Kansas State University


Johnson Cancer Research Center Newsletter

Category: 2019 Fall


Coach Bill Snyder holding 2019 Fighting for a Cure shirt

The Shirt

The K-State Family is fighting, ever fighting, for a cure! Get your shirt and wear it Sat., Oct. 5, for K-State’s 6th Annual Fighting for a Cure Day, in honor of the K-State Family’s cancer survivors and researchers! All proceeds support K-State cancer research and education.

Join former K-State Head Football Coach Bill Snyder and Sharon Snyder & family, actor and alum Eric Stonestreet, former Wildcat and Chiefs football player Kevin Lockett, K-State President and First Lady Richard & Mary Jo Myers, Band Director Frank Tracz and many others in celebrating K-State’s fight against cancer.

The Tailgate Party

Cheer on the ‘Cats with us at our Tailgate Party in Cat Town at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

Make an even greater impact!

Donate to the Fighting for a Cure campaign here and have your gift doubled by an anonymous friend of the center! This year’s campaign supports K-State’s Center of Excellence for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

Spread the word!

Post photos on social media of yourself and friends wearing the shirt, and use the hashtag #HelpKStateFightCancer! view 2018 photos

Learn more about the shirts and how you can get them on our Fighting for a Cure webpage. Or go straight to our webstore.



Pink Power Luncheon logo

Dr. Jennifer KlempThe 10th annual Pink Power Luncheon will be Fri., Oct. 11. Guest speaker Jennifer Klemp, PhD, MPH, will give the presentation, “Understanding your risk: Breast cancer genetics and survivorship.” Dr. Klemp is an associate professor of medicine in the Division of Clinical Oncology and the director of Cancer Survivorship at the University of Kansas Cancer Center.

The event is free, but reservations are required by Oct. 4. Reserve your spot early as it fills up quickly.

Learn more and make reservations


22nd Annual Rob Regier Memorial Golf Tournament

Regier Golf Tournament logoFri., Oct. 18, Colbert Hills Golf Course, Manhattan

This tournament honors Rob Regier, a 1988 K-State pre-dentistry alum who died of cancer in 1992 at age 26. Hosted by Rob’s family, this 4-person scramble offers a high-quality souvenir, hole prizes and a steak dinner.

This year’s tournament will be dedicated in loving memory to Dr. Rob Denell, former Johnson Cancer Research Center director, and Bill Trenkle, close friend of the Regier family, who both passed away from cancer in the past year.

Learn more and access registration form


19th Annual Brad Heyka Memorial Golf Tournament

Fri., Oct. 25, Colbert Hills Golf Course, Manhattan

This tournament honors Brad Heyka, a K-State finance alum who was tragically killed in 2000 at age 27.

To date, this event has raised more than $300,000 to support K-State scholarships, including significant funds for graduate student cancer researchers.

Download brochure (pdf)


Girls Pint Out image for Halloween Bash

‘Get Your Freak On’ Halloween Bash

Presented by MHK Girls Pint Out
Sat., Oct. 26, Bluemont Hotel, Manhattan

Girls Pint Out is a national craft beer organization for women. The Manhattan-based group aims to build a community of women who love craft beer and getting together for educational, charitable and social events. This October, they’ll “get their freak on” to support K-State cancer research! 


A Big Step in Cancer Detection

Imagine going to your doctor’s office for your annual checkup and having a simple and affordable blood test tell you in less than an hour whether you have a type of cancer or neurodegenerative disease. Chemistry professors Stefan Bossmann and Chris Culbertson have developed a device that does just that.

read story (from KSU Foundation’s Good For K-State magazine)


Making MRIs Safer

Santosh Aryal MRI photo from Advanced Science News feature

Dr. Santosh Aryal, chemistry and Nanotechnology Innovation Center of K-State, and his doctoral student Ramesh Marasini and former doctoral student Tuyen Nguyen (now a postdoctoral fellow at MD Anderson Cancer Center), are addressing the urgent need to develop better strategies regarding the use of potentially toxic gadolinium-based contrast agents in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Their work was featured in Advanced Science News. read story


Helping Dogs—and Humans—with Cancer: NCI’s Comparative Oncology Studies

Dr. Raelene Wouda & dog
Dr. Raelene Wouda, clinical sciences

This National Cancer Institute story discusses dog clinical trials that can help dogs and humans. NCI sponsors many dog clinical trials in its network, which includes Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. These institutions’ Comparative Oncology programs treat dogs with cancer while also gaining clues about human cancers. One clinical trial that K-State partners on, involving dogs with osteosarcoma, could help kids with bone cancer.

