Three doctoral students earn 2021 University Distinguished Professors Graduate Student Awards
MANHATTAN — Outstanding achievements in their academic work and scholarship have earned three Kansas State University doctoral students awards from the university's highest-ranking professors.
The winners of the University Distinguished Professors Graduate Student Awardsare Dryden Baumfalk, doctoral candidate in human ecology specializing in kinesiology, Colby; Alisa Pajser, doctoral candidate in psychology, Des Moines, Iowa; and Tahmineh Azizi, doctoral candidate in mathematics, Iran.
The awards recognize doctoral candidates who have shown exceptional achievement in graduate studies and demonstrate excellence in scholarship through publications and other accomplishments appropriate for their academic field. The University Distinguished Professors Group has established a set of guidelines and criteria for the evaluation of candidates, and they partner with the Graduate School to coordinate the selection process.
Baumfalk received a $2,500 award to support his research, which focuses on two areas: the cardiovascular system and the tumor microenvironment. Baumfalk is investigating the efficacy of exercise to both reduce attenuate prostate cancer-associated cardiac atrophy and fatigue while also providing improvements in radiotherapy outcomes in a pre-clinical model. His research suggests that exercise has the potential to diminish cardiac atrophy and fatigue, and favorably augment the prostate tumor microenvironment to improve radiation therapy outcomes. Baumfalk's advisor is Brad Behnke, associate dean of research and graduate studies in the College of Health and Human Sciences. A brief video summary of Baumfalk's research is available online.
Pajser received a $5,000 award to support her research on fear suppression involved in an animal model of delayed-onset post-traumatic stress disorder. She believes that understanding the mechanisms involved in fear suppression could lead to new methods of detection for delayed-onset PTSD in human patients as well as possible treatments for anxiety disorders in general. Pajser's major professor is Charles Pickens, associate professor of psychological sciences. View a brief video summary of Pajser's research online.
Azizi received a $2,500 award to support her research, which is critical to understanding how to address basic and translational cancer research for improved prevention, diagnostics and treatments. Her work involves developing computer and mathematical tools and models to predict the distribution and effectiveness of potential anti-cancer drugs and therapeutic nanomaterials in animals and humans. Her research will help develop a comprehensive understanding of the distribution of anti-cancer drug nanocarriers in the body. Azizi's major professor is Bacim Alali, associate professor of mathematics. A brief video summary of Azizi's research is available online.
"Our graduate students are conducting excellent research and finding innovative solutions to some of the critical challenges we face today," said Vara Prasad, president of the University Distinguished Professors Group. "Congratulations to this year's award winners. These students will be future leaders in their respective fields and bring recognition to Kanas State University."
The awards are made possible through a combination of donations from individual university distinguished professors and support from the university's vice president for research.