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Kansas-based annual biosciences symposium honors university students for research posters, presentations

The annual symposium is part of the K-INBRE initiative to prepare promising university students for bioscience careers in Kansas.

Student sits at research bench conducting experiment
As a student at Haskell Indian Nations University, Janee Bates engaged in research in the lab of her mentor, Paige Geiger, Ph.D., professor, molecular and integrative physiology, who was a recipient of K-INBRE funds. Photo by KU Medical Center Photo Services.

Sixteen undergraduate students were honored for their scientific research presentations at the 20th annual Kansas IDeA (Institutional Development Awards) Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE) Symposium held virtually Jan. 13-14, 2022.

The annual symposium is part of the K-INBRE initiative to prepare promising university students for bioscience careers in Kansas. Ten campuses in Kansas and Oklahoma participate in the collaborative network that is led by the University of Kansas Medical Center.

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.

“One of our program focuses is to provide training and professional development opportunities to students with promising careers as biomedical researchers,” said Doug Wright, Ph.D., principal investigator for K-INBRE and professor and vice chair in the departments of anatomy and cell biology and anesthesiology at the University of Kansas Medical Center. “Participating in the continued growth of the biosciences in Kansas is important to K-INBRE. The annual symposium is a great opportunity for our students, young faculty and established researchers to showcase their research and developments in the field.”

The program provides opportunities for students to work in laboratories or in their communities developing research projects under the guidance of seasoned mentors. These opportunities give students the tools and guidance to better inform their future career choices in the biomedical sciences.

The annual symposium brings together 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
  • Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma

Although the symposium was held virtually this year, more than 60 posters were presented live by students at all 10 of the campuses in Kansas and Oklahoma. In addition, six students presented orally along with faculty and industry speakers.

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

Haskell Indian Nations University

  • Garrett Williams, a senior in Environmental Science from Philomath, Ore., “Community Based Research: Camera Trapping of Vertebrates in the Haskell Wetlands Reveals the Return of River Otters (Lontra canadensis)” – poster presentation.

Kansas State University

  • Jordan Block, “Aedes Albopictus Larval Source Reduction with Biocontrol Agent Trichoderma Atroviride” – oral presentation.
  • Taylor Bugbee, “Beta Human Papillomavirus Increases Alternative End Joining Repair Pathway” – poster presentation.
  • Cole King, “Cognitive Impairments in Female Adolescent ASD-Modeled Rats Parallel Those Observed in Humans with ASD” – oral presentation.
  • Ashley Panagakis, “Role of a Phospholipid Sensor in Growth Control During Development” – poster presentation.
  • Mia Thompson, a freshman in Medical Biochemistry, “Changing the Number and Location of M2 Macrophages in Melanoma” – poster presentation. Her parents are Mayumi Saito and Eric Thompson from Manhattan, Kan.

Langston University, Langston, Oklahoma

  • McKenzie Connor, “Preclinical Safety Check: Effect of Mesenchymal Stromal Cells’ Extracellular Vesicles (EV) on Sarcoma Cell Proliferation”– oral presentation.

Pittsburg State University

  • Caine Duran, “Nanozyme-Assisted Rapid Detection of Foodborne Pathogens Using Functional Magneto-Plasmonic Nanosensors” – oral presentation.
  • Paul Worsley, a junior in Biology and History, “Facile Synthesis of Biodegradable Polymers for Targeted Drug Delivery and Treatment of Cancer” – poster presentation. His parents are Gene and Deanna Worsley from Pittsburg, Kan.

University of Kansas

  • Anton Barybin, “Separation and Detection of Catecholamine Neurotransmitters and Their Metabolites in Rat Brain Tissue Using Microchip Electrophoresis with Electrochemical Detection” – oral presentation.
  • Ana Dorador, graduate student in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, “Genetic and Cell Biological Analysis of Eight Possible Alleles of Mcr in Drosophila” – poster presentation. Their parents are Rafael and AnaMaria Dorador from Omaha, Neb.
  • Cheyenne Loo, “Promiscuity of the Chromobacterium Subtsugae QS Receptor CviR and Its Role in Interspecies Competition” – poster presentation.

University of Kansas Medical Center

  • Johnny Dinh Phan, junior in Biochemistry and Dance at the University of Kansas, “The Pathobiology of Ferritin in Polycystic Kidney Disease” – poster presentation. His parents are Thai Dinh Phan and Hue Pham from Overland Park, Kan.
  • Avanelle Stoltz, “Impact of Spaceflight and Microgravity on the Glucocorticoid Pathway and Adrenal Gland in Mice Flown on the International Space Station” – oral presentation. 

Wichita State University

  • Aaron Fater, “Single point mutations in myopalladin reveal interface with actin” – poster presentation.
  • Micah Self, senior in Biomedical Engineering, presented “Role of Myopalladin in Cardiac Muscle Functions and Disease” – poster presentation. His parents are Karen and Max Self from Fort Scott, Kan.

Poster Presentation Honorable Mentions:

  • Alisha Bajracharya, Washburn University
  • Joseph T. Cornelius, senior in Organismal Biology at Rockhurst University (KU Medical Center), from Lee’s Summit, Mo.
  • Emily Hughes, University of Kansas
  • Ava Lee, sophomore in Human Biology at the University of Kansas, from Leawood, Kan.
  • Anneka Lewis, University of Kansas Medical Center
  • Eva T. Morrison, University of Kansas
  • Hannah Newkirk, senior in Biomedical Engineering at Wichita State University, from Olathe, Kan.
  • Destinee O’Shea, junior in Biology and Modern Language at Emporia State University, Cheney, Kan.
  • Kate Woods, University of Kansas
  • Hunter Woosley, senior in Biochemistry and Physics at the University of Kansas, from Leawood, Kan.


Avanelle Stoltz of the University of Kansas Medical Center provided an oral presentation on “Impact of Spaceflight and Microgravity on the Glucocorticoid Pathway and Adrenal Gland in Mice Flown on the International Space Station."

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