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Johnson Cancer Research Center

2019-2020 Student Awardees

Fall 2019


(Awarded $105,000 for students and research expenses)

College of Arts & Sciences


Seth Peery – Mentor: Kathrin Schrick
Flavonoid anticancer compounds and associated transcriptional regulators in green algae

Ariana Cecil – Mentor: Katsura Asano
The differential role of 5MP1 and 5MP2 in cervical cancer

Whitney Pepper – Mentor: Katsura Asano
Identification of cancer driver mutations in 5MP1 and 5MP2

Carolina Bueno – Mentor: Revathi Govind
Guanine metabolism in C. difficile, an important bacterial pathogen that affects cancer patients in hospitals and healthcare settings

Megan Campbell – Mentor: Lorena Passarelli
Sulfhydryl oxidation and cancer pathophysiology: Defining viral oxidoreductase substrates

Madelyn Hilgers – Mentor: Chingakham Singh
Role of c-Myc and 5MP oncogenes in aberrant mRNA translation in colorectal cancer

Adeline Chang – Mentor: Govind Veddiyappan
Molecular Characterization of multidrug resistant AcrB efflux pump in Staph aureus (MRSA), a frequent pathogen in Cancer Patients

Jared Newell – Mentor: Thomas Mueller
A Behavioral Paradigm and Computational Infrastructure for Imaging Neurophysiological Processes in Zebrafish Models of Cancer

Lydia Waner – Mentor: Thomas Mueller
The Role of Tumor-Suppressor Gene Lhx5 During Stem Cell Proliferation and Neuronal Migration in the Developing Zebrafish Forebrai

Abigail Parker – Mentor: Ruth Welti
The role of a tafazzin homolog in lipid metabolism and the cellular life cycle disease

Abdulrahman Naeem – Mentor: Ruth Welti
Production of omega-3 fatty acid-containing healthy oils that have positive effects in cancer prevention and treatment

Carmen Del Real – Mentor: Jocelyn McDonald
Screening for modifiers of protein phosphatase function in collective invasion to reveal cancer mechanisms

Hannah Coggeshell – Mentor: Jocelyn McDonald
Examining the role of protocadherins in collective cell invasion and cancer

Emma Francis – Mentor: Rollie Clem
Studying the effect of viral genetics on tissue tropism using a potential oncolytic virus

Joshua Spradlin – Mentor: Zhilong Yang
Establish cell lines expressing inducible decapping enzymes of oncolytic vaccinia virus

Lake Winter – Mentor: Zhilong Yang
Regulated expression of decapping enzymes in oncolytic vaccinia virus

Elizabeth Riforgiate – Mentor: Nicholas Wallace
Contribution of Beta-Human Papillomavirus E6 and Mitotic Errors to Skin Cancer

Molly Leyda – Mentor: Sherry Fleming
Hypoxic macrophage phenotypes in placentas and tumors

Joshua Lingo – Mentor: Sherry Fleming
Bio distribution of novel B2-Glycoprotein I peptide

Kyle Thompson – Mentor: Kathrin Schrick
A novel transcriptional activation domain with relevance to gene expression in cancer cells

Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics

Michelle Coca – Mentor: Maureen Gorman
Cellular iron uptake by a clathrin-independent endocytic mechanism

Diana Najera – Mentor: Maureen Gorman
Alternative pathways for cellular iron uptake

Baltazar Claro-Martinez – Mentor: John Tomich
Tissue distribution of BAP-magnetic nanoparticles in control and tumor bearing mice

Samantha Goetting – Mentor: Erika Geisbrecht
Preventing inflammation by limiting the innate immune system in disease

Marta Stetsiv – Mentor: Erika Geisbrecht
Cancer promoting roles of NUAK and Stv in the context of protein aggregation

Megan Goeckel – Mentor: Gregory Finnigan
Coordination of cell signaling pathways through the cytoskeleton in a yeast model system

Ethan Kallenberger – Mentor: Brian Geisbrecht
gC1qR as an Emerging Therapeutic Target for Breast Cancer

Jacob Cindrich – Mentor: John Tomich
DNA-Branched Amphiphilic Peptide Capsule Complexes in Saline Solutions


Joseph Hammer – Mentor: Stefan Bossmann
Gated Nano-Carriers for Controlled Release of Anticancer Drugs

Tanji Lewis – Mentor: Stefan Bossmann
Cell-based Evaluation of Copper-activated Drugs Against Pancreatic Cancer

Ashley Bartels – Mentor: Ryan Rafferty
Constructing Blood-Brain Barrier Penetrant Agents: Correlating the Effects of Physicochemical Properties as a Function of Transport and Accumulation

Brittany Funk – Mentor: Ryan Rafferty
The Evolution of Natural Products: From Total Synthesis, Elaboration into Delivery Vehicles, and Combinational Applications as Anticancer Agents

Amanda Currie – Mentor: Ping Li
In silico screening and synthesis of inhibitors to carcinogenic NTMT1

Gage Wright – Mentor: Jun Li
Development of an Electronic Chip for Rapid Cancer Diagnosis

