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KU News Release

Nov. 8, 2005
Contact: Jeannie Eblen, University Relations, (785) 864-8852.

KU senior among six Stowers Scholars featured in Fall 2005 Stowers Report

LAWRENCE -- A University of Kansas senior majoring in cellular biology and Spanish is one of six Stowers Scholars featured in the Fall 2005 Stowers Report published by the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, Kansas City, Mo.

Cara Anne Rachals, Topeka, spent eight weeks this summer working with molecular genetics researchers in a state-of-the-art $300 million laboratory devoted to biomedical research. She is the daughter of Robert and Carla Rachals and a graduate of Hayden High School.

Each scholar chosen received a $3,000 stipend. Rachals and other Stowers Scholars were selected from 75 applicants.

Stowers Scholars work under the direction of a Stowers scientist on a specific project with defined objectives, where the students get to see what day-to-day life is like as a basic biomedical researcher. They find out what success is like as well as failure when projects don't work out the way they anticipated.

Rachals worked with Cathy Lake, a Stowers research specialist in the laboratory of Scott Hawley, Stowers investigator, whose research focuses on the ways chromosomes pair and segregate at the molecular level.

At KU, Rachals completed molecular genetics research projects working in the lab of William Dentler, professor of molecular biosciences, with financial support of the Kansas Idea Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE). She hopes to pursue further biomedical studies in medical and/or doctoral programs.

To be eligible for the Stowers Scholars Program, students must have completed 60 credit hours of undergraduate course work with at least a 3.5 grade-point average in a degree-granting program in biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, chemistry, physics, computing, engineering, mathematics or a related field.

The Stowers Institute for Biomedical Research was established in the early 1990s by Jim and Virginia Stowers, founders of American Century Investments, their Kansas City, Mo.-based mutual fund company. Their initial endowment of $50 million has grown with additional gifts and growth to more than $2 billion. They were motivated to establish the institute based on their own experiences surviving cancer and their desire to support research to give future generations better choices in the face of serious gene-based illnesses.

The $300-million Stowers Institute opened in November 2000 on a 10-acre site in midtown Kansas City, Mo., formerly occupied by Menorah Hospital. Researchers at the Stowers Institute study the ways genes determine biological fate and how they can be altered to prevent, treat or cure diseases. They investigate genes and proteins that control fundamental processes of cellular life, working collaboratively in an environment that emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to research.

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The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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