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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 Zulma Perez-Estrella is the inaugural recipient of our departmental Tom Steadman 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. As recipient of this award, Zulma elected to work in the laboratory of Dr. Aron Fenton during the summer of 2017.  Her research has been to explore the regulatory properties of the glycolytic enzyme pyruvate kinase, which will contribute to developing drugs to control the hyperglycemia associated with diabetes.  

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. 

Zulma Perez-Estrella's has been an instructor in the Kansas City Kansas Public Schools (KCKPS) for the past four years. During her first year at JC Harmon High School, she instructed and coordinated classes in the Biotechnology Program, which has now expanded to a district wide Bio+ Program. For the 2017-2018 school year, approximately forty junior and senior Bio+ students were selected from four KCKPS high schools. These student will enroll in Introduction to Biotechnology, Principals of Cell and Molecular Biology, and Introduction to Bio-manufacturing, in which they will practice and perfect numerous laboratory skills and techniques, while receiving high school and college credit via KCKCC. To further prepare Bio+ students for college and careers in STEM fields, they will also participate in individual laboratory research at partnering institutions (past partners include KUMC and K-State Olathe). These students will also be taught how to interview for jobs, especially in the STEM area. Some will earn paid full-time summer work (past partners include KUMC's Department of Pharamacology, Toxicology & Therapeutics and Ceva Biomune in Lenexa), where they have put into practice the skills learned in Bio+. 

Zulma discovered her passion for education in 1996 when she became a math and science educator for Girls Incorporated of Alameda County, CA.  In the process of helping young girls deconstruct their fears in these subjects, she developed a new outlook toward STEM training. For seven years she created interactive science, math and health curricula for summer camps and afterschool programs, which continued while she worked with the Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center, Inc. (TVHC), a leader in delivering multiculturally appropriate health care services in Southern Alameda County. As a Health Educator/Clinic Supervisor of TVHC's school-based health center, she also taught high school health education for four years, and prepared students to lead health education presentations in the community, reaching over 4,000 youth annually. 

Upon moving to Kansas City in 2010, Zulma continued her commitment to serving urban, immigrant and underserved communities. While a student at KUMC, she served as an instructor and curriculum writer for Camp Pathological and KCK Saturday Academy, where she continued to educate youth in her new commitment to the Wyandotte community. Over 15 years in education has solidified Zulma's belief that a quality work force requires teachers who will assume the great responsibility of providing a thorough and rigorous education and inspire student excellence. 

Zulma was presented with a certificate of the 2017 Tom Steadman Teacher-Research Opportunity Award by Dr. Gerald M. Carlson, Chair 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.

Dr. Gerry Carlson, Department Chair, presents the Tom Steadman award
to Zulma Perez-Estrella from the Kansas City, Kansas School System.

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


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: Aug 13, 2018