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Annual Capitol Graduate Research Summit goes virtual, highlights groundbreaking research

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

LAWRENCE – Eight University of Kansas graduate students from the Lawrence campus and five graduate students from the KU Medical Center are putting their groundbreaking research on public display starting Feb. 18.

Bailey Banach, graduate student in bioengineeringKU students will join graduate students from Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University, Kansas State University, Pittsburg State University and Wichita State University at the Capitol Graduate Research Summit. This year’s event will take place virtually, instead of in the Kansas Statehouse. The graduate students selected to participate represent a wide range of research interests, including physical and natural sciences, medicine and pharmacy, engineering and education. Each institution will provide a $500 award to one student in their institution. BioKansas will provide recognition to six students selected among all the institutions.  

“KU’s mission is to facilitate innovation, creativity and discovery,” said Jennifer Roberts, vice provost for graduate studies. “In the process of acquiring training to become leaders in their respective field, our graduate students conduct impressive research that expands the existing bound of knowledge. I want to congratulate the KU students chosen to participate in this year’s summit. Their research discoveries are innovative and have the potential to positively impact the residents of Kansas.”

Viewing and judging of the 18th annual summit will occur virtually due to the ongoing pandemic. Students will present their research in the form of a three-minute video that summarizes their work and describes the potential effects of their findings on Kansans. In the past, the presentations have taken place at the Capitol in Topeka.

KU students will cover a wide range of research topics, including the discovery of monoclonal antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 (also known as COVID-19) for use in precision therapeutics; health-coaching intervention in food pantries; an international evaluation of post-operative pain treatments and outcomes; and the development of novel technologies that produce flavorings from corn lignin waste. The findings and possible commercialization of these innovations can affect Kansans’ lives and potentially elevate the economic status of Kansas. More information about the KU presenters is available online.

Founded by graduate students 18 years ago, the Capitol Graduate Research Summit brings attention to the innovative research conducted by students at state universities and emphasizes the public benefits of graduate students’ research. This free summit provides an opportunity for the public – as well as Lt. Gov. David Toland and state senators – to learn more about the important work of graduate students around the state. Presentations will be available for viewing on the 2021 Capitol Graduate Research Summit website from Feb. 18 to Feb. 25. The site will also include pre-recorded messages from administrative leaders at the participating universities. In addition, the Office of Graduate Studies is developing a Facebook event to extend the reach of KU graduate students’ work.

KU’s participants are listed below by name, area of study and title of their research presentations.

From KU Lawrence

  • Srishti Baid, graduate student in microbiology, “Mapping Uncharted Biological Territory — Discovering Unique Factors for Novel Therapeutics in Chlamydia.”
  • Bailey Banach, graduate student in bioengineering, “Rapid Drug Discovery for Emergency Healthcare Interventions: Identifying Monoclonal Antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.”
  • Kelsey Fortin, graduate student in health, sport management & exercise science, “Hunger and Health: Understanding the Acceptability and Approach of a Health Coaching Intervention in the Food Pantry.”
  • Stef Green, graduate student in chemical & petroleum engineering, “Intensified Formation of Value-added Products from Corn Cob Lignin via Spray Ozonolysis.”
  • Alexander Michalek, graduate student in civil engineering, “Modeling Linkages between Erosion and Connectivity in Urbanizing Johnson County, KS.”
  • Matheus Oliveira de Souza, graduate student in pharmaceutical chemistry, “Fighting COVID-19: Discovery of Monoclonal Antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.”
  • Manvendra Pal Singh, graduate student in medicinal chemistry, “Finding Molecular Weakness of Multiple Myeloma.”
  • Ankit Verma, graduate student in chemical & petroleum engineering, “A Sustainable Process for Recycling of Spent Lithium-Ion Batteries.”

From KU Medical Center

  • Caitlin Lisk, doctoral student in therapeutic science, “Coding Human-Animal Interactions in Homes of Children with Autism.”
  • Jack Nolte, medical student, “No Room for Narcotics: An International Comparison of Orthopedic Post-Operative Pain Outcomes.”
  • Nadia Alissa, doctoral student in cancer biology, “The Chemokine C-C Motif Ligand 2 (CCL2) Plays an Important Role in Skeletal Muscle Wasting Associated with Breast Cancer.”
  • Katherine Byrket, medical student, “Pregnancy and Newborn Outcomes in Medication Controlled GDM Based on Their Treatment.”
  • Karen Towne, doctoral student in nursing, “Use of the Board Game Pandemic to Simulate Cooperative Emergency Response for Community/Public Health Nursing Students.”

Photo: Bailey Banach, KU graduate student in bioengineering, presents her work at a 2019 event. She will be one of the participants in the 2021 Capitol Graduate Research Summit.


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