Campus News

UKAg Tractor Team Repeats National Championship

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 14:02

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 26, 2015) — Once again, students from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment put together a successful team that built the national champion quarter-scale tractor for the second year in a row at the recent American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) International Quarter-Scale Tractor Student Design Competition.


Success is nothing new to the team with three first-place finishes in the past four years. In 2013, the team placed second.


“There are a lot of things that drive the Wildcat Pulling team to be so successful,” said Michael Sama, team advisor and assistant professor for the college’s Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering. “Most of all, it takes students who are willing to sacrifice quite a bit of time and effort.”


The average team member spends a few hundred hours during the school year fundraising, designing the tractor and writing the report.


“Most of our students work during the summer, but they come in during evenings and weekends to finish what they've worked toward all year,” Sama said. “I should point out that the students don't get college credit for being involved. It's a completely voluntary commitment which allows a diverse group of students to participate at whatever level they are comfortable."


ASABE states that the International Quarter Scale Tractor Student Design Competition is unique among student engineering design contests in that it provides a realistic 360-degree workplace experience. Student teams are given a 31-horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine and a set of Titan tires. The team then determines the design of their tractor. A panel of industry experts judges each design for innovation, manufacturability, serviceability, maneuverability, safety, sound level and ergonomics. Teams also submit a written design report in advance of the competition, and on-site, they must sell their design in a formal presentation to industry experts playing the role of a corporate management team. Finally, the teams put machines to the test in a performance demonstration comprised of four tractor pulls.


Through involvement in the competition, students gain practical experience in the design of drivetrain systems, tractor performance, manufacturing processes, analysis of tractive forces, weight transfer and strength of materials. In addition, they also develop skills in communication, leadership, teamwork, fundraising, testing and development.


“I've been on the tractor team for three years, and it has been a great experience,” said Brent Howard, a senior studying biosystems and agricultural engineering. “I thoroughly believe it is the best way to get real-world experience while still in school. It's more than just a pulling competition. It is really geared toward showing students what it is like to design a product from the ground up.”


Howard said being part of the team affords members to learn about dealing with money, deadlines and product regulations.


“The people who judge these areas are actual industry engineers who are full of knowledge about industry standards and can pass this knowledge on to us through judging our designs and commenting on what we did well and what could be improved,” he said.


The 2015 team swept the performance pulling events, placing first in the 1,000-pound class with Brad Wilson driving and first in both 1,500-pound classes with Cody Rakes at the wheel.


The durability contest was new to the competition this year. Each team had to make eight timed laps around a course consisting of a bumpy track on one side and an 80-foot track of loose sand on the other. UK team member Jarred Garrett achieved the fastest time to win the inaugural event.


In addition to the performance events, the team placed first in the oral team presentation and the safety category of design judging. Other rankings include:

2nd – Ergonomics

3rd – Serviceability

2nd – Design judging overall

3rd – Written design report

3rd – Maneuverability


Team members attending the competition were:  Brad Wilson (captain), Matt Fogle, Lee Frazier, Jarred Garrett, Brent Howard, Alex Kloentrup, Shawn O’Neal, Cody Pryor, Angela Rakes, Cody Rakes, Surya Dasika, nee Saket and Aaron Shearer.  Advisors and supporters included: John Evans, Carl King, Sue Nokes, Mike Sama, Tim Smith, Aaron Turner and Eric Varner.


The team relies heavily on sponsors to provide supplies and fuel. Altec Industries, Inc. supplied the laser-cut steel, Qualex Manufacturing provided metal forming assistance and the Kentucky Corn Growers Association provided funding and also sponsored all of the fuel at the competition. Funding was also provided by the UK College of Engineering, and the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering provided shop space and much support to get the tractor built and transported. Team members spent many fall Saturdays parking cars for football games to raise funds for team expenses.


The winning tractor will be on display at the Kentucky State Fair in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s exhibit in the West Wing. 

UK Ag Economics Graduate Student Wins National Teaching Award

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 13:28

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 26, 2015) — Jerrod Penn, a University of Kentucky doctoral student in agricultural economics in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, will receive the 2015 Graduate Teaching Award at the annual meeting of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association in July. The AAEA is the discipline’s flagship professional association in North America, and Penn faced tough competition.


Penn teaches multiple courses and receives high marks on student evaluations, but other factors were the key to his success. He independently created two new courses that help students synthesize material across the curriculum. He coaches the department’s quiz bowl team and is widely regarded as one of the go-to people for administering regional and national quiz bowl competitions. He recruits new graduate students and mentors undergrads as they learn how to perform research. He also conducts research about teaching and learning with collaborators across the country, and he organizes symposia at conferences to disseminate new knowledge about teaching.


A testament to Penn’s excellent reputation, The Ohio State University sought him out to fill a semester-long teaching role last fall when the departure of a faculty member left them without an instructor for two undergraduate courses. Penn took on the challenge and performed well, creating a useful linkage between UK and Ohio State in the process.


As the Graduate Teaching Award winner, Penn will present in the Teaching Tips from Top Teachers session at this summer’s AAEA annual meeting in San Francisco. Earlier this year, UK awarded Penn a Provost Outstanding Teaching Award in the graduate student category.

UK Alumni Association Announces 2015 Distinguished Service Award Winners

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 12:38

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 29, 2015) – The University of Kentucky Alumni Association Distinguished Service Awards are presented annually to honor and recognize those who have provided extraordinary service to the university and the association. The 2015 recipients were honored on June 19 during the UK Alumni Association Board of Directors Summer Workshop in Lexington.


The 2015 recipients are:


Jeff Ashley of Louisville, Kentucky, graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1989, earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, and in 1997 from Webster University earning a master’s degree in marketing. He is president and senior consultant of Ashley|Rountree & Associates, a consulting firm he founded that focuses on philanthropy and is a nonprofit leadership business located in Louisville. Ashley is past president of the Greater Louisville UK Alumni Club and a member of the UK Alumni Association Board of Directors. He has been the chairman and vice chairman of the Membership Committee and was on the Club Development Committee. He donated the use of a condominium to the Alumni Association Summer Workshop Silent Auction to benefit scholarships. He has also been a member of the UK Advocacy Network, working with legislators regarding issues of importance to the university and higher education. As a student, he was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and Omicron Delta Kappa honor society. Ashley is a member of the Trinity High School Foundation Board, is softball commissioner for East Louisville Sports and a member of the Rotary Club of Louisville. With more than 20 years of fundraising experience, he has assisted in raising more than $500 million throughout his career.


Lu Ann Holmes of Park Hills, Kentucky, received a bachelor’s degree in interior design in 1979 from the University of Kentucky and her master’s degree in 1986 from the University of Pittsburgh. She retired as a senior business development manager at Haworth Incorporated. She serves on the UK College of Design Interior Design Alumni Advisory Board, was named a 2010 Friend of the College of Design and actively supports student interior design scholarships and curricular activities. She is vice-chairwoman of the Club Development Committee, a UK Fellow and past president of the Northern Kentucky/ Greater Cincinnati UK Alumni Club. She has assisted in hosting an alumni reception at the NeoCon Convention, which is the largest event in the nation for interior designers. Holmes is a School of Interiors volunteer in the College of Design, meets with students at UK Alumni Association events and is a Women and Philanthropy Network member. She has served on the national board of directors for the American Society of Interior Designers and served as the chairwoman of the Industry Advisory Board. As a student at UK, she was a member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority, was on the Kentuckian yearbook staff and a member of Phi Upsilon Omicron and Mortar Board honor societies.


