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Johnson Cancer Research Center

2020-2021 Student Awardees

Fall 2020


(Awarded: $55,000)

Anatomy & Physiology

Mayme Loyd – Mentor: Masaaki Tamura
Study of the mechanism underlying Euglena-dependent inhibition of viral infection and lung cancer growth 

Morgan Phillips – Mentor: Masaaki Tamura
Study of the effect of water extract from Euglena gracilis on T cell immunity in viral infections and lung cancer

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Hawa Dembele – Mentor: Om Prakash
Understanding the Structural Basis for Development of EGFR Inhibitors for Cancer Treatment 

Kierra Holloman – Mentor: Michael Kanost
Regulation of protease inhibitors by oxidation of cysteine residues
Read about Kierra in our 2021 Conquest Magazine.

Alexander Vontz – Mentor: Brian Geisbrecht
gC1qR as an Emerging Therapeutic Target for Breast Cancer


Ashley Bartels – Mentor: Ryan Rafferty
Achieving General Blood-Brain Barrier Transport via Small Molecule Conjugation 

Doug Farleigh – Mentor: Ryan Rafferty
Lagunamide C: Unlocking Cancerous Cell Transport via Investigations into its Mode of Cellular Uptake Action

Caleb Kline – Mentor: Ping Li
Study of the mechanism underlying Euglena-dependent inhibition of viral infection and lung cancer growth 

Gage Wright – Mentor: Jun Li
Development of Microelectrode Arrays for Rapid Cancer Detection and Therapy assessment 


Adara Warner – Mentor: Kathrin Schrick
Mechanism of transcriptional regulation with relevance to gene expression in cancer cells

Ariana Cecil – Mentor: Katsura Asano
Translational profiling of human cells expressing oncogene c-myc

Taylor Bugbee – Mentor: Nick Wallace
Beta-HPV’s Potential in Promoting Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer

Elizabeth Riforgiate – Mentor: Nick Wallace
β-HPV’s Relationship to Micronuclei and Skin Cancer

Cathryn Haas – Mentor: Lorena Passarelli
How a baculovirus sulfhydryl oxidase that interacts with the tumor suppressor P53 affects virion morphology

Casey Worley – Mentor: Chingakham Singh
Biological role of tRNA modification and their regulatory machinery in colorectal cancer

Lydia Waner – Mentor: Thomas Mueller
Dissecting the Role of the Tumor-Suppressor Gene Lhx5 During Migration of Calretinin Expressing Glutamatergic Hippocampal-Like Neurons in Zebrafish 

Abdulrahman Naeem – Mentor: Ruth Welti
Analysis of a homology of alpha/beta hydrolase4 (Abdh4) 

Hannah Coggeshall – Mentor: Jocelyn McDonald
Exploring the role of non-canonical adhesion genes in collective cell migration 

Emma Francis – Mentor: Rollie Clem
The impact of apoptosis on replication of an oncolytic virus

Joshua Spradlin – Mentor: Zhilong Yang
The utilities of virus-encoded host shutoff proteins in killing cancer cells 

Lake Winter – Mentor: Zhilong Yang
Generation of a recombinant MVA expressing asparaginase and examine its effect on breast cancer cell lines 

John Tumberger – Mentor: Brad Olson
Co-option of fasciclin-like gene for multicellularity

Spring 2021


(Awarded: $95,439 - Requested: $110,900)


Sabari Rajendran – Mentor: Jun Li ($6,644)
Nanostructured electrode materials for biosensing and electrical energy storage

Wei Wu – Mentor: Ping Li ($7,305)
Decoding molecular roles of protein N-terminal methylation

Arnaldo Torres Hernandez – Mentor: Ryan Rafferty ($6,915)
Balgacyclamide A & B: From total synthesis to the development of new therapeutic delivery systems

Anatomy & Physiology

Deepa Upreti – Mentor: Masaaki Tamura ($7,500)
Role of intestinal microbiota in Euglena gracilis extract-dependent prevention of lung cancer


Dryden Baumfalk – Mentor: Brad Behnke ($5,000)
Dissertation: Prostate cancer, the heart, and exercise: Cardiovascular dysfunction and therapeutic outcomes

Stephen Hammond – Mentor: Carl Ade ($5,000)
Vascular dysfunction in cancer patients receiving 5-Fluorouracil chemotherapy: Implications for cancer-specific outcomes


Alexis Carpenter – Mentor: Rollie Clem ($7,131)
Tissue-specific attenuation of Sindbis virus by microRNA targeting

Tanner Richie – Mentor: Sonny Lee ($6,930)
Modulating intestinal microbiome to promote microbiota and immune system co-development

Christopher Messer – Mentor: Jocelyn McDonald ($7,073)
Dynamic control of Drosophila border cell migration by the small GTPase Rap1

Bibek Subedi – Mentor: Kathrin Schrick ($7,083)
Post-translational control of homeodomain transcription factors in plants

Anuja Paudyal – Mentor: Govind Vediyappan ($7,080)
Role of gymnemic acids in Candida albicans morphology and virulence

Dalton Dacus – Mentor: Nick Wallace ($7,080)
Beta Human Papillomavirus E6: A Menace to Genomic Integrity

Tshegofatso Ngwaga – Mentor: Stephanie Shames ($7,083}
Mechanisms of LegC4 effector-mediated immunity in macrophages

Plant Pathology

Joel Steyer – Mentor: Richard Todd ($7,615)
Regulation of branched chain amino acid metabolic genes in Aspergillus nidulans


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