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LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 23, 2014) — At first glance, it may not seem that the chair of cardiothoracic surgery in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and a horticulture extension professor and specialist in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment would share the same research interests. But Sibu Saha and his son Shubin say the two areas fit together perfectly.
They started collaborating on an attention-getting study about the cardiovascular effects of watermelon when Shubin worked at Purdue University. Now that they are both on the same campus, they hope to use their shared expertise to further the study’s findings.
Their ties to UK run deeper still. Sibu’s wife, Becky Saha served as president of the Friends of the Arboretum and the couple established the Saha Cardiovascular Research Center Fund in 2010. Shubin’s wife, Amanda Saha is an academic coordinator at in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.
Watch the “Big Blue Family” video above to discover what it’s like for father and son to conduct research together on the same campus and why their work for this university means so much to both of them.
This video feature is part of a special new series produced by UKNow focusing on families who help make up the University of Kentucky community. There are many couples, brothers and sisters, mothers and sons and fathers and daughters who serve at UK in various fields. The idea is to show how UK is part of so many families’ lives and how so many families are focused on helping the university succeed each and everyday.
Since the "Big Blue Family" series is now a monthly feature on UKNow, we invite you to submit future ideas. If you know of a family who you think should be featured, please email us. Who knows? We might just choose your suggestion for our next feature!
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 20, 2014) — As part of the annual routine maintenance work on the University of Kentucky's parking structures, UK Parking and Transportation Services says construction will significantly impact the Press Avenue Garage (PS #6) starting Saturday, June 21.
The Press Avenue Garage will be closed Saturday, June 21 and Sunday, June 22. Once the garage reopens Monday, June 23, the work will cause approximately 50 parking spaces to be blocked at a time, although the area will shift throughout the facility during this project.
During the summer months, parking demand is reduced, providing increased flexibility in parking alternatives. Employees who normally park in the Press Avenue Garage should allow extra commute time. If the facility is full, employees may park in any E or R areas or the K areas at Commonwealth Stadium. Visit www.uky.edu/pts/parking-info_parking-maps to view the campus summer parking map and identify alternate parking locations.
The work on the Press Avenue Garage is expected to last approximately one week. However, as always, construction is weather-dependent and the timetable may change.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 20, 2014) — A portion of University Drive on the University of Kentucky campus will be closed this weekend to facilitate road resurfacing. No parking will be permitted on the northbound side of University Drive beginning at 8 p.m. today, Friday, June 20.
The resurfacing is scheduled to begin either Saturday, June 21 or Sunday, June 22. Once work commences, the northbound University Drive travel lane will close beginning near the intersection with Hospital Drive and ending just before the intersection with Huguelet Drive. The northbound parking area as well as the adjacent bike lane will provide northbound access to Complex Drive.
Access will remain to the UK and VA hospitals via Hospital Drive. Northbound through traffic on University Drive will be detoured to Veterans Drive at Hospital Drive with access back to University Drive at Huguelet Drive.
The work is expected to be completed by 5 a.m. Monday, June 23. However, as always, construction is weather-dependent and the timetable may change.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 20, 2014) — WUKY's "UK Perspectives" focuses on the people and programs of the University of Kentucky and is hosted by WUKY General Manager Tom Godell. Today's guest, UK Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Eric Monday, discusses details of UK’s new $250 million partnership with Aramark to provide dining services on campus.
To listen to the podcast interview from which "UK Perspectives" is produced, visit http://wuky.org/post/eric-monday-uks-aramark-partnership.
"UK Perspectives" airs at 8:35 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. each Friday on WUKY 91.3, UK's NPR station.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 24, 2014) -- It's a problem many women are embarrassed to discuss, but pelvic organ prolapse is a very common disorder, especially among older women. Roughly half of women who have had children will experience a form of prolapse later in life, and more than one out of every 10 women will have at least one surgery to treat pelvic organ prolapse or urinary incontinence by the age of 80.
What is pelvic organ prolapse?
Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when the pelvic floor becomes weak or damaged and one or more pelvic structures drop from their natural positions into or even outside of the vaginal canal. Several structures can be involved, including the uterus, bladder, small bowel, rectum or the vagina itself.
What causes prolapse?
Prolapse is caused by damage to the tissues that support the pelvic organs. This damage is often a result of several factors, with the most common cause being the trauma of childbirth. Other risk factors include obesity, chronic constipation, lung diseases that result in a chronic cough, prior hysterectomy (removal of the uterus), menopause, and heavy manual labor.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse include a bulge or pressure in the vagina, a pulling or stretching feeling in the vagina or pelvis, discomfort with sexual intercourse, delayed or slow urine stream, difficulty with bowel movements, and urinary and fecal urgency or incontinence.
What's the best way to treat prolapse?
Treatment depends on several factors including the age and overall health of the patient, the severity of symptoms, the stage of the prolapse, the patient’s anatomy and prior surgical history and most importantly the patient’s preference.
For women with a mild case of prolapse, physicians may not recommend a surgical intervention. However, they may recommend nonsurgical treatments that can help prevent the prolapse from becoming worse, such as losing weight, quitting smoking, and avoiding lifting heavy objects.
For more severe prolapse, some women may choose to use a pessary (a medical device that provides internal support) while others may choose to undergo surgery.
Surgery can be laparoscopic with the assistance of the da Vinci robot or approached through the vagina. Women often have other pelvic floor disorders in addition to prolapse including overactive bladder (urinary frequency, urgency and urge incontinence) or stress urinary incontinence (leakage of urine with coughing, laughing, or exercise) that need to be addressed at the same time.
For younger women, the potential loss of childbearing ability plays a role in the patient's treatment. Treatment should be individualized for each patient and it is important to see a physician that specializes in the treatment of pelvic floor disorders, such a surgeon board-certified in Female Pelvic Medicine Reconstructive Surgery.
Why should women seek treatment sooner rather than later?
The symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse can worsen over time. The sooner a woman seeks treatment the sooner we can work on alleviating the symptoms and improving her quality of life.
Dr. Katie Ballert specializes in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery at UK HealthCare.
