Kansas State University


Johnson Cancer Research Center Newsletter


This is a busy and exciting time for us as we prepare for several educational, fundraising and community outreach events, as well as our fall awards cycle, when we’ll select K-State’s next student cancer researchers. We hope you’ll join in at least one of our activities!

In this issue:

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.
with us on Facebook and Twitter.

K-State Fighting for a Cure Shirt Day October 4

Ladies' & Men's Shirts

Help K-State fight cancer!
Get the shirt. Wear it October 4.

Wear the K-State Fighting for a Cure shirt to the game—or anywhere!—Oct. 4, in celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and K-State cancer research!

Join first lady of K-State Football Sharon Snyder, university president and first lady Kirk & Noel Schulz, and many other K-State fans as they show their pride in the university’s fight against cancer Oct. 4.

Help spread the word! Post pics on Facebook and Twitter of yourself and friends wearing the shirt, and use #HelpKStateFightCancer hashtag.

Get the shirt! They are $20 and offered in unisex, ladies’ junior and youth sizes. They’re available at our center or shipped from our webstore sponsored by N Zone. They are also available at Varney’s. We thank N Zone and Varney’s for their support! Visit our Fighting for a Cure Shirt webpage for more details.

We’re having a Tailgate Party Oct. 4, too! We’d love for you to join us!

Upcoming Events

The 17th annual Rob Regier Memorial Golf Tournament will be at 1 p.m., Oct. 3, at Manhattan Country Club. Rob was a K-State graduate in pre-dentistry who passed away from cancer at age 26. His family hosts the tournament in his memory. Players and sponsors are welcome!


Tailgate Party Graphic
Tailgate without the work! Come to our Tailgate Party in Cat Town Oct. 4.


Men's Fighting for a Cure Shirt
Show your K-State pride by wearing the ‘Fighting for a Cure’ Shirt Sat., Oct. 4!


Jefferson Science Fellow Distinguished Lecture
at 4 p.m. Fri., Oct. 10, 221 Ackert Hall. The speaker will be Mitchell Turker, Prof. of Molecular & Medical Genetics, Oregon Health & Science University.


Pink Power Luncheon Graphic
Our 5th annual Pink Power Luncheon for breast cancer awareness will be Oct. 17. The presenter, Susan Krigel, clinical psychologist with the Midwest Cancer Alliance and KU Cancer Center, will discuss “chemobrain.” Reservations required.

Continue reading “Upcoming Events”

Research News


Dr. Deryl Troyer
Dr. Deryl Troyer
, anatomy & physiology, received Phi Kappa Phi honor society’s Scholar Award.  read announcement

Dr. Michal ZolkiewskiDr. Michal Zolkiewski, biochemistry & molecular biophysics, led a study that could result in the first universal treatment for dystonia, a neurological disorder that affects nearly half a million Americans.  read news release

Dr. Annelise Nguyen

Dr. Annelise Nguyen, Diagnostic Medicine & Pathobiology, was appointed to serve a 4-year term on the National Institutes of Health’s Literature Selection Technical Review Committee for the National Library of Medicine. The appointment is based on quality of clinical and research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals, and other significant medical and scientific activities, achievements and honors.

Benton McGivern receiving undergraduate Cancer Research Award
Benton McGivern, senior in kinesiology and pre-medicine in Dr. Susan Brown‘s lab in biology, was named an outstanding graduating senior in K-State College of Human Ecologyread news release

Cancer research faculty retirements
Gary Conrad and Jean-Pierre Perchellet, both professors in the Division of Biology

New cancer research faculty
Thomas Mueller, biology; Ryan Rafferty, chemistry; Kristopher Silver, anatomy & physiology; Timothy Durrett, biochemisty; Mei He, biological & agricultural engineering (in Olathe)

