KU News Release

April 20, 2011
Contact: Brittany Hinegardner, Office for Diversity in Science Training, 785-864-5765

KU, Haskell students to present research projects April 26

LAWRENCE — Research relating to cancer, genetics, medicinal plants and social relationships will be presented at the 11th annual University of Kansas-Haskell Indian Nations University Research Symposium.

Twenty-nine students are expected to present posters of their science and engineering research from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 26, at Haskell Indian Nations University in Tecumseh Hall.

This year’s event is sponsored by the Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program, one of four programs that encourage underrepresented students to pursue research careers in biomedical science. The other three programs are the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement Program at Haskell, the Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity Program at KU and the Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program at KU.

The presenters include undergraduate and graduate students at both universities. Five Haskell and 24 KU students are presenting their work.

Following this year’s poster presentation will be a reception honoring Marigold Linton, KU’s director of American Indian outreach in the Office for Diversity in Science Training. Earlier this year, President Barack Obama presented Linton with a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

Symposium participants are listed by hometown, level in school, major, Native American heritage (if applicable), science diversity program, parents’ names, high school, project faculty adviser, project title and brief description of the project.

From Great Bend 67530 and Lawrence
Dagoberto Heredia Jr., senior majoring in psychology; IMSD; Maria Heredia (Great Bend) and Dagoberto Heredia (Lawrence); Great Bend High School; Sarah Pressman, assistant professor of psychology; Multicultural Stress: Cardiovascular Stress Reactivity of a Latino Sample. Past research has shown that positive emotions and social relationships are linked to better health. Heredia’s project focuses on better understanding the physiological basis underlying how these variables connect to health. He is specifically examining this association in college-aged Latino students. Given that these students are likely to have experienced feelings of minority stress and/or racial discrimination, this may alter how these factors influence well-being.

From Pittsburg 66762
Lauren A. Zagorski, senior majoring in psychology; IMSD; Paul and Astrid Zagorski; St. Mary's-Colgan High School; Sarah Pressman, assistant professor of psychology; Affirmation of Personal Values and Social Relationships: Effects on Stress Reactivity. Zagorski’s project examines whether reflecting and writing about certain topics can help reduce the heart’s response to stress. She is working with researchers interested in testing whether writing about a close personal relationship or writing about a nonsocial personal value could reduce psychological and physiological reactions to a stressor (e.g. blood pressure increases) and tested what kinds of value writing were most effective.

From Lawrence 66044
Terra Katchina Lubin, senior majoring in biology; IMSD; Lawrence High School; John Kelly, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology; Mating System and Evolution in the Yellow Monkeyflower. Selective breeding is the basis for modern agriculture. Lubin’s project helps to inform the design of selective breeding programs.

From Lawrence 66046
Katrina Chervart McClure, nondegree-seeking student in ecology and evolutionary biology; Muskogee Creek/Seminole, PREP; bachelor’s in environmental science from KU, fall 2009; Lutheran High School, Rockford, Ill.; John Kelly, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, and Kelly Kindscher, senior scientist, Kansas Biological Survey; Native Medicinal Plants of Kansas. Her project investigated and compared groups of plant species in an ethnobotanical database of plants used by tribes of the Great Plains. The database identifies the number of edible species (310) medicinal (710) of the total 2,200 species in Kansas. McClure studied groups such as the Rose, Bean and Aster families to determine which had more useful species and compared her findings to other regions of the United States.

From Lawrence 66047
Anthony Intong Pokphanh, senior majoring in chemical engineering; Cherokee; IMSD; Roberta and May Pokphanh; Lawrence High School; Kyle Camarda, associate professor of chemical and petroleum engineering; Exploring Protein Excipient Interactions. His project examined how an additive to a pharmaceutical formula, or an excipient, interacts with the surface of folded protein.

