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Johnson Cancer Research Center

2017-2018 Student Awardees

Fall 2017


(Awarded $66,000 for students and research expenses)

College of Veterinary Medicine

Anatomy & Physiology 

Riley Burghart – Mentor: Masaaki Tamura
Study of the effect of Euglena gracilis water extract on the proliferation of murine bone marrow cells

Jayden McCall – Mentor: Robert DeLong
Effect of nanoparticles on mRNA translation and delivery

Arashi Nakashima – Mentor: Masaaki Tamura
The effect of Euglena Gracilis Water Extract (EWE) on TLR expressions and cell growth of lung cancer cells

College of Arts & Sciences

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Alexandria Bontrager – Mentor: Erika Geisbrecht
Towards understanding how NUAK influences the balance between insulin signaling and cancer

Jennifer Coats – Mentor: John Tomich
Altering the assembly protocol of peptide nano-capsules to facilitate the intra-cellular release of encapsulated cargo

Emily Roggenkamp – Mentor: Greg Finnigan
Development of CRISPR/Cas gene editing tools to study the cell cycle in a yeast system

Marta Stetsiv – Mentor: Erika Geisbrecht
Identifying targets of conserved microRNAs that are misregulated in cancer
View Shawnee Dispatch 01/10/18 story on Marta Stetsiv.

Emily Wessel – Mentor: John Tomich
Selective delivery of fungicides using branched amphipathic peptide capsules 


Eric Aube – Mentor: Katsura Asano
Translational control of mRNA bearing AAACA motifs by translation factor eIF3, an essential multi-subunit protein involved in tumorigenesis

Alexia Bieker – Mentor: Lorena Passarelli
Virus fractionation to enhance the identification of oxidized proteins as cancer targets

Yusuf Ciftci – Mentor: Revathi Govind
Deciphering SinR-SinR' interactions in Clostridium difficile 

Marlene Compos-Guerrero – Mentor: Zhilong Yang
Construct anti-tumor recombinant VACV expressing dnPARP 

Sarah Gillespie – Mentor: Katsura Asano
Translational control of repeat-associated non-AUG translation by 5MP, an emerging oncogenic protein 

Kathlyn Gomendoza – Mentor: Lorena Passarelli
Identifying peptides that form a complex with a viral sulfhydryl oxidase that oxidases SfP53, an insect oncogene suppressor homolog 

Connor Horn – Mentor: Govind Vediyappan
Antifungal development for Candida yeast infections in cancer patients 

Faith Kim – Mentor: Jeroen Roelofs
Studies into the assembly mechanism of proteasome Core Particle, a target for the cancer drug Bortezomib 

Marissa Komp – Mentor: Jocelyn McDonald
Genetic modifier screen to identify conserved cancer metastasis and invasion genes 

Yibo Liu – Mentor: Ruth Welti
Characterization of two serine hydrolases 

Elizabeth Martino – Mentor: Lorena Passerelli
Utilizing bioinformatics to identify substrates of a sulfhydyl oxidase and assessing their function

Micah Meyer – Mentor: Chingakham Singh
Adeno-associated virus control of host translation through eIF5-mimic protein

Jared Newell – Mentor: Thomas Mueller
An MRI approach to imaging brain physiology in zebrafish tumor models 

Seth Peery – Mentor: Kathrin Schrick
Origin of flavonoid anticancer compounds in charophycean green algae

Charles Shaeffer – Mentor: Rollie Clem
Using a replicon system to assess in vivo viral tropism 

Jazmine Snow – Mentor: Nick Wallace
HPV cancers and translesion synthesis protein abundance in proliferating cells 

Mackenzie Thornton – Mentor: Katsura Asano
The role of translational regulation in nutritional stress response, which is important for cancer cell malignancy and metastasis
Read about Mackenzie in our 2020 Conquest magazine.