Learn about K-State’s Center of Excellence for Translational & Comparative Oncology Research.


CRISPR connections: How scientists use genetic technology to improve our world

Dr. Gregory Finnigan

Dr. Gregory Finnigan, biology, was featured in a story about CRISPR gene-editing technology in Seek, K-State’s research magazine. read story



Stefan Bossmann


Stefan Bossmann, chemistry, was named a University Distinguished Professor, K-State’s highest faculty ranking. read more




Dr. Mary Lynn Higginbotham

Mary Lynn Higginbotham, clinical sciences, presented ‘Immunotherapeutic Approaches in Canine Lymphoma’ at BioNexus’s One Health Research Symposium Aug. 29 in Kansas City. read more




Katie Heinrich, kinesiology, was named a fellow of the American Academy of Health Behavior. read more




Dr. Takashi Ito


Takashi Ito, chemistry, received the Ervin W. Segebrecht Honorarium Award for excellence in teaching and research in the departments of chemistry and chemical engineering. read more


Dr. Michael Kanost


Michael Kanost, biochemistry and molecular biophysics, received a Commerce Bank and W.T. Kemper Foundation Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award. read announcement




Dr. Zhilong Yang


Zhilong Yang, biology, was awarded a $1.9 million National Institutes of Health grant to study how vaccinia virus—a member of the poxvirus family—produces its proteins. read more



Dr. Michal Zolkiewski


Michal Zolkiewski, microbiology & molecular biophysics, was awarded a $2 million National Institutes of Health grant to develop new antibiotics. read story





2019 K-State Goldwater ScholarsThree undergraduate students who work in Johnson Cancer Research Center affiliated laboratories were named Goldwater Scholars: Erianna Basgall, junior in biochemistry; Mackenzie Thornton, junior in microbiology and pre-medicine; and Gabrielle Phillips, senior in chemical engineering. read more

Fawwaz Naeem, 2018-2019 Cancer Research Awardee


Fawwaz Naeem received the Division of Biology’s H.H. Haymaker Award for Excellence, recognizing graduating seniors who have demonstrated a high level of accomplishment as undergraduates, and who have the promise to continue such high performance in a biological sciences-related career. read more



JCRC Spring Awards and Student Recognition Banquet

Thanks to our generous supporters, we invested $151,833 in K-State cancer research and education last semester! Graduate student support was our main focus that semester. We awarded graduate and post-doctoral students $114,943 in summer stipends and $9,640 for travel. We awarded faculty $27,200 for innovative research projects and laboratory equipment.The awardees are listed on our Faculty and Student Awardee webpages.

Guests at CRA Banquet 2019We honored undergraduate student researchers at our Cancer Research Awards Banquet April 12. 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.

RECENT EVENTS (Lots of running!)

Walk Kansas 5K for the Fight

Walk Kansas 5K for the Fight runner in 2019About 150 people participated in the 4th annual Walk Kansas 5K for the Fight & 1.5-mile fun walk May 4! Our thanks to Walk Kansas, the participants and the Cancer Center of Kansas for raising $3,142 for K-State cancer research! Thanks also to PrairieStone, HyVee, Kansas Wheat, Sunny 102.5 and many volunteers for donating water, food, music/emcee support and time and energy! Special thanks to our volunteer photographer, K-State student Alex Wilson! View his (and a few of our) photos in the album on Facebook!


Bill Snyder Highway Half-Marathon & 5K

Bill Snyder Highway Half-Marathon runnerWhat a spectacular event Manhattan Running Company presented on May 25! The highlight was finishing on the football field at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Coach Snyder selected the Johnson Cancer Research Center and three other organizations to benefit from the event. We are so grateful to him, Manhattan Running Company and all the supporters for the $3,000 gift! view photos


You’ll Never Run Alone 5K

Frank Alonso You'll Never Run Alone 5KFrank AlonsoThe You’ll Never Run Alone 5K honored Manhattan High School and club soccer coach Frank Alonso, who passed away from pancreatic cancer last fall. This inaugural event, held Aug. 18, drew incredible support! Thanks to the hard work of Frank’s wife Jennifer Alonso, and the support of about 300 participants and a multitude of sponsors and volunteers, this event raised an impressive $10,900 for K-State’s Center of Excellence in Pancreatic Cancer Research!