Kansas State University


Johnson Cancer Research Center Newsletter

Category: 2019-2020 Winter



I am honored to be the new director of the Johnson Cancer Research Center (JCRC). A professor in the Division of Biology, I came to K-State in 2004 to study the immune response to surgery, heart disease and cancer. I’m amazed by the generous support of everyone involved with the center.

This support includes the time and effort of others in this transition period, especially Dr. S. Keith Chapes and Dr. Mark Weiss. Rather than being simple placeholders as interim director and associate director, they continued to expand the center. The JCRC staff has been amazing, patiently educating me on the center. I also appreciate the center’s advisory council and research members, who have taken time to answer questions and offer advice.

In a first step towards growing the JCRC, we have a new associate director, Dr. Annelise Nguyen, associate professor in the Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology. Scientifically, Annelise brings expertise in breast cancer drug design and toxicology, and a valuable connection to clinical samples from the National Cancer Institute. She is also experienced with National Institutes of Health training grants. Annelise’s MBA provides experience in business, marketing and coordinating events. Together, we look forward to accelerating the growth of the JCRC.

We are grateful to all who support the center, in any and every form. I hope to visit with many of our friends soon, but if you’re in the area, please stop by and introduce yourself. We’d like to hear your ideas and stories as we continue to fight for a cure.

Sherry Fleming, PhD
Director, Johnson Cancer Research Center
Professor, Division of Biology

Read announcement of Dr. Fleming as JCRC director

Read announcement of Dr. Nguyen as JCRC associate director



K-State cancer research team receives $2 million from NSF

Drs. Bossmann, Culbertson & NatarajanK-State researchers and collaborators have received $2 million in funding from the National Science Foundation to conduct fundamental studies on new treatments for glioblastoma and other cancers. Led by Stefan Bossmann, chemistry, the group includes Christopher Culbertson, chemistry and associate dean for research in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Bala Natarajan, electrical and computer engineering. read more


Yulan Xiong, anatomy and physiology, has received a $1.6 million National Institutes of Health grant to study the physiological causes of Parkinson’s disease. (Most of Parkinson’s Disease-linked genes are also associated with cancers.) read more


Annelise Nguyen, diagnostic medicine and pathobiology and JCRC associate director, was recognized with the John Doull Award of the Central States Chapter of the Society of Toxicology, for outstanding contributions to the discipline of toxicology. read more



David Poole, kinesiology and anatomy & physiology, was recently recognized with an Iman Outstanding Faculty Award, one of the K-State’s highest faculty honors. He was selected on the basis of outstanding research and awarded $5,000. read more




Nora Springer, diagnostic medicine & pathobiology, had her article published in, and featured on the cover of, the October 2019 issue of The American Journal of Pathology!




Zhilong Yang, biology, was recognized as Professor of the Week Dec. 7. Yang studies viral replication, focusing on poxvirus, which not only causes disease but can also be used for therapeutics against cancer and other diseases. read more


Santosh Aryal, chemistry, and team are improving the safety of MRIs by developing nanoparticle-based gadolinium contrast agents. read “Making MRIs Safer” in Advanced Science News




JCRC awarded $227,500 to cancer research faculty in Fall 2019

In Fall 2019, we awarded $142,500 in Innovative Research Awards to Jocelyn McDonald, Katsura Asano and Govind Vediyappan in biology, Ping Li and Peter Sues in chemistry, Nora Springer in diagnostic medicine/pathobiology, and Dong Lin in industrial and manufacturing systems engineering.

We paid the second installment of $50,000 for the Center of Excellence for Pancreatic Cancer Research, led by Stefan Bossmann, chemistry. We also awarded a $35,000 equipment grant to Om Prakash, biochemistry and molecular biology, for a Nuclear Magnetic Resonance machine.

Read more about our faculty awards.



Cesar Aparicio, senior in chemistry working with Dr. Santosh Aryal, is one of five K-State students selected to present at Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol March 4. He will present “Stimuli-Responsive Platinum(IV) Micelles for Programmed Drug Delivery.” read more



Dryden Baumfalk, doctoral student working with Dr. Brad Behnke in kinesiology, was one of ten graduate students selected to represent K-State at the Capitol Graduate Research Summit in Topeka Feb. 26. He will present “Effects of prostate cancer and exercise training on left ventricular function and cardiac and skeletal muscle mass.” read more



JCRC awarded $110,000 to students in Fall 2019

Forty-two students were selected to participate in our undergraduate Cancer Research Award program, which provides funded, faculty-mentored research training. Students receive $1,500 awards, and faculty mentors receive $1,000 per student to cover research expenses, for a total of $105,000!  read more

We also provided a $5,000 Heart Research Award to Dryden Baumfalk, doctoral student working with Dr. Brad Behnke in kinesiology, for his project titled, “Cardio protective treatment of 5-Fluorouracil induced cardiotoxicity.”

