2016 CGRS Presenters

Eight students will represent the University of Kansas Lawrence Campus at the 2016 Capitol Graduate Research Summit. Learn more about their research below.

Five students will also represent the University of Kansas Medical Center at the Summit; learn more about their research at the Medical Center site.

For information about the event, and the other participating Kansas universities, please visit the Capitol Graduate Research Summit website.

Emily A. Carlson | Pharmacology & Toxicology | Advisor: Shirley ShiDu Yan

Overexpression of HSD10 Increases Adrenal Gland Cancer Cell Growth and Resistance to Cell Death

Emily CarlsonFor many cancer patients, treatments are ineffective due to increased cancer cell resistance. Carlson’s research examines the role of the 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 10 (HSD10) enzyme in cancer growth and resistance to cell death. The ultimate goal of the project is to develop HSD10 into a screening and/or therapeutic target to provide an additional option for cancer patients with limited treatment choice.


Mackenzie M. Cremeans | Geology | Advisor: Rick Devlin

Using Point Velocity Probes to Understand the Connection Between Stream and Groundwater Systems

Mackenzie M. CremeansCremeans’ research focuses on the design and development of integrated tools and methods for field characterization of groundwater-surface water exchange. The on-going field study, involving sites in Kansas and Europe, uses new devices, Point Velocity Probes (PVPs), to quantify flow through heterogeneous stream beds at selected locations, ultimately providing insight into the distribution of groundwater flow into (or out of) streams, and the rate of contaminant exchanges. This research contributes new insights to water resource evaluation and contaminant transport, which are important internationally and for Kansas.


Jessica F. Juanico | Applied Behavioral Science | Advisor: Claudia L. Dozier

An Evaluation of the Effects of State Seat Belt and Cell Phone Laws on Motor Vehicle Collisions

Jessica F. JuanicoJuanico’s research focuses on evaluating the effects of different variables on motor vehicle collisions across a large number of states. Specifically, she is evaluating the effects of seat belt and cell phone legislation, federally mandated car safety advances, and technology advances on motor vehicle collisions. The study demonstrates the importance of pursuing legislation that will reduce the number of motor vehicle collisions and increase the safety of the roadways.


Rouzbeh Khajehdehi | Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering | Advisor: David Darwin

Construction of Crack-free Concrete Bridge Decks

Rouzbeh KhajehdehiRouzbeh’s research focus is to implement the most cost-effective techniques for improving bridge deck life through the reduction of cracking. The project provides a mechanism for combining ideas from research and practice to develop a comprehensive strategy for the construction of crack free bridge decks. The study is led by KU and funded by industry, the Federal Highway Administration and 19 states' Departments of Transportation. The results of this study, some of which have already been implemented in Kansas and Minnesota to clear successes, will help the state of Kansas to save millions of dollars annually that otherwise were destined to be spent on bridge repair, rehabilitations and associated traffic costs.


Michaela L. McNiff | Pharmaceutical Chemistry | Advisor: Jennifer Laurence

The claMP Tag: Targeted Delivery of Metals to Treat Cancer

Michaela L. McNiffCancer diagnosis and treatment is centered around the delivery of metals. McNiff’s research focuses on characterization of the metal-binding claMP Tag to accomplish targeted delivery of metals to cancer cells. The goal is to further investigate the claMP Tag for applications to improve patient care


Venkat Motupalli | Engineering Management | Advisor: Tom Bowlin

Predicting Risk for Incidences of Homelessness Among Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan

Venkat MotapulliMotupalli’s research involves data exploitation and intelligence management informing efforts to prevent and reduce US Veteran homelessness. He is particularly focused on process optimization to preempt incidences of Veteran homelessness while avoiding additional burden on the Veteran care infrastructure.

Brock Ternes | Sociology | Advisor: Paul Stock

Well Ownership and Sustainable Practices: An Examination of Groundwater Policies, Water Conservation Routines, and Groundwater Reliance in Kansas

Brock TernesTernes’s research investigates the water conservation behaviors and environmental beliefs of well owners in Kansas, a key social group whose actual and potential water usage is pivotal to understanding and prolonging groundwater supplies in the state. His findings reveal that well owners are more aware of the state’s water supplies than the general population, and they implement water conservation practices more regularly than non-well owners. This research seeks to identify the factors associated with environmentally-conscious watering practices, which will assist the development of more effective groundwater management policies.

Renae Waters | Bioengineering | Advisors: Arghya Paul

Mesenchymal Stem Cell Secretome-Rich Hydrogels for Cardiovascular Regeneration

Renae WatersRenae’s research is focused on the development of a biomaterial based approach as an alternative to stem cell therapy for the regeneration of damaged heart muscle. Specifically, Renae is working on the encapsulating stem cell derived biomolecules in a scaffold to enable them to be injected into the damaged heart muscle, which could lead to improved heart function for heart attack patients.


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