our 2018 Conquest magazine by now. Its layperson-friendly stories showcase Dr. Rob DeLong’s work to perfect the use of nanoparticles to destroy cancer cells and activate the host defense system, Dr. Santosh Aryal’s efforts to make anti-cancer drugs last longer so the host has more time to fight back, and Dr. Zhilong Yang‘s use of an anti-smallpox virus to fight cancer.

We learn about the Mary L. Vanier Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Lab, and show off a couple of exceptional undergraduate student researchers: Vaithish Velazhahan, senior in microbiology, medical biochemistry and pre-medicine, and Kathlyn Gomendoza, senior in biology.

We talk to one of Manhattan’s most revered citizens and the first dean of the business college, Dr. C. Clyde Jones, about his desire to serve others and honor the memory of his late wife Midge. We also discuss our 8th Annual Pink Power Luncheon for breast cancer awareness, which featured one of Kansas’s biggest advocates of cancer research, Peggy Johnson.

Walk Kansas 5K for the Fight and other upcoming events

Walk Kansas 5K for the Fight 2018 logoCelebrate your fitness efforts and K-State cancer research May 5 at the 3rd Annual Walk Kansas 5K for the Fight, 1.5-Mile Fun Walk and 50-yard Kids’ Fun Run! Walk Kansas, the acclaimed statewide fitness initiative organized by K-State Research & Extension, is sponsoring this event on the beautiful K-State Manhattan campus and donating all proceeds to our center! This is open to everyone, not just Walk Kansas program participants.

This year’s event will be fiesta-themed in celebration of Cinco de Mayo!

We are so excited for this perfect partnership! Exercise, nutrition and maintaining a healthy weight all reduce cancer risk, and Walk Kansas has helped thousands of people reach fitness goals over the years. Come run or walk to support your health AND K-State cancer research!

Learn more and link to online registration.


Other Upcoming Events

21st Annual Rob Regier Memorial Golf Tournament – Fri., Oct. 12, 2018

5th Annual Fighting for a Cure Day – Sat. Oct. 13, 2018