Read more about our student awards.


Sam Club, Private Eye, Mystery Dinner, a fundraiser by the American Legion Auxiliary
Sat., Feb. 22, 6:30-9:30




Cancer Research Awards Banquet – Fri., April 17, 5:30

Advisory Council Meeting – Sat., April 18, 8-noon at KSU Foundation Bldg

K-State Open House – Sat., April 18, JCRC open to visitors 10-noon

Walk Kansas 5K for the Fight logo 2019


Walk Kansas 5K for the Fight – Sat., May 2



Bill Snyder Highway Half-Marathon runner



Bill Snyder Highway Half-Marathon & 5K – Sat., May 23





You’ll Never Run Alone 5K in memory of Frank Alonso – Sun., Aug. 9

Rob Regier Memorial Golf Tournament – Fri., Oct. 2

K-State Fighting for a Cure Day – Sat., Oct. 10


10th Annual Pink Power Luncheon

Nearly 170 people attended our 10th Annual Pink Power Luncheon Oct. 11. Jennifer Klemp, PhD, MPH, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Clinical Oncology and director of Cancer Survivorship at the University of Kansas Cancer Center, gave the presentation, “Understanding your risk: Breast cancer genetics and survivorship.” Co-sponsored by Susan G. Komen Kansas & Western Missouri, this free event offers lunch, information on health and local resources, and door prizes. Thanks also to the Riley County Medical Society for their support. View Pink Power Luncheon 2019 photos.

Tour Groups


We had a great time hosting visitors from Junction City and Fort Riley Middle Schools (photos) and Blue Valley West High School (photos). Thanks to our laboratory co-hosts, Drs. Wallace, Bossmann, Fleming and their teams!

Learn more about group visits.


JCRC Interim Director Keith Chapes celebrated his retirement

The Johnson Cancer Research Center hosted a retirement and farewell reception Dec. 12 for Dr. Keith Chapes, interim director of the center for three years and professor of biology. Many of Dr. Chapes’ friends, colleagues, family members, and former students came to celebrate with him. Read announcement.



Rob Regier Memorial Golf Tournament

The Regier family, Overland Park, hosted the 22nd annual Rob Regier Memorial Golf Tournament Oct. 18. It was dedicated in memory of former JCRC director Dr. Rob Denell and Regier family friend Bill Trenkle. Thanks to the Regiers and supporters, it raised $27,415! Mark your calendars for Oct. 2, 2020!


Brad Heyka Memorial Golf Tournament

Larry & Mary Jo Heyka hosted this annual tournament in memory of their son Brad Oct. 25, 2019. Every year, the golfers do an honor ride out to the Brad Heyka Memorial Practice Area. We are grateful for the $5,600 gift!



Sharon Snyder & Former K-State Head Football Coach Bill Snyder

Fighting for a Cure Campaign

Our thanks to all who bought Fighting for a Cure shirts and united in wearing them Oct. 5 to raise awareness and funds for K-State cancer research! More than $12,500 was raised through shirt sales in 2019! Thanks also to our retail partners: 1419 Mercantile, G. Thomas Jewelers and Magnolia’s in Junction City.

See more shirt campaign photos from Coach Klieman, Kevin Lockett, and more.

The associated matching gift campaign, supported by an anonymous donor, raised another $19,050!

Mark your calendars for K-State’s 7th annual Fighting for a Cure Day Oct. 10, 2020! Shirts in current and past styles are available. Learn more.


Give Cancer the Axe!

Manhatchet, a new axe-throwing venue in Manhattan, used their grand opening event to raise money for K-State cancer research! We are grateful they thought of us and donated $275!



Beta Boo

Beta Theta Pi fraternity hosted their ‘Beta Boo’ Halloween event and raised $1,422 for K-State cancer research!



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 donated $1,250 last fall!


Tillie Robinson Memorial Off-Road Poker Run

Rzrback Off Road, in Arkansas, selected the JCRC as the beneficiary of their annual Tillie Robinson Memorial Off-Road Poker Run. Their third annual event in October raised an impressive $5,500, bringing their 3-year total to $10,000! We thank them and their participants, sponsors & volunteers.