Thanks to A.D. John Currie, Local Middle Schoolers and More

A.D. John Currie helped shine national spotlight on K-State cancer research

K-State Athletics Director John Currie accepted a Chillin’ 4 Charity challenge July 15 from another university A.D., allowing ice water to be dumped over his head. In addition to supporting the event’s charity, the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, he included the Johnson Cancer Research Center. He in turn challenged some other A.D.s and after they accepted, he stayed true to his word with a donation to our center. news release


Middle school students gave gift in memory of former teacher

Anthony Middle School's Silver 7 Team
Anthony M.S. Silver 7 Team with the late Lisa Morgan’s children Luke & Anna Stramel

Anthony Middle School’s Silver 7 Team–that is, the 7th graders and their teachers–always sets aside a little of the money they raise for celebrations, to donate to a charity in Manhattan. For the past two years they’ve chosen our center.

Some of them were introduced to us in 2010, when they were still at Marlatt Elementary School. They had witnessed their teacher, Lisa Morgan, fight and succumb to cancer, and participated in a school-wide t-shirt fundraiser that honored her in her final days and raised money for our center.

Last year, when it was time for their middle school class to select a beneficiary, they voted to donate to our center in her memory. This year, they continued their support with another $250 gift.

We are impressed by these students who keep giving in Lisa Morgan’s memory, and honored to receive their meaningful gifts. Maybe in a few years, one of the Silver 7 kids will receive one of our student research awards that they’ve helped fund!


Coach Snyder & Sunny 102.5 challenge Wildcats to tackle cancer

Sunny & McDonald'sWe are grateful again to K-State Head Football Coach Bill Snyder and Sunny 102.5 FM for sponsoring the Wildcat Challenge to Tackle Cancer. They recorded radio ads that are being played all over the state and sent letters asking people to join their challenge. Sunny 102.5 is including us in several promotional activities and will have their annual, live fundraiser on Fri., Oct. 3, from the rooftop of McDonald’s on 4th Street, in Manhattan.


Mason’s Wish/Western States Fire Protection golf tournament raised $20,240

Mason's Wish Golf Tournament
Jeff Daane, Western States Fire Protection; Mason Wolfe; Eric Holderness, KSU Foundation; Rob Denell, director of Johnson Cancer Research Center; and Fred Wolfe

Hundreds of miles west of us in Castle Rock, Colo., a golf tournament on August 1 raised $20,240 for K-State cancer research! Western States Fire Protection held their annual golf tournament to support Mason’s Wish, a charity that raises funds for our center.

Run by Mason Wolfe and her mom Nancy Wolfe, a 1990 K-State alumna, with support from family and friends, Mason’s Wish has raised more than $100,000 for us by selling candles, games, t-shirts and other items, and holding benefit events. They started the charity after Mason’s father, Fred Wolfe, a 1993 K-State alum, was diagnosed with cancer in 2007. She wanted to do something to not feel hopeless and to help her dad and other families.

Nancy recently joined our Advisory Council and her other daughter Morgan became a K-State student this fall. Mason dreams of becoming a brain surgeon and is considering attending K-State in a couple of years.

2014 Conquest story about Mason’s Wish


Tough Enough to Wear Pink raised $9,000

Tough Enough to Wear Pink RodeoThe 8th annual Tough Enough to Wear Pink night at the Kaw Valley PRCA Rodeo July 25 raised awareness and funds for K-State cancer research. Rodeo spectators, participants and even horses wore pink! A pink balloon launch and cancer survivor recognition ceremony honored all who have ever faced cancer. The Silver Buckle Drill Team from McPherson did a special breast cancer awareness performance and Guardians of the Ribbon brought their pink fire truck, Nicki, from Wichita again.

The Kaw Valley Rodeo Association’s TETWP committee also held another successful spaghetti dinner, sponsored by Cox Bros. BBQ and First Presbyterian Church.

We are so grateful to the Kaw Valley Rodeo Association and the “Pink Committee” for choosing to support local cancer research! This year’s Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign raised almost $9,000! That brings their total to $67,000!


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.