Kansas State University


Johnson Cancer Research Center Newsletter

Author: marcia

The Fight Starts Here!

The fight against cancer starts in the laboratory. From nanoparticles, stem cells and viruses to antioxidants, exercise and immuno- and targeted therapies, researchers in nearly one hundred Kansas State University laboratories are conducting the basic and translational cancer research that leads to improved prevention, diagnostics and treatments, as well as training future scientists.

The Johnson Cancer Research Center directs your gifts to K-State’s most promising cancer research projects and budding student scientists. Our faculty researchers leverage our “seed” awards to win larger national funding, and our students become top scientists and doctors. Thanks for your support! Learn more about helping K-State fight cancer.

Read on to learn more about our research, achievements and activities.

Subscribe to our e-newsletter by emailing cancerresearch@k-state.edu.
with us on Facebook and Twitter.
Send us your stories and photos related to K-State cancer research.

Center Awarded $212,208 Last Fall

John_Tomich_Susan_Whitaker_Lab-18CropShrunkThanks to our generous supporters, we were able to invest $212,208 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 $103,018 in Innovative Research Awards for five research projects spanning six departments; $29,000 to support two laboratory equipment purchases; and $2,000 for travel to collaborate on research. View list of all faculty awardees.

Student Awards

Thirty-seven outstanding students were selected for our undergraduate Cancer Research Award program, which offers faculty-mentored laboratory research experiences and $1,000 awards to each student.

The students co-wrote research proposals with center-affiliated faculty and will conduct their studies this semester. Faculty mentors receive $1,000 per student to cover research expenses. Our annual awards banquet will be April 8.

Travel awards totaling $4,190 were provided to four graduate students and post-doctoral fellows to support their attendance at professional meetings to present their research. View list of all student awardees.


Polyester Party, 5K Run/Walk & More Upcoming Events

partygoersPink & Purple Polyester Party
Fri., April 22, 2016 ~ 7 p.m.

Make reservations now for the grooviest party of the year! The Pink & Purple Polyester Party, presented by CivicPlus, will be at 7 p.m., April 22, at the K-State Alumni Center.

Dress like the 60s, 70s or 80s and shake your booty with Disco Dick & the Mirrorballs of Kansas City! Vote for your favorite blinged-out bra and enjoy catered treats, libations and a fun photo booth! Best costume wins $100! ‘Like’ the Pink & Purple Polyester Party Facebook page for updates.

Last year’s party raised $13,120! We thank CivicPlus, Briggs Auto Group, Kansas State Federal Credit Union and other sponsors (listed on webpage), as well as the planning committee, volunteers and party-goers! Learn about being sponsoring the 2016 party!


Walk Kansas 5K LogoWalk Kansas 5K for the Fight
Sat., May 7, 2016 ~ 10 a.m.

The acclaimed statewide fitness motivation program, Walk Kansas, will hold its first 5K run/walk May 7 and donate proceeds to our center! Walk Kansas 5K for the Fight is open to all, not just Walk Kansas participants. A 1.5-mile fun walk will also be offered.

We’re so excited about this perfect partnership! Exercise reduces cancer risk. Watch our website and Facebook/Twitter for details.


Cancer Fighters’ 50/50 Fundraiser Raffle – Feb. 8-11. Chances are $2/ticket or $5/3 tickets. Winner gets half the pot! JCRC gets the other half.

Buffalo Wild Wings Fundraiser – April 4, 11 a.m.-midnight, Aggieville

Cancer Research Awards Banquet – Fri., April 8

JCRC Advisory Council Meeting – Sat., April 9

K-State Open House – Sat., April 16

Pink & Purple Polyester Party – Fri., April 22, 7-11:30 p.m., K-State Alumni Center

Walk Kansas 5K For the Fight – Sat., May 7, 10 a.m., Manhattan campus

Tough Enough to Wear Pink Spaghetti Dinner – Sun., July 10 (tentative)

Tough Enough to Wear Pink Rodeo – Fri., July 22, 8 p.m., Wells Arena in CiCo Park, Manhattan, Kan.

