K-INBRE Scholars Earn Goldwater Scholarship and Honorable Mention
Gage Brummer, a Kansas State University junior in biochemistry and premedicine, has earned a prestigious 2011 Barry M. Goldwater scholarship. Scott Archer Mitchell, a Kansas University junior, received honorable mention. Mitchell is a chemical engineering major who is simultaneously completing a master’s degree in bioengineering.
Brummer began his scientific research his freshman year, studying with Gary Conrad, KSU university distinguished professor of biology. Brummer is investigating the underlying causes of keratoconus, an eye disease that affects the cornea. He has helped develop a new pretreatment for the eye disease that uses vitamin B6, a nontoxic chemical, which could allow for less exposure to toxic UV radiation.
Brummer also is working on a second research project under Christopher Culbertson, KSU associate professor of chemistry. Brummer and Culbertson are trying to develop a new analytical technique that has numerous biological applications, such as rapid single cell analysis.
Brummer's research in microfluidics helped him land an internship at the Scripps Research Institute in Florida, where he will spend the upcoming summer working as a research assistant. Previously, Brummer had two summer internships at the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory in Salsbury Cove, Maine. He also was awarded the best student presentation at the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory Student Research Symposium in 2009.
Mitchell’s career goals are focused on collaborating with researchers to produce new clinical tools for diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease, years before symptoms appear. He plans to earn a medical degree and a doctoral degree specializing in biomedical engineering.
The Goldwater Foundation trustees announced that 275 scholarships had been awarded for the 2011-12 academic year. The scholarships cover eligible expenses for undergraduate tuition, fees, books and room and board, up to $7,500 annually. Honorable mention is a recognition of excellence.
Recipients were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,095 mathematics, science and engineering students nominated by their colleges and universities nationwide. Congress established the program in 1986 in tribute to the retired U.S. senator from Arizona and to ensure a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers.
Rachel Schuette Atkinson
Washburn University K-INBRE Coordinator Janice Barton reports Rachel Schuette Atkinson has been featured in the national press recently for her translational gold nanoparticle work in the treatment of cancer. Rachel was one of the original (2002-2003) K-BRIN summer-semester scholars who graduated from Washburn University with majors in biology and chemistry. Her K-BRIN research was directed by Stephen Angel, Chair of Chemistry, and Tom Wolf, Biology Emeritus.
Rachel just finished her doctorate at Baylor School of Medicine and is going to MD Anderson to work in the area of breast cancer prevention. As the links below show, her work merits much attention. Congratulations, Rachel!
Leaving Footprints in Kansas
Having left her footprints in Kansas, Jamie Wenke is headed to Vanderbilt University next year for the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Biological and Biomedical Sciences.
The University of Kansas senior from Topeka captured honors for her research on drug stability in human growth hormone during this year’s Kansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research (K-INBRE) Symposium in Kansas City. Funded by the National Center for Research Resources at the National Institutes of Health, the K-INBRE is designed to foster careers in biomedical science and build a workforce for the growing bioscience economy in Kansas. Joan Hunt, University Distinguished Professor at KU Medical Center is the principal investigator of this $44 million statewide initiative.
Jamie’s research is designed to improve the efficacy of human growth hormone, a common protein drug delivered by injection to both children and adults with growth hormone deficiency. Her studies have the potential of also improving the efficacy of additional protein drugs that have difficulty maintaining stability.
“I am looking forward to broadening my biochemistry knowledge and continuing to pursue research that impacts human health,” says Jamie.
At the K-INBRE Symposium, Jamie earned a first place award for her platform presentation to more than 200 students and faculty of the 10 campuses that are networked through the K-INBRE grant. The K-INBRE network includes KU-Lawrence, KU Medical Center, Kansas State University, Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University, Haskell Indian Nations University, Langston University in Oklahoma, Pittsburg State University, Washburn University and Wichita State University.
Jamie also earned an award of excellence at the K-INBRE Symposium for her poster presentation, “Engineered Glycosylation for Protein Stability: A Look at Human Growth Hormone.” Judges from the biomedical industry evaluated nearly 100 posters, and Jamie was one of 10 students who received awards. The K-INBRE poster awards are supported by KansasBio, which is dedicated to enhancing the state’s bioscience and research climate.
Poster Award Winners: (Back row) K-INBRE Judge Gene Malcolm of IBT Laboratories, Daniel Mettman of WSU, Aaron Deeds of KSU, David Nasrazadani of ESU, David Reed of WU, and K-INBRE Judge Christian Darabant of Titus Glenn (Front row) Joan Hunt, K-INBRE Principal Investigator, Jamie Wenke and Mary Krause of KU-Lawrence, Takrima Sadikot of KUMC and Stacy Littlechild of KSU. Poster award winners not pictured are Jessica Copeland of KUMC and Diana Hylton of KSU. The K-INBRE poster awards are supported by KansasBio, dedicated to enhancing the state’s bioscience and research climate.
K-INBRE Scholar Receives $250,000 Hertz Fellowship
A University of Kansas senior has received a $250,000 fellowship from the Hertz Foundation, joining 14 other undergraduate students from some of the most prestigious universities in the country.
Chemical engineering major Brandon James DeKosky, a 2009 K-INBRE Scholar, is part of a select group of gifted applied scientists and engineers with “the potential to change the world for the better,” using their Hertz Fellowship for graduate studies.