Taunya Phillips of Lexington, Kentucky, is the assistant vice president for commercialization and economic development at the University of Kentucky, focusing on the commercialization of intellectual property from the UK College of Engineering. She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and an MBA, and has held previous positions at UK, including chief financial officer for Kentucky Technology Incorporated, was a College of Engineering lecturer and Minority Engineering Program director. Phillips has also worked at Milliken & Company, a chemical and textile manufacturer. She is on the board of directors for Opportunity for Work and Learning Incorporated, and is the past president and current member of the UK College of Engineering Alumni Association Board. She is a UK Fellow, a member of the Lyman T. Johnson African-American Alumni Constituent Group and has advised the National Society of Black Engineers to help assist with professional leadership and development of UK students. Phillips is a current member of the UK Alumni Association Board of Directors, where she has served on the Club Development Committee and the Budget, Finance and Investment Committee, and has been a member and chairwoman of the Diversity and Group Development Committee. She is also a member of the College of Engineering Friends of Dean Walz Development Association.


Jim Vogt of Naples, Florida, graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1958, earning a bachelor’s degree in commerce. He is president of VOCO Enterprises, a real estate holding company. He is past president of the Naples-Ft. Myers UK Alumni Club and has been a member of the UK Alumni Association Board of Directors serving on the Club Development Committee and the Nominating Committee. He is a member of the Wildcat Society and is also a UK Fellow. In helping with recruitment to the University of Kentucky, he planned and held a luncheon with the Collier County, Florida, high school guidance counselors. Vogt also served more than 10 years in the Kentucky National Guard. At UK, he was vice president of Sigma Nu fraternity, a member of the Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity, president of the YMCA men’s campus group and was a distinguished military graduate of UK ROTC. In other community service, he has served as local president, state vice president and national director of the U.S. Jaycees and is a member of the Buechel Kentucky Masonic Lodge and the Scottish Rite of Kentucky.


About The Award

The UK Alumni Association's Distinguished Service Awards are presented annually to honor and recognize up to four recipients, of which one can be a non-alum friend of the University of Kentucky, who have provided extraordinary service to the university and the association. Nominees for this prestigious award should have:

  • Demonstrated a history of diligent work for the UK Alumni Association and/or a local alumni club.
  • Contributed to the accomplishments of the UK Alumni Association and/or a local alumni club.
  • Provided leadership and dedication to University and Association programs.
  • Provided meaningful service to alumni and friends of the University, community and profession.
  • Alumni shall have at least 12 credit hours.


The UK Alumni Association is a membership supported organization committed to fostering lifelong engagement among alumni, friends, the association, and the university. For more information about the UK Alumni Association or to become a member, visit or call 1-800-269-2586. 





MEDIA CONTACT: Kelli Elam, 859-257-7164,

Gill Heart Institute Researcher Explores Stem Cell Therapy for Heart Attack Patients

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 09:06
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 26, 2015) — Regenerative medicine is a relatively new concept in the U.S., although research into the use of stem cells to treat disease is more established in Europe. Since stem cells have the ability to differentiate into any type of cell, they have the potential to foster the repair of damaged tissue. As such, stem cell therapy offers great promise in the development of medical treatments for a wide range of conditions — including heart attacks.


"When someone has a heart attack, we shift into maintenance mode by prescribing medicines and other treatments to prevent another heart attack, but we can't reverse the damage that's already done," said Dr. Ahmed Abdel-Latif, assistant professor at the University of Kentucky's Gill Heart Institute. "With all of our advances in cardiovascular medicine, there is currently only one approved way to repair damaged heart tissue after a heart attack: with a heart transplant."


An average of 21 people die every day in the U.S. waiting for an organ transplant, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) and the Gift of Life Donor Program. Clearly, transplant isn't a very elegant solution due to the limited number of donor hearts available and the lifetime of maintenance required to avoid complications post-transplantation, Latif said. Furthermore, heart transplants often aren't a viable option for the very sick or those with co-morbidities such as pulmonary hypertension. But stem cells —which have the potential to grow into a variety of heart cell types — might repair and regenerate damaged heart tissue, and research at the Gill Heart Institute is looking into that concept.


"There are very few U.S. centers offering regenerative medicine for cardiovascular disease," Latif said. "We are an active lab with a full spectrum of studies exploring translational opportunities for stem cell therapy."


One such study, called ALLSTAR (ALLogenic cardiac Stem cells to Achieve myocardial Regeneration) is looking into the possibility that stem cell therapy can repair damaged heart tissue after a recent heart attack. These patients often suffer long-term consequences of their heart attack, slipping into heart failure and potentially requiring an expensive and risky heart transplant.


Eric Mason is one of the first patients to enroll in the ALLSTAR trial at the Gill.  He was just 35 years old when he had a life-threatening heart attack.


"In order for the heart to function properly, it needs to be supplied with sufficient amounts of oxygen-rich blood," Latif said. "The left coronary artery is tasked with this responsibility as it supplies blood to large areas of the heart. When this artery becomes blocked, it will cause a massive attack that will likely lead to sudden death."


Mason had blockages in all three of his arteries — 80 percent, 90 percent and, in the left coronary artery, 100 percent.  His type of heart attack is nicknamed "the widow maker" because so few patients survive.


Luckily, Eric's wife, Misty, was alert and acted quickly.


"Eric's father died of a heart attack at age 41, and Eric's symptoms were the same as a friend of ours who also had a heart attack," Misty Mason said.  "So when he called to tell me it felt like an elephant was sitting on his chest, I told him to take two baby aspirin and get to the emergency room."


Eric Mason was taken to the cath lab at the Gill Heart Institute from the emergency room in Richmond.  There, Latif inserted three stents — small devices that prop open blocked arteries, restoring blood flow.  But while the stents helped prevent further injury, his heart attack had already caused a dangerous amount of irreversible damage.


Before Eric left the hospital, Latif approached him about joining the ALLSTAR study.


"Eric was an ideal candidate for the study because younger patients with moderate to severe damage to the heart muscle are the ones most likely to benefit from stem cell therapy," Latif said.  "Without treatment, it's likely Eric would spend a lifetime crippled by heart failure and/or require a heart transplant."


Eric was anxious at first about participating in the study but with the encouragement of his uncle, a primary care physician and UK graduate, he quickly realized it was a unique opportunity to help himself and others in the same situation.


"My uncle pointed out that it couldn't hurt, and might help," Eric said. "If it helps others to prevent what happened to me, why wouldn't I take the chance?"


Six months after Eric's heart attack,  Latif snaked a catheter into Eric's heart from a small incision in Eric's wrist.  Positioning the catheter as closely as possible to the area of damaged tissue, Latif released a fluid containing either about 25 million stem cells harvested from the heart tissue of volunteer donors or a placebo. 


"An important element of all research is the comparison in results between people who received the treatment and people who did not, so we don't know yet whether Eric actually received stem cells," Latif said. 


Now comes a period of watchful waiting and regular testing, including echocardiograms, to assess whether Eric's ejection fraction — a measure of the heart's ability to pump blood - improves long-term, and, if so, whether that improvement is a result of the stem cell therapy.


The active part of the study is one year, but Latif will follow Eric's progress for five years to assess the treatment's effectiveness over time.   


"This treatment has enormous potential to improve the lives of thousands of people who suffer heart attacks each year," Latif said.  "When someone donates their heart today, it can saves the life of one other person, but if we are able to harvest stem cells from one donor heart, we might be able to save the lives of dozens of people."