K-State Fighting for a Cure Shirt Day – Sat., Oct. 8

More info about events


Research News


Clinical trials help healthcare professionals, including veterinarians, human doctors, pharmacists and others, evaluate new treatments and diagnostic tests for various diseases, including cancer. These new treatments and tests are designed to improve the detection, prevention and treatment of the disease. Among K-State’s current clinical trials is a study by  Rae Wouda, clincial sciences, of an anti-cancer vaccine (MediVet Biologics K9-ACV) for dogs. Learn more.




S. Keith Chapes, biology, Tonatiuh Melgarejo, human nutrition, and team have created a cell line that can be used in studies aimed at understanding obesity and other diseases in humans. Their study was published in the online journal Cytotechnology and a commercial licensing agreement has been signed. Read more.

Thomas Mueller, biology, and team published the article, “A 3D Searchable Database of Transgenic Zebrafish Gal4 and Cre Lines for Functional Neuroanatomy Studies,” in Frontiers in Neural Circuits journal. Their work has led to a library of enhancer trap lines that provides genetic access to 70% of the larval brain and is therefore a powerful and broadly accessible tool for the dissection of neural circuits in larval zebrafish. Read more.

Dr. Mei He
Mei He
, biological & agricultural engineering, published the article, “A Microfluidic ExoSearch Chip for Multiplexed Exosome Detection Towards Blood-Based Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis,” in Lab on a Chip journal. Read more.



Dr. Susan SunXiuzhi “Susan” Sun, grain science & industry and biological & agricultural engineering, showed her patented PepGel to more than 22,500 visitors at the annual Smithsonian Innovation Festival in Washington, D.C. T. Annelise Nguyen, diagnostic medicine/pathobiology, discussed cancer applications of the groundbreaking biomaterial. Read more. View video about PepGel.


Bruce Schultz, anatomy & physiology, wrote the lead chapter of a new book on the function of epithelial cells titled “Ion Channels and Transporters of Epithelia in Health and Disease.” Read more.


Ric Rosenkranz‘s team in food, nutrition, dietetics & health (formerly human nutrition) is offering a wellness program for local girls ages 8 to 13 years old. Wellness in youth decreases cancer risk later in life. View flier.


Multiple faculty researchers received awards from the Johnson Cancer Research Center last fall. Read more.



Tuyen Nguyen, doctoral student in chemistry, won first place poster presentation at the K-State Graduate Research Forum. She and nine other K-State graduate students  represented K-State at the Capitol Graduate Research Summit in Topeka Feb. 2. Her mentor is Santosh Aryal, chemistry.

Adam Schieferecke, junior in microbiology and biochemistry, will present his research at Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol. He is one of six K-Staters among 40 students statewide selected to present. His faculty mentor is Stefan Rothenburg, biology. Read more.

Multiple undergraduate and graduate students received awards from the Johnson Cancer Research Center last fall. Read more.



Joining us in 2015 and late 2014 were:
Santosh Aryal, chemistry
Brad Behnke, kinesiology
Jeffrey Comer, anatomy & physiology
Jooyoun Kim, apparel, textiles & interior design
Annika Linde, human nutrition
Jocelyn McDonald, biology
Saurav Misra, biochemistry & molecular biophysics
Chingakham Ranjit Singh, biology
Nicholas Wallace, biology
Raelene Wouda, clinical sciences
Anna Zinovyeva, biology

Highlights from Fall Events

K-State Fighting for a Cure Day

Pride Marching Band spells out "beat cancer"

Six hundred people got K-State Fighting for a Cure shirts in 2015! That’s another $4,335 for Coach Bill Snyder Holding ShirtK-State cancer research, bringing the total to almost $20,000!

Oct. 17, Wildcats wore the shirts to the home football game and elsewhere in celebration of K-State Fighting for a Cure Day. First lady of K-State Football Sharon Snyder, university president and first lady Drs. Kirk and Noel Schulz, and many other friends showed their pride by wearing their shirts.

You can see photos of our shirt campaign supporters on Facebook, including former Wildcats and Chiefs football player Kevin Lockett, vice president for student life Dr. Pat Bosco (pictured) and director PatBoscoDof bands Dr. Frank Tracz.

A big highlight of the day was when the K-State Marching Band, decorated in pink ribbons, formed the words “BEAT CANCER” during their halftime performance (pictured above)! We also enjoyed hosting our annual tailgate party in Cat Town.

