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Campus Happenings – Spring 2021
Professorship honors medical pioneer

Carol Fabian, M.D., is an innovator in translational medicine, with more than 15 successful clinical trials in breast cancer prevention and treatment. Her work with the Breast Cancer Prevention Center at The University of Kansas Cancer Center has given patients access to leading-edge preventative therapies and care. With a generous $2 million challenge grant to establish the Carol J. Fabian Professorship in Breast Cancer Prevention and Survivorship, the Hall Family Foundation has inspired nearly $2 million in additional gifts from the Patterson Family Foundation, Komen Foundation, Dee and Dave Dillon, and many grateful patients and local advocates.

“Dr. Fabian has built an outstanding, nationally renowned program for those who are at high risk for breast cancer,” said Roy Jensen, M.D., director of The University of Kansas Cancer Center. “This professorship supports her pioneering work to discover ways to better predict, prevent and detect breast cancer. I’ve known Dr. Fabian for nearly 40 years now, and I can think of no one more deserving of this honor.”

Rapid COVID-19 test moving closer to home use

KU’s effort to develop an at-home COVID-19 test is moving closer to commercial readiness. Led by Steven Soper, a KU Foundation Distinguished Professor, the team is repurposing “lab on a chip” technology he had previously created to quickly diagnose conditions ranging from stroke to cancer. The same concept can be used to detect SARS-CoV-2 virus particles. At-home users would put saliva on a test chip, then use a hand-held device to examine the results, all in about 15 minutes. The team is working with two companies with experience in medical manufacturing to produce the chips and electronic units. They aim to begin production and distribution by the end of the year.

KU professor Steven Soper and two graduate students from his team work on the at-home COVID-19 test they are developing.

#9 — KU School of Medicine in the Top 10

According to U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 rankings, the KU School of Medicine is the No. 9 medical school in the nation for primary care. The school, with campuses in Kansas City, Salina and Wichita, moved up from 38th place a year ago. It’s the first time KU has made the top 10 since the publication began primary care rankings in 1999.

School of Business hosts selling competition

The KU School of Business hosted its first Professional Selling Program competition April 9–10. Sponsored by King’s Hawaiian Sales, the virtual event featured eight schools with the KU team taking home the first prize. “This competition presents a unique opportunity for us to gain exposure to top students interested in a career in sales,” said KU alumnus Patrick Meehan, King’s Hawaiian Sales senior vice president and chief customer officer. The company has committed to support the annual event in the years to come. The program is open to students in all majors.

Gift celebrates research faculty

An anonymous donation of $300,000 endowed a doctoral fellowship in the School of Pharmacy. The fellowship will increase opportunities and access for student researchers. The gift was inspired by the donor’s niece, who studied with Rick Dobrowsky, professor of pharmacology and toxicology. It demonstrates the value of lifelong relationships students build with their mentors, and celebrates the dedication of KU research faculty. By aiding promising students who face financial hardship, the fellowship will contribute to the success of future researchers and the overall program.

KU research fuels Kansas economy

A recent report produced by the Institute for Research on Innovation and Science (IRIS), a national consortium of research universities, details the geographic distribution of KU research-related spending. In 2020, Kansas companies received $38.7 million for goods and services from KU-sponsored research. Revenue from KU research was infused into 80 of 105 Kansas counties, with vendors in 15 of those counties receiving more than $149,000 in purchases. In addition, sponsored research supported the salaries of 3,872 people. Students made up about 34% of research-funded employees, and about 19% were faculty.

Longtime friendship inspires gift to the Dole Institute

After meeting in 1987, Kansas Sen. Bob Dole and Jim Xhema, a Connecticut businessman of Albanian descent, have enjoyed a decades-long friendship. Although they grew up worlds apart, both were raised on farms with similar values. A common bond and mutual respect inspired Xhema’s $500,000 gift to the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics. The Jim Xhema Opportunity Fund will provide support for public programs and exhibits. When possible, the fund will sponsor programming and displays featuring Albania, Kosova, Albanian Americans, or the Balkan region in southeastern Europe.

Scholarship memorializes beloved doctor and friend

An effort is underway to endow a scholarship for medical students in memory of Steve Allen, M.D, who died Dec. 23, 2020. Allen graduated from the University of Kansas and then from the KU School of Medicine in 1986. After completing residency in pediatric cardiology in Denver, Allen moved to Wichita where he worked passionately to ensure patients received the best care at The Wichita Clinic. KU School of Medicine classmates Greg Thompson, M.D., professor and program director for neurological surgery at the University of Michigan, and Robert Simari, M.D., executive vice chancellor for KU Medical Center, are championing the scholarship. “Steve was a heroic supporter of his patients and their families and a connector in his world of friends and colleagues. We believe these values should be fostered through this scholarship,” said Simari and Thompson.

You Said It

“I was inspired to give to the Greater KU Fund after participating in KU Endowment’s Zoom call with the chancellor. Dean Kevin Smith and the library team are fantastic champions and stewards of this important resource.”
Beverly Bradshaw, bachelor’s in personnel administration 1978, Dallas, Texas

“We are giving to recognize the importance of the Honors College in helping make a large university function like a small liberal arts college and encourage people to be their best.”
Laura Koenigs, M.D. 1982, bachelor’s in chemistry and English 1978, and Ken Koenigs, M.D. 1982, bachelor’s in chemistry 1978, Longmeadow, Mass.

“We’re making this gift because we enjoy attending the KU Medical Arts Symphony and look forward to many more live performances as our country learns how to fight coronavirus.”
Marc and Sherry Richard, Shawnee, Kan.

“I am giving to support scholarships because I know it’s been a tough year for students.”
Karen Samelson, bachelor’s in journalism and German 1987, Milwaukee, Wis.

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