Kansas State University


Johnson Cancer Research Center Newsletter

Category: 2014-15 Winter

Happy New Year!

As we begin 2015, we’d like to thank you for being part of our 2014! Whether you gave a gift, participated in a fundraiser or other activity, pursued challenging research, or simply spread the word about us, you were critical to our success and we are grateful! We hope the accomplishments and efforts discussed here inspire you to keep helping K-State fight cancer in 2015.

On that note, mark your calendars for Fri., April 10, when the Pink & Purple Polyester Party returns better than ever! More details are below.

In this issue:

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Faculty and student achievements

Faculty Honors

Brown,SueHiguchiSmallerSusan Brown, biology, received a Higuchi-KU Endowment Research Achievement Award which annually recognizes outstanding accomplishment in research by four faculty members at Kansas Board of Regents universities. Dr. Brown was honored for her work in developing a model system for genetic and molecular studies on the red flour beetle. read more

Stephen Keith Chapes, biology, received the highest honor of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research. Dr. Chapes studies the impact of space flight and gravity on the immune system. read more

Welti,RuthAAASSpotlightRuth Welti, biology, was spotlighted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest scientific society. She is one of 20 K-State AAAS fellows. read more

Stefan Rothenburg, biology, was appointed to the editorial board of the top-ranked Journal of Virology. read more

Kathrin Schrick, biology, and team’s publication in the August issue of BMC Biology was recommended by the Faculty of 1000 for special significance in its field. The Faculty of 1000 is an international group of biomedical scientists that designate new research articles for potential high impact. read moreRobGovBrownbackShrunk

Rob Denell, our center’s director and a university distinguished professor of biology, was honored for 40 years of service to the State of Kansas. read more


A patent was awarded to K-State for research conducted by Duy Hua, chemistry; Annelise Nguyen, toxicology; and Dolores Takemoto, biochemistry (emeritus). They developed synthetic compounds, called quinolines, that can restart communication between cells if those communication channels have closed due to a disease. It could potentially be used for treating cancer. read more

sun, susanSusan Sun, grain science and bio- and agro-engineering, and team developed a hydrogel that was issued a patent. The jelly-like substance may be used for biomedical applications ranging from cell culture and drug delivery (including anticancer drugs) to repairing and replacing tissue, organs and cartilage. read more

Sherry Fleming, biology, and John Tomich, biochemistry, received a patent for their use of a peptide that prevents tissue damage. The work could lead to new ways to treat both tissue damaged by heart attack or stroke, and cancer. read more


IMG_0018cropKatie Heinrich, kinesiology, was awarded a $2.52 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases to test the effects of high-intensity functional training on changes in body composition, health and fitness as compared to usual Army physical readiness training. read more Continue reading “Faculty and student achievements”

Highlights of fall activities

Pink Power Luncheon Oct. 17???????????????????????????????

Our 5th annual Pink Power Luncheon for breast cancer awareness on Oct. 17 had 150 attendees again this year! The guest speaker, Dr. Susan Krigel, clinical psychologist with the Midwest Cancer Alliance, an outreach arm of the University of Kansas Cancer Center, presented “Chemobrain” and What You Can Do About It, a topic appreciated by many. We thank Komen Kansas for supporting this event. We’ve shared photos on Facebook.

K-State Fighting for a Cure Shirt

CoachBillSnyderK-State fans bought thousands of our Fighting for a Cure shirts in 2014, raising significant awareness of K-State cancer research, and $15,000 to support it!

We thank everybody who bought shirts and the many media outlets, businesses and volunteers who helped promote and sell them! Special thanks to Varney’s and N Zone for helping sell shirts and donating proceeds! We couldn’t have gone as big without them!

Check out the many great photos of friends who supported our #HelpKStateFightCancer social media campaign!

Powercat Gameday crew
Powercat Gameday crew, including former K-State and Kansas City Chief football player Kevin Lockett

Fighting for a Cure Shirt Day Oct. 4

LaBargeCrewInStandsMany K-Staters united in wearing their K-State Fighting for a Cure shirts to the home football game and elsewhere Oct. 4 in celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and K-State cancer research!

