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KSU graduate students recognized for research

By The Mercury

Two Kansas State University graduate students have received statewide recognition for their research that benefits Kansas.

Joseph Holste, doctoral student in civil engineering, Ludell, and Lance Noll, master’s student in veterinary biomedical science, Greensburg, were the two Kansas State University winners at the 11th annual Capitol Graduate Research Summit on Feb. 13. Noll received a $500 scholarship from BioKansas and Holste received a $500 scholarship from the university’s Graduate School.

“We are proud of Joseph and Lance and the eight other graduate students who represented Kansas State University at the Capitol Graduate Research Summit,” said Carol Shanklin, dean of the Graduate School. “All of our graduate students were outstanding in sharing their research with legislators, regents and the public. The judges commented that all of our excellent presenters made it a challenge to select two scholarship winners.”

The Capitol Graduate Research Summit at the State Capitol building in Topeka is a statewide event that features current research of graduate students at Kansas State University, the University of Kansas, the University of Kansas Medical Center and Wichita State University. A university professor and two industry representatives judged the student posters and presentations. The top two presenters from each university received awards.

Holste’s poster was “Transfer bond test used to predict transfer length of concrete railroad ties.” His faculty mentor is Robert Peterman, professor of civil engineering.

Holste’s research focuses on indent patterns in prestressing steel wire, which is used in prestressed concrete railroad ties. Holste is studying the bonding ability of the different indent patterns and the geometry of the indents to see if it leads to possible splitting.

“My research is important to Kansas because it allows concrete railroad ties to become more durable, which would reduce the need to replace the ties as often,” Holste said. “Concrete tie usage also would decrease the use of creosote that is needed to weatherproof wooden ties.”

Noll’s poster was “A four-plex real-time PCR assay for the detection and quantification of Escherichia coli O157 in cattle feces.” His faculty mentor is T.G. Nagaraja, university distinguished professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology.

Noll is studying preharvest food safety in beef cattle, specifically on developing techniques for detecting pathogenic E. coli. He has developed and validated a molecular assay that can detect and quantify four major E. coli genes. The assay is novel, rapid and less labor-intensive than existing detection methods and has the potential for automation, Noll said. The research is funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture Coordinated Agriculture Project grant.

“Beef cattle production is a major industry in Kansas and Kansas State University has a rich tradition in the research on beef cattle production and beef safety,” Noll said. “As a graduate student in veterinary biomedical sciences, I am proud to be a member of a multidisciplinary team in the College of Veterinary Medicine that aims to make beef a safe product for the consumers.”

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