Graduate Student Awards

Michael Beckloff completed his Bachelor’s degree in Cell Biology and Biology at KU. He also did undergraduate research in the lab of Dr. Rob Weaver. He is currently the co-founder of Silvergate Pharmaceuticals and Chief Development Officer for Azurity Pharmaceuticals. Mr. Beckloff’s interest in drug development was sparked by his father, who pursued a medical degree. Interestingly, his grandfather had lung cancer and used a drug that was developed by his father, which further propelled Michael’s passion to discover drugs that benefit patients. He began his career in the pharmaceutical industry at Marion Laboratories and later worked with his father who found a drug development consulting company. He grew  the consulting business, which was eventually acquired  by Cardinal Health, a Top 20 Fortune 500 company. He partnered with The University of Kansas, Children’s  Mercy Hospital, and the Kauffman Foundation, to develop drug products for pediatric medicine, with the goal to change the way pediatric medicine is delivered in the United States.  Silvergate Pharmaceuticals was founded in 2010 after Beckloff and others noticed there was a need for high-quality pediatric medications. 

This fund provides awards for students doing research in the Molecular Biosciences Department of the University of Kansas.  Preference is for students researching rare and neglected diseases, including cancer.

Beckloff Award Recipients

2024Alec Bevis
Anam Shaikh
2023Katherine Hanson
Parker Sperstad
Qi Zhang

William J. Bell (10 January 1943 – 17 October 1998) was an entomologist, a pioneer of chemical ecology, and professor at the University of Kansas.  He received a BS from Bridgewater State College in 1964 followed by an MS in zoology from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He then went to study under William H. Telfer at the University of Pennsylvania and received a Ph.D. in 1969 for studies on the juvenile hormone in egg development. After a post-doctoral at the University of Texas, he joined the University of Kansas in 1970 as an assistant professor of entomology. In his laboratory he worked with students on chemosensory perception of insects, innovating methods for experimentation.

This fund provides awards for outstanding undergraduate or graduate students majoring in the Department of Molecular Biosciences at the University of Kansas. They may be used to support a summer research experience for a student or for student travel to national scientific meetings.

Bell Award Recipients

2024Jennifer Amrein
Saeideh Nasiri
Rayssa Teixeira
2021-2023Sudeep Shakya
2019Taybor Parker
2018Victoria Hassebroek
2017Dianarys Hernandez-Aquino
Kara Hinshaw
2016Haifa Alhadyian
Christian Gomez
Matthew Josephson
Reid McLean
2015Mahekta Gujar
Nikola Kenjic

Bill Candlin was an undergraduate slated to work in the laboratory of Professor Jerome Yochim as an National Science Foundation Undergraduate Research Participation Awardee, but was involved in a tragic car accident before he could begin. His family established the award in his name for the then "Department of Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology.”  The award honors outstanding work in Cell Biology or Biochemistry.

Candlin Award Recipients

2024Andrew Evans
2023Haeyoung Kim
Bunu Lama
Erick McCloskey
Maxim Rodzkin
2022Kushal Koirala
Priyanka Goyal
Gabrielle Perkins
2021Pallavi Biswas
2020Wendy Aquino
Haeyoung Kim
2019Shivani Jagannathan Murali
Anupama Kante
2018Zoe Dimond
Snehal Mahadik
2017Vaishnavi Nagarajan
2016Mahekta Gujar
Andy Wolfe
Nadeem Asad
2014Samantha Hartin
Amber Smith
Makoto Yoshida
2013Nadeem Asad
Vinidhra Sridharan
Makoto Yoshida
2011Maged Zein El-Din
Erick Spears
Raghavi Sudharsan
2010Sudharsan Parthasarathy
Hyun Ryu
Kellen Voss
2009Jamie Chapman
2008Jiang Xu
2006Sumin Cai
Feng He
2005Yieyie Yang
2004Mengmeng Wang
2003Ryan Bartlett
Jake Kohlmeier
2002Hong Jin
2001Claudia Bode
Obe Omoike
2000Gretchen Dollar
Mohan Gupta
Lin Song
Andrew Suddith
1999Kathleen Davis
Vince Sollars
1998Brad Schnackenberg
1997Jamie Rusconi
1996Melissa Foltz-Daggett
Danielle Hamill
1995Lisa Felzien
Jackie Vogel
1994Jun Bao
1993Randall Morrison

