Kansas State University


Johnson Cancer Research Center Newsletter

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

Spotlight on Researchers

Congratulations to our spring award recipients, whose names will be announced soon on our Faculty Awardees and Student Awardees webpages.

Congratulations also to the below faculty and student cancer researchers on these recent achievements!


Dr. Punit Prakash


Punit Prakash, electrical & computer engineering, and team received a $1,321,648 National Cancer Institute grant for lung tumor treatment using bronchoscopic microwave ablation system. read more




Dr. Richard Rosenkranz


Ric Rosenkranz, food, nutrition, dietetics and health, was recently elected to a three-year term on the executive board of the International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. read more



Dr. Jun Li


Jun Li, chemistry, has received the Segebrecht Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award for 2018. read more





Dr. David Poole


David Poole, kinesiology and anatomy & physiology, was named a University Distinguished Professor, K-State’s highest faculty honor, bestowed on only 2-3 professors per year. read more




Dr. Zhilong Yang


Zhilong Yang, biology, and team have discovered that the compound resveratrol, found in red wine and other foods, could help treat viruses. read more





Vaithish Velazhahan


Vaithish Velazhahan, senior in microbiology, medical biochemistry and pre-medicine working with Dr. Kathrin Schrickis receiving the 2018 Gates Cambridge Scholarship to study for his PhD at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom this fall. read more



Jazmine Snow


Jazmine Snow, senior in microbiology working with Dr. Nick Wallace, was one of five K-State undergraduate students to present her work at Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol Feb. 14.





Adam SchiefereckeMuriel EatonTwo former undergraduate cancer researchers—Adam Schieferecke (K-State master’s student) and Muriel Eaton (K-State alumna pursuing a master’s degree at Purdue)—received prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. read more

Recent FUNdraiser events


Pink & Purple Polyester Party 2018
Pink & Purple Polyester Party photo by J&C Imaging

The groovy party-goers, sponsors and planners of the 7th annual Pink & Purple Polyester Party, which was presented by CivicPlus April 6, raised around $12,000! Attendees dressed up and boogied down! The party featured live disco music, a retro costume contest and the Off the Hook bra art contest! View photos and mark your calendars for April 5, 2019.



Pink Up the Pace starting line
Pink Up the Pace 5K photo by J&C Imaging

We are so grateful to Downtown Manhattan, Inc., and their partners for devoting the month of March to K-State cancer research!

The 2nd Annual Pink Up the Pace 5K was held by Downtown Manhattan, Inc., March 31. With the support of major sponsor AJ’s NY Pizzeria and other sponsors and participants, $1,700 was raised for K-State cancer research! View photos

Bra Crawl 2018The Off the Hook Bra Crawl was held by Gaia SalonSpa and partners March 20 in conjunction with the Pink & Purple Polyester Party’s Off the Hook bra art contest. The event raised $720 and lots of awareness for K-State cancer research! They offered fun activities, food and drink specials and advance glimpses of the Off the Hook bras.

The Hope for a Cure Paint & Sip event held by Uncorked Inspiration March 25 raised $200! View photos

We are so thankful to all the businesses and individuals who supported all these events!

Paint & Sip event in Downtown Manhattan Kansas

Recent outreach events


Dr. Kevin Ault presenting for Bascom Lecture seriesOur 16th George S. Bascom Memorial Lecture on Current Issues in Clinical Medicine, held March 12, featured Kevin Ault, MD, a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine expert and obstetrician-gynecologist at the University of Kansas Medical Center. He gave the presentation, “The HPV Vaccine: A Missed Opportunity for Cancer Prevention.” A video is archived on our Facebook page.

For the past two decades Dr. Ault has been involved in the development of a vaccine against HPV. He has published extensively in medical journals on the topics of infectious diseases, women’s health and the development of the second generation HPV vaccine.

Most adults have some type of HPV. The vaccine prevents many of the strains that cause cervical, throat and other cancers, in both men and women.

This Bascom Lecture was co-sponsored by Lafene Health Center.



Open House 2018 GuestsOpen House Volunteers Kelsey & JohnathanDespite unseasonably cold weather, we had a good number of visitors during K-State’s annual Open House event Sat., April 7. We told guests about K-State cancer research and how our center supports it, and then our volunteers escorted them to Dr. Nick Wallace’s laboratory in biology.

Our thanks to Dr. Wallace and his team for partnering with us again this year, and to our helpful volunteers Kelsey Ferguson (left) and Johnathan Dallman (right) and Connor Horn, all undergraduate cancer researchers! Thanks also to all the visitors who took an interest in our center!



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