This column appeared in the June 22, 2014, edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader
UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging Selected for Major Clinical Trial of Drug to Prevent Alzheimer's Disease
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 19, 2014) -- The University of Kentucky's Sanders-Brown Center on Aging is participating in a landmark multi-center clinical trial of an experimental drug that has the potential to prevent Alzheimer's disease (AD).
The A4 Study will recruit 1,000 participants ages 65-85 to test an amyloid antibody that may prevent memory loss caused by Alzheimer's disease. Amyloid is a protein normally produced in the brain that can build up in older people, forming plaque deposits in the brain. Scientists believe this buildup of deposits may play a key role in the eventual development of Alzheimer's.
Sanders-Brown is the only center in Kentucky and the only center within 200 miles of Lexington participating in the study.
Dr. Gregory Jicha of the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging is enthusiastic about the impact this study might have for the 35 million people suffering from Alzheimer's disease worldwide.
"As the baby boomer generation ages, the incidence of Alzheimer's and other age-related dementias will grow exponentially," Jicha said. "As of today, there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease, so any opportunity to slow the progression of symptoms by intervening early in the disease process is important."
Since previous studies have demonstrated that changes in the brain occur many years before a person shows the signs of Alzheimer's disease-related dementia, researchers have targeted the amyloid plaques that accumulate in the aging brain as a means of identifying people at risk for developing AD and intervening before the onset of the earliest signs of memory loss.
A4 participant candidates will undergo a series of tests to determine their eligibility, including an imaging test called a PET scan to determine whether they do in fact have evidence of amyloid plaque buildup. This in itself is an interesting conundrum, said Jicha.
"Amyloid plaques don't guarantee that a person will develop Alzheimer's, but there seems to be a strong link between the two," said Jicha. "So using PET imaging to determine the buildup of amyloid plaques is similar to being tested for the BRCA1 gene for breast cancer: they help us determine who is at a higher risk for developing the disease in question."
Therefore, explains Jicha, patients who are identified by PET scan as at risk for Alzheimer's disease but aren't yet experiencing memory problems will now be able to explore their options for prevention and/or treatment.
Jicha notes that the A4 study is just one of many Alzheimer's-related clinical trials being conducted at the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging.
"We have clinical trials that target the entire continuum for Alzheimer's disease, from prevention to treatment," Jicha said. "But we'll never be able to answer the crucial question: 'Does this work?' If we can't enroll enough people for the research."
The University of Kentucky’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (SBCoA) http://www.uky.edu/coa/ was established in 1979 and is one of the original ten National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded Alzheimer’s disease Research Centers. The SBCoA is internationally acclaimed for its progress in the fight against illnesses facing the aging population.
For more information about the importance of volunteering for clinical trials, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TDfOG8blwU&list=PL0vC9-Q8LFcx88jdTlLemFkxCPXRk-pzB
For more information on participation in the clinical trials underway at the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, contact Sarah Tarrant at 859-323-1331.
Lexington, June, 20, 2014 -- Keeneland Concours d’Elegance will host a Maserati Mingle
5:30 p.m.- 9.p.m., June 20, 2014, at the Court House Square, 120 and 150 N. Limestone, in Lexington.
Sponsored by Maserati of Cincinnati, event admission is free to the public and will feature a variety of exotic automobiles, including vintage models from Maserati, Ferrari, and Porsche. Food and beverages will be available on site and there will be a featured display of artwork from invited Concours artists.
“This will be a fun, memorable event with well over 50 classic cars on display at downtown Lexington’s Court House Square,” said Connie Jones, Concours co-chair. “It serves as a warm-up for the upcoming Keeneland Concours d’Elegance, July 17-20, and all proceeds will benefit Kentucky Children’s Hospital. This is the 10th anniversary Keeneland Concours d'Elegance and this year we have invited back previous winning cars for a Winners Circle Reunion, on Saturday, July 19.”
Supporting sponsors for the Maserati Mingle event include the UK Federal Credit Union, WEKU, and Harp Enterprises.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Keeneland Concours d’Elegance showcases the
finest in automobiles and the attractions of central Kentucky as each year more than 100 exquisite examples of automotive history gather on the lust grounds of the Keeneland Race Course. The event draws thousands for this one-of-a-kind experience unmatched in the collector car community. Activities include a Bourbon Tour, Hangar Bash and the Tour d’Elegance of scenic Kentucky back roads. Proceeds benefit Kentucky Children’s Hospital to help bring better healthcare to the children of Kentucky. For more information, visit www.keeenelandconcours.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 20, 2014) -- Wayne Sanderson, Ph.D., has accepted the position of interim dean of the College of Public Health, effective July 1, 2014. While serving as interim dean, he will remain director of the Central Appalachian Regional Education Research Center (CARERC) and deputy director of the Southeast Center for Agricultural Health and Injury Prevention (SCAHIP), CDC-funded centers that conduct research and education on the health and safety problems facing our nation’s workers and rural residents. Sanderson was selected after a college-wide nomination process and in close consultation with UK President Eli Capilouto.
Dr. Steve Wyatt, who has served two very successful terms as the founding dean of the UK College of Public, is returning to the UK College of Medicine where he will lead two critical initiatives: growing UK's Center for Clinical and Translational Science and guiding an emerging partnership that UK HealthCare has established.
"We are grateful to Steve for his contributions, and wish him every success in his new role," said UK Provost Christine Riordan.
The College of Public Health is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month, and as a component of Kentucky’s land grant institution, its mission is to apply comprehensive health approaches to better understand and help reduce the burdens and disparities of health problems on individuals, families and communities. Kentuckians experience some of the worst health outcomes in the country, and the College of Public Health is committed to excellence in research, education, and service that addresses the unfortunate yet well-documented health challenges of the Commonwealth.
Under Wyatt's leadership the College has experienced tremendous growth in faculty, staff, students, extramural funding, and reputation, with the college now ranked 25th nationally by U.S. News and World Report. The College also began offering undergraduate public health courses during the past few years, a development that has garnered so much interest that a bachelor's degree program has been approved this month by the University Senate.
In moving forward, Sanderson's experience and expertise will be an asset to continuing the College's growth and success during this interim period. With a research focus on a wide variety of occupational and environmental exposures, he has served as chair of the Epidemiology Department in the College of Public Health since January 2010. Prior to joining the University of Kentucky in December 2009, he was a professor in the Occupational and Environmental Health Department of the University of Iowa College of Public Health.
