Kansas State University


Johnson Cancer Research Center Newsletter


Happy Spring (finally)!

For a brief look at some exciting cancer Conquest 2014 Coverresearch projects at K-State, check out our 2014 Conquest magazine! Featured are professors John Tomich, biochemistry & molecular biophysics; Masaaki Tamura, anatomy & physiology; Brian Lindshield, human nutrition; and Sherry Fleming, biology; as well as plant pathology graduate student Derek Schneweis and the purple-bleeding Wolfe family of Colorado.

Watch for the Johnson Cancer Research Center feature in the ‘Campus Close-Up’ section of the K-State Alumni Association‘s K-Stater magazine this summer as well.

You can also read about our collaboration with the University of Kansas Cancer Center in this story shared by the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute, which strives to advance the life sciences in the Kansas City region.

We welcome you to connect with us on Facebook or Twitter to get our latest achievement, event and other news. To subscribe to this newsletter, email cancerresearch@ksu.edu.



Faculty achievements

Richard Rosenkranz, human nutrition, was named fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. Read announcement.

Ronette Gehring, clinical sciences, published her lead intoxication study in the Journal of Veterinary Science. Read news release.

Kristin Michel, biology, and Bart Bryant, postdoctoral researcher in her lab, published their immunity study in the Journal of Experimental Biology. Read announcement.

Promoted to full or associate professors were Katsura Asano and Lorena Passarelli, biology; Takashi Ito, chemistry; Max Lu, geography; Anna Zolkiewska, biochemistry & molecular biophysics; and Brian Lindshield and Richard Rosenkranz, human nutrition. Read news release.


Student achievements

Christine Spartz PhotoChristine Spartz, junior in chemistry mentored by Dr. Christer Aakeroy, was awarded a prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. Read news release.

Wren MichaelsWren Michaels, junior in microbiology mentored by Stefan Rothenburg, received honors for her poster, “Generation of mosquito cells with enhanced antiviral activities,” at the K-INBRE Symposium. Read announcement.

Tara Marriage, research associate in biology mentored by Bradley Olson, got second place for her oral presentation, “The evolution of life cycle gene expression in the Volvocine algae: toward a molecular understanding of multi-cellular evolution,” at the K-INBRE Symposium. Read announcement.

Chen Peng, doctoral student in microbiology mentored by Stefan Rothenburg, won second place in the graduate student biological sciences oral presentation competition at the K-State Research Forum. Read news release.

Undergraduate Research Awards Banquet

Chemistry CRA Winners
Cancer Research Awardees from the chemistry department Jenny Barriga, Macy Garcia, Brianne Pierce, Kelsie Cole, Christine Spartz and Eric Geanes

On April 4, we honored 51 undergraduate students at our Cancer Research Awards Banquet at the K-State Student Union Ballroom. We also recognized their faculty mentors and families, and, of course, the donors that made the awards possible. We thank our volunteer greeters Cecilia Wuertz, president of K-State Cancer Fighters, and Carly Cubbage, member of Cats for a Cure.

We’ve put photos of the banquet on our Facebook page. You don’t need a Facebook account to view them.

Jeremy Goering & Sherry Fleming
Jeremy Goering & Dr. Sherry Fleming

These student researchers and their mentors applied together last fall for our Cancer Research Awards. They proposed research projects for the students, which were conducted during the spring semester. The students’ names and project titles are listed on our Student Awardees webpage. We awarded each student $1,000 and provided the mentors $1,000 per student for research expenses.

This program helps steer excellent students toward, and prepare them for, careers in cancer research and related areas. Many of the students consider it one of the most important things they do during college.

We awarded $260,830 this spring!

Thanks to our generous supporters, we invested $260,830 into K-State cancer research and education this semester! We awarded faculty $124,200 for innovative research projects and $31,787 for laboratory equipment. We awarded graduate students $99,080 in summer stipends and $5,763 for travel to present their research at scientific meetings. The awardees are listed on our Faculty and Student Awardee webpages.

This was $135,000 less than requested by faculty to support their research needs. But we’re pleased to have helped and to know that they will leverage our support into larger national funding and prestigious honors, helping advance K-State to a top 50 public research university by 2025.

To help K-State fight cancer, please visit our Join Us page for simple giving instructions. Our programs depend on private donations and 95% of all gifts go directly to cancer research while 5% helps advance the university. All benefactors are listed on our website.

Upcoming Events

July 13, 2014 – Tough Enough to Wear Pink Spaghetti Dinner

Fri., July 25, 2014 – 8th Annual Tough Enough to Wear Pink Rodeo

Wed., Oct. 1, 2014 – Fall Award Applications Deadline

Fri., Oct. 3, 2014 – Rob Regier Memorial Golf Tournament

Sat. Oct. 4, 2014 – ‘Fighting for a Cure’ Shirt Day at K-State Football game

Sat. Oct. 4, 2014 – Tailgate with us in Cat Town!

