Kansas State University


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Author: Jennifer McDonald

Kansas State University launches Center of Excellence for Pancreatic Cancer Research

MANHATTAN — The Johnson Cancer Research Center at Kansas State University has launched a Center of Excellence for Pancreatic Cancer Research. The center has three areas of focus: cancer detection, drug discovery and studies involving in-vivo techniques and magnetic resonance imaging.

The center is led by Stefan Bossmann, professor of chemistry. The focus areas are led by, respectively, Jun Li, professor of chemistry; Duy Hua, university distinguished professor of chemistry; and Jianzhong Yu, assistant professor of anatomy and physiology.

Pancreatic cancer is the third-deadliest cancer in the U.S. Most pancreatic cancers are diagnosed late due to the absence of symptoms. Only 1 percent of people diagnosed at stage IV live another five years.

“Sadly, pancreatic cancer survival rates have remained unchanged in the past decade,” Bossmann said. “New strategies for detection and treatment are urgently needed.”

A major goal of the center is to make earlier detection possible by developing inexpensive liquid biopsy methods that enable frequent and routine testing for onset or recurrence of pancreatic cancer.

A second goal is to develop new drug therapies using cutting-edge chemical synthesis and characterization methods, expert nanotechnology, state-of-the-art in-vitro experimentation and ultra-high-field MRI methods.

“We are excited to fund this center of excellence that brings together outstanding K-State scientists to attack one of the world’s toughest cancers as a multidisciplinary team,” said S. Keith Chapes, interim director of the Johnson Cancer Research Center. “We thank our supporters for making it possible to implement this next step in our strategic plan to become a National Cancer Institute-Designated Basic Laboratory Cancer Center.”

“This Center of Excellence for Pancreatic Cancer Research is an exciting step forward in K-State’s fight against cancer,” said Richard Myers, Kansas State University president. “Moreover, it supports our 2025 vision to be recognized as a Top 50 public research university and our goal, as a land-grant university, to improve the quality of life for all through research.”

Other scientists involved in the center of excellence are Thomas Mueller, research assistant professor of biology; Om Prakash, professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics; Punit Prakash, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering; Chris Culbertson, professor of chemistry; Tej Shrestha, laboratory coordinator in anatomy and physiology; and Matthew Basel, clinical assistant professor in anatomy and physiology. Supporting their work with pancreatic cancer biospecimens will be Anup Kasi, associate professor at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

The Johnson Cancer Research Center, in the College of Arts and Sciences, supports and advances cancer research and education at Kansas State University. All of its programs are made possible by private funding. Information about the center is at cancer.k-state.edu.


KSU and GE Collaborative Tutorial at 53rd Annual Meeting of the IEEE Industry Application Society

Dr. Jiangbiao He from General Electric (GE) Global Research Center and Dr. Behrooz Mirafzal from College of Engineering at Kansas State University presented a tutorial at the IEEE Industry Application 53rd Annual Meeting in Portland, OR,  entitled “Health Monitoring and Fault-Tolerant Operation of VFDs in On-the-Move Energy Technologies”

For more information: https://ias.ieee.org/2018annualmeeting/tutorials.html

ECE Alumnis Named Trustees for KSU Foundation

Following an election September 7 at the semiannual meeting of Kansas State University Foundation’s Board of Trustees in Manhattan, Kansas, three members were re-elected to three-year terms on the foundation’s board of directors, and 49 members were elected to four-year terms on its board of trustees.

The KSU Foundation now has 348 trustees serving as the university’s premier advocates, ambassadors and investors.

The KSU Foundation’s Board of Directors oversees management, control and supervision of the KSU Foundation’s business and affairs. Re-elected to the board of directors were the following: Charlene Lake, Dallas, Texas, who earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications from the College of Arts and Sciences in 1983; Steve Theede, Houston, Texas, who earned his bachelor’s of mechanical engineering degree from the College of Engineering in 1974; and Mary Vanier, Manhattan, Kansas, who earned her bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management from the College of Human Ecology in 1989.