He also was a commissioned officer in the U.S. Public Health Service beginning in 1978, assigned to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH/CDC). His tenure culminated in 2002 with his position as chief of the Industrial Hygiene Section in the Industrywide Studies Branch.
Sanderson said he is delighted to be working with the wonderful students, faculty, and staff in the College of Public Health. “They inspire me every day to get to work early to help address the many public health problems facing the Commonwealth and around the globe," he said.
In the coming weeks, a search committee will be formed to identify candidates for the position of Dean of the College of Public Health.
MEDIA CONTACT: Mallory Powell, email@example.com
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 20, 2014) — What began as a class project in arts administration at the University of Kentucky has grown into a fully functioning arts organization that could benefit the community for years to come.
A group of 17 students has taken a course project from their 402 class with UK Arts Administration Director of Undergraduate Studies Mark Rabideau to new heights by founding a full-fledged arts organization dedicated to working with local nonprofits. Driven by the belief that creativity is the seed of hope, Art in Unlikely Places connects artists to those most in need of the transformative powers of the arts. The group believes that art by definition challenges the mind and emotions and refocuses our perspective of the world.
"Essentially what we want to do is to give something to people who may be facing a struggle in their life or have become defined by an illness. Bringing inspiring artwork to these people humanizes them again," said arts administration senior Katie Silver, executive director of Art in Unlikely Places.
To get the organization up and going, the students were awarded a grant from the Michael Braun Endowment Fund. The endowment, named for a former director of the UK Arts Administration Program, awards funding for projects and activities that enrich student knowledge of the arts administration profession and field.
The first project for Art in Unlikely Places is called Future Doors. For the initiative, local artists were commissioned to create works of art on doors that reflect the mission of eight partner nonprofit organizations. The idea was based on a concept pitched by an international student from the class. To help make the project a reality, Habitat for Humanity donated doors to the artists.
The students brainstormed a list of different groups of people they might want to help, including some organizations that had made an impact on their own lives.
"Some of us were very emotionally attached to certain organizations," Siver said. "My artist and I worked with Cardinal Hill on this project because both of us have suffered from physical injury and gone through physical rehabilitation and that has made a huge impact on our lives. We've both found that art is something that really helped us through that time. It was really important for us to work with an organization like that."
Artist and student Cameron White agreed. He selected his partner nonprofit, the Lexington Veterans Affairs Medical Center, based on personal relationships. "I have several friends who are or were in the military — and family members. The VA doesn’t just do medical care, they also help soldiers and service members re-integrate after their work."
White's door has an American flag as the background behind what appears to be shattered glass with two hands grasping. "It’s almost as though the glass has shattered but it’s more of reality. Then, there are two hands grasping in a warrior’s grip across the front. It was the idea of helping hands, that the human contact really helps, and then I did a little extra to mend the breaking glass of reality as the hands are clasping."
The eight participating nonprofits and artists in Future Doors are:
- Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital and Emily Slusher;
- Christian Health Center and Caitlin Serey, a 2014 arts administration and art studio graduate;
- Hope Center and Spencer Reinhard;
- Lexington Veterans Affairs Medical Center and White, a creative writing and art studio junior from Lexington;
- NAMI Lexington and Sara Hadorn, an arts administration senior from Erlanger, Ky.;
- Ronald McDonald House and Jenny Kittinger, a 2008 art studio and art education graduate;
- Shriners Hospital for Children and Andria McElroy, a music education senior from Georgetown, Ky.; and
- The Nest Center for Women, Children and Families and Isabell Park, an integrated strategic communication sophomore from Hopkinsville, Ky.
The artwork serves as reminders of hope for the underserved of Lexington and the nonprofits were excited to team up with creative types in the Bluegrass.
"We know the healing powers of art. Anytime we can bring something in for our patients, either to encourage them more or inspire them more, just to see something different that they don’t see every day that they are here at Cardinal Hill, we certainly want to lift up our patients in any way that we can," said volunteer coordinator Marley Tribble, of Cardinal Hill.
Each door is currently on display until June 25 at its respective nonprofit where artists and the organizations hope it inspires members of the nonprofit community and promotes the work they do for Lexington.
At Cardinal Hill, Emily Slusher's door is very centrally located. "The reason why we put it in the Conservatory is this is a beautiful area for patients to be able to get out of the room, visit with family and friends, and have lots of people come in. It is a different setting than other hospital rooms they spend a lot of time in," Tribble said.
Cardinal Hill's door doesn't only inspire those who see it, it has a practical purpose as well and includes the artist's own story of rehabilitation.
"The door is interactive. There is a DVD with, I think at least, five different patient stories that Emily took, and she cut them up and put them together. She told her story with them as well," Tribble said. There is a light switch that you can flip and it turns on a light bulb. It is really available for anyone. Anyone can walk over, play around and see what they can explore there. The pulley is great, not only does it have the remote in there so patients and families can come up and see it. Pulling and grabbing is something that our therapists work with our patients on a daily basis. If a person had a stroke or lost some movement in their hand, they can bring them down here and use the door as part of their therapy."
Next week the doors will be moved to the historic Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center where the pieces of art will serve yet another purpose by raising money for the artists and nonprofit organizations they represent through an auction. Each artist plans to donate 50 percent or more of the proceeds from the doors to their partner nonprofit.
The event, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 25, at the Lyric, located at 300 E. 3rd Street. The silent auction will begin around 6:30 p.m. In addition to the Future Doors silent auction, the event will also feature local live music, local foods and a cash bar.
"We encourage everybody to come out even if you aren’t bidding on a door to come see the artwork and enjoy yourself, eat some food, listen to some music, hang out with some of our artists while you’re there," Silver said.
"For me, the real investment through Future Doors is empowering young people to see themselves as change-agents, leveraging their skills, knowledge, experience and passion toward providing hope for those most in need of the transformative powers of the arts," Rabideau said.
To help further support Art in Unlikely Places, the group also launched a Kickstarter campaign earlier this month. Funding received through the Kickstarter will be used to support the efforts of Art in Unlikely Places to partner with charitable organizations and to launch future cultural and social entrepreneurial projects.