"If the study demonstrates this treatment's effectiveness, it will revolutionize cardiac care."


In the meantime, this former two-time state amateur golf champ and father of two daughters, ages 5 and 2, has returned to his job as manager for a golf club in Booneville, quit smoking, improved his diet and exercise regimens, and counted his blessings.


"I played in my first golf tournament when I was 12 years old, and that's the same year my dad died of his heart attack," Eric said.  "I plan to be around to walk Erica and Rylee down the aisle, and being a part of this research is one way I can make sure that happens."


Media Contact: Laura Dawahare,




Gatton's Hardesty: Marketing Messages Can Be Contagious

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 16:52

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 25, 2015) — What does a teenage girl's excitement over seeing a Taylor Swift poster displayed in a store have to do with selling school supplies located on a nearby shelf to that same teen? It turns out plenty, according to a study co-authored by David Hardesty, the Thomas C. Simons Endowed Professor of Marketing in the University of Kentucky's Gatton College of Business and Economics.


Hardesty, who also serves as director of Graduate Studies and the Von Allmen Behavioral Lab in Gatton's Department of Marketing and Supply Chain, together with research colleagues Jonathan Hasford of Florida International University and Blair Kidwell of The Ohio State University, published the results of their study in the current issue of the American Marketing Association's Journal of Marketing Research.


Titled “More Than a Feeling: Emotional Contagion Effects in Persuasive Communication,” the article finds that the thrill a person feels at seeing one particular item while shopping often carries over to unrelated items.


“Marketers typically don’t consider that the emotions produced in one marketing message may be influencing more than just our feelings toward the targeted product,” write Hardesty, Hasford, and Kidwell. “Our study should encourage marketers to think about how the emotions we associate with one product may affect how we view the next product we encounter.”


The authors conducted a series of studies to determine how the emotions called forth by the marketing effort for one product affected a consumer’s feelings and attitudes toward another. The study first examined how a display of favorable (Taylor Swift) and unfavorable (Miley Cyrus) celebrity posters affected spending on school supplies. In a second study, participants watched a series of ads for a movie starring favorable (Will Smith) and unfavorable (Justin Bieber) celebrities, and then viewed an ad for a shoe company and evaluated the shoe brand.


The presence of an unrelated positive or negative celebrity poster led to an increase or decrease, respectively, in consumer spending on school supplies. Viewing a positive celebrity movie ad led participants to evaluate the shoe ad more positively, and vice versa. Ads for emotion-laden fictitious brands influenced evaluations of unrelated products viewed next. If the fictitious brand was associated with positive emotions, evaluations of the unrelated product became more favorable.


“Whereas marketers often focus on price and prominence when purchasing ad space, this study stresses the importance of nearby ads and how they affect the primary message. In television, this would mean considering ads airing directly before the target ad. In magazine advertising, marketers should consider ads on nearby pages. No matter how carefully designed, advertisements are not evaluated in isolation, and the emotions in one message can absolutely affect a neighboring product,” the authors conclude.


Hardesty was recruited to the UK faculty from the University of Miami in 2005. Honors earned by Hardesty at Gatton include MBA Teacher of the Year in 2007 and the Robertson Outstanding Faculty Researcher Award in 2011.




MEDIA CONTACTS: Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200;; Ann Mary Quarandillo, 859-257-0750;

UKAT Rolling Out New Learning Management System Canvas

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 16:22

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 25, 2015) — University of Kentucky Analytics and Technologies (UKAT) has reached an agreement to roll out Canvas by Instructure over the next year as the university’s new learning management system (LMS) for faculty and students.


Over the last four years, UK faculty, students and staff have provided feedback and usability preferences for a “next generation” learning management system. They worked in depth with UKAT’s e-Learning Team to review the existing and future state of the current UK LMS, Blackboard Learn, while exploring other systems through small working groups, pilots and a faculty-led LMS review committee.

During an request for proposal process earlier this year, several vendors proposed systems to meet those expressed campus needs. Each of the systems considered had unique strengths, but Canvas by Instructure emerged as a proven software-as-a-service, or SaaS, system. As such, it provides seamless, continuous small upgrades over time that do not require downtime for customers and will allow UKAT to shift its focus from LMS server support, troubleshooting, and upgrade planning and implementation to faculty and student support, instructional design, and emerging teaching and learning technology needs.


What does this mean for teaching and learning at UK?


Beginning this summer, all courses have a presence available in Canvas that faculty may choose to activate for the fall semester. Faculty can choose to teach in Canvas or Blackboard for the Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 semesters. Blackboard will no longer be available after June 1, 2016.


Faculty opting to teach in the first cohort of Canvas users this fall are urged to contact UKAT’s eLearning team as soon as possible. Workshops, drop-in hours and individual appointments are available and may be found on the LMS transition page at   


UK students can review an orientation course to become familiar with Canvas’ features at and may contact the eLearning Team at regarding additional questions. 




MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396, whitney.harder@uky,edu

Littlejohn Presented Thomas V. Getchell Memorial Award

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 15:12

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 25, 2015) – The inaugural Thomas V. Getchell, Ph.D., Memorial Award has been presented to Erica Littlejohn, a doctoral candidate and graduate student at University of Kentucky.  


Getchell was a professor in the Department of Physiology and a member of the UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging and served as Associate Dean for Research and Basic Science for the College of Medicine from 1989 to 1998. 


The award was created to honor Getchell, who died July 20, 2013, and to support an annual travel stipend for a student participating in the Grant Writing Workshop. Getchell founded the Grant Writing Workshop in 2005 with a vision to provide proactive, individualized mentoring to graduate students, MD/PhD students and postdoctoral trainees to further their training in grantsmanship, increase their success rate in obtaining fellowship grants and enhance their research careers.


“The award was established to honor Tom's enduring commitment to and talent for mentoring post-doctoral and graduate students in the skills needed to become successful scientists, and to honor his achievements as a scientific researcher and teacher during a long and productive career," Dr. Marilyn Getchell, wife of Getchell, said.


Littlejohn participated in Getchell’s Grant Writing Workshop in 2012. Her areas of study as a graduate student focus on traumatic brain injury and neurogenesis. In addition to publishing scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals, Littlejohn has been the recipient of numerous travel awards to present her research at national conferences.


“It’s not enough to strive for excellence in science and research, I believe a person’s legacy is measured in the lives they touch, and Tom Getchell exemplifies this narrative,” Littlejohn said. “I hope to support others with my commitment to increasing diversity in health sciences and through mentorship.”


Littlejohn received her bachelors of science degree in microbiology from the University of Iowa. She is currently president of the University of Kentucky Black Graduate and Professional Student Association (BGPSA) and serves as a student mentor in the UK-EKU Bridge to Doctorate Program, which aims to increase participation of underrepresented students in science disciplines.


She has served as an undergraduate mentor at GEM Consortium events to help recruit students from underrepresented populations to pursue graduate degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.


Getchell continually challenged students to do excellent and meaningful work.  He infused his workshops with humor through the retelling of his own personal anecdotes and treated students with the utmost respect, exemplified by his signature weekly communiqués which all began “Dear Colleagues…”.


To date, workshop trainees have earned more than $2.4 million in fellowship funding as a result of Getchell’s efforts.    


MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or

Fatalistic Beliefs May Prevent Appalachian Women from Completing HPV Vaccination Series

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 12:57

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 25, 2015) – Could a fatalistic attitude toward cervical cancer serve as a barrier to prevention of the disease? A recent study conducted by University of Kentucky researchers in the Rural Cancer Prevention Center suggests a link between fatalistic beliefs and completion of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine series among a sample of young Appalachian Kentucky women.