Vaithish Velazhahan – Mentor: Kathrin Schrick
Role of flavonoids in modulating transcription factor activity involved in cancer progression 

Spencer Ward – Mentor: Michael Veeman
Par/aPKC dependent and independent mechanisms of asymmetric cell division 

Kyler Weingartner – Mentor: Kathrin Schrick
Rhamnose synthase and its role in glycosylating flavonoids that are anticancer compounds 

Alexa Wilden – Mentor: Stella Lee
Glutamine effects on lysosome morphology changes induced by autophagy 


Johnathon Dallman – Mentor: Ryan Rafferty
Targeting cervical cancer – Exploiting the potent Polyketide unit of Lagunamide C with the targeting properties of Reniochalistatin E 

Kelsey Ferguson – Mentor: Ryan Rafferty
Unlocking blood-brain barrier transport –Treatment of brain cancers

Olivia Haney – Mentor: Ryan Rafferty
Targeting multiple myeloma – Divergent total synthesis and targeted design

College of Engineering

Electrical & Computer Engineering 

Jordan Disberger – Mentor: Punit Prakash
Techniques for automatic MRI-based control of microwave hyperthermia for thermal therapy of pancreatic cancer 


(Awarded: $880 – Requested: $880)


Guotao Chu, Yinhao Du – Mentor: Cen Wu
Eastern North American Region of International Biometric Society 2018 Spring Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia 


(Awarded: $5,000 – Requested: $7,200)

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Simranjot Bawa – Mentor: Erika Geisbrecht
Defining the role of Drosophila dTRIM32 in cardiac muscle development

Spring 2018


(Awarded: $4,100 – Requested: $6,085)

Mechanical & Nuclear Engineering

Rajarshi Chowhury – Mentor: Amir Bahadori ($900)
American Nuclear Society Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA


Dryden Baumfalk, Taylor Rand, Andrew Horn – Mentor: Brad Behnke ($700)
Experimental Biology, San Diego, CA 

Electrical & Computer Engineering

Hojjatollah Fallahi – Mentor: Punit Prakash ($500)
IEEE MTT-S International Microwave Biomedical Conference, Philadephia, PA


Tuyen Nguyen, Ramesh Marasini – Santosh Aryal ($2,000)
American Chemical Society, New Orleans, LA


(Awarded: $2,150 – Requested: $3,376)


Alexander Opoku-Acheampong – Brad Behnke ($700)
Experimental Biology, San Diego, CA


Sebastian Wendel – Mentor: Nicholas Wallace ($950)
DNA Tumor Virus Meeting, Madison, WI

Shuai Cao – Zhilong Yang ($500)
American Society for Virology Annual Meeting, University of Maryland 


(Awarded: $47,102 – Requested: $86,278) 


Jose Covarrubias – Mentor: Stefan Bossmann ($6,372)
Design of MTI-Sensors for Cancer-related Proteases and Kinases

Tuyen Nguyen – Mentor: Santosh Aryal ($6,371)
Immune compatible nanoparticle for targeted cancer therapy and diagnosis

Jay Sibbitts – Mentor: Chris Culbertson ($6,372)
Microfluidic Single-Cell Analysis for the Study of Multi-Targeted Cancer Therapeutic Strategies 

Kaimin Jia – Mentor: Ping Li ($6,615)
Substrate profiling of carcinogenous N-terminal RCC1 methyltransferase 1

Anthony Fatino – Mentor: Ryan Rafferty ($6,450)
Discovery of Natural Product Inspired Bioactive Agents and Investigations into Delivery Across the Blood-Brain Barrier

Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics

Indhujah Thevarajan – Mentor: Michal Zolkiewski ($6,678)
Effect of the cancer-linked mutations in the tumor suppressor p53 on its protein interaction network


Pragyesh Dhungel – Mentor: Zhilong Yang ($7,044)
Selective mRNA translation during vaccinia virus infection


Dryden Baumfalk – Mentor: Brad Behnke ($1,200)
Effects of prostate cancer on left ventricular function

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