In the future, Art in Unlikely Places hopes to present a variety of programs in different arts fields to support the community. "We would never limit ourselves to one art form. Everyone in the organization comes from different artistic backgrounds. We have painters, we have musicians, we have writers, we have all of it. It is very important for us to have that diverse artistic approach to it," Silver said.
The Arts Administration Program at UK College of Fine Arts offers one of the most comprehensive curriculums in the country and the first online master's degree in the field at a public university. The program is designed to teach students the concepts, technologies and skills necessary to successfully direct an arts organization in a competitive and changing environment.
MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716; firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 19, 2014) — Cody Rakes grew up on a Marion County farm and quite naturally found a home in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment three years ago. As a freshman, he joined his peers on a very successful team that built the national champion quarter-scale tractor that year. The next year, they took second, and now in 2014, they’ve reclaimed the top spot at the recent American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers International Quarter Scale Tractor Student Design Competition.
“There were so many people on this team for so many years who never even got to experience a second place, and I’ve got to experience two first place finishes,” he said. “It’s great to be able to show those alums what we have done with the program they helped build.”
Rakes is majoring in agricultural education and plans to teach agriculture at the high school level in the future. Being on the team takes up a lot of time, and for most married students that might be an issue. But Rakes actually gets to spend a lot of time with his wife Angela; she’s on the team, too and is entering her senior year in the college’s Department of Community and Leadership Development.
Along with their team members and advisors, the Rakes’ brought home the overall trophy as well as category wins in manufacturability, safety (tied), first-time-through tech (tied), report, second place presentation, three out of four pulls, and the overall pulling award.
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 drive train 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 and testing and development.
UK team advisors Michael Sama and Tim Smith are faculty and staff members, respectively, in the college’s Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering.
“This process is a great hands-on experience,” Smith said. “It teaches them how to do things they’ll be doing when they get out there working in industry; it teaches things that we just can’t teach in the classroom.”
Sama was actually a team member for several years.
“It’s a true design experience and for someone like Cody, who isn’t in an engineering degree, the experience is valuable,” Sama said.
This year’s winning team was comprised of Cody and Angela Rakes; Michael Blum, Louisville; Shawn O'Neal, Laurel, Delaware; Alex Kloentrup, Burlington; Brad Wilson, Henderson; Brent Howard, Bardstown and Charles Crume, Bloomfield.
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 provided funding for the team 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. They plan to auction off some previous years’ tractors to possibly fund a future scholarship for team members. More information on the auction is available online at: http://www.bae.uky.edu/NewsEvents/default.shtm.
MEDIA CONTACT: Aimee Nielson, 859-257-7707.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 19, 2014) — At its June meeting, the University of Kentucky’s Board of Trustees — at the recommendation of President Eli Capilouto — accepted a $1 million commitment from Forcht Bank. The pledge is part of UK’s Gatton College of Business & Economics’ $65 million capital campaign for the renovation and expansion of the Gatton College building.
“Partners like Terry Forcht and Forcht Bank are critical to the University of Kentucky as we continue transforming our campus for faculty, staff and students,” Capilouto said. “We are grateful to the Forcht family for this generous gift, which will help build a modern business facility that will educate and prepare students to compete and succeed in a global economy.”
Forcht Bank Chairman Terry Forcht said, “We believe in the mission of the Gatton College of Business and Economics to provide a quality education for future entrepreneurs and business leaders in Kentucky. Education is the key to moving our state forward, and we want to support it in every way we can.”
The Forcht Bank gift will fund the grand staircase in the newly renovated Gatton College facility. Located at the main entrance of the expanded facility, “the staircase will be a focal point of the building,” described UK Gatton College Dean David W. Blackwell. “The grand staircase is the primary access to the atrium, which we refer to as the ‘living room' of the building. It also provides ‘stadium seating’ where students can relax and study between classes. It is a spectacular feature of the new Gatton College facility.”
“Forcht Bank’s $1 million pledge will help us build a technologically advanced business education complex, which will benefit students for decades to come,” Blackwell said. “We are extremely grateful to Mr. Terry Forcht for his commitment to the Gatton College and the University of Kentucky. Forcht Bank is a key partner in educating the next generation of business leaders.”
The expansion and renovation of the Gatton College facility will allow for enrollment growth of more than 40 percent and faculty/staff growth to support the additional students, as well as incorporating state-of-the-art technology throughout the building.
Construction of the facility is underway with completion of the project slated for spring 2016.
This project is part of UK's $1 billion campus transformation plan initiated under President Capilouto's leadership. The Gatton College was approved in 2013 with House Bill 7, which also included a new Academic Science Building and improvements to Commonwealth Stadium and football training facilities. The House Bill 7 projects, as well as a new student center, the continued capital construction for UK HealthCare, and the complete revitalization of UK's residential communities are self-financed without state tax dollars
Forcht Bank (www.forchtbank.com) operates 30 banking centers in 12 Kentucky counties — Fayette, Jefferson, Boone, Grant, Madison, Taylor, Pulaski, Laurel, Whitley, Knox, McCreary and Green County — and has total assets of $938 million (fdic.gov, as of 3/31/14).
For more information about the new Gatton College facility, visit gattonunited.uky.edu.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Michele Sparks, 859-257-0040; Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 19, 2014) -- New researchers in any field face challenges--limited research experience, competing demands for time, diminished levels of and increased competition for funding. Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (BIRCWH, pronounced "birch"), a mentored career development program funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), supports junior investigators with training and protected research time to overcome these challenges and excel early in their careers, while simultaneously advancing an area of research priority: women's health and sex differences.
At UK, the BIRCWH program has become an invaluable professional and personal development program for its scholars and associates, as well as a template for other mentored career development programs on campus.
In 1999, BIRCWH was established in the NIH Office of Research on Women's Health in order to train junior faculty in becoming successful research investigators in the field. Since the program was created, 77 grants to 39 institutions supporting more than 542 junior faculty have been awarded. UK received $2.5 million in the initial round of funding in 2000 to develop and implement the BIRCWH program for junior M.D. and Ph.D. faculty members interested in establishing research careers related to women's health. Scholarship efforts of the UK BIRCWH program focus on health challenges unique to Appalachian Kentucky, which is disproportionately affected by drug abuse, violence and poor health.
