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Sigma Xi

Welcome to Sigma Xi - Kansas State University Chapter

Sigma Xi was founded in 1886 to honor excellence in scientific investigation and encourage a sense of companionship and cooperation among researchers in all fields of science and engineering. The Greek letters "sigma" and "xi" form the acronym of the Society's motto, "Spoudon Xynones," which translates as "Companions in Zealous Research.

 Sigma Xi logo

 Check out the new Meet Sigma Xi video! Click here


Science Cafe


Kansas State Chapter Sigma Xi Science Café 


An open discussion on the vision for our university and the role of academia ”


Dr. Richard Linton, President Kansas State University,

Dr. David Rosowsky, Vice President for Research Kansas State University


Wednesday, May 8, 4 PM 

 Leadership Studies Building, McVay Family Town Hall


Please register by May 3rd.  See QR code on the attached flyer or go directly to this link for registration:K-State Science Café_2024

Scsience Cafe Poster


K-State grad student and Sigma Xi member explores links between gut microbes and effective colon cancer care

Tanner Richie

Tanner Richie, left, pictured above with faculty mentor Sonny Lee, is conducting research about gut microbes and their relationship to better colon cancer care through personalized medicine.


MANHATTAN — Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, and a Kansas State University graduate student is doing research to identify and improve effective colon cancer care.

Many cancer drugs are known to interact with the microbes that inhabit the human gut. Each person's microbes are unique to them — almost like a fingerprint composed of healthy microbes and disease-associated microbes. This diversity of microbes can cause challenges; microbial interactions with treatment drugs can lead to adverse reactions or drug inefficiencies.

Customizing a colon cancer care plan based on these and other factors is known as personalized medicine, and it provides the best possible chance of winning the battle with cancer. This is why scientists like Tanner Richie, K-State doctoral student in biology, Salina, work diligently to improve personalized medicine by identifying all the factors that influence colon cancer outcomes.

Measuring microbial changes in the gut can help identify chronic inflammatory diseases that may lead to colon cancers. Richie's thesis project, "Maintaining balance in the microverse: Investigating microbial impacts on host gut inflammation," examines how the many different types of intestinal microbes interact with each other and with the human body.

For years, scientists have known that these microbes can make us sick, keep us healthy or appear to do nothing at all. Richie's work suggests that certain gut microbes influence the likelihood of someone getting colon cancer and explores how the microbes are driving colon inflammation and outcompeting healthy microbes.

"Continuing this research into how microbes can lead to colon inflammation and compete with us for resources is really exciting and will help people with colon cancers by personalizing their medicine," Richie said.

Richie is first author on the article "Limitation of amino acid availability by bacterial populations during enhanced colitis in IBD mouse model," which was published in mSystems, a journal from the American Society for Microbiology.

She has contributed to three other scientific publications, and she is also the author of "Precision prescribing for colon cancer based on gut microbes," a general audience article published by the National Association of Science Writers.

Richie is mentored by Sonny Lee, assistant professor of biology and member of the Johnson Cancer Research Center at Kansas State University.

The Johnson Cancer Research Center advances cancer research with competitive award programs funded by its supporters. Their donations allow students and scientists to work together to create hope for a brighter future in cancer care.


K-State Sigma Xi Sponsors Three Minute Thesis Competition

3 Minute Thesis winners

Students from left to right: People’s Choice - Fei Xyza Asuncion, PhD student in Biological and Agricultural Engineering; 1st place - Endy Lopes Kailer, PhD student in Agronomy; 2nd place – Kylee Jennings, master’s student in Regional and Community Planning

Student Grant Opportunities

Application Deadline:  March 15, 2024

Sigma Xi's Grants in Aid of Research (GIAR) program has been expanded and is now accepting Spring 2024 applications through March 15. Increased award amounts are now available:

    Graduate student members—up to $5,000

    Undergraduate members—up to $2,000

    Non-members—up to $1,000

Special categories (all applicants)

    Astronomy, meteor, and meteorite research—up to $5,000

    Vision-related research—up to $2,500


Proposals are evaluated based on scientific merit and how well they align with the funding criteria. Visit sigmaxi.org/giar for guidelines, a list of fundable expenses, and more information about the program.

Students can nominate or self-nominate with the application process.  For over 100 years, the acclaimed program has helped launch thousands of STEM careers by awarding an average of $200,000 in grant money annually. Don't miss out!