The HPV vaccination series consists of three shots and helps prevent HPV infection and cervical cancer. Previous studies have shown that cost, lack of transportation, cultural views, and lack of knowledge about cervical cancer prevention as well as limited support from health care providers has prevented Appalachian women from getting or completing HPV vaccination in the past.


The concept of fatalism as it relates to health asserts that individuals perceive themselves to have limited control over what happens to their health and that health outcomes may be determined by fate. Previous research has found that some Appalachian women have reported fatalistic beliefs regarding their health, including the perception that being diagnosed with or preventing cancer is out of their control.


Published in The Journal of Rural Health, the study involved research nurses administering the first dose of the HPV vaccine series free of charge to Appalachian Kentucky women aged 18-26. The young women were then surveyed about their beliefs regarding cancer and followed for nine months after receiving the first dose to determine vaccination series completion; nearly 350 women participated in the study.


The study found that women who held fatalistic beliefs about their perceived lack of control over their health and cervical cancer had a significantly lower likelihood of completing the HPV vaccination series.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States, affecting more than 79 million people. Nationally, Kentucky has some of the highest rates of HPV-related cancers; according to the Kentucky Cancer Registry, these elevated cancer rates are primarily attributable to cancer disparities observed in the 54-county Appalachian region of the state.


Almost all cervical cancers are caused by HPV, and several other cancers are linked to the virus as well, including head and neck, anal, penile, vulvar, and vaginal malignancies. Completing the  vaccination series is the best way for young women (and men) to protect themselves against HPV infection and HPV-related cancers.


Personal beliefs like fatalism can serve as barrier to preventive health care measures such as HPV vaccination. Findings from the study indicate that fatalistic beliefs should be addressed in a culturally sensitive manner through education and tailored communication messaging. Such efforts may help increase HPV vaccination rates and decrease cervical cancer rates in Appalachian Kentucky.


"Results from this study may encourage health care providers to proactively assess and address young women’s personal health beliefs and develop a strategy for helping them complete the HPV vaccination series," Robin Vanderpool, associate professor in UK's Department of Health Behavior and deputy director of the Rural Cancer Prevention Center, said.


MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or

UK Human Development Institute Honors Two With Paul Kevin Burberry Award

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 11:40

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 25, 2015) — On June 19, both Harold Kleinert and Katie Hastings were named by the University of Kentucky Human Development Institute (HDI) as the winners of the prestigious 2015 Paul Kevin Burberry Award.

Kleinert has served people with intellectual disabilities for nearly 47 years, the last 27 of those as part of HDI and is retiring June 30, 2015, from his position as the executive director of HDI. He also serves on the board of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities and the Commonwealth Council on Developmental Disabilities. He has improved the world for people with developmental disabilities both nationally and in Kentucky by building meaningful training programs for educators and medical providers, and he has offered thoughtful, supportive, and kind mentorships to countless students over the years.

Hastings is a former HDI Graduate Certificate student and is currently a research assistant for the Kentucky Peer Support Network Project, where she has contributed tremendous energy and passion toward helping students with intellectual disabilities develop friendships and join their communities. She is a doctoral student in the UK School Psychology program, and she serves on the board of the Down Syndrome Association of Central Kentucky and works directly with a young lady with Down syndrome to access supports.

The award is named in memory of the Berea native who pioneered a trail in the public school system as the first student with significant physical disabilities, due to cerebral palsy, to complete Berea Community High School.


Kevin Burberry graduated with highest honors and went on to attend Berea College and the University of Kentucky, where he majored in philosophy. He was an exemplary student and self-advocate, and worked on an HDI project that created training modules in developmental disabilities for medical school students and other allied health student professionals that are still used today. Kevin’s life was cut short prior to his anticipated graduation, and he was awarded his UK degree posthumously, with highest honors, in May 2004.

The award — the highest honor awarded annually by HDI — is given to individuals involved with HDI who have exemplified in his or her life the leadership, advocacy and commitment to persons with disabilities and their families that Burberry demonstrated in his own life.

"The Burberry Committee and all of HDI strongly endorsed honoring Harold as a recipient of this year’s award, not only because he had collaborated with Kevin over the years, but because of his role in helping to impact so many students’ lives and careers," said Kathy Shepherd-Jones, HDI training director. "It was particularly meaningful that he share the award with Katie Hastings, whom he works closely with on the Kentucky Peer Support Network Project."

Project coordinator Patti Parsons says that Hastings demonstrates a level of community involvement that is “highly unusual” for a student still in school. She goes on to explain that Hastings has been very proactive and demonstrated tremendous individual leadership in recruiting students to participate in the Kentucky Peer Support Network Project and developing a student leadership module to train students with disabilities to take on leadership roles at school. According to Parsons, Hastings has consistently demonstrated leadership which was a “critical attribute of Kevin’s life, and Katie clearly has demonstrated that attribute in her graduate career.”




MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396,

University of Kentucky College of Engineering to Dedicate Four Teaching Labs

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 09:06

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 25, 2015) — The University of Kentucky College of Engineering invites the media and the public to attend a celebration at 1 p.m. today, Thursday, June 25, in the Joseph G. and Suzanne W. Teague Courtyard of the engineering quadrangle. The occasion is the dedication of four teaching and laboratory spaces that have been updated through generous personal and corporate donations. The spaces will be used by the college’s Department of Civil Engineering.


“Outstanding facilities breed creativity and collaboration,” said John Walz, dean of the UK College of Engineering. “They are critical for attracting the best faculty and students to our program, as well as allowing our faculty, staff and students to achieve their fullest potential.”


The spaces to be dedicated are as follows:


·         David & Margaret Houchin Intech Contracting Construction Management Lab. Upgraded with eight large monitors, as well as new furniture, lighting and white boards, this lab will enhance the interactive group work that is part of the construction management curriculum.

·         Palmer Engineering Classroom. New artwork, paint and white boards will allow the department to better serve faculty and students in medium-sized civil engineering classes.

·         Stantec Civil Engineering Design Lab. Additional furniture and computers, as well as a conference table and presentation lab are just some of the updates that will enable civil engineering capstone design lab students to create effective capstone presentations.

·         Stantec Civil Engineering Materials Lab. A new audio-visual system, a motorized screen and a new drop ceiling to improve acoustics will provide an aesthetic environment conducive to the engineering education experience for students in materials testing and railroad classes. The renovations will also make the lab an ideal space for seminars and visiting speakers.


In 1991, David Houchin formed Intech Contracting LLC, a Kentucky-based construction contracting company that specializes in bridge repair and restoration, inspection support, and related services. The firm is notable for completing the painting of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge in Louisville. Intech has also contributed to the restoration efforts of several highly visible or historic bridges, including over half of the 13 wooden covered bridges in Kentucky and others elsewhere and the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge in Cincinnati. Houchin is a charter member of the College of Engineering Construction Management Founders Society and received the Construction Management Founders Society Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.


Ralph Palmer and Dick Nunan founded Palmer Engineering in February 1969. Through their vision and leadership, the company has grown to nine offices in four states. From the beginning, their guiding principle of providing outstanding service has resulted in hundreds of clients and thousands of successful projects. Palmer Engineering offers surveying, environmental, land development, structure, transportation and water resources services.


