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K-State Today

Division of Communications and Marketing
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May 1, 2023

Biology awards outstanding senior with Haymaker Award

Submitted by Eve Sutherland McCulloch

The faculty members of the Division of Biology will award Taylor Lee Bugbee, senior in biology with an emphasis in human health biology, Wichita, with this year's H.H. Haymaker Award for Excellence. The Haymaker Award is the highest honor bestowed upon a biology student at Kansas State University by the Division of Biology.

The award was named in honor of Herbert Henley Haymaker, a K-State alumnus who graduated with a bachelor's degree in agronomy and served as a faculty member from 1917-1963. The award is given annually to one of more than 100 eligible seniors majoring in biology, fisheries, wildlife, conservation, and environmental biology or microbiology. The recipient must have an extraordinary level of accomplishment as an undergraduate and promise to continue such quality performance in a biological sciences-related career. Nomination and selection criteria include grades, rigor of academic program, extracurricular activities, recommendations by faculty and performance in an interview. This year, 12 seniors were nominated.

Bugbee joined the Division of Biology in 2019. According to the division, she is a highly capable and accomplished student who has excelled both academically and in research.

Bugbee joined the laboratory of Nicholas Wallace, associate professor of biology, during her freshman year. Wallace noted her tenacity and scholarship from the start. Wallace said only two weeks into her research experience, Bugbee was reading the primary literature and asking insightful questions.

In the laboratory, Bugbee has proven herself to be an exceptional researcher and collaborator. She earned co-authorships on four papers for work accomplished before, during and after the pandemic. The papers probed the mechanisms of cancer and included a protocol on next-generation DNA sequencing around double-stranded breaks and three papers on beta human papillomavirus and double-stranded break repair pathways. Wallace describes Bugbee's contributions to these papers as "substantive and essential."

Bugbee is also leading an independent project examining the effects of a tumor proliferation inhibitor. Bugbee has coordinated the project, which is a collaborative project between Wallace's lab and a researcher at Pittsburg State University funded by the National Institutes of Health. Bugbee's paper on this work is ready for journal submission. Wallace emphasizes that Bugbee carried out the work and wrote the paper with minimal oversight.

Bugbee's research successes and potential have been recognized by awards, including an undergraduate research award from the College of Arts and Sciences, two research awards from the Johnson Cancer Research Center, and the Campus and Star trainee awards from the Kansas IDEA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence, or K-INBRE. The Star trainee award provides financial support for outstanding prospective biomedical researchers during their senior year as undergraduates.