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The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology recognizes outstanding accomplishments of a predoctoral student with three awards:

Tom Steadman Teacher-Research Opportunity Award

The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department is proud to announce that Gissel McDonald is the  recipient of our departmental Tom Steadman 2018 Teacher-Research Opportunity Award. Our department has a long history of interacting with undergraduate and high school educators in the Kansas City area, and this award was created to allow a high school teacher, who teaches hands-on research techniques, the opportunity to contribute to original research being conducted within our department, thereby increasing his/her own research prowess and teaching ability.   

This award is named after Tom Steadman, a farmer/rancher in Woodward County, OK. It was from observing Mr. Steadman's actions that Dr. Fenton first realized the value of academic service as an important way of giving back to the community. Graduating high school students can benefit from help in exploring available career options; therefore, there is a need for individuals in professional fields to create opportunities to supply that help. The ability to see something that is needed coupled with the willingness to fill that need exemplifies how Mr. Steadman has led his life. 

Gissel McDonald received her BA in Biology with minor in Chemistry at Texas A&M University in 1999. She began her teaching career in Oklahoma where she taught middle school science, high school biology, chemistry, physics, and was also an adjunct professor at Connors State College. During her 15 years teaching various levels of chemistry at
Spring Hill High School in Spring Hill Kansas, she started a traveling chemistry magic show targeted for elementary aged students to promote interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields.  In 2009, Mrs.
McDonald introduced a Material Science and Technology course to expose students to different STEM fields not traditionally seen at high school. Several former students have now gone on to study polymer engineering, metallurgical
engineering, and other fields in material science.  Her past efforts have been recognized by being awarded the Spring Hill's teacher of the year award in 2007 and the American Chemical Society Midwest Regional Award for Excellence
in High School Teaching in 2016.  Mrs. McDonald is now a Master Teacher for ASM International Education Foundation (a partnership program with local material science industry professionals) and travels the country during the summer, teaching other teachers about material science. The goal of this effort is to encourage material science topics in high school curriculums. Gissel has presented material science at a National Science Teaching Association conference.  However, Gissel shows little interest in being content with past achievements.  Instead, she continues to serve as the science department chair on her campus, as well as being part of a Building Leadership Team, and being interactive with education within her church.  

Gissel was presented with a certificate of the 2018 Tom Steadman Teacher-Research Opportunity Award by Dr. Aron Fenton, Professor of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.


Aron Fenton joins Tom Stedman as he signs the  award
certificate to be presented to Mrs. Perez-Estrella, the inagural recipient of the Tom Stedman award.

Dr. Aron Fenton presents the 2018 Tom Steadman award to Gissel McDonald.

Inagural recipient of the Tom Steadman award was Zulma Perez-Estrella

Kimmel Award

The Joe R. Kimmel Award was established in 1985 as a memorial to Joe R. Kimmel, M.D., Ph.D. by colleagues and students. Dr. Kimmel, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, was on the faculty from 1963 until his death in 1985.

It is awarded outstanding research presentation in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Student Research Forum.

Recipients of the Kimmel Award:

Robin Maser


Scott Falke


Subhaschandra Naik


Alex Machen


Larry Dobbs


Huimin Jiang


Mauricio Vargas Uribe


Carla Green


Alexsander Dajkovic


Dan Parente 


Michael Harding


Ryan Schulze


Rushi Trivedi


Bei Xie


Benjamin Weaver


Mary Ashley Rimmer


Stephen Parnell


Matthew Goering


 Zhen Zhang  2016

Shihyun You


Hiroo Katayama


 Jackie Thompson  2017

Susanna Harju


Troy Johnson


 Pierce O'Neil  2018

Grisolia Award

Santiago Grisolia Research Fellowship is awarded for Excellence in Biomedical Research by a Medical Student at the Student Research Forum.

GrisoliaEstablished in 1997 in commemoration of the esteemed career of Santiago Grisolia, M.D., Ph.D., by colleagues, associates, and students. Dr. Grisolia, Professor Emeritus at the University of Kansas Medical Center, was Director of the McIlvain Laboratories, 1954-62 and Professor and Chairman, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 1962-73.

Recipients of the Grisolia Award:

Stephen Clum


Bliss Hartnett


Nils R. Hoernle


Dan Parente


James Howard


Miranda Machacek


 Jacob Hodges







Last modified: May 01, 2019