“The thing that I’m most excited about is the flexibility that it’s going to give me in terms of my graduate research,” said DeKosky. “It’s going to give me the freedom to do off the beaten path research.”
A native of Overland Park, DeKosky is in the process of selecting a graduate school, where he plans to work on developing new biological products like antibodies or proteins, with a focus on alternative fuels.
“I’m really interested in metabolic engineering — things like taking the energy that’s in agriculture waste like cornstalks, wheat stalks or switch grass and converting it into a usable fuel,” DeKosky said.
Hertz Fellowships are unique no-strings-attached fellowships, which allow exceptional applied scientists and engineers the freedom to innovate. Hertz Fellows pursue their own ideas with financial independence under the guidance of the finest professors at the country’s top universities. Hertz Fellows are chosen for their intellect, ingenuity and potential to bring meaningful and lasting change to society.
Since May 2008, DeKosky has been researching tissue engineering as a member of an interdisciplinary team at KU led by Michael Detamore, associate professor, and Stevin Gehrke, professor, who teach in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering and the bioengineering graduate program.
“He’s an impressive multitalented individual,” Detamore said. “From sports to music and academics, he exemplifies great achievement in the classroom and in the lab.”
DeKosky’s work ethic and approach also win praise.
“As an undergrad researcher, he really stands out,” Gehrke said. “He has a lot of initiative and a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of ideas. He’s hard working, but easy going as well.”
But around the School of Engineering, DeKosky is known for more than being an excellent student.
“He is passionate about his work, and he is delightful to talk to,” said Alexis McKinley Jones, recruitment director at the engineering school. “He’s personable, kind, funny and an excellent role model. Brandon is extremely bright, and he is also very well-rounded. He plays the guitar. He is into biking. He serves as a mentor for the SELF leadership program. He participated in a study abroad program in Costa Rica where he not only took Spanish language classes but also courses like Linear Algebra and Science of Materials in Spanish and did very well.”
DeKosky said his time at KU has set a foundation for continued success.
“The research that I’ve done here and the people that I’ve worked with have really trained me to be an independent researcher,” DeKosky said. “That’s what I’m going to capitalize on in the future.”
The Hertz Fellowship is the latest achievement for DeKosky. In spring 2009, he was honored nationally as a Nagel Scholar by Tau Beta Pi, the national honor society for engineering students, and as a recipient of the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship. For two years, DeKosky has served the School of Engineering as one of its ambassadors who work with prospective students. He is a National Merit Scholar and a member of the KU Honors Program. He is the son of Deborah DeKosky and Robert DeKosky, of Overland Park, and a graduate of Blue Valley Northwest High School.
K-INBRE Scholar Earns Goldwater Scholarship
A University of Kansas student has won a 2010 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship in the competition for one of the premier undergraduate awards encouraging excellence in science, engineering and mathematics.
Kevin Changhun Song, a sophomore from Lawrence and Seoul, South Korea, planning a career in biomedical science, is the 48th KU student to receive a Goldwater scholarship since they were first awarded in 1989.
Song, a K-INBRE Scholar funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and a chemical engineering major, is a member of the KU Honors Program. His long-range goals include conducting research and teaching at the university level.
“Kevin has shown talent, willingness to work hard and sincere interest in scientific research since he was a high school student. He is deserving of this prestigious award,” said Wonpil Im, assistant professor of molecular science and Song’s undergraduate research adviser.
Peggy Goldwater Clay, chair of the Board of Trustees of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, announced March 31 that scholarships for the 2010–11 academic year were awarded to 278 U.S. sophomores and juniors. They were selected from among 1,111 students nominated by their colleges and universities.
Goldwater scholarships cover eligible expenses for undergraduate tuition, fees, books and room and board, up to $7,500 annually.
Song plans to earn a medical degree and a doctoral degree in structural biology, specializing in molecular modeling of proteins. In February with a student travel award from the Biophysical Society, Song presented his research on lipid membrane structures using molecular dynamics simulations at the society’s annual meeting in San Francisco. This summer, he has an internship to study membrane biophysics with a National Institutes of Health researcher in Bethesda, Md.
Song entered KU during his senior year at Lawrence Free State High School to work in Im’s lab in KU’s Center for Bioinformatics. As a freshman, he learned the basics of a biomolecular simulation program known as CHARMM (Chemistry at HARvard Molecular Mechanics). Last summer, with Im’s encouragement, Song visited CHARMM researcher Richard Pastor at NIH. A first-generation American, Song is the son of Byung Ho Song and Jeungen Yu, both of Seoul, South Korea. His parents arranged for him to be educated in the United States. He is a Lawrence Free State High School graduate. His U.S. guardians are Sam and Jacque Shipstead of Lawrence.
Congress established the Goldwater program in 1986 in tribute to the retired U.S. senator from Arizona and to ensure a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers. In its 24-year history, the Goldwater foundation has awarded 6,079 scholarships worth approximately $58 million. The trustees plan to award about 300 scholarships for the 2011-12 academic year.
Goldwater scholars have impressive academic qualifications that have garnered the attention of prestigious postgraduate fellowship programs, including 73 Rhodes scholarships, 105 Marshall scholarships, 90 Churchill scholarships and numerous other distinguished fellowships.
Only sophomore- and junior-level students with outstanding academic records, significant research experience and high potential for careers in mathematics, the natural sciences or engineering were eligible for nomination. Nominees submitted applications that included essays related to the nominee’s career and faculty recommendations.