Now in its 13th year, UK's BIRCWH program has been extremely successful. In the first 10 years alone, BIRCWH scholars secured 71 grants and contracts as principal investigators, including 15 R01 grants, five R21 grants, four R03 grants and two National Science Foundation grant, for a total of $30,573,700.
Tom Curry, Ph.D., professor and vice chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, serves as principal investigator of the UK BIRCWH program. Dr. Catherine A. Martin, the Dr. Laurie L. Humphries Endowed Chair in Child Psychiatry and director of the child psychiatry division in the Department of Psychiatry, and Ann Coker, Ph.D., professor and Verizon Wireless Endowed Chair in the Center for Research on Violence Against Women, serve as co-investigators. The leadership team thus brings together expertise in bench science, clinical research, and public health and epidemiology.
"We have a complementary trio of expertise. We all see the world a little differently, and can help find the appropriate people and resources to support the BIRCWH Scholars and Associates," said Curry.
Career and Personal Development
BIRCWH Scholars, who are selected through a competitive application process, are junior faculty from the colleges of medicine, public health, pharmacy, nursing, health sciences, dentistry, or arts and sciences who have the potential to establish their own funded research programs. They remain in the program for one to three years, during which time they are expected to complete training in the ethical conduct of research, participate in seminars and retreats, and ultimately complete a mentored research project that culminates in becoming an established, independent researcher in women's health.
In order to accomplish these goals, scholars receive 75 percent protected time (50 percent for scholars with clinical surgical responsibilities) to dedicate to their research, as well as a research stipend and funding for travel to academic meetings.
"With this time, I have been more productive submitting papers and writing grants," said Emily Brouwer, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science and a BIRCWH scholar whose research focuses on HIV, Medicaid, cardiovascular disease, and gender. Like many BIRCWH scholars, Brouwer has seen her research productivity increase since being accepted in the program, having submitted four external grants in hopes that the support, mentorship, and protected time that she gained from the program will demonstrate a significant investment in her success as a women's health researcher.
While only four BIRCWH scholars are funded at a single time, the UK BIRCWH recently developed the Associates Program in order to train additional faculty who aren't directly funded as BIRCWH Scholars.
"The Associates Program grew out of the need to train more women's health researchers," said Curry.
He explained that the UK BIRCWH program was already offering many resources, like mentorship, grant writing assistance, and manuscript sprints (day-long "lock-in" sessions to focus on writing) that could benefit researchers beyond the funded BIRCWH scholars.
BIRCWH Associate Daniela Moga, assistant professor of pharmacy practice and science, appreciates the opportunity to interact with and get advice from successful researchers who serve as mentors.
"It helped me to participate in the extended meetings and get a sense of what other people are doing to be successful. It also provides good opportunities, like the manuscript sprint, or other grant writing workshops," she said. "I really appreciate the opportunity that I was given."
BIRCWH scholars and associates benefit not only from the expertise and guidance of Curry, Martin, and Coker, but also from a cadre of faculty who mentor scholars and associates in five focused and interacting areas of women's health: drug abuse and its relationship to sex and gender differences; cancer as it relates to women's health; hormonal regulation across a woman's lifespan; oral health and its impact on women's cardiovascular and endocrine health and pregnancy outcomes; and prevention of violence against women.
Katherine Eddens, assistant professor in the Department of Health Behavior, is a BIRCWH associate who studies the intersection of social, economic, and behavioral determinants of health and health disparities. Through mentorship in the BIRCWH program, Eddens has gained insight into the systems of academic research and how to best structure her own research to obtain funding.
"As junior faculty, particularly those of us who came straight into faculty positions from our doctoral programs, you're thrown into a world of research and funding that can be difficult to navigate and somewhat overwhelming. Mentors can help you set goals, structure your time, navigate the funding opportunities and institutions, provide guidance on developing your research program, and provide feedback on grant applications," she said. "It's also helpful to simply have someone to talk to who has been where you've been and can provide guidance on how to develop your career as a scientist."
For current scholars and associates, the BIRCWH program has also become a support group of sorts, providing regular interaction with colleagues who not only have interconnected research interests but who are also at similar points in their careers and are therefore experiencing many of the same challenges--not the least of which is how to maintain work-life balance while advancing a research career and juggling instructional and/or clinical demands.
"It's been great to have a 'space' to come together and share, vent, strategize, and support one another through the trials and tribulations of academia," said Robin Vanderpool, assistant professor in the Department of Health Behavior and a BIRCWH scholar whose research focuses include breast cancer, employment, health disparities, longitudinal studies, and intervention development.
At the moment, it just so happens that all of the BIRCWH Scholars and Associates are women (an atypical scenario), several of whom are balancing their rapidly advancing research careers with the unique challenges parenting young children. When UK Provost Christine Riordan came to speak with the BIRCWH scholars and associates, she was asked about advice on handling a sleepless infant alongside demands of a new career. Her suggestion? Make sure you get at least some uninterrupted sleep by giving both parents four hour "shifts" through the night.
Eddens has appreciated the personal support, in addition to the professional development, that she's found in the BIRCWH community.
"Meeting regularly with other women who are in a similar role, professionally and personally, is extraordinarily beneficial. Our lives aren't simply our careers — it's a complete package with family, career, and personal enrichment all intertwined," Edden said. "Being a part of BIRCWH has allowed me to gain support in managing the complicated life of a female junior faculty member who is also a wife, mother, and individual. It can be overwhelming at times, and the women in BIRCWH have been a tremendous support to one another."
Increased Focus on Women's Health and Sex Differences Research
The BIRCWH program constitutes one element of a broader and growing federal focus on advancing research in women's health and sex differences. The NIH Office of Resaarch on Women's Health, which houses the BIRCWH program, was itself established more than two decades ago in order to better include women and women's health in clinical research and science.
More recently, in May 2014 the NIH unveiled policies to ensure that preclinical research funded by the agency equally considers females and males at the cellular and animal research levels. This is a growing priority as the scientific and medical communities increasingly come to understand the consequences of historic overreliance on male-only research models that potentially obscure findings of key sex differences that could guide clinical studies, contribute to irreproducibility in biomedical research, and create risk for patients. Women, for example, experience higher rates of adverse drug reactions than men do.
