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Kansas-based undergraduate bioscience symposium returns to face-to-face presentations for 2023

The annual K-INBRE Symposium gives promising students in Kansas and Oklahoma a chance to pursue research topics in the biosciences.

A woman and a man stand together facing the camera and holding a paper with the woman's name, Ava Lee, on it
Ava Lee, left, a University of Kansas student, studied the effects of whole-body resistance exercise for K-INBRE. She displays her award certificate with her KU Medical Center mentor, John Stanford, Ph.D.

Nineteen undergraduate students, including three mentored by University of Kansas Medical Center faculty, were honored for their scientific research presentations at a symposium designed to prepare students in for careers in bioscience.

The 21st annual Kansas IDeA (Institutional Development Awards) Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE) Symposium was held in person Jan. 14-15 in Overland Park, Kansas, after being conducted virtually in 2021 and 2022.

Led by the University of Kansas Medical Center, 10 institutions in Kansas and Oklahoma participate in the collaborative network. Nearly 150 posters were presented by undergraduate and graduate students from all 10 institutions. In addition, eight students presented orally along with several faculty speakers.

Douglas Wright, Ph.D., principal investigator for K-INBRE and professor and vice chair in the Department of Anesthesiology in KU School of Medicine, said the K-INBRE Symposium is a great opportunity to support biomedical sciences in Kansas.

“Students are encouraged to showcase their hard work with poster or oral presentations. And young and established faculty researchers are also invited to present and share their research and developments in the field,” Wright said.

Under the guidance of faculty mentors, students are afforded opportunities to work in laboratories or their communities developing research projects. With these opportunities, students are provided the tools and guidance to better inform their future academic and career choices in the biomedical sciences.

The annual symposium brings together students, faculty and staff from these universities:

  • University of Kansas Medical Center
  • University of Kansas
  • Emporia State University
  • Fort Hays State University
  • Haskell Indian Nations University
  • Kansas State University
  • Langston University, Langston, Oklahoma
  • Pittsburg State University
  • Washburn University
  • Wichita State University

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

Woman stands at a podium delivering a presentation
Sarah Wilson, a Rockhurst University student, delivers
her presentation at K-INBRE. Her KU Medical Center
mentor was Pamela Tran, Ph.D.
 University of Kansas Medical Center
  • Gabrielle Hightower, senior in biology and psychology at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, presented “The Effect of a High-Fat Diet on Fecal Bile Acids and Energy in Aged Rats Bred for Intrinsically High and Low Aerobic Capacity.” — poster presentation. Her parents are Stacy and Ryan Hightower from Kansas City, Missouri. KU Medical Center mentor was John Thyfault, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology.
  • Ava Lee, a student at the University of Kansas, presented “Effects of Whole-Body Resistance Exercise in Young and Middle-Aged Rats” — oral presentation. KU Medical Center mentor was John Stanford, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology.
  • Sarah Wilson, a student at Rockhurst University, presented “Maternal Thm1 heterozygosity protects against cleft palate and shows altered Hedgehog signaling in uterine tissue” — oral presentation. KU Medical Center mentor was Pamela Tran, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology.
University of Kansas
  • Audrey Rips-Goodwin, junior in chemistry, presented “Determining the Accuracy of Food Labeling for Hyper-palatable and non-Hyper-palatable Foods” —  oral presentation. Her parents are Cheryl Rips and Stanley Goodwin from Overland Park, Kansas.
  • Christopher Kywe presented “Identifying effectors responsible for mab-5/Hox mediated innate immune response.” — poster presentation.
  • Navya Singh, junior in biochemistry, presented “Synthesis of a Hyaluronic Acid-Deferoxamine Conjugate for Local Treatment of Bone Regeneration” — poster presentation. Her parents are Dr. Raju and Suman Singh.
Fort Hays State University
  • Audrey Rymer, sophomore in biology (pre-med), presented “Comparing the Presence of Antibiotic Resistance Bacteria in Wastewater Systems to Assess the Population Health of Kansas Counties” — oral presentation. Her parents are Ryan and Alicia Rymer from Hays, Kansas.
Haskell Indian Nations University
  • Courtney King presented “Community Based Research: Camera Trapping in the Haskell Wetlands Complex Uncovers Patterns of Vertebrate Habitat Usage and Migration Corridors” — poster presentation.
Kansas State University
  • Cole King presented “Aerobic Exercise Improves Cognitive Performance and Modulates Medial Prefrontal Cortex Volume in a Rodent Model of Autism” — oral presentation.
  • Joel Sydzyik presented “Developmental Regulation of microRNA Strand Selection” — poster presentation.
  • Will Sydzyik presented “Characterizing a Genetic Suppressor of let-7 in elegans” — poster presentation.
  • Mia Thompson, a freshman in medical biochemistry, presented “Peptide Treatment Increased M1 Macrophage Phenotype” — poster presentation. Her parents are Mayumi Saito and Eric Thompson from Manhattan, Kansas.
  • Emily Tolbert presented “β-HPV 8 E6 reduces innate immune signaling” — oral presentation.
Langston University, Langston, Oklahoma
  • McKenzie Connor presented “Infection kinetics and immunopathology of SARS-CoV-2 variants in cerebellum of the domestic cat model of COVID-19” — poster presentation.
  • Hannah Wall, junior in biology, presented “Skeletal Muscle Oxygen Delivery and Uptake in Cardiopulmonary Diseases” — oral presentation. Her parents are Chris and Tammie Wall from Balko, Oklahoma.
Pittsburg State University
  • Paul Eugene Worsley, a senior in biology and history, presented “Nanoceria-Based Drug Delivery System for the Treatment of Lung Cancer” — oral presentation. His parents are Deanna and Gene Worsley from Pittsburg, Kansas.
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