LAWRENCE – Three University of Kansas students received honors during the 19th annual Capitol Graduate Research Summit in Topeka at the end of March. Rohit Singh, Jacob Hodge and Lauren Johnson were each recognized for their outstanding research and presentations at an event that brings together the top graduate student researchers in the state of Kansas.
Rohit Singh, doctoral student in mechanical engineering, received a research award from the Office of Graduate Studies at the Lawrence campus for the project “A Novel Technology to Treat Blood-Vessel Related Disease through Space and Time Synchronized Ultrasound and Laser.”
“A non-visible micron-sized bubble created by ultrasound plus laser inside a blood vessel can treat diseases related to blood vessels,” Singh said. “It can dissolve blood clots inside vessels in case of deep vein thrombosis disease, and it can close leaky microvessels in the eye to prevent blindness caused by diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.”
This treatment method aims to improve the human condition and provide a useful alternative to existing treatment techniques that cost anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000 for deep vein thrombosis.
“Rohit’s work explores innovative, non-invasive methods for treating vascular disease,” said Jennifer Roberts, vice provost for graduate studies and academic affairs. “The procedures he studies would provide preventative treatment for patients with potential blindness due to macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.”
Jacob Hodge, doctoral student in bioengineering in the M.D.-Ph.D. Medical Scientist Training Program, received a research award from the Office of Graduate Studies at the Lawrence campus for the project “Tailoring Stem Cell Therapies to Enhance Regenerative Wound Healing.”
“My research focuses on using a novel 3D printed biosystem to improve the regenerative capabilities of adult stem cells,” Hodge said. “Within our bodies, stem cells produce a vast number of compounds that aid in tissue regenerative processes. By utilizing our 3D printed tissue mimetic system, we can control the activity of stem cells and isolate these regenerative compounds to develop personalized medical therapies for a variety of soft tissue ailments, such as wound care.”
Hodge’s research could lead to the development of novel tailorable therapeutics that lessen the economic burden of chronic wounds of patients in the Kansas health care system.
“Jacob presented impactful research investigating new techniques for promoting healing for individuals with chronic wounds,” Roberts said. “Both he and Rohit’s research showcase the high-quality research underway at KU, and their results show real promise for directly impacting and improving the lives of Kansans.”
Lauren Johnson, medical student in the School of Medicine, received a research award from BioKansas and the Office of Graduate Studies at the KU Medical Center for the project “Should Breast Cancer Patients Have Preoperative Biopsy of Borderline Abnormal Axillary Lymph Nodes?”
Johnson’s research has implications for the future treatment of breast cancer patients in Kansas by making treatment more affordable.
“The goal of my research project was to determine if a preoperative biopsy of borderline lymph nodes is helpful in the management of breast cancer patients,” Johnson said. “We found that biopsy is more often an unnecessary procedure as it was only helpful in 32% of patients. We hope this finding can limit travel time, financial burden and unnecessary procedures for breast cancer patients in Kansas.”
The free Capitol Graduate Research Summit provides an opportunity for the public — as well as Deputy Secretary of Business Development Paul Hughes and state senators and representatives — to learn more about the important work of graduate students across the state.
Founded by graduate students 19 years ago, the summit brings attention to the innovative research conducted by students at state universities and emphasizes the public benefits of graduate students’ research. KU students joined graduate students from Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University, Kansas State University, Pittsburg State University and Wichita State University at the summit.
Top photo: From left to right, Kyung M. Min, Julia Russell, Max S. Fairlamb, Lauren Johnson, Amy Herman, Samantha Cintron, Elizabeth Thoenen, Siddharth Subham, Rohit Singh, Jacob Hodge and Micah Unruh pose after the Capitol Graduate Research Summit. Credit: Genevieve Prescher.
Right photo: Jacob Hodge presents his project to Jennifer Roberts, vice provost for Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies. Credit: Genevieve Prescher.