"There's a huge need to understand the gender differences in biomedical research and medicine," said Curry.
Furthermore, sex differences research is a developing field and is often considered a difficult and tricky topic--so much so that Michelle Martel, BIRCWH scholar and assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, was discouraged from studying sex differences early in her career. Impassioned and undeterred, she now studies the nature of sex differences in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), in hopes of identifying any distinct pathways to ADHD for girls (vs. boys) and providing useful information for devising personalized prevention and intervention strategies to mitigate negative long-term outcomes of ADHD, especially for girls. The BIRWCH program has provided her with the time and guidance to make strides in work.
"Historically, the study of sex differences and women's health, in psychology at least, was fairly controversial. Further, there are few provided frameworks in place, which means it can take more time to get projects in this area off the ground and to garner the support necessary to have success in this area," she said. "It has been very helpful to have structured meeting with a supportive network of individuals from all across campus who share this interest in women's health and to have access to their expertise, connections, advice, and resources."
For more information about the UK BIRCWH program, including eligibility and a list of current Scholars and Associates, please visit http://obgyn.med.uky.edu/bircwh.
MEDIA CONTACT: Mallory Powell, Mallory.email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 19, 2014) - Losing excess weight can be challenging whether it’s five pounds or 50, but health providers at UK HealthCare's new UK Barnstable Brown Diabetes and Obesity Center (BBDOC) Physician Weight Management Program are committed to helping patients achieve their goals by offering an individual lifestyle plan to meet the needs of each patient.
Patients will have a choice of two clinics with different providers: the Internal Medicine Clinic with Dr. Stephanie Rose, or the Endocrine Clinic with Dr. Barbara Fleming-Phillips. A doctor's referral is not necessary for an appointment.
Dr. Rose, a general internist, is a recent Diplomate in Obesity Medicine through the American Board of Obesity Medicine and a contributing investigator at the Barnstable Brown Diabetes and Obesity Center. Dr. Fleming-Phillips is a Family and Community Medicine Specialist at the Barnstable Brown Diabetes and Obesity Center and has worked with patients at Health Management Resources (HMR).
Both physicians will offer weight loss programs based on individual lifestyle assessment, a food journal, exercise contract, and mindful eating, using a combination of lifestyle and behavioral modification and, if medically indicated, weight loss medications and referral to bariatric surgery centers.
Patients will start with an hour-long appointment that will include a comprehensive evaluation of weight and diet history as well as evaluation of existing conditions that can cause or are caused by obesity, and may include physical exam and lab work. After evaluation, patients will be given personalized weight management options and goals. Patients may be referred to outside weight loss programs as needed to assist in meeting their needs and ensure success, such as HMR, UK Health and Wellness, or Weight Watchers. The frequency of follow-up appointments will be made on a case-by-case basis.
Patients at each clinic will receive individualized counseling sessions with a dietitian that includes a comprehensive review of diet history and a personalized diet approach to fit each person’s lifestyle. Dietitians will teach a 12-week curriculum based on the Diabetes Prevention Program. Patients will work through the 12-week curriculum at their own pace, and at each visit a different topic related to lifestyle change and weight loss will be discussed.
Cost of visits to the Weight Management Clinic will be determined by each individual's insurance coverage. Although most insurance companies do not reimburse for weight loss, the doctor will bill based on other health issues such as diabetes or hypertension.
To schedule an appointment in the Internal Medicine Clinic, call 859-323-0303, or the Barnstable Brown Diabetes and Obesity Center, 859-323-2232. To refer a patient to the clinic through the Ambulatory Electronic Health Record (AEHR), click “Consult: Other” and type in “UK BBDOC Weight Management Clinic.”
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 18, 2014) — The website fashion-schools.org recently ranked the University of Kentucky Department of Retailing and Tourism Management as a top 5 fashion merchandising school in the South.
Schools were ranked based on academic reputation, admission selectivity, depth and breadth of program and faculty, value as related to tuition and student debt, and geographic location. The region included schools in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas.
The website also ranked the department as the No. 28 fashion merchandising school in the nation.
Retailing and Tourism Management, part of the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, includes two degree programs—merchandising, apparel and textiles, and hospitality management and tourism.
“We really try to focus on what the industries expect from our graduates and work hard to develop relationships within the industries to create opportunities for our students,” said Vanessa Jackson, chair of the department, which is in the UK School of Human Environmental Sciences.
This includes recently creating an advisory board for the department, comprised of both academic and industry professionals in merchandising and hospitality fields.
While the two tracks may sound distinctly different, they constantly crisscross paths in and out of the classroom. The department’s students are heavily involved in its two student organizations, the Merchandising, Apparel and Textiles Club and the Hospitality Management Association. The groups recently joined forces to host the department’s annual fashion show that raises money for department scholarships, with the MAT Club handling the clothing selection and the hospitality group focusing on planning the event and logistics.
The department also includes a Textile Testing Laboratory that conducts research for national textile companies.
All students in the department have the opportunity to take study tours to fashion capitals of the world. Tours for the 2014-2015 school year include Italy, Greece, New York City and Ghana.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 18, 2014) — Susan Carvalho, professor of Hispanic Studies and associate provost for internationalization at the University of Kentucky, has been named interim associate provost and dean of the UK Graduate School.
Carvalho will maintain her role as associate provost for internationalization, a positon she has held since 2010 that involves overseeing the UK International Center and the implementation of UK’s comprehensive internationalization agenda. A part-time interim assistant provost will be appointed during this transition period to assist Carvalho with the internationalization portfolio.
"Graduate education is essential to our mission as a research university," said UK Provost Christine Riordan in a message sent to faculty and staff of the university. "To this interim position, Susan brings a wealth of experience and a history of building successful partnerships, collaborations and programs. There are great synergies between the areas of internationalization and the graduate school, especially with the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce and growing international graduate enrollments. The Graduate School is also home to our top ranked Martin School of Public Policy and Administration. I know Susan will lead these areas well."