We’re so grateful to N Zone and Varney’s for helping us sell shirts, to our media partners for promoting, and to many others who supported the effort!

The 2016 Fighting for a Cure Day will be Oct. 8. Watch for a new shirt design!

Pink Power Luncheon

19Our 6th annual Pink Power Luncheon for breast cancer awareness was Oct. 2 and bigger than ever. About 180 guests were treated to lunch and the moving presentation, “Not Your Grandmother’s Mastectomy: Journey of a ‘Previvor’,” by Jacque Groves, a local nurse who chose to have a prophylactic (preventive) mastectomy after learning through genetic counseling that she had a high risk of developing breast cancer. We thank Komen Kansas for supporting this event. View photos on Facebook.

Regier Memorial Golf Tournament

Regier Family
The 18th annual Rob Regier Memorial Golf Tournament was held Oct. 16 and raised $14,386! We thank and applaud Les and Sandy Regier for all their hard work and success on this longtime fundraiser! Prize winners and sponsors are listed on the tournament webpage, and we’ve shared photos on Facebook. Special thanks to Premier Sponsor Grand Mère Development!



Sunny 102.5 FM Raises the Roof

John Anderson On McDonalds Rooftop
Our thanks to Sunny 102.5 Morning Show Host John Anderson for “raising the roof” for 10 years!

Once again, Sunny 102.5 FM and Oldies 98.5 FM asked their listeners to ‘Raise the Roof’ for K-State cancer research Sept. 18 as part of their and Coach Snyder’s annual Wildcat Challenge to Tackle Cancer. They took donations and auction bids all day while broadcasting live from the rooftops of McDonald’s in Manhattan, and raised $8,146! We thank Sunny and McDonald’s for their continued generous partnership!

K-State Fighting for a Cure Day October 17


The second annual K-State ‘Fighting for a Cure’ Shirt Day will be Sat., Oct. 17! Join first lady of K-State Football Sharon Snyder and the Snyder family, university president and first lady Kirk & Noel Schulz, and many other Wildcats as they unite in wearing their shirts to the home football game and everywhere in celebration of K-State cancer research and survivors as well as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Get the shirt!  The shirts are $20 and available at our center or shipped from our webstore sponsored by N Zone. They are also at Varney’s, which is donating $5 per shirt to our center and has raised more than $6,000! More details are on our Fighting for a Cure Shirt webpage.

Spread the word!  Post pics on social media of you and your friends wearing the shirt and use the #HelpKStateFightCancer hashtag!

Thanks to everyone who bought shirts and wore them last Oct. 4! You helped raise $15,000 and lots of awareness to help K-State fight cancer! Check out our 2014 photo gallery!

Tailgate with us! We also invite you to cheer on the ‘Cats with us Oct. 17 at our Tailgate Party in Cat Town! Follow the link for info.

Kudos: Patent for cancer detection test, $1.85M NIH grant, and more

Bossmann & Troyer CrewPatent awarded to K-State preclinical cancer detection test

A U.S. patent has been awarded to a Kansas State University technology that quickly detects the early stages of cancer before physical symptoms ever appear.

Stefan H. Bossmann, professor of chemistry; Deryl L. Troyer, professor of anatomy and physiology; and Matthew Basel, postdoctoral fellow in anatomy and physiology, developed a nanoplatform technology to detect human cancer cells and tumors in the beginning stages.  read more

$1.85M NIH grant funds study of virus interaction with the immune system

Stefan Rothenburg, assistant professor of biology, was recently awarded more than $1.85 million from the National Institutes of Health for his work studying viruses that have the potential to be the next smallpox as well as an effective weapon against cancer. read more

Moderate exercise may make cancer treatments more effective

K-State kinesiology department research offers encouraging information for cancer patients: A brisk walk or a slow jog on a regular basis may be the key to improved cancer treatments.

Brad Behnke, associate professor of exercise physiology, and collaborators have shown that moderate exercise on a regular basis enhances tumor oxygenation, which may improve treatments in cancer patients. Now, Behnke is using a $750,000 American Cancer Society grant to study moderate exercise as a way to make radiation treatments more effective, especially for difficult-to-treat tumors.  read more

Patented compound kills various human pathogenic fungi, may improve human health

A now-patented substance from two K-State researchers may be an all-purpose solution for stopping fungus.

