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Source: Marcia Locke, 785-532-6705,
Web site:
Photos available: Contact or call 785-532-6415.
News release prepared by: Katie Mayes, 785-532-6415,

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


MANHATTAN -- More than 40 undergraduate students at Kansas State University will receive funding for cancer research from K-State's Terry C. Johnson Center for Basic Cancer Research.

The cancer research award program was created to promote undergraduate participation in laboratory research and to encourage students to consider careers in research and medicine.

"We are helping train the next generation of cancer researchers and medical workers," said Rob Denell, director of the Terry C. Johnson Center for Basic Cancer Research and a university distinguished professor of biology.

The award program, which is open to K-State undergraduate students interested in working in cancer-relevant laboratories, provides $1,000 stipends to as many as 50 students a year and $1,000 to their faculty mentors for research expenses. Awards will be presented to the students at a banquet Friday, April 17.

Students applied for the awards in the fall by co-writing research proposals with faculty mentors affiliated with the cancer center. The winners conduct the research in the mentors' laboratories during the spring semester.

"These students work closely with faculty on real research projects and some will undoubtedly go on to be top scientists and physicians," Denell said.

Cancer research award winners include:

Melissa Taylor, senior in nutritional sciences, Chanute; Anna Rogers, sophomore in microbiology, Clyde; Chris Jones, junior in biochemistry, chemistry and microbiology, and Kacey Provenzano, senior in nutritional sciences, both from Derby; Emma Del Real, senior in biology, and Olga Martinez, senior in biology, both from Dodge City; Aareon Mike Harreld, senior in mathematics and psychology, Emporia.

From Garden City: Jorge Mendoza, senior in biology; Nidia Ortega, junior in life sciences; and Vanessa Reyes, senior in biology.

Garret Seiler, sophomore in biology, Goddard.

From Greater Kansas City: William Poulson, senior in biology, and Andrew Weber, senior in biology, both from Leawood; Ryan Gallagher, junior in microbiology, Amy Hurt, senior in chemistry, and Jared Wilmoth, senior in biochemistry and chemistry, all from Olathe; Paul Basel, senior in biochemistry, Jacqueline Johnson, senior in chemistry, Emilie Miller, senior in chemistry, and Hailey Petersen, senior in microbiology, all from Overland Park; Kyle Crow, senior in biology, Shawnee; and Derek Low, senior in biochemistry, Westwood.

Corey Wells, sophomore in chemical engineering, Halstead; Colette Robinson, sophomore in chemistry, Horton.

From Manhattan: Elizabeth Blaesi, senior in biochemistry and chemistry; Joseph Bloomfield, senior in biology; Ryan Hill, senior in biochemistry; Diana Hylton, senior in microbiology and nutritional sciences; Melanie Katz, senior in biochemistry; Kevin Lentz, senior in political science; Kelsey Pearson, senior in biochemistry; Jeanne Pierzynski, senior in psychology and biochemistry; Xiaoyu Su, junior in biology; and Daniel Unruh, junior in food science and industry.

Rachel Nichols, sophomore in biology, Mount Hope; John Hirt, senior in biology and secondary education, Murdock; Erica Volker, senior in geography, Stafford; Nicole Wayant, senior in geography and mathematics, Topeka; and Stacy Lee Littlechild, sophomore in biology, Wakeeney.

From out of state: A. Scott McCall, senior in biochemistry, Parker, Colo.; Tara Kalivoda, senior in chemistry, Medina, Minn.; and Nicole Delimont, senior in public health nutrition, North Bend, Ore.

The Terry C. Johnson Center for Basic Cancer Research is committed to furthering the understanding of cancer by funding basic cancer research and supporting higher education, training and public outreach. It also provides other undergraduate scholarships, as well as awards to graduate and postdoctoral students and faculty to support their cancer research and training. The center's programs are funded through private gifts.

More information about the center is available at or by calling 785-532-6705.