In her more than 25 years at UK, Carvalho has served in a number of key leadership roles including associate dean in the College of Arts & Sciences, chair of the General Education Reform Steering Committee and interim chair of the Departments of Hispanic Studies and Political Science. At the graduate level, she has been a recipient of UK’s highest award for graduate education, the William B. Sturgill Award for Outstanding Contributions to Graduate Education, and she has directed 32 doctoral dissertations to completion.
Last year, Jeannine Blackwell announced her intent to retire from her position as dean of the Graduate School, which she has held for 11 years, and return to the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences.
"I know everyone across the UK family joins me in thanking her for her leadership and commitment to our university," said Riordan.
Ad for "It's a Grand Night for Singing!" 2014. A transcript of this video can be found here. Video courtesy of UK Opera Theatre.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 18, 2014) — At the University of Kentucky, the music doesn't stop for summer break. UK Opera Theatre stages its final three performances of this year's "It's a Grand Night for Singing!" 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 20 and 21, and 2 p.m. Sunday, June 22, at the Singletary Center for the Arts.
In its 22nd year, "Grand Night" has become known for performances of beloved Hollywood, Broadway and Top 40 tunes. More than 100 university and community talents come together to present a musical extravaganza of these classic songs.
Ticket prices for "Grand Night" range from $17-45. Group rates are available for groups of 25 or more. A processing fee will be applied upon completion of all transactions.
In honor of Russ Williams, the university's first representative of the staff on the Board of Trustees who died in 2009, each performance of “Grand Night” will also have select seats available to UK staff for only $25, plus processing fees. There is a limit of two tickets per valid UK staff I.D.
To purchase tickets, contact the Singletary Center ticket office at 859-257-4929, online at www.scfatickets.com, or in person.
UK Opera Theatre is one of a select group of U.S. opera training programs recommended by the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. The Tucker Foundation is a nonprofit cultural organization dedicated to the support and advancement of the careers of talented American opera singers by bringing opera into the community and heightening appreciation for opera by supporting music education enrichment programs.
The UK School of Music at the UK College of Fine Arts has garnered a national reputation for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, composition, and theory and music history.
MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716; firstname.lastname@example.org
Video by Allison Perry, 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 18, 2014) — Facing a cancer diagnosis is no easy feat. Patients at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center have always inspired the community with their strength and courage, and Friday, June 6th was no exception, as Markey honored the experiences of those who have battled cancer with a day of recognition and celebration.
June is National Cancer Survivorship Month, and to mark the occasion, Markey held its inaugural Expressions of Courage event, an art exhibit showcasing original, artistic expressions connected in some way to an experience with a cancer diagnosis, or crafted by or in memory of a Markey patient whose battle has ended.
"We sent out over 6,000 letters," said Cindy Robinson, a nurse practitioner at Markey and one of the organizers behind the event. "And we asked people for any type of creative modality that they wanted to share with us, to share their cancer journey, whether it be positive or negative."
More than 30 artists responded. Entries of visual arts included paintings, drawings, photography, sculpture, and quilting. The performing arts involved vocal music, instrumental music, and dancing, and poetry and short stories encompassed the literary arts.
The creations were on display all day in the Combs Research Building at Markey, with readings and performances starting in the afternoon and continuing into the early evening.
"The artwork is very moving and inspiring, and actually will bring tears to your eyes if you read some of the pieces," Robinson said. " We have some pieces here from patients that are no longer with us, and we personally know those people."
Expressions of Courage was made possible by gifts from the Markey Cancer Foundation and Biological Systems Consulting, Inc. With the help of Carla Repass, the assistant director for administration at Markey, and fellow Markey staff members Christie Daniels, Valeria Moore and Mincha Parker, Robinson said she felt they planned and pulled off the cancer center's first-of-its-kind celebration with flair.
"I think for our inaugural event, it's gone beautifully," Robinson said. "We have a lot of survivors here. They've shared their joy."
Shawna Cassidy Quan of Richmond, Ky., was one of the survivors in attendance, having been diagnosed with four different primary cancers over the course of fifteen years. Her expression of courage was an essay about her struggles with her multiple diagnoses.
"You figure out the answers to a lot of your problems even while you're sitting down writing," Quan said. "It's just been a wonderful, theraputic thing for me."
Norton Cancer Center and Markey patient Phillip Meeks traveled nearly two hours from Jeffersonville, Indiana, to attend the event. Meeks' art piece, a drawing by his daughter, was inspired by the unlikely good fortune of his treatment. In 2012, he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, requiring a bone marrow transplant to survive.
As an African-American -- a population which only makes up roughly 7 percent of the bone marrow registry -- and with an adopted son with no biological family members to get tested, the odds of finding a match were against him.
The day he was admitted to the hospital, Meeks said, they found a token underneath his hospital bed: one side said "Believe in Miracles" while the other side said "Faith."
"To me, that was God's way of saying that I'm there with you, you know, don't be scared," Meeks said.
A donor match was found for him, and he received his life-saving transplant in January 2013. He notes that Expressions of Courage was not only a day to showcase talent, but a day that survivors could show their appreciation to the staff of Markey.
"I just want to give back," Meeks said. "That's my big thing. How can you thank so many people that are involved in saving your life? There's not a gift that you can give that's big enough. Hopefully this is my one little piece to say thank you for everything that everybody has done for me."
Many survivors and their families expressed their appreciation of the love and support of the UK and Markey community.
"You live life just as fully as you can, because you're not promised even another hour," Quan said. "I think we've done that today… I hope Markey does this again and keeps on doing it."
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 17, 2014) -- Aphasia is a language problem caused by brain injury, typically a stroke. Aphasia occurs when a stroke or other brain injury damage and disconnect areas of the brain responsible for language, which includes not only speech, but also the ability to comprehend, read, write, and even gesture. Approximately one million people in the United States have aphasia, and more than 200,000 Americans are diagnosed each year. Aphasia is sometimes mistaken for intellectual impairment, and so they are often ignored because they may seem not to understand, or “shouted at” as if they have a hearing loss.