Courtney Johnson – Mentor: Chris Culbertson
Microfluidic-based single cell analysis for the examination of rare cells indicative of early stages of cancer or chemotherapy resistance: the development of an integrated heating element to maintain cell viability during high-throughput single-cell analysis

College of Veterinary Medicine

Anatomy & Physiology 

Mayme Loyd – Mentor: Masaaki Tamura
Purification and characterization of LPS-like factor from Chlorella cell wall membrane

Paige Cote – Mentor: Masaaki Tamura
Study of Euglena anti-tumor factor-dependent granulopoiesis

Diagnostic Medicine & Pathobiology

Emma Hawkins – Mentor: Annelise Nguyen
Development of Heterogeneous Spheroids of Colon Cancerous and Non-Cancerous Cells

College of Agriculture


Roger Abernathy – Mentor: Kristopher Silver
Effect of Tick saliva from Amblyomma americanum on cancer cell proliferation

College of Engineering

Electrical & Computer Engineering

Johnathon Moses – Mentor: Punit Prakash
Technical feasibility assessment of using directional microwave ablation applicators for treating spinal tumors

College of Health & Human Sciences

Food, Nutrition, Dietetics & Health

Benjamin Epp – Mentor: Richard Rosenkranz
Policies & Practices Related to Physical Activity in Kansas Middle Schools

Caroline Gambill – Mentor: Richard Rosenkranz
Cancer Prevention Coverage in Kansas Middle and High School Health Education Curricula


(Awarded: $5,000 – Requested: $15,000)


Dryden Baumfalk – Mentor: Brad Behnke
Cardio protective treatment of 5-Fluorouracil induced cardiotoxicity

Spring 2020


(Awarded: $132,132 – Requested: $175,155)

Anatomy & Physiology

Ramesh Marasini – Mentor: Jeff Comer ($8,175)
Indocyanine-type infrared-820 dye integrated polymeric nanoparticle for photothermal therapy of breast cancer

Elza Neelima Mathew – Mentor: Robert DeLong ($5,125)
Investigating the anti-melanoma potential of the antimicrobial peptide LL-37 in combination with zinc oxide nanoparticle

Deepa Upreti – Mentor: Masaaki Tamura ($3,125)
The study of immune checkpoint blockade gene therapy for colorectal cancer treatment


Mian Huang – Mentor: Ho Ng ($6,581)
Structure based design of drugs and biosensors


Alexis Carpenter – Mentor: Rollie Clem ($7,305)
The importance of virus replication in escape of Sindbis virus from the mosquito midgut

Candy Hernandez – Mentor: Zhilong Yang ($7,083)
Identification of the RNA targets of oncolytic vaccinia virus decapping enzymes

Yu Song – Mentor: Ruth Welti ($3,890)
Development and demonstration of a pipeline for discovery of lipid biomarkers and genes that mediate their metabolism

Babita Dhungel – Mentor: Revathi Govind ($7,080)
Phase Variation in Clostridioides difficile

Anuja Paudyal – Mentor: Govind Vediyappan ($7,081)
Role of Gymnemic acids in Candida albicans morphology and virulence

Changkun Hu – Mentor: Nicholas Wallace ($7,083)
Beta HPV E6 Protein Abrogates Double Strand Break Repair

Konner Winkley – Mentor: Michael Veeman ($7,296}
Quantitative and comprehensive analysis of Ciona notochord organogenesis

Jacob Weber – Mentor: Maureen Gorman ($6,359)
Biochemical properties and physiological functions of extracellular iron-binding proteins

Bibek Subedi – Mentor: Kathryn Schrick ($7,081)
Post-Translational Control of Homeodomain Transcription Factors in Plants

Nirupama Kotian – Mentor: Jocelyn McDonald ($7,083)
Investigation of cell adhesion genes in collective cancer cell migration and invasion


Raul Neri – Mentor: Stefan Bossmann ($6,582)
Synthesis of Novel Anticancer Drugs

Sagar Rayamajhi – Mentor: Santosh Aryal ($6,582)
Redesigning extracellular vesicles with imaging agents and therapeutic moiety for tumor diagnosis and therapy

Anthony Fatino – Mentor: Ryan Rafferty ($6,615)
Harnessing the Natural Products Reniochalistatin E and Lagunamide C in Cancer Therapy: Total Synthesis, Drug Vehicle Design, Structure-Activity Relationship, and Chemical Screening Library Construction

Pratikshya Sharma – Mentor: Viktor Chikan ($6,650)
Iron oxides nanoparticles based magnetic hyperthermia for the treatment of cancer


Dryden Baumfalk – Mentor: Brad Behnke ($5,000)
Prostate Cancer and Exercise: Therapeutic Implications

Stephen Hammond – Mentor: Carl Ade ($3,985)
Understanding 5-Fluorouracil chemotherapy-related toxicity and its potential impact on cancer outcomes


Tahmineh Azizi – Mentor: Majid Jaberi-Douraki ($6,371)
Towards an Intelligent Medicine Recommender System Using Comparative Machine Learning


All travel canceled


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