2018 CGRS Presenters

Eight students will represent the University of Kansas Lawrence Campus at the 2018 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.

Brett Gelino | Applied Behavioral Science | Advisor: Derek D. Reed

Communicating Weather Emergencies to At-Risk Populations

Brett GelinoExtreme weather events (e.g., tornados, hurricanes, etc.) pose threat of injury and property destruction for those residing in at-risk locations. Gelino’s work evaluates the ability of current forms of extreme weather alerts - those with and without impact-based wording (IBW) – to prompt immediate action by recipients. The work highlights potential weaknesses in the current weather-alert system and offers direction for improvements to yield more general compliance with alert instructions.

Sayantani Basu | Chemical and Petroleum Engineering | Advisor: Arghya Paul

Repairing Bones with Hydrogels

Sayantani BasuSkull injury or surgical craniectomy often creates a cranial bone defect. This is a challenging clinical problem, since a critical-sized cranial defect cannot heal on its own. Sayantani Basu’s research focuses on the development of noninvasive therapeutic approaches in the form of injectable hydrogels to facilitate cranial bone reconstruction. The goal is to develop a DNA based hydrogel with sustained delivery of a therapeutic for bone regeneration, to enhance human health and well-being.


Charles Shaughnessy | Chemical and Petroleum Engineering | Advisor: Kevin Leonard​

Electrocatalysis: Storing Renewable Power for Tomorrow

Charles ShaughnessyElectrocatalysis is the science of using electricity to drive chemical reactions. Shaughnessy's research is focused on using electrocatalysis to store excess electrical energy in chemical bonds. The goal is to enhance this typically slow process to industrially relevant levels.


Tugba Turnaoglu | Chemical and Petroleum Engineering | Advisor: Mark B. Shiflett​

Slow-Release Fertilizers to Improve Kansas Agriculture

Tugba TurnaogluToday, almost half of ammonia delivered via fertilizer is lost into air and water. This loss has both energy and environmental impacts. Tugba Turnaoglu’s research focus on developing a new class of materials (slow-release fertilizer) to deliver the amount of ammonia needed into the soil for proper plant nutrition. These eco-friendly and environmentally benign slow-release fertilizers will improve energy consumption, and significantly decrease the amount of ammonia lost into the environment.


William Duncan | Economics | Advisor: Donna Ginther

Rural Vibrancy Index: A Measure of Opportunity in Rural Communities

William DuncanDuncan's research examines how best to measure the well-being of people in rural communities. In doing so, the research project will produce an index that allows for comparisons across communities which indicate that some communities may be vibrant while other communities are suffering. To do this, Duncan uses a variety of data about economic opportunity, infrastructure, healthcare, education, and culture.

Angelo Andres | Medicinal Chemistry | Advisor: Blake R. Peterson

New Keys to Old Locks: Cell Mimics for Cancer Treatment 

Angelo AndresWhen healthy cells turn cancerous, there are proteins that can force these cancer cells to self-destruct, to protect the body. When these “self-destruct” proteins are damaged, cancer cells can continue growing. Angelo’s research is focused on designing proteins to trigger cancer cells to die, as a novel means of treating cancer.


Taybor Parker | Molecular Biosciences | Advisor: Kristi Neufeld

Stopping Colorectal Cancer Before it Starts: The Many Roles of the APC Protein

Taybor ParkerColorectal cancer can be prevented when benign tumors, called polyps, are detected early. An initiating event in polyp formation is the mutation of a key tumor suppressor gene known as APC. Taybor Parker’s research focuses on studying the molecular mechanisms that maintain proper balance in the intestine and how these are perturbed during tumor formation.


Erika Nolte | Pharmacology and Toxicology | Advisor: Shirley ShiDu Yan

Turning Back Time: Reversing Alzheimer's Disease Progression

Erika NolteAlzheimer's disease affects about 1 in 8 people over 60, and currently there are no ways to prevent, treat, or cure the disease. Erika Nolte's research is focused on trying to create new drug treatments that could cure the disease, or prevent it from occurring in the first place. Nolte is looking at the dysfunction of energy production in the brain as a key target for drug development.

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