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Source: Carol Shanklin, 785-532-7927, shanklin@k-state.edu
http://www.k-state.edu/media/mediaguide/bios/shanklinbio.html
News release prepared by: Jennifer Torline, 785-532-0847, jtorline@k-state.edu

Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011

GRAD STUDENTS EARN HONORS FOR RESEARCH THAT COULD HELP KANSAS

MANHATTAN -- Two Kansas State University students have been named KansasBio winners for their research presentations at the eighth annual Capitol Graduate Research Summit.

Sakshi Pahwa, doctoral student in electrical and computer engineering, Mumbai, India, and Lateef Syed, doctoral student in chemistry, Hyderabad, India, each receive a $500 scholarship from KansasBio. Pahwa and Syed also have been invited to present their posters at the grand opening of the K-State Olathe campus April 26 and at the KansasBio board meeting May 5.

"The Capitol Graduate Research Summit was a success," said Carol Shanklin, dean of the Graduate School. "The traffic in the event was the best it has been in at least four years."

The Feb. 17 summit featured Kansas-related research conducted by graduate students at K-State, the University of Kansas, the University of Kansas Medical Center and Wichita State University. It was supported by KansasBio and the graduate schools and graduate student organizations at each university. Two students from each university were chosen as winners.

Pahwa and Syed interacted with Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer; members of the Kansas Board of Regents; legislators, including state Reps. Susan Mosier and Sydney Carlin of Manhattan; university administrators from K-State, the University of Kansas and Wichita State University; and industry representatives.

Pahwa's research, "Distributed Sources and Islanding to Mitigate Cascading Failures in Power Grid Networks," also featured co-advisers Noel Schulz, Paslay professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Caterina Scoglio, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering. The research focuses on using renewable energy sources to enable islanding in the transmission grid and help avoid cascading failures in power grids, such as what happened in the Northeast blackout of 2003.

"The research summit was a great opportunity to meet other students at other universities who are working on similar projects and to exchange ideas," Pahwa said. "It was also great to meet with important leaders and let them know the importance of research and how to implement ideas for the betterment of the state in the future."

Syed's research poster was "Dielectrophoretic Capture of E. coli at Nanoelectrode Arrays." His major professor is Jun Li, associate professor of chemistry. Syed's research focuses on developing nanotechnology-based biosensors that can be used for pathogen and cancer bio molecule detection. Specifically, he is trying to develop a hand-held biosensor that can detect pathogens in food products.

"Kansas is a leading state in meat production and poultry industry," Syed said. "Outbreaks of pathogens that take place in these industries not only cause huge financial losses, but also health risks for people when these pathogen-contaminated products are released into the market. Early detection of pathogens prevents financial losses and protects our lives."

The 10 K-State students who presented at the statewide summit were selected from a group of 28 students who presented at a Feb. 2 on-campus poster session, called Research and the State. The event was sponsored by the Graduate Student Council and the Graduate School, with support from the K-State Academic Excellence Fund.