2015 CGRS Presenters

Eight students represented the University of Kansas Lawrence Campus at the 2015 Capitol Graduate Research Summit. 

Christina M. Amaro | Clinical Child Psychology | Advisor: Michael C. Roberts

Correlates of Fruit and Vegetable Consumption in Low-Income Children in the Kansas City Area

Christina M. AmaroAmaro’s research focuses on the promotion of physical and mental health in youth. Specifically, she is examining the impact of family factors and household food insecurity on fruit   and vegetable consumption in low-income children. The study has several important implications, including increasing our understanding of factors impacting food consumption to better promote healthy eating.

Kelly Harrison | Molecular Biosciences | Advisor: Wendy Picking

Development of Subunit Vaccines Using Fusion Proteins from Salmonella

Kelly HarrisonHarrison’s research focuses on the development and optimization of a serovar-independent subunit vaccine against Salmonella. She and fellow members of the Picking laboratory utilize proteins from the type three secretion systems of gram-negative pathogens to study vaccine formulation, stabilization and efficacy. The group also studies the basic mechanisms of host-pathogen interaction. Their research provides the foundation for prevention of diarrheal diseases caused by enteric pathogens as well as critical advances in the field of vaccine development.

LlynnAnn Luellen | Civil Engineering | Advisor: Bryan Young

Evaluation of Constructed Agricultural Wetlands for Sediment, Nutrient, and Volume Reduction from Tile Outlet Terrace Field Runoff

LlynnAnn LuellenLuellen’s research focuses on wetland ponds as an agricultural stormwater Best Management Practice (BMP). This ongoing field study quantifies sediment and nutrient reduction and provides insight into the implementation and management of tile outlet terrace fields with wetland ponds. This research can contribute to strategies for improving water quality in Kansas watersheds, lessening sedimentation and algal bloom issues in reservoirs, and retaining soil and nutrients on agricultural fields.

Cyrus Maleki | Chemical and Petroleum Engineering | Advisor: Aaron Scurto

High-Pressure Phase Equilibria of Compressed CO2-Saturated Alkanes for Carbon Capture and CO2-EOR Purposes

Cyrus MalekiMaleki’s research focuses on the thermodynamic and phase equilibria properties of compressed CO2-alkane mixtures. He performs various thermodynamic experiments on mixtures of compressed CO2 and different alkanes at high pressures and variable temperatures in order to explore their transport properties including thermal conductivity, viscosity, and mass diffusion coefficient. This research will also investigate the detrimental effects of increasing anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions and explores the challenges and possibilities of CO2 EOR and storage activities in the state of Kansas. Final results obtained from his studies will address two of the biggest challenges that our country is facing, climate change and foreign energy dependency.

Joshua M. Nygren | History | Advisor: Sara M. Gregg

Soil, Water, and the State: The Conservation-Industrial Complex and American Agriculture Since 1920

Joshua M. NygrenNygren’s research explores the history of soil and water conservation in the United States since 1920. It demonstrates that agricultural conservation initiatives enjoyed the greatest buy-in when federal authority was filtered through state and local institutions. Soil and water conservation represented a precursor to today’s “sustainable development,” and this research suggests that true “sustainability” will remain elusive without widespread sacrifices in production and consumption.

Trey Ronnebaum | Chemistry | Advisor: Minae Mure

Understanding the Molecular Functions of LOXL2 in Invasive Breast Cancer Cells

Trey RonnebaumLysyl oxidase-like 2 (LOXL2) has been identified as a promising novel therapeutic target for invasive/metastatic breast cancers. Ronnebaum’s research focuses on deciphering the molecular mechanisms whereby LOXL2 functions in breast cancer metastasis/invasion. Ultimately, the goal is to develop a targeted therapy to combat invasive breast cancers.

Corinne Schwarz | Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies | Advisor: Hannah Britton

Human Trafficking in the Heartland: Justice, Prevention, and Support in Kansas City

Corinne SchwarzSchwarz's research examines the intersections of anti-human trafficking interventions and health services delivery in rural spaces and amongst underserved populations. She is particularly interested in how medical and social service sectors create and maintain support for vulnerable, exploited, and trafficked members of the LGBTQ community.

Mitchell C. VeDepo | Bioengineering | Advisors: Richard Hopkins, Gabriel Converse, and Michael Detamore

Inter-Species Variation in Decellularization of Aortic Heart Valves

Mitchell C. VeDepoVeDepo's research is focused on the clinical translation of tissue engineered heart valves for pediatric patients. Specifically, he is working on the characterization of decellularized valves as tissue engineering scaffolds. He is also interested on the subsequent cell seeding and recellularization of the scaffolds.

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