From Lawrence 66049
Rodolfo Matias Torres, senior majoring in chemistry; IMSD; Estela Gavosto and Rodolfo Torres; Lawrence Free State High School; Cindy Berrie, associate professor of chemistry; Humidity and Pressure Dependence of Atomic Force Microscopy Patterning in Octadecyl Silane Self-Assembled Monolayers. Torres is developing nanoscale patterning tools that will aid in a number of potential applications of nanotechnology. For example, one potential application is to develop smaller, better biosensors for screening applications or to develop prototype biodevices using molecular protein molecules. These applications require robust ability to couple biological molecules to surfaces in a very controlled way. The patterning techniques that Torres is developing will allow that control.

From Lawrence 66049 and Great Bend
Dagoberto Heredia Jr. SEE BARTON COUNTY

From Ellis 67637
Kelsy Danae Kinderknecht, senior majoring in French and mathematics; IMSD; Tim Kinderknecht and Rhonda Kinderknecht; Ellis High School; Edray Goins, assistant professor of mathematics at Purdue University; The Elusive Rank 9: Finding Curves of High Rank. Kinderknecht’s project was conducted during a summer internship at Purdue. Her project focused on finding all possible ways that one can travel in space.

From Olathe 66061
Ronald Stephen Davidson, senior majoring in biochemistry; IMSD; Ronald and Michele Davidson; De Soto High School; Audrey Lamb, associate professor of molecular biosciences; Crystallization of DmTR Δ8. Davidson’s project focuses on a protein structurally similar to Thioredoxin Reductase, which is commonly produced in larger quantities in cancerous cells. By solving the structure of DmTR d8, drugs can be designed to regulate the activity of this protein.

From Olathe 66062
Yvonne Nyakio Kamau, senior majoring in microbiology; IMSD; Godfrey Kamau; Olathe North High School; Liang Tang, assistant professor of molecular biosciences; Sf6 Terminase Assembly Model: Insight into the Ternary DNA Packaging Motor of Human Herpersviruses. Human herpesviruses are linked to important diseases ranging from mucocutaneous lesions, retinitis and birth defects to life-threatening cancers such as Burkitt’s lymphoma and Kaposi’s sarcoma. Kamau’s project is aimed at understanding crucial steps in life cycles of herpesviruses and other large DNA viruses to find new measures to control and prevent infection and diseases caused by these viral pathogens.

Anne N. Nzuki, junior majoring in human biology; IMSD; Fidelis Munyao; Olathe North High School; Stephen Fawcett, professor of applied behavioral science; Adaptation of Do the Work modules of the Community Tool Box to the African and Global South Context. Nzuki researched how to adapt community tool box modules to context for Africa and global south.

From Prairie Village 66208
Akosua Saibi Jackelin Kernizan, senior majoring in biology; IMSD; Sheila and Carl Kernizan; Shawnee Mission East High School; T. Chris Gamblin, associate professor of molecular biosciences; Pseudohyperphosphorylation has Significant Effects on the Polymerization of Tau Isoforms. Tau is a protein that abnormally forms aggregated clumps of protein fibers that accumulate in the brain in diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. Kernizan’s project is focused on how specific changes to the tau protein may increase its ability to form these abnormal fibers.

Krista Marie Sanchez, nondegree-seeking student in engineering; PREP; Donald and Rebecca Sanchez; bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from KU, fall 2010; Shawnee Mission East High School; Lorin Maletsky, associate professor of mechanical engineering; Measuring Rotary Laxity in the Knee for Clinical Use: Data Analysis. Her project evaluated the among of rotation individuals with knee replacements have at the right knee and how the rotation relates to their ability to perform tasks such as pivot turns and stair descents and their strategies to complete those tasks.

From Leavenworth 66048
Hilary S. Kelly, senior majoring in geology; Choctaw-Creek, IMSD; Shawnee Mission West High School, Overland Park; J.F. Devlin, associate professor of geology; Effect of Mixed Anions (ClO4- - SO42-) on Fe0 Reactivity. Her project examined ground water chemistry.

From Paola 66071
Timothy Paul Day, senior majoring in biochemistry and microbiology; IMSD; Kenneth and Linda Day; Spring Hill High School; Sunil David, associate professor of medicinal chemistry; Imbuing Aqueous Solubility to Recalcitrant Amine-bearing Drugs with a Vitamin. His project investigated the potential for delivering certain drugs in water to patients instead of the toxic vehicles that the drugs are currently delivered in.