The Stantec community unites more than 15,000 employees working in over 250 locations. They collaborate across disciplines and industries to bring buildings, energy and resource and infrastructure projects to life. Their work — professional consulting in planning, engineering, architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, surveying, environmental sciences, project management and project economics — begins at the intersection of community, creativity and client relationships. Since 1954, their local strength, knowledge and relationships, coupled with their world-class expertise, have allowed them to go anywhere to meet their clients’ needs in more creative and personalized ways. With a long-term commitment to the people and places they serve, Stantec has the unique ability to connect to projects on a personal level and advance the quality of life in communities across the globe.




MEDIA CONTACT: Kel Hahn, 859-257-3409,

Dentistry Graduate and Professor Recognized for Research Project

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 08:53

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 25, 2015) — University of Kentucky College of Dentistry graduate Jonathan Francis and Assistant Professor Lina Sharab were recognized for their research efforts by the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), and they presented their research during the recent 2015 AAO Annual Session in San Francisco. The AAO is the world’s oldest and largest dental specialty organization, representing more than 17,000 orthodontist members throughout the United States, Canada, and abroad.  


Francis was awarded second place, receiving $750, in the basic science category of the 2015 Charley Schultz Resident Scholar Award for his research titled, “Screw Diameter and Orthodontic Loading Influence Adjacent Bone Response.” A total of 23 research presentations were submitted for the award this year. Francis also received second place for this research in the UKCD College Research Day in the Graduate Student Clinical/Translational category. His mentor was UKCD Division of Orthodontics Chief Dr. Sarandeep Huja.


The Charley Schultz Resident Scholar Award was established by the AAO in 2004 as a means of offering graduate students/residents the chance to present clinical science and basic science research using narrative material and a posterboard.


"It’s exciting to be a part of research that can help advance the field of orthodontics. I am very grateful for all the guidance and help I received throughout this project," Francis said.


Sharab was one of four people awarded the 2015 Thomas M. Graber Award of Special Merit, established by the AAO in 2002, for her research titled, “Genetic and treatment related risk factors associated with external apical root reabsorption (EARR).” Sharab was mentored by UKCD Professor of Orthodontics Dr. James Hartsfield and also supported by Assistant Professor Dr. Lorri Morford, UK Center for Oral Health.


“Most people work hard to have their goals achieved. A variety of life obstacles start filtering away many of the hard working people, slowing them down, or leaving them deeply stressed," Sharab said. "Having enthusiasm as a motivation is the only guarantee to eventually reach one’s goal. When one reaches her/his goal, the best reward is a symbolic gift of the same nature; an award that was passionately created, named after one of the most passionate educators in orthodontics, and given to re-energize and nurture a young growing passion like mine.


"The Graber Award is the most rewarding gift to my love of both orthodontics and education. While it is true that research was required as part of earning the orthodontic degree; it was also a labor of love. I was lucky to get the inspiration and support from my mentors at UK.”


The AAO Awards selection process is very competitive, Huja said. "It is significant that two individuals in the Division of Orthodontics at the University of Kentucky were recognized and received awards in the same year. This is really a tribute to the graduate students’ hard work and the college’s mentors who work diligently to develop these research ideas."  


“I am delighted to see these superb young orthodontists receive national attention for the quality of their work. This is yet another indication of the high quality of our orthodontic program,” said Dean Sharon Turner. “Our faculty are world-class as demonstrated by their achievements and, even more impressive, by the achievements of those whom they so carefully mentor.”

UK Alumni Association Announces Board of Directors Officers

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 17:27

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 24, 2015) — The University of Kentucky Alumni Association recently announced its 2015-16 board of directors officers. They are David B. Ratterman, president; Peggy Meszaros, president-elect; Susan Van Buren Mustian, treasurer; and Stan Key, secretary. The new slate will officially take office July 1, 2015, and will serve until June 30, 2016.


David B. Ratterman, of Louisville, Kentucky, has served five three-year terms on the UK Alumni Association Board of Directors. He was elected to the officer position of treasurer for 2013-14 and the position of president-elect for 2014-15. He has held several committee leadership positions with the association, including chairman of the Diversity and Group Development; Communications; Great Teacher/Scholarships; Nominating for Board; Budget, Finance, and Investments; and Strategic Planning committees and served on the Diversity Task Force. Ratterman has been a member of the UK Advocacy Network (UKAN) since the group’s inception.


He has been involved with student recruitment, special events, diversity activities and the Greater Louisville UK Alumni Club. He is a partner with Stites and Harbison PLLC and is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a Fellow of the American College of Construction Lawyers and is listed in “Kentucky Super Lawyers” and “The Best Lawyers in America.” Ratterman serves on a variety of professional committees and organizations, including as secretary and general counsel to the American Institute of Steel Construction. He is also a retired U.S. Navy commander and a member of the Louisville Rotary Club. He is a 2012 recipient of the prestigious UK Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award. Ratterman received a bachelor’s degree from UK in mechanical engineering in 1968 and did graduate work at UK in 1970. He also holds degrees from the University of Louisville. He is a Life Member of the UK Alumni Association and a UK Fellow.


Peggy S. Meszaros, of Blacksburg, Virginia, has served three three-year terms on the UK Alumni Association Board of Directors. She has held several committee leadership positions with the association, including chairwoman of the Alumni Service Awards; Communications; Nominating for Board; Scholarships/Great Teacher Awards and Budget, Finance and Investments committees. She is the William E. Lavery Professor of Human Development and director of the Research Center for Information Technology Impacts on Children, Youth, and Families at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Meszaros served from 1993-1994 as dean of the College of Human Resources at Virginia Tech and from 1994-2000 served as senior vice president and provost, the highest-ranking female in the history of the school. From 1985-1993 Meszaros served as dean of the UK College of Human Environmental Sciences (now UK School of Human Environmental Sciences). She was inducted into the UK Human Environmental Sciences Hall of Fame in 2002. She served on the UK Athletics Association Board from 1986-1992 and is a founding member of the Erikson Society at UK. 


Meszaros was inducted into the UK Alumni Association Hall of Distinguished Alumni in 1995 and was a 2011 recipient of the prestigious UK Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award. She is a member of the Blacksburg Rotary Club and has served on its board of directors and as co-chair of Membership and Attendance Committees. Meszaros received a master’s degree from the UK College of Education and received a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. She is a Life Member of the UK Alumni Association and a UK Fellow. She was married to Alex Meszaros, now deceased, and has three children. Their son, Louis, graduated from UK.


Susan Van Buren Mustian, of Hebron, Kentucky, has served two three-year terms on the UK Alumni Association Board of Directors. She has held several committee leadership positions with the association including chairwoman of Membership and Club Development and vice-chairwoman of Diversity and Group Development committees. Mustian also chaired the Strategic Plan Governance Focus Group. A former president of the Student Activities Board, she also led the Student Alumni Association as an undergraduate. Mustian continued her involvement with the association serving as president-elect of the Northern KY/Greater Cincinnati UK Alumni Club and also as vice president and secretary. She helped develop alumni clubs in South Bend, Indiana, and Hong Kong, SAR, where she was appointed to the Strategic Plan Accreditation Leadership Team with the Hong Kong International School.


Mustian is a member of the Southwest Ohio Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Board of Directors and serves as the Cincinnatian of the Year Gala co-chairwoman and president-elect. In 2014 she received the Greater Cincinnati Planned Giving Council Voices of Giving Award. Mustian is a 2012 recipient of the prestigious UK Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award. She received a bachelor’s degree in marketing in 1984 from the UK Gatton College of Business and Economics. Mustian is a member of UKAN and a Life Member of the UK Alumni Association. She is married to Scott J. Mustian ’85 BE, a UK Fellow and also a Life Member of the UK Alumni Association. They are the parents of Sam, Nathan and Sarah.