Dr. Hirata was born in Los Angeles, California.  He received his baccalaureate and master's degrees in zoology at Duke University.  Dr. Hirata first became interested in immunology during his graduate studies in zoology at the University of California at Los Angeles, where he earned a Ph.D. degree in 1958.  His interest matured at the California Institute of Technology where, under the tutelage of Professor Dan H. Campbell, an eminent immunochemist, he carried out postdoctoral research as a National Science Foundation Research Fellow.  In 1960 he moved to the National Institutes of Health in Maryland as a Staff Research Immunologist, and in 1965 he became a Research Fellow in Immunology at Abbott Laboratories in North Chicago, Illinois.  He joined the faculty of the University of Kansas as a Professor of Microbiology in 1973, but returned to Abbott Laboratories in 1975 to become a Senior Research Fellow and Head of the Laboratories of Immunology, a position he held until his death.

Dr. Hirata's life-long scientific interest was immunochemistry, especially as it applied to medical diagnostic technologies.  In this area alone he published many scholarly papers and received more than twenty patents.  He was an active member of more than a dozen professional societies.  His devotion to academic science was evident from his participation in the graduate teaching programs at Northwestern University and the University of Illinois Medical School.  Moreover, throughout his tenure at Abbott Laboratories he maintained a particularly close and active association with the faculty and students in the Department of Microbiology as an Adjunct Professor of Microbiology at the University of Kansas.  This scholarship is presented to a graduate student who has demonstrated excellence in research, academic performance, and service to the Department.​

Hirata Award Recipients

2023Alec Bevis
Anam Shaikh
2020Cory Jenkinson
Meagan Kurlan
2019Jennifer Klaus
Kent Mulkey
2018Haeyoung Kim
2017Anuja Bhatta
Amanda Dunbar
Anupama Kante
2015Makoto Yoshida
Vinidhra Sridharan
2014Vinidhra Sridharan
2013Heba Mostafa
2012Amy Hinkelman
2008Abby Dotson
2007Kelli Cool
2006Kelli Cool
Prema Sundararajan
2005Jason Wickstrum
2004Jake Kohlmeier
2002Jake Kohlmeier
2001John Osiecki
2000Claudia Bode
John Osiecki
1999Prasanna Bhende
Tina Mitchell
Obe Omoike
Scott Tibbetts
1998Carolyn Holcroft
Obe Omoike
Scott Tibbetts
1997Chintana Chirathaworn
Scott Tibbetts
1996Carolyn Holcroft
Joe McDonald
1995Chintana Chirathaworn
Ken Gaeddert
1994Ping Chen
Ken Gaeddert
1993Bruce Atkinson
Simon Kuo
1990Everett Rosey

This award was initially set up to remember Philip Newmark who was a faculty member in the former biochemistry department.  He died of a heart attack in 1962.  Phil Newmark is remembered for his activism during and after the McCarthy era, for his commitment to building a strong biochemistry program at Kansas, and for his excellence as a biochemist.  Sympathy notes received after his passing read like a “who’s who” of biochemistry.  In 1991, Marge Newmark’s name was added to the award.  After Phil’s death, Marge raised three children alone, took on the demands of a faculty position, and had a large part in building the department.  She developed a number of the major biochemistry courses, acted as director of graduate studies for 20 years, and attained numerous federal grants to fund educational opportunities within the department. 

