University students from Kansas, Oklahoma honored for research posters, presentations at annual K-INBRE bioscience symposium

January 31, 2014

By April Blackmon

Eighteen undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students were honored for their scientific research presentations at the 12th annual Kansas IDeA (Institutional Development Awards) Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE) symposium Jan. 18-19 at the Downtown Marriott Muehleback Towers in Kansas City, Mo.

The annual symposium is part of the K-INBRE initiative to identify and recruit promising college science students into careers in biomedical research in Kansas. Led by the University of Kansas Medical Center, 10 campuses in Kansas and northern Oklahoma are a part of this collaborative network.

"This program is vital for the continued development and recruitment of biomedical researchers in Kansas," said Doug Wright, principal investigator for K-INBRE and professor of anatomy and cell biology at KU Medical Center. "With this program we hope to keep the biosciences in Kansas growing and thriving."

Students work in laboratories alongside scientist mentors to develop research projects. These projects give students early "hands-on" experience in putting the scientific method into practice. Overall, 133 students presented their findings at the symposium.

"The symposium is a great opportunity for students to learn how to package and present their hard work and exceptional research to their peers and mentors," Wright said.

The annual K-INBRE Symposium brings together the network of students, faculty and staff from KU Medical Center, Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University, Haskell Indian Nations University, Kansas State University, Pittsburg State University, University of Kansas, Washburn University, Wichita State University and Langston University in Langston, Okla.

The following students, listed by campus, received cash prizes for their presentations:

Emporia State University

  • Ayoub Sehlaoui, senior in biochemistry, "The effects of MicroRNA 15a on the proliferation of human malignant melanoma cells" - oral presentation.

Fort Hays State University

  • Jennifer Pfannenstiel Klaus, master's student in biology, "Dispersal of antibiotic-resistant bacteria near central plains feedlots" - poster presentation.

Kansas State University

  • Tara N. Marriage, second year postdoctoral student in biology, "The evolution of life cycle gene expression in the Volvocine algae: toward a molecular understanding of multicellular evolution" - oral presentation.
  • Wren Michaels, junior in microbiology, "Generation of mosquito cells with enhanced antiviral activities" - poster presentation
  • Erin Peel, sophomore in microbiology, "The extracellular protease network that regulates malaria mosquito immunity" - oral presentation.

Langston University, Langston Okla.

  • Kellyn Pollard, senior in biology, "Beta 2 glycoprotein I-derived peptides alter angiogenesis in melanoma tumors" - oral presentation.

Pittsburg State University

  • Samantha Young, master's degree student in biology, "Ecological notes and seasonal activity of sand flies (Diptera: Psychodidae) in Kansas" - poster presentation.

University of Kansas - Lawrence campus

  • Rachel Gehringer, doctoral student in chemistry, "Measurements of serotonin release in Huntington's disease model R6/2 mice" - poster presentation.
  • Albert Kim, senior in cell biology (pre-med), "Optimization of RdRp expression for HANTAVIRUS cap-snatching process" - poster presentation.
  • Ryan Limbocker, junior in chemistry, "Neurochemical analysis of Chemobrain" - poster presentation.
  • Mitchell Newton, sophomore in chemistry, "Utilization and development of methods for the analysis of brain dialysis to understand oxidative stress" - oral presentation.
  • Timothy T. Turkalo, senior in cell biology, "Ewing's sarcoma Ewsa protein regulates Sox9 during skeletogenesis in zebrafish" - oral presentation.
  • Sarah Woody, doctoral student in pharmacology/toxicology, "Sumo-modification alters PXR transactivation" - poster presentation.

University of Kansas Medical Center

  • Angela Pierce, doctoral student in neuroscience, "Pelvic organ-specific increase insensitivity and dysregulation of the HPA axis following neonatal maternal separation in female mice" - poster presentation.
  • Nathan Wilson, doctoral student in anatomy and cell biology, "SPECC1L deficiency causes neural crest cell delamination and migration defects in facial clefting" - oral presentation.

Washburn University

  • Michael Benfer, senior in biology, "Cloning and analysis of a Naegleria Gruberi potassium two-pore channel cDNA" - poster presentation.
  • Keith Wagers, senior in chemistry, "Synthesis, characterization and application of Gold Nanoparticles as Gloromatic Probe for Melamine Detection in Milk and Milk Powder" - poster presentation.

Wichita State University

  • Kayla Jensen, junior in bioengineering, "Effect of polymer coating characteristics on the degradation and biocompatibility behavior of magnesium alloy," - oral presentation.


About K-INBRE:

K-INBRE is a multi-disciplinary network designed to inspire undergraduates to pursue careers in biomedical research, enhance research capacity through faculty development and retention and expand the biomedical research infrastructure connecting several academic institutions. More information about the program can be found at

This program was made possible by an Institutional Development Award (IDeA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under grant number P20 GM103418.

Funding for the poster presentation awards was provided by BioKansas, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization focused on enhancing the business and research climate and working with leaders across the state to attract and retain bioscience talent, companies and funding.


Last modified: Jan 31, 2014