Stan Key, of Lexington, Kentucky, earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Kentucky in 1972. He also earned a master’s degree in education from Murray State University in 1977. He was in the position of associate director of the UK Alumni Association from 1990 to 1998. Since 1998, Key has served as the director of UK Alumni Affairs and executive director of the UK Alumni Association and as secretary to the association’s board of directors. He is a Life Member of the UK Alumni Association and a UK Fellow. He and his wife, Mary Jane Key ’72 ED, have two sons, Ryan and Neil, both UK grads.

The UK Alumni Association is a membership supported organization committed to fostering lifelong engagement among alumni, friends, the association, and the university. For more information about the UK Alumni Association or to become a member, visit or call 800- 269-2586.

UK College of Nursing Study Exposes Historical Barricades to Health in Tobacco-Growing States

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 17:20

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 24, 2015) — The major tobacco-growing states lag behind the rest of the nation in adopting measures effective in reducing tobacco use. Consequently, these five states — Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina and Tennessee — are disproportionately affected by tobacco related disease, the leading cause of preventable death.


Bringing light to this health disparity, a researcher in the University of Kentucky College of Nursing recently found tobacco companies prioritized holding back tobacco-growing states as tobacco-control policies, including smoke-free policies, passed across the nation.


Amanda Fallin, Ph.D., conducted a comprehensive review of historical data, including previously secret tobacco industry documents, which provided evidence of manufacturers aligning with farmers and tobacco-growing interest groups to block tobacco-control policies in the top growing states. Her paper, titled "Tobacco-Control Policies in Tobacco-Growing States: Where Tobacco was King," was recently published in The Milbank Quarterly, a multidisciplinary journal covering population health and health policy.


In the 1960s, tobacco companies began focusing on tobacco-control policies in tobacco-growing states. The companies ignited a pro-tobacco culture through a policy network of legislators, agricultural interest groups and commissioners of agriculture. Many previously clandestine documents sourced from tobacco manufacturers suggested these manufacturers were called to "circle the wagon" around tobacco-growing states.


After news of smoking's link to lung cancer was exposed by the media in the 1950s, tobacco manufacturers formed a national alliance called the Tobacco Growers Information Committee. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the committee funded a public relations campaign aimed at normalizing tobacco production. In the 80s and 90s, smoke-free legislation started to build momentum across the country. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) attempted to curb tobacco use through the Community Intervention Trial for Smoking Cessation (COMMIT), but only one tobacco-growing state, North Carolina, participated in the trial.


In the 1990s, North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina participated in the NCI's American Stop Smoking Intervention study and alliances, such as the Southern Tobacco Communities Project, started to form between health organizations and farmers. A group of health and farming organizations came to together to acknowledge the need to preserve the livelihoods of tobacco farmers as well as prevent youth smoking initiation. The Core Principles statement, which summarized areas of agreement, was signed by more than 100 health and farming groups in 1998.


From 1990 to the turn of the century, a rift in the relationship between farmers and tobacco manufacturers preceded policy changes in tobacco-growing states. The demand for tobacco in the U.S. was declining and manufacturers were seeking foreign producers for cheaper tobacco prices. In addition, the hospitality industry, which in the past had supported tobacco use, broke its alliance with tobacco companies.


In 2003, a turnabout in tobacco-control policy acceptance was marked by the passing of the first countywide smoke-free ordinance in public places in a tobacco-growing state, Kentucky. Since then, all five states have progressed toward 100-percent smoke-free policies, in the midst of appeals, set-backs and compromises weakening legislation. Currently, Kentucky observes 24 comprehensive smoke-free laws at the local level. Most Kentucky colleges and universities have implemented 100 percent tobacco-free campus policies.


"Kentucky is changing," Fallin said. "There is a pro-tobacco sentiment because of our history, but there are dramatically fewer tobacco farmers compared to previous generations. There has been a shift in our way of thinking about tobacco, and progress is now occurring. The majority of Kentuckians support a comprehensive statewide smoke-free law."


While the tobacco-growing states have gained substantial ground enacting tobacco-control policies in the past decade, the article emphasizes these states must continue to educate policymakers and the public about the changing reality of tobacco. As of 2014, the average tax rate for a pack of cigarettes is $0.48 in tobacco-growing states, whereas the average is $1.68 in other states. Misconceptions about the cultural and economic value of tobacco continue to obstruct widespread acceptance of smoke-and tobacco-free policies. Fallin believes reducing the burden of lung disease in tobacco-growing states will require health advocates to reflect on old realities and acknowledge the changing environment.


"We are a tobacco growing state, but from an economic perspective, tobacco-related morbidity and mortality contributes to enormous cost to our health care system," Fallin said. "It's time to shift our thinking — to think about the potential for dramatic public health impact in Kentucky by adopting evidence-based tobacco policies like significant increases in tobacco excise taxes and smoke-free legislation."


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

Breaking Cultural Barriers One 4-H’er at a Time

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 16:22

Fisherville, Ky. (June 24, 2015) — Growing up an only child in Spencer County, Lilli Hanik, 16, always wondered what it would be like to have a sibling. This year, she was given her chance through Kentucky 4-H International Exchange Program.


During the summer of 2014, Hanik and her family chose to be matched with Rikako Sato, a 17-year-old student in Japan’s Labo International Exchange Program, which is similar to 4-H youth development in America.  Sato and Hanik both share a strong passion for music.


Since the program’s beginnings in 1970s, Kentucky 4-H youth development, in the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, has connected young people like Hanik and Sato through its four-week exchange program. The Haniks and Sato are unique, because they are the first Kentucky 4-H family to host a Japanese Labo program student for an entire year.


“Exchange programs like these help expose Kentucky youth to other cultures, which helps them build valuable work and life skills like cultural sensitivity, confidence and communication,” said Mark Mains, Kentucky 4-H youth development specialist and state coordinator for the international programs. “This is truly a two-way experience, as we have developed right along with Rikako.”


Hosting a Japanese student in the Labo program was familiar territory for the Haniks, who have twice hosted Japanese students during the four-week summer program offered through Kentucky 4-H.


“Lilli wanted to try the yearlong program, because she wanted a longer bond,” said Kim Hanik, Lilli’s mother. “You have to have an open heart and take it as a learning and sharing experience.”


Sato was also a seasoned Labo participant, having previously stayed with a Canadian family for four weeks. She wanted to come to America to learn about its culture and be able to compare it not only with Japan but also with Canada.


“Our (young people’s) future is more international now than ever,” she said. “It’s important to be accepting of others and learn about different cultures, so we can be more open minded.”


Living with the Haniks for a year gave Sato the chance to experience life as an American teenager. She attended school with Hanik at Spencer County High School, where she played the trumpet in marching band alongside Hanik playing the euphonium, and she sang in chorus.


Sato participated in all of the Haniks’ activities, including carving her first pumpkin and celebrating her birthday, Hanik family weddings, Thanksgiving and Christmas. The Haniks also introduced her to iconic Kentucky activities and events including horseback riding and Thunder Over Louisville. Both girls participated in 4-H activities at local, state and regional levels including the country ham project, Teen Summit and the Southern Region 4-H Teen Leadership Conference.


Sato and the Haniks will part ways at the end of June, but plan to stay in touch. Lilli Hanik will travel to Japan for eight weeks this summer as the first Kentucky 4-H’er to go to Japan through the States’ 4-H International Exchange Program. Four weeks of her stay will include learning Japanese in Tokyo. The other four weeks she will be in Hyogo, Japan, with a host family that includes a child the Haniks’ previously hosted. Sato hopes to one day visit the Haniks again and potentially live and work in America after she completes college in Japan. Both girls already have plans to meet at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.


