Chancellor Douglas A. Girod

“What we do today will change the lives of countless people tomorrow and serve as a testament to the talent and dedication of the faculty, staff, and students of this university.”

– Bernadette Gray-Little
Collision courses

KU researchers explore the universe at a subatomic level.

A team of KU physicists is helping to design, build, and improve components for a pixel detector, part of a 12,500-ton instrument that tracks particle collisions at the Large Hadron Collider.

The National Science Foundation recently awarded a $1.78 million grant to KU to continue this work.

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) operates the vast three-part collider in Geneva, Switzerland. Two postdoctoral researchers from KU are there year-round as part of the worldwide community of scientists and technicians working to increase understanding of the model of physics that predicted the existence of the Higgs boson.





An elite fellowship

Two professors join the ranks of KU faculty who have received the prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship.

Iris Smith Fischer


“Charles Peirce and the Role of Aesthetic Expression in 19th Century U.S. Philosophy and Semiotics”

Smith Fischer will study the 19th century philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce, whose interests in theater and semiotics led him to combine scientific study with acting and performing methods.

Arienne Dwyer


“Narrative and Metanarratives of the Silk Road”

Dwyer, a linguistic anthropologist, will explore the stories told by and about Central Asians. She will analyze fictional and historical texts by Central Asian storytellers as well as the narratives of early Western explorers and the modern Chinese state.

Leader in pharmacy research

For the third time in four years, the KU School of Pharmacy was ranked #2 in the nation for National Institutes of Health funding.

The School of Pharmacy earned more than $25 million in NIH research funding in fiscal year 2012 — an increase of $3 million from the previous year’s total.

The school’s 24 NIH-funded faculty members brought in an average of more than $1 million each. Per-faculty NIH funding is considered a key indicator of the productivity and quality of a school’s faculty.


Charlie Fehl, a graduate student in medicinal chemistry, does research that may lead to more selective and effective treatments for prostate cancer.

A discovery with teeth

“The discovery is a link to the past. It isn’t just a dusty bone in the ground.”

— Robert DePalma,
Palm Beach Museum of Natural History

Researchers at the University of Kansas — led by David Burnham, preparator of vertebrate paleontology at KU’s Biodiversity Institute (below), and Robert DePalma, his former student— settled a century-old debate by proving that Tyrannosaurus rex was a predator, not a scavenger. Their findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

David Burnham, preparator of vertebrate paleontology at the KU Biodiversity Institute, examines fossils in the lab at Dyche Hall.
A replica T. rex tooth and jaw in the paleontology lab.
A student conducts research in Dyche Hall. U.S. News & World Report ranks KU’s doctoral paleontology program seventh in the nation.
David Burnham in the paleontology lab.

David Burnham, preparator of vertebrate paleontology at the KU Biodiversity Institute, discusses how fused dinosaur vertebrae uncovered by a former paleontology student settled a century-old debate about Tyrannosaurus rex.

Water power
KU explores the future of water across disciplines.

Hunter Harlow, a KU graduate student in geology, helped extract the first intact core sample from the Ogallala aquifer, the source of 30 percent of all fresh groundwater in the United States. And Holly Lafferty, an undergraduate studying ecology and evolutionary biology, researches changing ecosystems in the Kansas River.

Their research is part of the KU Water Research Initiative, which pushes the boundaries of knowledge for everyone whose lives and livelihoods depend on water. Researchers and scholars from many areas of inquiry — architecture, law and policy, public health, humanities, science, and engineering — share ideas, interests, and findings across disciplines.

A one-day workshop in September brought together more than 100 faculty and staff from 30 academic departments and research centers. The workshop capitalized on KU’s existing research strengths, and the goal was to form a water research community and generate new ideas on high-priority topics.

Throughout 2014, these researchers will continue to advance our understanding of both surface water and groundwater, so we can better manage these resources around the world and predict their impact on our communities. Researchers will also contribute to the creation and implementation of a 50-year vision for the future of water in Kansas.

Students conduct water research at KU

Click the thumbnail to watch feature videos.

Undergraduate Research Profile: Holly Lafferty

Graduate Student Research Profile: Hunter Harlow

Water and Law
Waters of the
United States

Leading scholars and thinkers on water law and environmental law addressed critical issues facing water quantity and quality at the Kansas Law Review Symposium, “Waters of the United States: Adapting Law for Degradation and Drought.”

A world beneath the ice
KU contributes technology to Greenland canyon discovery.

By analyzing images obtained with technology developed at KU’s Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS), international researchers discovered a ravine 460 miles long and twice as deep as the Grand Canyon.

The technology also contributed to the discovery of a hidden aquifer the size of Ireland under Greenland’s glacial ice. The discovery of the melt water, stored in old compacted snow known as firn, is detailed in a Nature Geoscience article that cites four KU researchers as contributing authors.

CReSIS instruments collected about 80 percent of the data in the canyon study on NASA Operation IceBridge missions between 2009 and 2012. Operation IceBridge is a six-year NASA mission to survey the Earth’s polar regions with annual airborne missions. CReSIS will also join the next IceBridge mission to Greenland in spring 2014.

A 460-mile-long canyon was discovered below Greenland's ice sheet using radar technology developed at KU. Video courtesy of NASA.

Making education affordable
The Assets and Education Initiative hopes to reduce the burden of student debt.

Total student debt has risen 76 percent nationally since 2007 — and it affects more than students’ bank accounts.

“The American financial aid system is in crisis,” says William Elliott III, associate professor of social welfare. “We simply cannot continue to rely on borrowing. Not only does it leave students with crippling debt, it significantly reduces college completion and enrollment rates, especially for low-income students.”

Elliott leads KU’s Assets and Education Initiative, which recommends the creation of savings accounts with automatic enrollment for every American child at birth, initial contributions for low- and moderate-income families, matching contributions, and withdrawals for pre- and post-college expenses. The report estimates that account balances of $16,000 mitigate the potential negative effects of debt on the average student.

Select awards & accomplishments

New marks for freshman talent, diversity: The 4,000 freshmen in the Class of 2017 set KU records for average ACT (25.3) and diversity (21.8 percent).

Two students received Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships. Qi Chen is a junior in chemical engineering, and Lianna Dang is a junior in chemistry. The awards are the premier undergraduate recognition for academically gifted students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

A team of aerospace engineering students won first place in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Foundation 2013 Graduate Team Aircraft Design Competition.

Researchers at the Life Span Institute found that omega-3 fatty acid DHA has benefits ranging from reducing preterm births to improving infants’ cognitive functions.

Four professors were chosen as fellows by the world’s largest scientific society, the American Chemical Society.

Researchers generated $275.2 million in externally sponsored research, second in the Big 12 Conference and more than all other Kansas universities combined.

Thirteen students and alumni won National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships for 2013-14.

A senior in journalism, Michael Vernon, has been named as a winner of the prestigious 2013 Jim Murray Memorial Foundation scholarship, a national award for excellence in sports writing at the college level.

A leader in the open access movement, Dean of Libraries Lorraine Haricombe was elected chair of the steering committee of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition.

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times
Chancellor's Vision

The mission of the University of Kansas is to lift students and society by educating leaders, building healthy communities, and making discoveries that change the world.

We will do that by raising the expectations we have for ourselves, the aspirations we have for our state, and the hopes we have for our world.