We appreciated the support of First Lady of K-State Football Sharon Snyder and the Snyder family, K-State President and First Lady Drs. Kirk & Noel Schulz, and so many others who showed their pride in K-State’s fight against cancer. We also thank The Pride of Wildcat Land Marching Band for recognizing K-State cancer researchers and survivors during their halftime performance that day!

Shirts are still available and we’re planning another Shirt Day in October. Watch our newsletter, Facebook and Twitter for updates.

Tailgate Party Oct. 4

tailgate party 2014

We had a great time cheering on the ‘Cats with friends at our tailgate party in Cat Town Oct. 4! Join us for great food, beverages and company at our next tailgate party in October! Continue reading “Highlights of fall activities”

$227,500 awarded last fall

Thanks to our generous supporters, we were able to invest $227,500 in K-State cancer research and education last fall! Our competitive awards encourage excellence among K-State cancer research faculty and students, and ensure we help advance the most promising cancer research projects. Awards are offered each semester and spring award applications are due March 1.

Faculty Awards

We awarded $105,500 in Innovative Research Awards for seven cancer research projects in six departments, and $25,000 to support three laboratory equipment purchases. View list of all faculty awardees.

Dr. Mei He received a $20,000 Innovative Research Award.
Dr. Mei He (left) received a $20,000 Innovative Research Award to develop a diagnostic test for ovarian cancer.

Student Awards

Forty-six 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.

German Cuevas
German Cuevas is a three-time Cancer Research Awardee working in Dr. Lorena Passarelli’s lab.

The students co-wrote research proposals with center-affiliated faculty and will carry out their research this semester. Faculty mentors receive $1,000 per student to cover research expenses. A banquet to honor the students will be held March 27. More about the program and awardees is in our news release.

Travel awards totaling $5,000 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.


Upcoming events

Pink & Purple Polyester Party

Friday, April 10, 2015
Houston Street Ballroom
Manhattan, Kansas

Scroggs Family at Pink & Purple Polyester Party
Scroggs Family

Dig out your polyester bell bottoms and platform shoes, grab your friends, and boogie down with a Kansas City disco band at the Pink & Purple Polyester Party on April 10! Play crazy games, vote for your favorite blinged-out bra, and enjoy tasty treats and a fun photo booth…all while helping K-State fight cancer!

Visit our website for information and ‘like’ the Pink & Purple Polyester Party Facebook page for updates on entertainment, prizes, auction items, food and sponsors.

We are very grateful to the planning committee: Dr. Thad & Shannon Schneider, Flint Hills Pain Management; John & Cindy La Barge, J & C Imaging; Bobbi French, G. Thomas Jewelers; Patrick Lee, N Zone; Arrica Wallace and Dave Lewis.

Local Screening of Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies, a PBS documentary

Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies,” based on the 2010 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, by Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, will premiere as a PBS documentary from preeminent filmmaker Ken Burns. This three-part show will air at 8-10 p.m. March 30, 31 and April 1 on KTWU, PBS in Topeka. KTWU will conclude the event with a live, viewer-interactive studio production at 8 p.m. April 2.

We are pleased to sponsor a screening event at the Manhattan Public Library Sat., March 28, in the auditorium. Join us at 2 p.m. for pre-screening activities prior to the hour-long preview of the documentary at 3 p.m.

January is Radon Action Month

Radon, a gas released by decaying uranium in the soil and found in some homes, is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S., after smoking. Our research affiliate Bruce Snead, director of the Kansas Radon Program, is featured in this informative video from Wichita’s KSN News. We encourage you to watch it and get an inexpensive test kit for your home. The Kansas Radon Program website has lots of helpful information.


Jan. 27 – Undergraduate Cancer Research Orientation
Mar. 1 – Spring Award Application Deadline
Mar. 27 – Undergraduate Cancer Research Awards Banquet
Mar. 28 – Advisory Council Spring Meeting
April 10 – Pink & Purple Polyester Party
July 24 – Tough Enough to Wear Pink Rodeo