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Undergraduate research

K-State undergraduate students are finding opportunities to work alongside faculty on challenging research projects.




Kenra MillerUnRaven Skinnerdergraduates' efforts to map wheat genome could lead to crops able to feed more people, grow in harsh climates
Kendra Miller and Raven Skinner are involved in a project to create a physical map of four chromosomes of wheat. "The projects that we are working on in the lab are huge -- some of the largest being attempted worldwide," Miller said. "The wheat genome is several times the size of the human genome, so that puts it into perspective."




Patrick KirkStudents research 1918 flu pendemic on campus and other historical aspects to document K-State's history
Patrick Kirk, K-State senior in history and a 2004 graduate of Scott Community High School, Scott City, is doing a project on the effect of the 1918 pandemic on the K-State campus, which was named Kansas State Agricultural College at the time.



Carey UnruhBrandon GonzalesStudents practice sustainable agriculture at student farm by growing, selling produce
Growing oyster mushrooms in recycled dorm lofts is one way that Kansas State University students are learning about sustainable farming practices through hands-on work and research projects at a K-State student farm. The co-managers of the farm are Keith Unruh-Carey and Brandon Gonzalez.


Abby LaughlinUndergraduates study how environment affects plant metabolism and health
Abbey Laughlin, sophomore in biology and premedicine, Topeka, is working with Richard Jeannotte, a research associate at the Kansas Lipidomics Research Center at K-State. Laughlin is involved with a project that examines how plant lipids change in response to increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.


Tai-Wen KoJustin CurrySummer research projects focus on sustainable energy sources
Tai-Wen Ko, K-State senior in electrical engineering, Hutchinson, is designing a solar lantern with a more affordable initial cost. He is focusing his efforts for people living in Sub-Saharan Africa, which he said is the least electrified region in the world. He is mentoring Justin Curry, K-State freshman in electrical engineering, Olathe.




Kathy NguyenSenior researches possible link between bitter-taste sensitivity and type 2 diabetes
Kathy Nguyen, senior in public health nutrition, Garden City, is studying the genotypes of diabetic and non-diabetic individuals to determine if there is a link between the risk for type 2 diabetes and bitter-taste sensitivity.





Kelsey Hixson-Bowles at the microscopeSophomore from Olathe studies how climate change affects plants, animals
Kelsey Hixson-Bowles is studying how nematodes, which are microscopic worms, respond to changes in the environment and how genetic pathways might be involved in the response.




Eduardo AlvaradoOverland Park sophomore researches positive, negative feelings that music elicits
Eduardo Alvarado, sophomore in pre-law, Overland Park, who is looking at the behaviors elicited from the musical lyrics of common songs.





Heather ArnoldMore efficient lighting sources are focus of Topeka senior's research
Producing electricity for lighting costs U.S. consumers billions every year, and the costs are expected to increase. However, a Kansas State University engineering student is researching more efficient lighting sources. Heather Arnold, senior in electrical engineering, Topeka, said the average incandescent light bulb is about 5 percent efficient, and a fluorescent lamp is about 20 percent efficient.




Audrey PolifkaSophomore from Quinter studies chemical reactions that have possibilities extending beyond the lab

Audrey Polifka, sophomore in chemical engineering from Quinter, is working on a project she began as a freshman with Jennifer Anthony, assistant professor of chemical engineering at K-State. Polifka's research involves the synthesis – which forms new materials by combining chemical elements -- of zeolitic materials and liquids composed of ions.




Goldwater Honorable mention recipient researches physics of special liquids
Erik Stalcup, senior in physics, Wellington, has been working since his freshman year with Bruce Law, professor of physics at K-State. Stalcup recently received honorable mention in the 2009 Goldwater scholarship competition, a national competition based on academic merit for math, science and engineering undergraduate students.




Ryan GallagherNewest Goldwater Scholar is extensive undergraduate researcher in immunology
Ryan Gallagher, junior in microbiology and premedicine, Olathe, has worked since his first year at K-State in an immunology laboratory with Stephen K. Chapes, professor of biology. Gallagher was recently named a 2009 Goldwater scholar, a national competition based on academic merit for math, science and engineering undergraduate students.




Mychal DavisJunior from Omaha researches possibility of potentially harmful DNA escaping labs
Mychal Davis, junior in animal sciences and industry from Omaha, Neb., has been collecting samples of soil, water and cattle manure from and around Manhattan during the last year. He is looking for the presence of potentially harmful, genetically engineered DNA that frequently is used in molecular biology laboratories.




Jesus GarciaStudent researches stressors from pilots' up-down maneuvers
Jesus Garcia
, junior in public health nutrition, biology and premedicine, Merriam, is researching how the body's skin blood vessels respond to the physical and environmental stresses that pilots undergo.





Randi KingBreast cancer in cats, dogs is focus of student's research
Randi King, junior in animal science and industry and pre-veterinary medicine, Rose Hill, is conducting animal breast cancer cell research with Annelise Nguyen, assistant professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology at K-State.





Jorge MendozaStudent researcher studies declining bird population to help restore species
Jorge Mendoza, a K-State senior in biology and pre-optometry from Garden City, is researching two declining species of birds to understand more about their mating systems and breeding behaviors. The work could ultimately help reverse the species' diminishing populations.





Jackie JohnsonUndergraduate researches chemical compounds to improve performance of anti-cancer drugs

Jackie Johnson, junior in pre-professional secondary education and chemistry, Overland Park, is researching how to improve anticancer drugs by altering the physical properties of active pharmaceutical ingredients, or APIs, used in the manufacturing of a wide array of therapeutic drugs.




Kristina BigelowFreshman from Moran doing cancer research through Developing Scholars Program

Kristina Bigelow, a freshman in chemistry, biology and premedicine, Moran, is studying the changes in cell-to-cell communication of colon cancer cells. She is investigating the cells' tight and gap junctions to determine a lead compound to restore the loss of communication.




Rymonda DavisFreshman helps to preserve historical perspective of African-American women
Rymonda Davis, freshman in pre-journalism and mass communications, Fort Worth, Texas, has been interviewing older African-American women from the Manhattan area in a historical context to investigate storytelling and the importance of strong, matriarchal figures in African-American communities.







Developing Scholars Program
The program provides structured, faculty-supported opportunities for selected students who typically have not been well represented in higher education in Kansas.

McNair Scholars Program
The program is for students who are seriously considering a teaching career at the post-secondary level. Scholars make a commitment of effort and time from a busy schedule to develop skills necessary for success in graduate school while working toward their bachelor's degrees.

Johnson Cancer Center
The Center offers numerous student awards and training opportunities play a role in transforming today;s students into some of tomorrow's top cancer researchers.





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