Govindsamy Vediyappan, assistant professor of biology, and Duy Hua, university distinguished professor of chemistry, received a U.S. patent for their invention “Sesquiterpenes for Antifungal Applications.”  read more

Michael Kanost elected 2015 Entomological Society of America fellow

Michael Kanost, university distinguished professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics and an ancillary professor of entomology, has been named a 2015 Entomological Society of America, or ESA, fellow. Election as a fellow acknowledges outstanding contributions to entomology research, teaching, extension or administration. read more

Roman Ganta was invited to speak March 26 in the Distinguished Scientist Series at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. His seminar was titled, “Ehrlichia chaffeensis Mutagenesis to Identify Genes Critical for Persistent Infection and Vaccine Development.”  –April 2015 Lifelines, news from College of Veterinary Medicine


Upcoming Events: Golf Tournament, Tailgate Party and more

Pink Power Luncheon Graphic
Our 6th annual Pink Power Luncheon will be Oct. 2. The guest presentation will be “Not Your Grandmother’s Mastectomy: Journey of a ‘Previvor'” by Jacque Groves, a local nurse who had a prophylactic (preventive) mastectomy after learning through genetic counseling that she had a high risk of developing breast cancer. This event is full, but you can get on the waiting list by emailing Marcia Locke at marcia@ksu.edu.

The 18th annual Rob Regier Memorial Golf Tournament will be at 1 p.m., Oct. 16, at Colbert Hills. Registration opens at 11 a.m. Rob was a K-State graduate in pre-dentistry who passed away from cancer at age 26. The tournament is hosted by his family.



Tailgate Party Graphic
Tailgate without the work! Come to our Tailgate Party in Cat Town Oct. 17.


Men's Fighting for a Cure Shirt

Wear your ‘Fighting for a Cure’ Shirt Sat., Oct. 17 to the home football game, or anywhere, in celebration of K-State cancer research and survivors as well as Breast Cancer Awareness Month! Proceeds from shirt sales support cancer research and education at K-State.

The Coach Bill Snyder & Sunny 102.5 Wildcat Challenge to Tackle Cancer takes place throughout football season.

Other activities include our fall award application deadline of Oct. 1 and our Advisory Council meeting Oct. 9. Events are listed on our Upcoming Events webpage.

Polyester Party and Pink Rodeo raised almost $20,000!

You could feel the grooviness in the air at the Pink & Purple Polyester Party April 10. About 200 party-goers, decked out in pink, purple and retro attire, filled the Houston Street Ballroom in support of K-State cancer research! They boogied down to live music from Disco Dick & the Mirrorballs, cheered on costume contest participants, and stuffed cash into blinged-out bras created by local businesses and modeled by good-natured K-State students! (Della Voce’s bra, with its martini glass bra-cups, won first place.)

The party raised $13,120! We extend big thanks to the wonderful planning committee, party founder and emcee Dave Lewis, major sponsor CivicPlus and the other sponsors, and all the party-goers and other supporters. It was a truly unique and fun party! You can view photos on our Facebook.

We think next year’s party will be even more dy-no-mite! It is tentatively set for Fri., April 15, 2016!

Drill Team

The 9th annual Tough Enough to Wear Pink Rodeo and Spaghetti Dinner raised $6,720 this year! We thank the Kaw Valley Rodeo Association and its “pink committee,” as well as major sponsors Women’s Health Group and Cox Bros. BBQ, and all the other sponsors and event attendees!

2015 Conquest magazine showcases K-State cancer research

FINAL.pdfOur annual magazine, Conquest, went out late spring. It showcases multidisciplinary cancer research being conducted by K-State faculty and students. The 2015 Conquest features Drs. Brad Behnke, kinesiology; Susan Brown, biology; and Ric Rosenkranz, human nutrition; as well as K-State human nutrition alum Josh Umbehr, ’03; purple-bleeding retired Air Force Reserves Maj. Gen. Harvey McCarter, ’56; and Susan Whitaker, a young cancer survivor and graduate student in biochemistry and molecular biophysics.

Subscribe to our e-newsletter by emailing cancerresearch@k-state.edu.
Learn more about us at cancer.k-state.edu.
Send us your historical stories and photos related to the cancer research center.
Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.