K-State Sigma Xi sponsors Graduate School Research Competition Awards

Kansas State University graduate students displayed a diverse range of research and scholarly work at the Graduate Student Council's annual Research and the State poster forum.

This year's Research and the State forum was sponsored in part by K-State's chapter of Sigma Xi, a scientific research honor society. Sigma Xi presented additional awards to three of the award recipients.

Read the full article here.

Winners recognized with awards from the K-State Sigma Xi chapter include:





K-State 2023 Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer

Laurie McNeil

Dr. Laurie McNeil, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Bernard Gray Distinguished Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy,
presented the lecture, “The Interplay of Music and Physics.” Dr. McNeil's lecture can be viewed here

Dr. McNeil's lecture "Changing the Climate in Science" can be viewed by clicking here. The slides for Dr. McNeil's lecture can be downloaded here

Dr. McNeil’s visit was cosponsored by the Kansas State University Chapter of Sigma Xi, the Manhattan Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), KSU Department of Physics, Kansas Association for Women in Science and Engineering (KAWSE), and KCARE/KWRI.


Dr. Ganga Hettiarachchi named recipient of the 2023 K-State Sigma Xi Chapter's Outstanding Scientist

Outstanding Scientist PresentationK-State chapter president Ignacio Ciampitti presents the 2023 Sigma Xi Outstanding Scientist Award to Dr. Ganga Hettiarachchi, professor of Soil and Environmental Chemistry within the Department of Agronomy. Dr. Hettiarachchi is one of the world’s leading scientists in the fields of trace metal and nutrient chemistry in soils. Her research at K-State focuses on understanding the chemistry of both nutrient and contaminant elements in soils, with the goal of developing solutions to agricultural or environmental problems. 

Dr. Hettiarachchi's presentation was titled, Manipulating Reaction Pathways for Managing Nutrient and Contaminant Elements in Soils.”


Dr. Charles Rice Named a 2023 Sigma Xi Fellow


Dr. Charles Rice

Congratulations to Past K-State Sigma Xi chapter president, Dr. Charles Rice, University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Agronomy, on be named a Fellow of Sigma Xi.

K-State Chapter of Sigma Xi's 2022 Distinguished Lecture


Jeff Toney

Dr. Jeffrey Toney, Visiting Professor, Dept. of Linguistics and Philosophy, MIT and Professor Emeritus, Kean University, Union NJ presented the spring K-State Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer seminar, "Why Science Matters: A Possible Cure to a Pandemic of Skepticism and Confusion." The lecture was cosponsored by the Manhattan Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and the Sunset Zoo. You can view Dr. Toney's presentation by clicking here.


Jack Sytsma Wins Sigma Xi Best Poster Competition

Jack Sytsma

Kansas State Sigma Xi Chapter student member Jack Sytsma was awarded the prize for the Best Poster Presentation in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the National Sigma Xi meeting held in Arlington, Va this past November. He is pictured above receiving his award from Sigma Xi president Dr. Nicholas A. Peppas.

Jack’s poster was entitled "Dominant Prairie Grass in Reciprocal Gardens Across the Rainfall Gradient of the Great Plains:  Decadal Evidence of Local Adaptation and Community Change."  His coauthors were Matthew Galliart, Sara G. Baer, Eli Hartung, David Gibson, David Barfknecht, and Loretta Johnson.  Jack is advised by Dr. Loretta Johnson, a former KSU chapter Sigma Xi president and Sigma Xi Fellow. 



Sigma Xi Annual Meeting & Student Research Conference - See more at: https://www.sigmaxi.org/meetings-events/annual-meeting#sthash.aecAfLXt.dpuf
Sigma Xi Annual Meeting & Student Research Conference - See more at: https://www.sigmaxi.org/meetings-events/annual-meeting#sthash.aecAfLXt.dpuf
Sigma Xi Annual Meeting & Student Research Conference - See more at: https://www.sigmaxi.org/meetings-events/annual-meeting#sthash.aecAfLXt.dpuf

Sigma Xi

The Scientific Research Society National website

Support your local Sigma Xi Chapter

Donors to the KSU Foundation can designate their donation to go to the K-State Sigma Xi Chapter. On the Foundation’s Donation page, select “Faculty Development and Research” and then select “K-State Sigma Xi Chapter.” Click here to donate.

Special Events


Seminars of Interest

K-State Sigma Xi Outstanding Scientist Lecture


Watch here for announcements on the 2024 Outstanding Scientist Lecturer

K-State Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecture Series

Watch here for announcements on the 2024 Distinguished Lecturer