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Johnson Cancer Research Center

Student Awardees

Fall 2018


(Awarded $70,000 for students and research expenses)

College of Veterinary Medicine 

Anatomy & Physiology 

Grant Huslig – Mentor: Robert DeLong
Quantitative-structure-activity-relationships between cancer-specific aptamer and physiologically-based nanoparticles

Mayme Loyd – Mentor: Masaaki Tamura
Study of adenovirus vector-based gene therapy using the PD-L1 immune checkpoint inhibitory peptide secretory gene for the treatment of lung cancer 

Nina Marchell – Mentor: Robert DeLong
Delivery of triplex forming oligonucleotide (TFO) targeting RAS by physiological metal oxide nanoparticle

Nicole Robben– Mentor: Masaaki Tamura
Delivery of triplex forming oligonucleotide (TFO) targeting RAS by physiological metal oxide nanoparticle

College of Arts & Sciences

Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics

Michelle Coca – Mentor: Maureen Gorman
Mechanisms of regulated iron uptake by cells

Baltazar Claro-Martinez – Mentor: John Tomich
Development of Timed-Release Peptide Nano-Capsules

Hawa Dembele – Mentor: Om Prakash
NMR Studies of an Insect Cytokine: Towards Understanding the Structural Basis for Development of EGFR Inhibitors for Cancer Treatment

Samantha Gameros– Mentor: Erika Geisbrecht
TRIM32-mediated regulation of glycolysis a new model for the Warburg effect in cancer

Megan Goeckel – Mentor: Gregory Finnigan
Development of a molecular screening tool for new CRISPR variants for use in gene therapies

Isabel Lewis – Mentor: Gregory Finnigan
Control of gene editing using novel anti-CRISPR proteins to the Cast12a nuclease

Fawwaz Naeem – Mentor: Erika Geisbrecht
Identification of genes that function with Starvin/Bag3 to elucidate cancer-related functions

Robert Small – Mentor: John Tomich
Interactions of Proteins with the outer leaflet of Branched Amphiphilic Peptide Capsules


Cesar Aparicio – Mentor: Santosh Aryal
Synthesis and Characterization of hypoxia-sensitive platinum (IV) prodrug

Ashley Bartels – Mentor: Ryan Rafferty
Investigations into a Universal Platform for Blood-Brain Barrier Penetration

Johnathan Dallman – Mentor: Ryan Rafferty
Anticancer Agent Discovery: Total Synthesis of Potent Anticancer Natural Products and Applications into Targeted Delivery

Joseph Hammer – Mentor: Stefan Bossmann
Nano carriers for Controlled Release of anticancer Agents at Tumor Cites

Maria Montes-Gonzalez – Mentor: Stefan Bossmann
Imaginz/Treating Pancreatic Tumors and Metastases by Targeting GRP78  

Gage Wright – Mentor: Jun Li
Developing Nanobiosensors for Rappid Protease Profiling toward Cancer Diagnosis


Ariana Cecil – Mentor: Katsura Asano
Transitional reprograming of cMyc by a novel oncogene 5MP1

Marlene Campos-Guerrero – Mentor: Zhilong Yang
Engineering vaccina virus for cancer treatment

Eric Austin Cheng – Mentor: Zhilong Yang
Mimicry of cancer cell metabolism in VACV infection

Sarah Hansen– Mentor: Kristin Michel
The Investigation of Fungal Pathogens in Immunocompromised Organisms

Madelyn Hilgers– Mentor: Chingakham Singh
Transitional reprogramming during adeno-associated virus type 2 (AAV2) production through eIF5-mimic protein

Marissa Komp – Mentor: Jocelyn McDonald
Identification of Potential Human Cancer Invasion Genes using Drosophlia

Joshua Lingo – Mentor: Jeroen Roelofs
Alteration of proteasome abundance and localization in response to the cancer drug, Bortezomib

Yibo Liu – Mentor: Ruth Welti
Understanding the function of a homolog of a gene involved in fatty liver disease

Carter Moravek – Mentor: Chingakham Singh
The role of mRNA methylation in cancer development

Samuel Ockerhausen – Mentor: Jeroen Roelofs
Understanding the mislocalization of the proteasome, a cancer drug target, upon subunit truncation

Seth Peery - Mentor: Kathrin Schrick
Flavonoid Anticancer Compounds and associated regulatory pathways in green algae

Whitney Pepper - Mentor: Katsura Asano
The central role of GCN2 eIF2alpha kinase in nutritional stress response, which is important for cancer cell malignancy and metastasis 

Haley Smalley – Mentor: Sherry Fleming
Beta2 Glycoprotein I derived peptides alter melanoma tumor growth

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

Alexa Wilden – Mentor: Stella Lee
Recovery mechanisms of enlarge lysosomes as mediate by the solute carrier transporter SLC38 family

College of Agriculture 

Plant Pathology

Sara Hopkins – Mentor: Richard Todd
Characterization of a putative L-amino acid oxidase gene, a counterpart of an enzyme with anti-proliferative effects

College of Engineering 

Mechanical & Nuclear Engineering

Prerona Kundu – Mentor: Amir Bahadori
Incorporation of Spatial Effects in a Cellular Automata Model with a Focus on Astronaut Radiation Protection


(Awarded: $1,200 – Requested: $1,268)

Mechanical & Nuclear Engineering

Rohan Amare – Mentor:  Amir Bahadori
International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, Pittsburgh, PA

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