The following individuals from Kansas were elected trustees of the KSU Foundation: Karen and Mike Pestinger, Beloit; Amro and Darla Samy, Garden City; Beth and Trahy Hurst, Junction City; Tom and Vera Hintz, Manhattan; Jane and Wayne Ingmire, Manhattan; Roger Lanksbury, Manhattan; Christy Linders, Manhattan; Garren and Heidi Walrod, Randolph; Lynette and Mick Tranbarger, Wichita; and Diane and Jerry McReynolds, Woodston,

From out-of-state: Don Gemaehlich, Chandler, Arizona; Doug and Sabrina Kruse, Templeton, California; Andrew and Megan Murphy, Telluride, Colorado; Larry and Linda Nelson, Washington, D.C.; Marta and Tim Belstra, DeMotte, Indiana; Cathy and Tom Ritter; Reistertown, Maryland; Sue and Tim Regan, Waterloo, Nebraska; Karen and Scott Love, Bartlesville, Oklahoma; JP and Teresa Bilbrey, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania; Janet Strohmeyer, Austin, Texas; Audrey Mross, Dallas, Texas; Julie and Scott Jimison, Haslet, Texas; Amy and Nick Graham, Highland Park, Texas; Charlie and Debbie Morrison, Keller, Texas; Dan and Kim Wicker, McKinney, Texas; Brian Paulson, Sherman, Texas; Carol Laflamme, Fairfax Station, Virginia; and Jesse and Sabrina Schriner, Sammamish, Washington.

“The KSU Foundation trustees and directors have made an outstanding commitment to boldly advance K-State family,” said Greg Willems, president and CEO of the KSU Foundation. “We thank our trustees — new and returning — for their leadership and dedication to K-State.”

As Kansas State University’s strategic partner for philanthropy, the KSU Foundation inspires and guides philanthropy toward university priorities to boldly advance K-State family. The foundation is leading Innovation and Inspiration: The Campaign for Kansas State University to raise $1.4 billion for student success, faculty development, facility enhancement and programmatic success.

Punit Prakash named to endowed Spainhour professorship

Punit Prakash, Kansas State University associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and Keystone research scholar, has been named recipient of the Paul L. Spainhour Professorship in Electrical Engineering.

Funded by a gift from Paul Spainhour, Overland Park, a 1969 graduate of Kansas State University in electrical engineering, the professorship was established to help attract and retain the highest quality faculty in the department of electrical and computer engineering in the College of Engineering.

Prakash joined the department as an assistant professor in fall 2012, and is also an affiliate of the K-State Johnson Center for Cancer Research. He is the director of the Biomedical Computing and Devices Lab, which he established to focus on developing technologies for enabling precise image-guided medical interventions.

He is currently principal investigator for a five-year study that is expected to lead to a bronchoscopic microwave ablation system for treating lung tumors. The project is funded by a more than $1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute.

The author and/or co-author of more than 30 peer-reviewed journal publications and more than 50 conference presentations, he is also co-inventor on two patents — one issued, one pending.

Prakash received a K-State College of Engineering Outstanding Assistant Professor award in 2017, Innovative Research Award from the Johnson Cancer Research Center in 2012 and 2014, and K-State Faculty Development Award in 2012. His research students have received Young Investigator Awards from the Society of Thermal Medicine in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Steel Ring

MANHATTAN — The Kansas State University College of Engineering Steel Ring Honor Society has inducted 22 new members for the 2018-2019 academic year.

Steel Ring is an honorary comprised of seniors in the College of Engineering. Membership is based on leadership, scholarship and engagement. New members are selected by current members of Steel Ring following a written application and personal interview process.

One of the group’s primary tasks each year is planning and organizing the College of Engineering Open House in the spring semester. During the recent 2018 Open House, inductees shadowed current members to learn the roles and responsibilities of the organization for the annual event.

Faculty adviser for the group is Craig Wanklyn, assistant dean for recruitment in the College of Engineering.