Newmark Award Recipients

2024Chien-Wei Wang
2023Ryan Feehan
2021Dwight Deay III
2019Jennifer Klaus
2018Lingfei Liang
2017Jimmy Budiardjo
Andy Wolfe
2016Kawaljit Kaur
2015Amber Smith
2014Yan Xia
2013Sunhwan Jo
2012Jose Olucha
2011John Hickey
2010Adam Norris
2008Yu Wan
Lingling Zhang
2007Ryan Schultz
2006Feng He
2005Roma Kenjale
Hardeep Samra
2004Amanda Harrington
Mengmeng Wang
2003Jake Kohlmeier
2002Scott Falke
2001Ward Tucker
2000Yafei Huang
1999Mohan Gupta
1998Nathalie McComb
Brad Schnackenberg
1997Deborah Ferrington
1996Xiaomin Fan
1995Danielle Hamill
Qin Song
1994 Beverly Benson
1993Ulrike Benbow
1992Denise A. Mills
1991Bruce Hart
1990Michael A. Harding
William D. Singer
1989Hossain Jahansouz
1988Lingjun Zhao
1987Larry Dobbs
M. Mejillano
1986Elizabeth Runquist
1985Fred Smardo
Ylanda Fuchs
1984Bill D. Roberts
1983Patricia Necessary
Randal Scott
1982Susan C. Brown
1981Douglas C. Dean
1980Douglas Brenneman
1979Charles Pugh
1978John Alderete
1977Gary Sams
1976Mary Hedblom
1975Donald L. Kreutzer
1974Dhiren R. Thakker
1973Edward T. Nelson
1972May L. Chan
1971Hugo F. Lathrop
1970John R. Schiltz
1969Harry W. Chen
1968 William H. Welch, Jr.
1967Melvin Chaplin
T. Devanathan
1966James Curry.
1965Thomas McGivern
1964 Fred Jones

In the early twenties, Cassandra Ritter received her B.A. and M.A. in the Department of Bacteriology at the University of Kansas.  Her professional career was centered on the public health bacteriology laboratory in Lawrence, Kansas, where she was in charge of the Water Laboratory.  She continued to have a close association with the Department and the University.  After her death, a contribution from the Kansas Section of the American Waterworks Association, and individual contributions from her many friends, established this award in her memory.  The award has been used to recognize undergraduate and graduate students for outstanding achievement.​

Ritter Award Recipients

2022Haeyoung Kim
2019Rhea Abisado
2018Megan McKinney
2016Jennifer Klaus
Vitoria Paolillo
2014Vaishnavi Nagarajan
 Smita Paranjape
2013Angie Fowler
 Heba Mostafa
2012Ichie Osaka
2010Fernando Estrada
2009Jamie Chapman
 Brendan Mattingly
2008Jeff Skredenske
 Lingling Zhang
2007Abby Dotson
2006Jingping Lu
2004Jason Wickstrum
2003John Osiecki
2002Ryan Teague
2001Safet Hatic
2000Joe Mammarappallil
1999Christoph Lindenthal
1998Chintana Chirathaworn
 Sheba Mathew
1997Sheba Mathew
 Joe McDonald


Stanley L. Twomey received his Ph.D. in Physiology and Cell Biology here at KU in 1971.  “Stan the Man,” as many of his friends called him, was a man of action.  He lived his life according to one of his favorite sayings, “You only get invited to this party once.”  He never hesitated to take on any task or feat.  Stan was successful in his research and professional achievements, and made friends quickly.  Although competitive in nature, he was also a humanist who derived great pleasure in the success of others.  All who knew him were acutely aware of his physical presence; however, some might not know that Stan played the guitar and harmonica, wrote poetry, carved scrimshaw and played major roles in a local theatre group, to which he brought his unique character. 

Stan passed away on July 10, 1979, at the age of 35, after courageously fighting off malignant melanoma for 4 years.  While in the hospital, Stan sustained his usual psychological strength.  Stan gave his last presentation, “Enzyme-labeled immunosorbent assay for serum ferritin” on June 26, 1979, at the American Association for Clinical Chemistry in Montreal.  This award was established by friends and colleagues of Stan “to perpetuate his ‘life’.”