From Wichita 67235
Kimberly Simone Box, senior majoring in biology; IMSD; Bradford and Andrea Box; Goddard Senior High School; Justin Blumenstiel, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology; Hybrid Dysgenesis in Drosophila virilis. Transposable elements are selfish elements that proliferate in the genome and contribute nearly half of the DNA in the human genome. Typically, the genome is protected against harmful transposable elements by an immune system based on silencing RNAs known as piRNAs. Using the fruit fly Drosophila virilis as a model, Box’s project helps to understand how failure to regulate transposable elements can cause sterility, mutation and DNA damage. This will shed important light on how the genome is protected against these elements.

From Rossville 66533
Marc T. Roth, senior majoring in biochemistry; Cherokee; IMSD; Gary and Tina Roth; Rossville High School; Kristi Neufeld, associate professor of molecular biosciences; Interactions between Topoisomerase-IIa and Adenomatous Polyposis Coli. His study is related to colon cancer research. The vast majority of colon polyps are initiated in cells that have mutations that render the APC protein defective. Studies to determine normal tumor suppressing APC functions may lead to improved therapies for colorectal cancer. Roth is focusing on whether APC defects alter the sensitivity to drugs that target Topoisomerase II.

From Topeka 66611
Rhea Renee Richardson, senior majoring in biology; IMSD; Karla Richardson; Shawnee Heights Sr. High School, Tecumseh; Paulyn Cartwright, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology; Using Molecular Barcoding for Species identification in the Marine Invertebrate Group Hydrozoa. Richardson’s research has utility for estimating biodiversity in the oceans. DNA barcoding is a way to identify the species of an organism based on its genetic code. Her project involved evaluating different regions of DNA to determine which region is more appropriate for identifying species in a diverse group of marine invertebrates.

From Wellington 67152
Devin Tyler Lasley, junior preparing to major in sport science and community health; Cherokee; IMSD; Wellington Senior High School; Susan Egan, professor of molecular biosciences; Introducing Random Mutations into Full-Length RhaS Protein. Researchers use the bacterial RhaS protein as a model to understand a large, related family of proteins, many of which are required for bacteria to cause human infections. These studies have been hampered by the inability to purify RhaS in a soluble form. Lasley’s project was designed to identify mutants of RhaS that are more soluble than the wild-type protein.

From Kansas City 66104
Leandrea Renee Wilson, senior majoring in human biology; IMSD; LeAnn Suber; Sumner Academy of Arts and Science; Jennifer Gleason, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology; Genetics of Male and Female Mate Choice in Drosophila Simulans and D. Sechellia. Wilson’s project examines the genetics of sexual isolation, the inability of two species to mate with each other. Sexual isolation makes a major contribution to speciation, the origin of all biodiversity.

From Glendale 85302
Eugene Dale Cody, senior majoring in mathematics; Hopi; IMSD; Westwood High School, Mesa, Ariz.; Hongguo Xu, professor of mathematics; Distance to Uncontrollability with Hermitian Matrices. Cody’s project determined when a specific system becomes uncontrollable.

From Tuba City 86045
Tennille Begay, Haskell student in environmental science; Navajo (Dine); RISE; Woody and Phyllis Begay; Tuba City High School; Jeff Krise, associate professor of pharmaceutical chemistry; Retrograde Trafficking of Drugs & Small Molecules. Antibiotics are lifesaving drugs but can have severe side effects against human cells that can limit their usefulness. Begay is studying the mechanism by which antibiotics enter mammalian cells and subsequently exert their toxic effects. Long-term, her research could lead to information that could facilitate the rational design of next generation antibiotics that have reduced ability to enter human cells and, therefore, are much safer.

From Benton 93512
Charley Sabe Lewis, nondegree-seeking student in ecology and evolutionary biology; Paiute/Navajo; PREP; bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Haskell Indian Nations University; Joy Ward, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology; Uncovering Plant Responses to Climate Change since the Late Pleistocene using Juniperus osteosperma from packrat middens. Lewis has investigated fundamental plant adaptations to changes in resource availability over geologic time spans. His work will help science understand how plants altered the number of pores (stomata) on leaf surfaces during low atmospheric carbon dioxide conditions of the last glacial period. The opening of these pores regulates water loss, as well as carbon dioxide uptake for photosynthesis.

