Kansas State University


Johnson Cancer Research Center Newsletter

2016 Conquest showcases K-State cancer research

CoverConquest2016CropShrunkForTwitterOur 2016 Conquest magazine is hot off the press! Read about Dr. Raelene Wouda‘s cancer drug clinical trials in the College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Stefan Rothenburg and his student Adam Schieferecke’s studies into the use of viruses to fight cancer, and a multidisciplinary collaboration between Drs. Susan Sun and Annelise Nguyen that has resulted in the use of a new K-State-developed biomaterial to grow breast cancer cells into 3-D tumors that are more complex and helpful for research than traditional 2-D cell cultures.

You’ll also read about National Cancer Institute laboratory director and K-State Alumni Fellow Dr. Bob Kinders, who is helping us develop future cancer scientists, and the purple-groupcropBbleeding Regier family, who will have their 19th annual Rob Regier Memorial Golf Tournament for us Oct. 7. And don’t miss the story about how kids at a Gilda’s Club in Grand Rapids, Mich., are benefiting from our A Day With Dr. Waddle activity book.

Read Conquest on the Web or request a paper copy.

Walk Kansas 5K for the Fight May 7, other upcoming events

Walk Kansas 5K for the Fight LogoThe acclaimed statewide fitness motivation program, Walk Kansas, which is organized by K-State Research & Extension, will hold its inaugural Walk Kansas 5K for the Fight (and 1.5-mile fun walk) on the beautiful K-State Manhattan campus at 10 a.m. May 7 and donate all proceeds to our center! It is open to everyone, not just Walk Kansas participants.

Timing will be managed by Manhattan Cross Country Club, which uses the IPICO chip timing system. Medals will go to the fastest 3 males and females in each age category: 19 & under, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70 & older. All participants will receive a high-quality souvenir water bottle and other goodies as well as water and post-event snacks. Cost is $25. Details and a link to register online are on our WK5K webpage.


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 Rodeo – Fri., July 22, 8 p.m., Wells Arena in CiCo Park, Manhattan, Kan.

Advisory Council Fall Meeting – Sat., Oct. 1

Rob Regier Memorial Golf Tournament – Fri., Oct. 7, 1 p.m. shotgun start, Colbert Hills Golf Course

K-State Fighting for a Cure Day & JCRC Tailgate Party in Cat Town – Sat., Oct. 8. NEW SHIRT DESIGN IN 2016!

George S. Bascom Memorial Lecture on Current Issues in Clinical Medicine – Thu., Nov. 3, Michael E. Hagensee, Professor, Dept. of Medicine, Section of Infectious Disease, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center


Disco for a Cure at Pink & Purple Polyester Party April 22

SpectacularGuestsByJ&CImgagingCROPDig out your polyester bell bottoms and platform shoes–or just some pink or purple–and disco for a cure at the groovy Pink & Purple Polyester Party, presented by CivicPlus, 7 p.m., Fri., April 22, at the K-State Alumni Center. Last year’s party raised $13,120!

Shake your booty with Kansas City’s Disco Dick & the Mirrorballs and Manhattan’s host-with-the-most Dave Lewis! Vote for your favorite Off the Hook bra crafted by a local business! Enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres, desserts and a cash bar catered by Bockers II Catering, as well as a fun photo station! The guest with the most far-out 60s, 70s or 80s threads wins $100!

Tickets are $60, or get a reserved table for 10 and recognition as a Cool Cat Sponsor for $500. Pay online until April 21, or pay at the door.

We thank major sponsors CivicPlus and Central Kansas Cancer Center! We also thank Manhattan Broadcasting and all our Cool Cat table sponsors and other sponsors (see webpage), as well as the planning committee, volunteers and party-goers!

Research Kudos & News

Photo of Undergrad Cancer Research AwardeesCongratulations to K-State’s 2015-2016 Undergraduate Cancer Researchers!
Students selected for our undergraduate Cancer Research Award (CRA) program last fall were recognized at our annual CRA Banquet April 8. Also recognized were their faculty mentors and the donors who make the awards possible. All awardees are listed on our Student Awardees webpage and in this news release. Photos of the banquet and each student receiving his or her award will be shared soon. Watch our Facebook and Twitter pages.


We awarded $266,394 this spring!
Thanks to our generous supporters, we invested $265,394 into K-State cancer research and education this semester! We awarded faculty $147,245 for innovative research projects, $38,500 for laboratory equipment, and $500 for travel to collaborate or receive training. We awarded graduate students $72,217 in summer stipends and $6,932 for travel. The awardees are listed on our Faculty and Student Awardee webpages.


Faculty Kudos


Rollie Clem, biology, has been selected to serve as a rotational program officer for the National Science Foundation. read more

Clem also published “Arboviruses and apoptosis: The role of cell death in determining vector competence” in the Journal of General Virology. doi: 10.1099/jgv.0.000429.


Dr. Mei He & Kim Pleviak


Dr. Mei He and graduate student Kim Pleviak developed a 3-D printed diagnostic device that can rapidly detect anemia. This relates to other work Dr. He does to develop low-cost biomedical devices for point-of-care cancer diagnostics. read more


Dr. Jooyoun KimDr. Jooyoun Kim, who studies biomedical/cancer applications of fiber-based biomaterials in the department of apparel, textiles & interior design, received a 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award! She also will be K-State’s team leader in a $317 million national fabric research partnership with Advanced Functional Fabrics of America and the U.S. Department of Defense. read more


Dr. Beth Montelone


Dr. Beth Montelone, professor of biology and associate dean for research in the College of Arts & Sciences, received a Kansas Advancement of Women in Science Award. read more


Student Kudos

AdamSchiefereckeDayAtTheCapitolBAdam Schieferecke, junior in microbiology and biochemistry working in Stefan Rothenburg’s lab in biology, was awarded a prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. He also represented K-State at Undergraduate Day at the Capitol and was the guest speaker at our annual CRA Banquet.


Raquel Ortega


Raquel Ortega, junior in chemistry working in Stefan Bossmann’s lab in chemistry, was awarded a Barry M. Goldwater Honorable Mention.



Muriel Eaton


Muriel Eaton, a senior in biochemistry working in Jeroen Roelofs’ lab in biology, was nominated by K-State for a Goldwater Scholarship.



Chen Peng in lab


Chen Peng, PhD student in microbiology working in Rothenburg’s lab in biology, made it to the final round of K-State’s Three Minute Thesis competition ‪#‎3MT‬! read more



Erika Peters


Erika Peters, senior in microbiology working in Kathrin Schrick’s lab in biology, won the Division of Biology’s Haymaker Award for Outstanding Senior.



Vaithish Velazhahan


Vaithish Velazhahan, sophomore in biology working in Schrick’s lab in biology, won a Division of Biology Most Promising Student Award.




“Dr. Stefan Rothenburg finds key to myxoma virus/rabbit coevolution” – From K-State News Services, April 5, 2016

“K-State cancer research shares goal with Biden’s ‘moonshot’ initiative” – From The Collegian, March 30, 2016

New K-State Fighting for a Cure Shirt

DesignOnMensShirtShrunkYou asked for it, you got it! A new K-State Fighting for a Cure shirt will be available soon!

Wear your shirt to the home football game or anywhere Oct. 8, 2016, in celebration of K-State cancer research and Breast Cancer Awareness Month! We also invite you to help us cheer on the ‘Cats that day at our Tailgate Party in Cat Town!

Proceeds from shirt sales support K-State cancer research. Contact Marcia to pre-order.

We’ll have more details about the shirt soon. Watch our Facebook or Twitter.

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!