October TBD – Pink Power Luncheon for breast cancer awareness

Men's Fighting Ever Fighting ShirtOur ‘Fighting for a Cure’ t-shirts are back!  We have some of the unisex style now and will get the ladies’ style this summer. Get yours in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, and to help pack Bill Snyder Family Stadium with them October 4! Buy or pre-order yours by emailing Marcia Locke at marcia@ksu.edu. Cost is $20 and all proceeds benefit our center.

Kudos to Our Researchers!

Stefan Bossmann, chemistry, and Deryl Troyer, anatomy & physiology, are at it again! Their promising new brain cancer treatment is getting major funding and attention from National Science Foundation! Here’s a video from NSF about the scientists’ “microscopic drug-carrying containers, nestled inside white blood cells and loaded with tumor-zapping medicine.”


Stefan Bossmann & Deryl Troyer

Bossmann, Troyer, Punit Prakash, in electrical & computer engineering, and others received a $1.3 million grant from the Punit PrakashNational Science Foundation’s Major Research Institute to develop a magnetic resonance imaging spectrometer that will be used to, among other things, heat and kill cancer cells while providing live, high-definition images of the heat’s effects. Read the full story.

Dr. Masaki Tamura

Masaaki Tamura, anatomy & physiology, wrote a book chapter titled “Umbilical Cord Matrix Stem Cells for Cytotherapy of Breast Cancer” for the book Stem Cell Therapeutics for Cancer, which was published in December 2013. Dr. Troyer and his team helped write the chapter. Continue reading “Kudos to Our Researchers!”

Undergraduate Cancer Researchers Selected

K-State Undergraduate Cancer ResearchersWe’re giving 51 undergraduate students the chance to conduct cancer research projects this spring. All their names are listed on our Student Awardees webpage.

Our undergraduate Cancer Research Award program promotes early participation in laboratory research, encouraging students to consider careers in cancer research and medicine while they’re still deciding what academic and professional paths to take.

Adam Schieferecke, sophomore in microbiology
Adam Schieferecke, microbiology sophomore in Dr. Stefan Rothenburg’s lab

This mentored research program provides $1,000 awards to each student and $1,000 per student to their faculty mentors for research expenses. Students applied by co-writing research proposals with faculty mentors affiliated with the center.

Many awardees consider this laboratory research training one of the most important activities of their undergraduate education, helping shape their career decisions and improve their chances for success.

Center Provided Record Funding in Fall 2013

We’re happy to have been able to award a record $373,500 to cancer research faculty last fall semester! Thanks to a couple of major gifts, we were able to directly support two exciting research programs that are very close to human clinical studies.

Mark Weiss
Mark Weiss

We are very grateful to Les & Virginia Clow and the late Margaret Ruth Hannah for their gifts, which allowed us to direct $200,000 to the team of Stefan Bossmann and Deryl Troyer, and $117,000 to Mark Weiss, respectively, at this critical time in their research programs. The research of Drs. Bossmann and Troyer, using nanotechnology for cancer diagnosis and treatment, is featured in our 2012 and 2013 Conquest magazines. Dr. Weiss’s research with transplanted immune cells will be featured in a future issue.

Annelise Nguyen
Annelise Nguyen


Faculty winning Innovative Research Awards were Viktor Chikan, chemistry; Annelise Nguyen, diagnostic medicine/pathobiology; David Poole, kinesiology; and Robert Szoszkiewicz, physics. More information is on our Faculty Awardees webpage.

Continue reading “Center Provided Record Funding in Fall 2013”

Pink Power Luncheon

Pink Power Luncheon

One hundred fifty women were treated to lunch, a souvenir item, breast cancer informational materials, and two touching and informative presentations at our 4th annual Pink Power Luncheon for breast cancer awareness on Oct. 4, 2014, co-sponsored by Komen for the Cure Kansas.

Terrah Stroda (pictured below, left), a 35-year-old breast cancer survivor and nurse-midwife at Flinthills Ob/Gyn in Junction City, gave a powerful presentation about her personal experience with breast cancer, as well as current information on breast health/cancer screening guidelines.TerrahStroda & Kelli Netson

Kelli Netson (right), a neuropsychologist at KU’s Wichita Center for Breast Cancer Survivorship, provided information on psychosocial needs after breast cancer diagnosis that was useful to many, whether the diagnosis was their own or a loved one’s.

You can see photos of the luncheon on our Facebook page (even if you don’t have a Facebook account).