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Graduate Student Among Winners of Research Presentations in Topeka

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A University of Kansas School of Engineering graduate student is one four students from KU and the KU Medical Center to receive a $500 award at the ninth annual Capitol Graduate Research Summit, which was Feb. 16 in Topeka.

A.J. Mellott, a doctoral student in bioengineering from Overland Park was recognized for his project: “Approaching Inner Ear Hair Cell Regeneration through Non-Viral Gene Therapy.”

The other KU students to bring home awards:

• Laura Dean, doctoral student in political science from Seattle.

• Lacey Luense, doctoral student in molecular and integrative physiology from Merrill, Iowa.

• Jessica Witherspoon, doctoral student in rehabilitation science from Greensboro, N.C.

Gov. Sam Brownback and members of the Kansas House of Representatives and Senate attended the poster session that featured graduate students from KU, KU Medical Center, Kansas State University and Wichita State University.

Brownback thanked the students for sharing their research and encouraged them to continue their good work that raises the quality of life for citizens of the state of Kansas.

Thomas Heilke, dean of graduate studies, noted that KU was represented by 12 graduate students — seven from the Lawrence campus and five from KU Medical Center. Their work represents issues important to Kansans, including turning biomass into everyday products like water bottles, regenerating inner ear hearing cells and providing better rehabilitation for stroke patients.

"The research represented here today is a small sampling of the research being conducted by graduate students at both the Lawrence and Medical Center campuses, as well as the Wichita State and Kansas State campuses. The work that these students are doing will have positive, long-term impacts on our society in many ways," Heilke said.

Three other engineering graduate students were invited to present at the event:

  • Madhav Ghanta, a doctoral student in Chemical & Petroleum Engineering from Hyderabad, India, presented "Towards a Carbon Dioxide-Free, Sustainable, Ethylene Oxide Technology."
  • Jeff Lamping, a bioengineering graduate student from Olathe, Kan., presented "Effects of Negative Pressure to Induce Bone Growth into Porous Titanium Implants."
  • Clayton Wauneka, a doctoral student in Bioengineering from Las Cruces, N.M., presented "Stroke Survivor Rehabilitation: How Much Effort is Needed for Recovery?"


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