Kansas State University


Johnson Cancer Research Center Newsletter


K-State scientists engineer virus to kill cancer cells

Pragyesh Dhungel & Shuai CaoZhilong Yang‘s team in biology has made a discovery that could lead to improved targeted therapies for cancer and many viruses.

Messenger RNA is the template to produce proteins in all organisms. Poxviruses, which can infect people, mammals and some reptiles, use a poly(A) leader in their messenger RNA to synthesize more proteins.

“If we can stop a poxvirus’s use of poly(A) leader, we can kill the virus,” said Shuai Cao, postdoctoral researcher. “This could help develop a novel anti-poxvirus strategy, which could be very important for finding cures for infections and diseases.”

This relates to cancer because a poly(A) leader is present in vaccinia virus, which…can be engineered to selectively infect cancer cells, Dhungel said.

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Jun Li and Duy Hua receive large NCI grant

Jun Li (pictured here with his lab team) and Duy Hua, both in chemistry, have been awarded $1,371,309 from National Cancer Institute for “Rapid protease profiling with a multiplex electronic method for detection of metastatic triple-negative breast cancer.” Dr. Priyanka Sharma, of University of Kansas Medical Center, was a collaborator, detecting protease biomarkers in specimens from cancer patients. Previous support from the Johnson Cancer Research Center helped Li and Hua start this project in 2011. A patent on this cancer detection technology was recently granted.

Wallace helping military fight skin cancer

Nicholas Wallace, biology, received $510,231 from the U.S. Dept. of Defense to investigate the role of human papillomavirus in skin cancer. HPV is known as a sexually transmitted disease that causes cervical cancer, but the HPV family of viruses infects the skin of a majority of people. read more

Magnetic Nanotech image
Stefan Bossmann, chemistry, and Hongwang Wang, grain sciences, have published their edited book, “Magnetic Nanomaterials: Applications in Catalysis and Life Sciences,” which appears in the Royal Society of Chemistry series “Smart Materials.” read more



Bossmann and Schlup honored for teaching excellence

Stefan BossmannJohn SchlupStefan Bossmann, chemistry, and John Schlup, chemical engineering, have been selected to receive the Segebrecht Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award, which recognizes professors who provide inspiration and excellence in teaching. read more


Dr. Dong LinGUINNESS WORLD RECORDS ™ names engineers’ graphene aerogel as world’s least dense 3-D printed structure

The world’s lightest 3-D printed structure is so lightweight that it can be placed on top of a cotton ball or the petals of a flower. The record-breaking material is 3-D printed graphene aerogel and it was developed by Dong Lin, industrial and manufacturing systems engineering, and others. read more

Dr. David Poole


David Poole, kinesiology, earned distinguished lectureship award from the from the Environmental and Exercise Physiology section of the American Physiological Society. read more



J. Scott Smith


K-State researcher shows black pepper helps limit cancerous compounds in meat

J. Scott Smith, animal sciences and industry, recently discovered that black pepper reduces carcinogenic compounds in grilled meats. read more




Biology student uses national fellowship to study baculovirus

Kathlyn Gomendoza


Kathlyn Gomendoza uses undergraduate research fellowship from American Society for Microbiology to study baculovirus in Lorena Passarelli‘s lab in biology. read more



Undergraduate students study yeast ribosomes to reveal a fundamental process of cancer formation

Asano Lab TeamCancer Research Awardees Chelsea Moore, Eric Aube, Ian Harmon and others mentored by Katsura Asano in biology, are using yeast to better understand what goes wrong in cancerous cells. read more

Bassette selected for Amgen Scholars Program

Molly Bassette


Molly Bassette, an alumna of Peying Fong‘s lab, was an Amgen Scholar over the summer. She had a paid, mentored research experience at Univ of California, San Francisco, where she studied genes involved in cancer cell response to multiple myeloma treatments. read more


Sandhu received Grad Student Award


Bhupinder Sandhu, in Christer Aakeroy‘s lab in chemistry, received a University Distinguished Professor Graduate Student Award for her crystal engineering work to improve solubility of potential cancer drugs. read more


Undergraduate Cancer Researchers honored by Division of Biology

Jazmine Snow

Kathlyn GomendozaHaley Smalley






Jazmine Snow, Kathlyn Gomendoza & Haley Smalley were named 2016-2017 Biology Most Promising Students.

Adam Schieferecke


Adam Schieferecke received the 2016-2017 Haymaker Award for Excellence.

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