The following are the new members of Steel Ring:

Kristen Graves, architectural engineering, Andover; Collyn Fouard, biological and agricultural engineering, Brookville; Bailey Herzberg, architectural engineering, Chanute; Mackenzy Meis, chemical engineering, Cimarron; Evan Morrical, biological and agricultural engineering, Culver.

From Greater Kansas City: Tori Thomas, biological and agricultural engineering, Lenexa; Zach Stanley, industrial engineering, Overland Park; and Cody Deas, electrical engineering, Tim McCormick, electrical engineering, Mary Pat Siebert, computer science, and Jessica Stanton, biological and agricultural engineering, all from Shawnee.

Jordan Disberger, electrical engineering, and Lindsey Hageman, industrial engineering, both from Manhattan; Sarah Plum, chemical engineering, Sabetha; Bailey Waters, civil engineering, Salina; Jose Ramos, architectural engineering, Syracuse; Chase Brokke, industrial engineering, and Aubrey Busenitz, civil engineering, both from Topeka; Ethan Hammond, mechanical engineering, Wakefield; and Gabi Biby, mechanical engineering, Wichita.

From out of state: Megan Niblock, chemical engineering, Fergus Falls, Minnesota; and Sarah Peterson, industrial engineering, Houston, Texas.





National Institutes of Health funds cancer-related research at Kansas State University

MANHATTAN — Tackling lung cancer with development of a minimally invasive treatment option is the goal of researchers from the Kansas State University colleges of Engineering and Veterinary Medicine, along with industry partner, Broncus Medical, San Jose, California.

The project, funded by a $1,321,648 grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute, is expected to lead to a bronchoscopic microwave ablation system for treating lung tumors.

Punit Prakash, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, is principal investigator for the five-year study “Bronchoscope-Guided Microwave Ablation of Early-Stage Lung Tumors,” awarded under the NIH Academic-Industrial Partnerships to Translate and Validate in Vivo Cancer Imaging Systems program.

“We will develop flexible, microwave ablation devices with precise control of microwave radiation that can be delivered to lung tumors via a bronchoscope,” Prakash said. “These devices will be integrated with a computerized image-guidance, navigation and treatment planning platform to guide physicians in the optimal approach for treating the targeted tumors while preserving healthy tissue.

“We will evaluate the technical feasibility and safety of the proposed technique for treating lung tumors in a pilot clinical study,” he said.

Kansas State University co-investigators on the project are from the College of Veterinary Medicine: Warren Beard and David Biller, both professors of clinical sciences, and Chanran Ganta, clinical assistant professor in diagnostic medicine and pathobiology.

Yixun Liu, principal imaging research and development engineer with Broncus Medical — a commercial-stage company that delivers navigation, and diagnostic and therapeutic technologies to treat patients with lung disease — represents the industry partnership on the project.

This project will support an interdisciplinary team of faculty, postdoctoral scholars and graduate students conducting cutting-edge research on microwave technology for therapeutic applications and their translation to the clinical setting.

This grant builds upon an earlier project from 2016-17 between Broncus Medical and the electrical and computer engineering department. Prakash was also the principal investigator. Technology products in that study led to novel bronchoscopic deliveries of microwave energy for treating lung tumors, resulting in patent filings by the Kansas State University Research Foundation. The research foundation and the Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization are working with Broncus Medical to develop strategies to further protect and commercialize the intellectual property resulting from the previous project and this new grant.

2017 PES Scholarship Recipient

ECE Senior Nick Mannoni receives IEEE Power & Energy Society Scholarship Plus Initiative scholarship.

2017-18 PES Scholar Recipients


Two hundred and thirty (210) PES Scholarship recipients were selected from the 548 individuals who applied for the scholarship. These undergraduate students are majoring in electrical engineering, are high achievers with strong GPAs with distinctive extracurricular commitments and are committed to exploring the power and energy field. These scholarships are made possible due to the generous donations of individuals and corporations to the IEEE Power & Energy Society Scholarship Fund of the IEEE Foundation.