From Grain Valley 64029
Ashley Stiffarm, Haskell student in environmental science; Gros Ventre; RISE; Larry and Becky Stiffarm; Grain Valley High School; Kelly Kindscher, Kansas Biological Survey senior scientist; Ethnobotanical Identification of Plants Using the Kaw Language. Her project identified plants recorded in the Kaw language as used for food and medicine. With help from Robert Rankin, KU emeritis professor of lingustics, who has detailed records of the Kaw language, Stiffarm was able to discern important plants that have cultural and historical significance to the tribe.

From Troy 63379
Lauren Elizabeth Lacey, senior majoring in mechanical engineering; IMSD; John and Nancy Lacey; Troy Buchanan High School; Lorin Maletsky, associate professor of mechanical engineering; An Analysis of Instability at the Knee with Respect to Total Knee Arthroplasty. Lacey’s project is focused on better understanding various prosthetics and their effects on the stability at the knee.

From Helena 59602 and Vernal, Utah
Deena Rennerfeldt, senior majoring in chemical engineering; IMSD; granddaughter of Marlene and Dallas Rennerfeldt; Uintah High School, Vernal, Utah; Michael Detamore, associate professor of chemical and petroleum engineering; Mechanical Analysis of Poly(Ethylene Glycol) Diacrylate and Agarose Interpenetrating Network Hydrogels. She is researching tissue regeneration that could have long-range benefit for athletes or others experiencing cartilage damage to joints. Her study focuses on knee joints.

From Continental Divide 87312
Gerald Johnson, Haskell student in natural sciences; Navajo; Gilbert and Malena Johnson; Navajo Preparatory School Inc.; Bill Welton, natural sciences professor at Haskell Indian Nations University; Wild West Ranching meets Integrated Range Land Planning Management. The application of good ranching operation practices are key to sustainability of the resources and the agricultural way of life. Johnson’s research examines the affects on plant physiology and ecology from livestock grazing parameters, forage inventories, use factors and herbage production estimates.

From Sanostee 87461
Jessica Etsitty, Haskell student in environmental science; Navajo (Dine); Bridge; Milford Etsitty and Vivian Tsosie; Navajo Preparatory School Inc.; Stevin Gehrke, professor of chemistry and petroleum engineering; Identifying Physical and Covalent Crosslinking in Beetle Elytral Cuticle. Etsitty’s project examined molecular components of the a beetle shell, comprised of material known as cuticle, to understand better how the components link to provide the cuticle’s strength. The cuticle is strong, lightweight and biodegradable material. Understanding how the molecular components are linked together to make the cuticle strong is leading to the development of analogous materials that can be implanted in the body to encourage regeneration of damaged or diseased tissues, such as cartilage.

From Vernal 84078 and Helena, Mont.
Deena Rennerfeldt. SEE MONTANA

From Richland 99352
Jessica Rodriguez, Haskell student in environmental science; Pueblo of Laguna; Bridge; James and Annabelle Rodriguez; Richland High School; Jorge Soberon, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology; Determining Biodiversity within Icteridae icterus. She studied the distributions of almost 100 species of Orioles, Blackwings and other similar birds in the Americas. Rodriguez used advanced computational techniques to analyze spatial patterns of these birds and their environmental correlates. Her work may be used for conservation planning and biodiversity exploration.

From Brookfield 53045
Bernadette Joann Goudreau, nondegree-seeking student in molecular biosciences; Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians; PREP; bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Notre Dame; Audrey Lamb, associate professor of molecular biosciences; Elucidating Structure-Function Relationships in Isochorismate Synthase from Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Goudreau examined Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a problematic bacterial pathogen that easily develops antibiotic resistance. She studied proteins involved in Pseudomonas iron acquisition, a task important for maintaining virulence and growth in the microorganism.

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