“We call it bonds over oceans,” Lilli Hanik said. “We are always going to be good friends.”


Due to the success of the program and the bonds formed between the Haniks and Sato, the Haniks will welcome another yearlong Japanese Labo participant later this summer.


The Kentucky 4-H International Program is always looking for families willing to host Japanese LABO participants for either a month during the summer or an entire year. More information on these programs is available by contacting Mains at




MEDIA CONTACT:  Katie Pratt, 859-257-8774;

$1.6 Million Grant Looks at Role of Key Protein following Traumatic Brain Injury

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 14:08
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 24, 2015) — Linda Van Eldik, Ph.D., director of the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging at the University of Kentucky, has received a $1.6 million grant to study the role of a key protein in the cascade of events following traumatic brain injury (TBI).


The five-year grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) explores the role of a protein called p38a in the inflammatory response process post-brain injury in a mouse model of mild TBI. The research will also determine the potential for a small molecule inhibitor of p38a activity to suppress the inflammation, and thereby prevent neuron degeneration and the resulting behavioral impairments caused by brain injury.


"In the research community, abnormal inflammation is being targeted as a potential 'bad guy' for a host of diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and stroke and brain injury is on that list," Van Eldik said.


Increasing evidence points to chronic, long-lasting inflammatory responses in the brain after TBI as a contributor to neurological damage and cognitive deficits, she said.


"If the p38a inhibitor is proven to interfere with the process by which inflammation damages the brain after injury, we will have a foundation for future development of treatments that might stop or even reverse cognitive impairment," she said.


Traumatic brain injury represents a major unmet medical need, as currently no effective therapy exists to prevent the increased risk of dementia and other neurologic complications, such as post-traumatic epilepsy, neuropsychiatric disorders, and postconcussive symptoms such as headaches, sleep disturbance, memory problems, dizziness, and irritability.


"Successful completion of these studies will help us define when, where and how the important inflammatory protein p38a can be targeted to disrupt the process by which inflammation contributes to brain damage after injury," Van Eldik said. "The potential implications are enormous for patients with head injury due to car accidents, battlefield injury, the football field, or the many other situations where TBI is a highly possible outcome."


Media Contact: Laura Dawahare,


UK Board OKs Continued Housing Transformation, University Flats Coming in 2017

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 11:41

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 24, 2015) — The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees approved the next phase of UK's student housing transformation at its June 19 meeting — a more than 770-bed complex designed to serve upper class and graduate students.


Specifically, the board approved a $74 million, 771-bed facility along University Drive facing UK's Chandler Hospital. The facility — to be named University Flats — will provide housing for upper class, professional and graduate students — the first of the new housing construction focusing on those students.


The facility, like other new housing since 2013, will be built in partnership with EdR, said UK Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Eric N. Monday. The facility is expected to be completed in and ready for move-in Fall 2017.


"Our housing transformation is an example of promises made; promises kept," Monday said. "President Capilouto said our goal and our vision was to create one of the best residential, public research campuses in the country. This continued housing transformation — focused completely on student success — is a cornerstone of that effort."


The goal of UK's housing transformation has been to create enough high-quality, high-tech housing for all of the university's first-year students. With that goal in sight, the university is now focusing on building quality space for upper class and graduate students. An update on UK's housing transformation:


  • Since 2013, UK in partnership with EdR, based in Memphis, has constructed 4,592 beds. Along with 686 beds built in 2005, the university has 5,278 new beds.
  • By August 2016, UK will add another 1,141 new beds as part of the opening of the Limestone Square complex for a total of 6,400 new beds.
  • With this next phase of housing approved June 19, UK will have more than 7,000 new beds on its campus, part of the largest transformation of housing in public higher education. That milestone also will place UK at more than two-thirds of the goal Capilouto laid out three years ago to complete up to 9,000 new student beds.


"We know that our students learn better and do better when they live on campus for at least part of their university experience," Capilouto said. "This housing transformation, then, is an investment in our future — our students and their success."


Visit or click the attachment below for the presentation made to the UK Board of Trustees. 


UKAg Researcher to Develop Artificial Blood for Mosquitoes

Mon, 06/22/2015 - 14:43

LEXINGTON, Ky., (June 23, 2015) — A “nuisance” is probably one of the nicest things people call mosquitoes. Mosquitoes have been called the deadliest animal on the planet because of the diseases they spread. So why would researchers want to develop an artificial buffet for them?


The answer is simple. That “buffet” may lead to fewer mosquitoes. Stephen Dobson, a University of Kentucky professor of medical and veterinary entomology in the Department of Entomology, part of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, believes his mosquito food can do just that. Others believe there’s promise too.


Dobson’s research on developing artificial blood for mosquitoes has made him a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, in an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


The artificial blood he developed will allow people in remote areas around the world to sustain colonies of mosquitoes, even in those areas with limited resources and difficult logistics.


“Multiple, new approaches to control mosquito populations require the ability to rear mosquitoes,” Dobson said. “The artificial blood technology will help us to better fight disease-transmitting mosquitoes in resource-limited areas.”


In one approach patented by the University of Kentucky, mosquitoes are essentially sterilized by a naturally occurring bacterium, called Wolbachia. With an ability to rear large mosquito numbers, the approach can be used as an organic pesticide, to overwhelm and sterilize mosquito populations that transmit diseases like malaria, flilaria, dengue and yellow fever. Once sterilized, the mosquito population declines and can be eliminated.


Dobson has already had promising results using the artificial blood and mosquito sterilization technique to control populations of Asian tiger mosquitoes. Following its invasion of the U.S. in the mid-1980s, the tiger mosquito has become one of the most important biting mosquitoes in Kentucky, and it is a carrier of canine heartworm. Dobson has also tested the technique to control yellow fever mosquitoes. He will use the grant funds to test his artificial blood on more species of mosquitoes, including those known to carry human diseases like malaria.




MEDIA CONTACT: Katie Pratt, 859-257-8774.




Expert on Bullying Worries More About Children in Rural Schools

Mon, 06/22/2015 - 14:06

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 23, 2015) — How do we recognize, deal with and prevent bullying, particularly in schools? A leading authority on bullying offered some ideas on June 12 in a training session called "The Meanest Generation: Teaching Civility, Empathy, Kindness and Compassion to our Angriest Children," held at Eastern State Hospital in Lexington.


The day-long session, sponsored by the University of Kentucky College of Social Work's Office of Professional Development and Continuing Education, featured Malcolm Smith, founder and director of the Courage to Care Project and former professor at the University of New Hampshire.


Smith said one myth about bullying is that it only occurs in large schools. "Actually, I'm more worried about children in a rural school," Smith said. In rural areas, he said, bullying can be a huge problem because there's nowhere to hide, everyone is often into everyone else's business, and an issue can escalate into a feud when families get involved.

Smith defined bullying as a single incident or pattern of written, verbal, electronic or physical actions intended to harm a pupil or his or her property; cause emotional stress; interfere with that student's right to an education; or disrupt the school's operation. Smith debunked a common theory about bullying that became popular in the 1980s — that bullies lack self-esteem.


"Bullies are not kids who have low-self-esteem," Smith said. "The average bully is the kid who is a narcissist." Smith believes that a person becomes narcissistic if he or she never learned to bond and love as a child.