Individuals with aphasia are like snowflakes because no two people communicate the same way. For example, when asked about the 2014-2015 UK basketball team, Mr. Z might just smile and nod his head enthusiastically; Mr. Y might say, “Wow good”; and Mr. H. might say, “They are going to go all the way.” While all reflect hope for the coming season, they do so differently. Aphasia clinicians and researchers have the skills and experience to examine these varied responses and use this information to determine the severity and type of aphasia and its causes and to develop a treatment plan.
Currently, individual or group speech and language therapy from licensed speech-language pathologists is the primary means of treating aphasia. Aphasia therapy seeks to restore as much communication as possible, promote the use of compensatory strategies, and help the patient and the family resume desirable pre-stroke activities.
The World Health Organization (WHO) advocates treatment for people with aphasia both in the short-term (when survival from the stroke is the first priority) an in the long-term when functional (i.e. having a conversation) and psychosocial (i.e. going back to meaningful activities) needs are paramount. The National Aphasia Association (NAA) (www.aphasia.org) is promoting June as National Aphasia Awareness Month.
In Lexington, the University of Kentucky Speech and Hearing Clinic provides speech and language therapy to individuals with aphasia and also sponsors the Greater Lexington Aphasia Support System (GLASS), a support group for people affected by aphasia. For more information on the GLASS program, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or log on to the UK College of Health Sciences website at http://bit.ly/ukchs.
Robert C. Marshall is a Professor in the Division of Communication Sciences and Disorders in the College of Health Sciences at the University of Kentucky and an internationally recognized authority on aphasia and its treatment.
This column appeared in the June 15, 2014, edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 17, 2014) — As the newest members of the Wildcat Family arrive on campus for what is now known as the “see blue." U Orientation, a group of current UK students will be ready to show them what college life is all about.
"This is our two-day university orientation where students and their families can begin the transition to the University of Kentucky,” said Stephen Barnett, senior associate director of admission and senior associate registrar. “The main focus of the event is to begin preparing students academically by meeting with their academic advisor and registering for their fall courses.”
As part of that preparation, students will spend time with their "see blue." Orientation Leaders.
"What's amazing about working with "see blue." U Orientation is that it gives me an opportunity to share my love for this university with all of the incoming students," said Cassidy Teager, a sophomore from Morehead, Ky. "My first year at UK was one of the best years of my life, and I can't wait to see what this university can do for them, as well!"
Teager and her fellow student leaders will stay busy throughout the summer, as the two-day orientations for freshmen begin June 23 and run through July 17.
“The success of “see blue.” U is the direct result of the collaborative spirit of numerous colleagues across the UK campus,” said Don Witt, associate provost for enrollment management. “It’s one of the most exciting events of the year as we welcome new students and their families to their new Kentucky home.”
Formerly known as summer advising conference, the name was changed so that the brand could be renewed and revamped to ensure a smoother, more cohesive transition for students from high school to the University of Kentucky.
"We wanted to make a stronger transition opportunity for our students and given the current two-step orientation process that includes the outstanding K Week program, we believe the combination of “see blue.” U with K Week will provide additional excitement and enhanced connections for an optimal introduction to our campus," Barnett said.
In addition to updating the brand of the orientations, there will also be some changes made in the two-day schedule. One major change will be the addition of small group time, referred to as UKonnect.
"These UKonnect groups will allow students to meet twice in a small group with other new students and a “see blue." U Orientation leader to start developing friendships and learning about UK in a smaller setting,” Barnett said.
If you are attending “see blue." U Orientation, there are a few things you need to know before arriving on campus.
"We encourage students and their parents to take advantage of the opportunity to ask questions of representatives from around campus so they feel prepared and comfortable when arriving for the start of classes in August," Barnett said.
Barnett encourages all incoming students to watch this short video before arriving for their “see blue.” U Orientation.
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.
To browse through more resources for incoming students, visit: http://www.uky.edu/registrar/seeblueu/resources.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 16, 2014) — The University of Kentucky has received a $12.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue its work to better understand and minimize negative health and environmental impacts from hazardous waste sites.
The Nutrition and Superfund Chemical Toxicity grant funded through the NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences is administered through the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. It supports the efforts of more than 50 scientists and students from 15 departments within the colleges of Agriculture, Food and Environment; Arts and Sciences; Engineering; Medicine; and Public Health.
UK is one of only four programs funded in 2014, placing it in a very elite group of just 19 centers nationwide. UK has received funding for its Superfund work since 1997, with this being one of the largest NIH grants ever received by UK.
UK Superfund Research Center’s biomedical research focuses on the idea that nutrition can help reduce negative health effects from exposure to hazardous chemicals. Environmental science researchers at the center are working to develop new methods to detect hazardous chemicals and clean up contaminated sites.
Kentucky has rates of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and hypertension, well above national averages. The state is also home to more than 200 federal Superfund sites, including 14 active sites that are on the National Priorities List, a list of the worst sites in the country. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines Superfund sites as uncontrolled or abandoned places where hazardous waste is located.
In Kentucky, such sites include abandoned waste dumps and large industrial facilities. Many of these sites are contaminated with environmentally persistent chlorinated organic compounds, molecules which contain carbon and chlorine, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and trichloroethylene (TCE).
"Our biomedical research goal is to help offset the negative health impacts that can occur when humans are exposed to toxic chemicals, thus improving health and disease outcomes, which can be associated with such exposures,” said Bernhard Hennig, center director and professor of nutrition and toxicology in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “The team is also looking at the impacts of such exposures on prenatal development.”
“We are optimistic that the results from our environmental science research will help accelerate the clean-up of several Superfund sites in Kentucky, such as the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant. Our research is likely to have other applications as well, including uses in treating drinking water and removing toxic metals from power plant water," said Lindell Ormsbee, associate director of the UK-SRC and a Raymond-Blythe Professor of civil engineering.
“This project brings the best scientists from many different disciplines and colleges together for a high-impact collaboration that advances our knowledge of some of the most pervasive chemical contaminants in our environment,” said Nancy Cox, dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “These scientists also collaborate with colleagues from other state and national agencies and work within affected communities to educate individuals about strategies that may help combat the effects of contaminants and improve overall health.”
For more information on the Superfund Research Center, contact the UK-SRC Research Translation Core at 859-257-1299 or visit the center’s website, www.uky.edu/Research/Superfund.