Twomey Award Recipients

2023Neal Daufel
Brielle McKee
Joseph O'Connor
2022Sudeep Shakya
2021Paul Ikujuni
Alexander Stegman
2019Wendy Aquino
2018Jagannathan Murali
2017Kelly S. Harrison
2016Christian Gomez
2015Andy Wolfe
Seth Lewin
2014Matt Josephson
Mirna Perusina Lanfranca
2013Blake Balcomb
Sunhwan Jo
Lakshmi Sundararajan
2012Sunhwan Jo
2011Lakshmi Sundararajan
2010Rafael Demarco
Adam Norris
2008Jamie Chapman
2007Yang Wang
Lingling Zhang
2006Wang Han
Qian Sun
2005Sumin Cai
Jiamiao Lu
2004Yieyie Yang
2003Josh Gilmore
2002Jennifer Hueston
Jianning Wei
2001Jake Kohlmeier
2000Hong Jin
Ahn Nguyen
1999Christoph Lindenthal
1998Kristin Barkus 
Weiqing Chen
1997Jeff Hsu
1996Michael Elliott
Brad Schnackenberg
1995Xiao Wen Tang
1994Ellen Brisch
Melissa Foltz
1993Jun Bao
Lisa Felzien

Robert F. Weaver is an emeritus professor of the Department of Molecular Biosciences. This fund was donated to provide salary support for graduate research assistants in the Molecular Biosciences Department.

Weaver Award Recipients

2023Saeideh Nasiri
Kelsey Ertwine
Hapugaswattage Hapugaswatta
Hongping Hao
Doha Sleem
Amanda Somers
2022Bryan Jimenez
Morgan Bertolino
Rik Dhar
Evan Schulz
Doha Sleem
Sutton Stegman
Kelsey Ertwine
2021Byan Jiminez
2020Bunu Lama
2019Molly Birrer
Victoria Hassebroek
Nootan Pandey
Sudeep Shakya
2018Nikola Kenjic
Wendy Aquino
2017Pratik Koirala
2015Anritangshu Chakravarty
2014Nan Bai
2013Anuja Bhatta

The Carrie Whitmire Fellowship is awarded to deserving women graduate students in the field of Microbiology at the University of Kansas. Recipients may receive the fellowship for two to three years depending on the degree they are seeking.

Whitmire Award Recipients

2021 - 2023Joan Klages
2021 - 2022Latavia Hill
2020Priyanka Goyal
Molly Massengale
2019Anuja Bhatta
2018Nicole Massa
Vaishnavi Nagarajan
2017Nootan Pandey
Reshma Bhattacharya
2016Victoria Hassebroek
2015 - 2016Amanda Dunbar
2015Kelly Harrison
2014 - 2016Anuja Bhatta

Deadline: Tue, April 16, 2024

Awards will be made for reasonable travel and expenses for MB graduate students who will present talks or posters at national or international meetings in their research area; or for training at national laboratories.  Applications will be considered for travels on 4/24/2024 - 8/20/2024. Priority will be given to students that have not received prior travel awards. We expect to have 2 travel awards available for this cycle. To be considered, submit application materials by email to Mizuki Azuma ( with subtitle “MB Travel Awards” by the deadline.

  1. Each graduate student will submit in a single PDF file the following 3 items:
    1. Each graduate student will submit in a single PDF file the following 3 items:
      1.  contact information, email address;
      2.  purpose of travel;
      3.  dates, location, and description of conference;
      4.  budget, limited to our maximum award of $1,000;
      5.  description of any previous departmental travel support.
    2. CV and grade transcript or DPR showing graduate classes and grades.
    3. Title, Author/s, and Abstract that will be presented.
  2. Each faculty advisor must provide a letter in PDF file attesting to the applicant’s need and research progress. If there are multiple applicants from a single lab, the letter must rank each applicant. Preference is given to support only one student from each laboratory. Email this letter to
  • Complete the online Travel Request Form, ahead of your travel date. This is a university rule and is not used by the selection committee.
  • Awards are given on a reimbursement basis. Submission of original itemized receipts are required for reimbursements.
  • For travel after Aug 20, 2024, apply to the next call for travel awards.
  • Send inquiries to Mizuki Azuma (
Aerial view of the Campanile at sunset