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K-State News
Kansas State University
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University honors psychological sciences, veterinary microbiology professors for graduate teaching, research

Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018


MANHATTAN — Two prolific researchers and educators at Kansas State University are recipients of the 2018 Commerce Bank and W.T. Kemper Foundation Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award.

Being recognized with the award for their outstanding scholarly achievements and contributions to graduate education at the university are Kimberly Kirkpatrick, professor of psychological sciences, and T.G. Nagaraja, university distinguished professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology. Both professors will receive a $2,500 honorarium. The awards are supported by the William T. Kemper Foundation and the Commerce Bancshares Foundation, and are coordinated through the Kansas State University Foundation and the university president's office.

"This year's recipients, Drs. Kirkpatrick and Nagaraja, are faculty members who excel in research and in the teaching and mentoring of K-State students," said Shawn Drew, market president and CEO of Commerce Bank, Manhattan. "They exemplify the outstanding graduate-level faculty members at K-State that Commerce Bank and the W.T. Kemper Foundation have been proud to recognize for more than 20 years."

As part of their award selection, Kirkpatrick and Nagaraja will each give a public presentation on their work. Nagaraja will make his presentation at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, in the Big 12 Room at the K-State Student Union. Kirkpatrick's lecture will be at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, in 4061 College of Business Building.

Kirkpatrick is director of the psychological sciences department's Cognitive and Neurobiological Approaches to Plasticity center, which is known as CNAP. The center, funded by a $10.6 million grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, currently supports four primary projects, three pilot projects and three research cores. Activities related to the project are taking place at Wichita State University and the University of Kansas Medical Center. CNAP also supports six K-State students on graduate research assistantships and provides access to laboratory facilities that are used by more than 50 graduate and undergraduate students.

Kirkpatrick's main research interest is the role of timing and reward processes in determining maladaptive impulsive and risky choices in rats. Her National Institutes of Health R01 grant, which was originally funded in 2010 and renewed in 2016, supports research on the development of targeted therapeutic interventions to treat impulsivity. Altogether, she has received more than $4 million in funding for her research programs, has published nearly 70 research papers and book chapters, and has co-authored more than 100 conference abstracts and delivered nearly 40 invited addresses and symposium contributions. She has served as a reviewer for more than 30 journals, is currently on the editorial boards of four prominent journals and served as associate editor for the journal Behavioural Processes from 2014-2016.

Passionate about mentoring undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, Kirkpatrick has been the major professor for six doctoral students and one master's recipient. She has mentored five summer research students, more than 100 undergraduate researchers and five postdoctoral fellows. Five of her graduate students have received extramural fellowships, including one of her current students who is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

Kirkpatrick regularly publishes with her students, with nearly 50 percent of her publications involve student co-authors. She also supports students in attending and presenting at national and international conferences, with more than 80 percent of her conference presentations involving student co-authors. Her graduate students have garnered multiple awards, including an Ig Nobel prize, two University Distinguished Professor research awards, two Department of Psychological Sciences Research Awards, and dissertation and early career awards from the American Psychological Association.

Kirkpatrick received her doctorate in psychology from the University of Iowa in 1995 followed by a postdoctoral fellowship from 1996-2000 at Brown University. She joined the K-State faculty in 2008 as an associate professor and was promoted to full professor in 2012.

Nagaraja is a highly regarded researcher on the gut microbiology of cattle. Supported by extramural funding of more than $11 million — predominately from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and noted animal health companies — Nagaraja's work has focused primarily on the role of rumen microbes in function and dysfunction of the rumen, particularly liver abscesses of cattle and on foodborne pathogens, with a focus on Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli and salmonella in cattle. His work has resulted in seven U.S. patents.

Nagaraja's research is a blend of basic and applied studies and involves collaborative interactions with epidemiologists, molecular biologists, pathologists and ruminant nutritionists. He and his associates have made significant contributions in the following areas: use of ionophore antibiotics in cattle; causes, pathogenesis and vaccine development for liver abscesses in feedlot cattle; causes and preventions of ruminal disorders such as acidosis and bloat; ecology of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli and salmonella in cattle; and antimicrobial resistance and antimicrobial alternatives. Nagaraja and his associates have published 19 book chapters, 14 review papers, five symposia proceedings and 214 peer-reviewed journal papers.

While research makes up 60 percent of Nagaraja's appointment, he also teaches the Veterinary Bacteriology and Mycology course and lab for second-year veterinary medicine students, Ruminant Digestive Physiology to first-year veterinary medicine students and the graduate courses Rumen Metabolism and Rumen Microbiology. He also serves as director of the College of Veterinary Medicine's doctoral program in pathobiology and the master's program in veterinary biomedical science.

Nagaraja has mentored 19 doctoral, 19 Master of Science and three Master of Public Health students, as well as several postdoctoral students and visiting scientists.

His many awards and honors include the Dr. Ron and Rae Iman Outstanding Faculty Award from the K-State Alumni Association in 2012; being named one of Kansas' top 150 scientists by Ad Astra Kansas in 2011; and the Irvin Youngberg Award for Applied Sciences, one of the Higuchi-KU Endowment Research Achievement Awards, in 2010. Nagaraja also received the 2001 Pfizer Animal Health Award for Research Excellence from the College of Veterinary Medicine. He is an honorary diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Microbiology.

Nagaraja received his bachelor's and master's degrees in veterinary microbiology from the University of Agricultural Sciences in Bangalore, India. He earned a doctorate in microbiology from K-State, and joined the faculty in 1979. He was named a university distinguished professor, K-State's highest ranking, in 2008.


Kimberly Kirkpatrick

T.G. Nagaraja


Nagaraja is Nah-gah-rah-jah


Commerce Bank and W.T. Kemper Foundation Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award


Download the following photo.

Kimberly Kirkpatrick

Kimberly Kirkpatrick, professor of psychological sciences at Kansas State University, is the recipient of a 2018 Commerce Bank and W.T. Kemper Foundation Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award.

Download the following photo.

T.G. Nagaraja 

T.G. Nagaraja, university distinguished professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology, is the recipient of a 2018 Commerce Bank and W.T. Kemper Foundation Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award.