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Geisbrecht Lab

E Geisbrecht Lab Mailing Address

Kansas State University
Dept. of Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics
141 Chalmers
Manhattan, KS 66506

Dr. Erika Geisbrecht's Office: 785-532-3105
Lab: 785-532-3194
Fax: 785-532-7278



Members of our laboratory have been involved in unique opportunities to share our knowledge of and passion for science. Most of these opportunities have arisen through programs geared towards graduate education, but we aim to expand and explore additional opportunities to touch all education levels and facets of science education.


EXCITE! Workshop (KAWSE) http://www.k-state.edu/excite/ 

Every summer, a multi-day STEM camp is hosted for middle school and high school students on the K-State campus by the Office for the Advancement of Women in Science and Engineering (KAWSE). This past summer, Nicole taught an EXCITE! (Exploring Science, Technology, and Engineering) workshop for 9th-12th grade girls allowing students to experience being a Geisbrecht lab member. Through several sessions, students worked in our fly lab to learn basic Drosophila genetics (Drosophila Bootcamp), analyze muscle mutants, and see dissected muscle using our confocal microscope. We plan to continue this module annually, developing the workshop to bring students into our lab and increase hands-on lab activities.


Kansas Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (KS-LSAMP)https://www.k-state.edu/lsamp/ 

The Geisbrecht lab hosted Aaron Ortiz, a minority student from Garden City Community College as part of the NSF-funded Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (KS-LSAMP) program. Aaron assisted in the characterization of a muscle protein important for preventing muscle degradation in the fruit fly. Following the completion of his summer research program, Aaron presented on his data at the K-state RiPS forum. He has since transferred to KSU to complete his Biochemistry degree.



Kansas State Universityhttp://www.k-state.edu/openhouse/  

University of Missouri Kansas-City

Every year the Geisbrecht graduate students assist in the Biochemistry Department showcase at the K-State Open House. This display reaches community members of all ages, engaging parents and children in interactive displays of biochemical processes and departmental research projects.
Through Jessica Kawakami at the UMKC campus, the Geisbrecht lab has the ability to impact multiple communities with our research. Jessica uses protein biochemistry to look at small-scale protein complexes and applies these principles in the model organism Drosophila to understand how a group of protein tyrosine phosphatases work in muscle function. She shares this information with the Kansas City community at science days hosted by the School of Biological Sciences at UMKC.


KCALSI (Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute) Annual Dinner 

Dr. Geisbrecht submitted artwork to the KCALSI Annual Dinner this past fall.  This silent auction, themed “Science to Art”, features local research groups to fund outreach initiatives in the Kansas City area. As Dr. Geisbrecht and other sciences describe in the video below, images used in their everyday scientific investigations can be used as ‘avenues’ to engage the public with scientists and promote conversations to educate people of all ages. This event is part of a larger movement known as STEAM, integrating creative arts with programs emphasizing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). The Geisbrecht lab will continue future submissions and expand our efforts to other biochemistry labs through the use of our imaging equipment. We also hope to create a departmental collection of research images to inspire and educate the K-State campus.




American Heart Association (AHA). http://my.americanheart.org/professional/index.jsp

AHA has been a center of excellence for many years, bringing together scientists, clinicians, and the public to expand research efforts and improve public health knowledge. Two graduate students in the Geisbrecht lab, Bridget Biersmith and Jessica Kawakami, have been recipients of prestigious pre-doctoral fellowships to support their thesis research. AHA not only makes fellowship participant’s research widely available to the larger health community, but also facilitates interactions with lay audiences. Bridget has had multiple opportunities to tell the public about the relevance of basic science approaches and to discuss how simpler model organisms can be used to inform us about larger human health problems.


Johnson Cancer Research Center. http://cancer.k-state.edu

The Johnson Cancer Center located on the K-State campus partners with the Geisbrecht lab in providing summer stipend support for graduate students and disseminating results to the local community. Dr. Geisbrecht is a member of the Johnson Cancer Center faculty, using the muscle-tendon junction as a model for how cells interact and communicate with one another in complex structural arrangements.


NSF GK-12 EIDRoP Fellowship 2014-2015

Junction City High School, Geary Country USD 475

A current graduate student in the lab, Nicole Green, was an NSF GK-12 fellow (DGE #0841414) during the 2014-15 academic year. Nicole was paired with Rebecca Steiger, an AP Biology teacher at Junction City High School in the USD 475 Kansas School District. Specifically, Nicole developed and implemented modules that highlight the importance of basic science in model organisms and address Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). AP Biology students visited the K-State campus in Spring 2015 to learn about careers in biomedical research, toured the Geisbrecht lab facilities, and completed a research-oriented module requiring our advanced microscopy facilities.
               In addition, Ms. Steiger and Ms. Green co-presented one of their educational resources at the 2015 Annual Drosophila Research Conference in Chicago, IL. This module entitled, ‘Evidence-Based Inquiry Into the Remote: Using Drosophila's Phenoloxidase to Open the Door to Research-Based Experiences in a High School Classroom’, combines an introduction into biochemistry with the power of using Drosophila mutants. Another module focusing on muscle mutants is being combined with Drosophila-optimized imaging software. We have recruited a local high school sophomore to adapt this technique using cell phones for video collection and image processing. When completed, this laboratory exercise will combine aspects of modeling, experimental design, and computer science. Nicole continues to present the Phenoloxidase module annually in the AP Biology classroom. For the future, Dr. Geisbrecht has entered into a long-term partnership with Rebecca Steiger at Junction City High School to impact students through a series of personal interactions and extensions of K-12 curriculum.


For more Drosophila classroom resources see:

 Manchester Fly Facility https://droso4schools.wordpress.com/

GSA PREP http://www.genetics-gsa.org/education/GSAPREP_Resources.shtml