He argued that a lack of empathy and rising narcissism — which is characterized by an overinflated view of one's talents and a high level of selfishness — are the true causes of bullying. Empathy is the tendency to react to other people's observed experiences.


Research shows that 70 percent of current students score higher in narcissism and lower in empathy than they did 35 years ago. Smith believes this is related to the rise in technology, the culture of self-esteem, the decline of time spent playing — which is often when children gain social competencies — and the overexposure of children to meanness and violence through the media.

Bullies are more likely to have been involved in domestic violence and child abuse; are more likely to commit crimes, drink and smoke; and have a greater propensity toward becoming anti-social adults. Signs that a child is a victim of a bully include exclusion, fear, lack of friends, erratic attendance, depression, withdrawal or clinging to teachers and staff.

Because bullying is characterized by an imbalance of power between the perpetrator and the victim, Smith urged school counselors and teachers not to try mediating a bullying situation, especially not by talking to both the victim and the bully in the same room or worse, leaving them to "work it out." Smith said, "You have to educate the social-emotional deficit in the bully, and you have to comfort the victim." Instead of simply punishing the bully, an authority must discipline him or her, which involves teaching.

To properly discipline a bully, he or she must be required to take responsibility for the behavior and explain to the authority why the behavior was wrong. Then the student must discuss alternative actions that could have been employed. Finally, the student must not only apologize but also perform an act of kindness toward the student he or she bullied.

Smith urged teachers and counselors to recognize and address bullying, explaining that it is not ever a good thing or a positive part of a growing experience, as some people think. He pointed out that adults in the workplace are protected by harassment laws and don't have to face bullying alone, so children shouldn't have to, either. He said to combat bullying, "model good social skills yourself, advocate for safer schools and better laws, work with your school parent-teacher organization, engage parents and students in prevention and work on culture and climate."




MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 89-323-2396,

New Class of Drugs Might Change the Landscape for Migraine Treatment

Fri, 06/19/2015 - 16:25

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 22, 2015) — There is growing excitement among headache specialists about initial research into a new class of anti-migraine drugs.


Called CGRP monoclonal antibodies, these drugs appear to significantly reduce the frequency of migraine in human clinical trials.


"We know that levels of CGRP are elevated during migraine attacks and decrease with resolution of the attacks," said Sid Kapoor, MD, Fellow of the American Headache Society and Director of the Headache Program at the University of Kentucky's Kentucky Neuroscience Institute (KNI). "This new class of drugs aims to reduce CGRP levels either by inactivating CGRP or disabling the receptor that binds to it, effectively disrupting the chain of events that causes migraine pain."


These drugs have significant potential to change the landscape for migraine treatment, Kapoor said.


"Currently, my only course of action is to patiently and methodically work through a morass of drugs for blood pressure, depression, or epilepsy, and if those don't work, it's on to more complex and expensive therapy options like Botox," Kapoor said. "It's a frustrating process for both the doctor and the patient."


"If these CGRP drugs can deliver as promised, they will represent the first new class of anti-migraine drugs in more than 20 years -- and those only treated migraines after they occurred, and rarely prevented them."


What's particularly exciting to headache specialists is the profound effect the drugs appear to have on migraine incidence. Initial results from Phase II studies on each of the four drugs currently in development reveal huge reductions in the incidence of migraine — one drug, from Alder BioPharmaceuticals, has demonstrated reductions from 50 percent to almost 100 percent.



So why aren't these drugs being rushed to market? Not so fast, Kapoor said. 

"We don't yet fully know how blocking CGRP affects other organ functions long term. Previous attempts at modifying this pathway were too dangerous for patients and studies had to be discontinued. It is exciting that we are succeeding with a fresh approach."


CGRP monoclonal antibody drugs are at least five years away from public distribution. The next step is Phase III trials, which aim to establish efficacy and long-term safety compared to a placebo. 


"Pain studies are notorious for a high placebo response and hence this step will be critical," Kapoor said.


According to the American Headache Society, more than 36 million Americans suffer from migraine attacks, and about four million of those people experience more than 15 migraine days a month. Migraine can be extremely disabling and costly, accounting for more than $20 billion in direct and indirect expenses each year in the United States.


The Best Places Organization ranks U.S. cities by migraine prevalence according to several factors, including the number of migraine-related drug prescriptions per capita, lifestyle and environmental factors, and the consumption of migraine-triggering foods. The Cincinnati Metropolitan Area, which includes large parts of Northern Kentucky, ranks first, and both Louisville and Lexington are in the top 30.


"Our hope is that KNI will be a Phase III test site," Kapoor said. "We have notable expertise in migraine treatment, and we are located at the epicenter of migraine incidence."  


"see blue." U Connecting Incoming Wildcats to Campus, Classmates, Community

Fri, 06/19/2015 - 15:42




Video Produced by UK Public Relations & Marketing. To view captions for this video, push play and click on the CC icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.  If using a mobile device, click on the "thought bubble" in the same area.



LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 22, 2015) — What's it really like to be a Wildcat? Thousands of incoming University of Kentucky students are about to find out. Before fall semester ever begins, the newest members of the Big Blue Family are connecting with current students, exploring campus and registering for classes at "see blue." U.


Beginning June 22 and continuing through July 16, a record number of new students and guests will be welcomed to UK for “see blue.” U Orientation. During each day of orientations, students from more than 20 states and throughout Kentucky will be on campus.   


“see blue.” U offers an exclusive experience for incoming Wildcats to learn from current students about expectations in the college classroom, involvement in student organizations and residence hall life.


"The "see blue." U orientations represent one of the most exciting periods of the year," said Don Witt, associate provost for enrollment management. "We are excited to showcase all of the incredible UK academic and extracurricular opportunities."


To enhance their two-day experience, a new "see blue." U app will provide students and guests with easy access to all things orientation, UK and Lexington. The app features a personalized schedule, presentations, campus maps, restaurants, campus contacts and much more on iOS and Android devices.


A self-guided, virtual tour is another feature available on the app connecting students and visitors to campus in a new interactive way. Users can follow along with the tour route, which begins at the university's main entrance on South Limestone, or they can pick and choose their destinations. Once the user has reached a campus building or area, a tour guide appears on the screen with descriptions of each.


This year's "see blue." U will also feature a record number of academic and extracurricular sessions, and a new offering called The Blueprint, a student's guide to building a foundation for success at UK.


Representatives from a number of different on-campus organizations will be on-hand throughout the orientations to promote their role at the university and answer any questions incoming students may have. A number of information sessions will also be held to answer questions on topics such as Greek life, financial aid, parking and transportation, football and basketball tickets, education abroad and much more.


"The success of the orientations is a direct result of the numerous faculty and staff across the campus contributing their time and talent," Witt said.


In addition to exploring campus life, a new partnership with VisitLEX will allow students and their families to discover downtown Lexington and the surrounding community.


“We are very excited about the new addition of partnering with VisitLEX this year," Witt said. "As we welcome the new students and their families to campus, it’s also important to welcome them to their new Kentucky home of Lexington. This is such a great city and truly represents the best of the 'town-gown relationship'…there are so many new restaurants, cultural, and historical opportunities for new students and their parents to explore.”


From navigating Lexington to learning how to use a meal plan, "see blue." U Orientation ensures students transition to life at UK with ease and confidence.  


"There has never been a more exciting time to be a UK Wildcat than now — new residence halls, academic buildings, student success initiatives, etc.!” Witt said.


Are you attending "see blue." U? Watch the short video above for important information regarding your orientation. To get an idea of what to expect during UK's Move-in and K Week in August, explore videos in the playlist below.