Campus News

Supported Higher Education Project Celebrates 2015 Graduates

Tue, 06/16/2015 - 14:49

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 17, 2015) — In May, the Supported Higher Education Project (SHEP) at the University of Kentucky Human Development Institute celebrated the graduations of three students across the Commonwealth.


Blake Hopkins, Alex Bonar and Silas Jones participated in graduation ceremonies at their respective college campuses and earned a credential or certificate in their course of study.


Prior to changes to the Higher Education Act in 2008, students with intellectual disabilities were denied access to post-secondary education, which is a natural progression for many high school graduates.


Through collaboration with Murray State University, Northern Kentucky University, Spalding University and Bluegrass Community and Technical College comprehensive transition programs (CTP), as well as the Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, SHEP works with and supports programs for students with intellectual disabilities. Each program is developed to meet the unique needs of students in these educational communities.


At Murray State University, Blake Hopkins shook hands with Governor Steve Brashear after walking across the stage to huge applause as the state’s first graduate of a CTP, earning a College to Career Experience certificate. 


Silas Jones earned a certificate in graphic arts from Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC). Although BCTC has a CTP program as well, Jones entered as a traditional student and received mentoring, employment assistance and other supports from SHEP.


Alex Bonar graduated from Northern Kentucky University with a College to Career certificate. NKU recently submitted an application to the United States Department of Education to become the fourth CTP site in Kentucky.  




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

UK Ag Economics Graduate Student Wins National Teaching Award

Tue, 06/16/2015 - 13:29


LEXINGTON, Ky., (June 17, 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 (AAEA) 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. Penn 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, 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.



MEDIA CONTACT: Leigh Maynard, 859-257-7277, or Carol Lea Spence, 859-257-8324


New Partnership Allows UK Students, Faculty, Staff to Ride Lextran Buses for Free with Wildcard ID

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 17:10

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 16, 2015) — University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto, along with Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and Lextran Board Chair Jeff Fugate, announced a major new partnership between UK and Lextran on Tuesday morning. 


Effective July 1, 2015, University of Kentucky students, faculty and staff may ride any Lextran bus route free of charge simply by showing their valid Wildcard ID, as part of the new U-PASS program.


Lextran buses travel throughout 21 different city routes, which extend throughout and beyond the UK campus into the Lexington community. The program includes all Lextran routes, both on- and off-campus, allowing UK students, faculty and staff to travel to, from, and around campus while also accessing the city. The program constitutes a 1-year, $160,000 agreement, with the opportunity to renew.


Click here to view a map of Lextran routes.


"The U-PASS program, in partnership with Lextran, will provide safe, affordable and sustainable transportation options, while strengthening UK’s important relationship with the city," Capilouto said.


The program represents the first step in an expanding partnership with Lextran.


"We applaud the university’s efforts to help improve traffic around campus," Mayor Jim Gray said. "Like the university, our city is growing, and responsible growth is good. It also means we will have some growing pains, like increased traffic congestion. We’re working on answers through mass transit, encouraging ride sharing, adding bike lanes, continuing to improve traffic signal timing and making our city, especially the urban core, more walkable."


The U-PASS program is the first of several major initiatives being launched throughout the ongoing UK Transportation Master Plan (TMP) process. The TMP aims to improve access and mobility to, from, and around campus for all members of the UK community.


Individuals across campus have provided feedback on the TMP through multiple open forums, surveys and correspondence throughout the past several months.


Throughout open forums in March, Sasaki and Associates, UK’s transportation consultants, recommended that the university "develop a voucher program providing students and employees free Lextran and CATS passes," arguing that in addition to adding parking supply, "the university community must make sincere and concerted efforts to reduce dependence on single occupant vehicles through transportation demand management."


UK Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Eric Monday said that this program represents the first of several initiatives which directly ties back to these early findings and feedback received from the community, related to the TMP.


"Investing in transportation alternatives is an important way to manage demand and allow the transportation system to work better for our entire community," Monday said.


"Members of the campus community represent a significant portion of our ridership and service area," Fugate said. "The U-PASS program builds upon more than 31 years of cooperation between Lextran and UK and presents an important step forward for our partnership."


Any student who has already purchased a Class Pass for the fall 2015 semester or year may receive a full refund from Lextran. Click here for more information on refunds.




MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Geegan, 859-257-5365;



Gov. Steve Beshear Signs Booster Seat Bill at Kentucky Children's Hospital

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 16:58

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 16, 2015) — Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear joined child safety advocates at Kentucky Children's Hospital on June 15 to sign a bill aimed at improving safety for child passengers in motor vehicles.


House Bill 315 brings Kentucky’s current booster seat law in line with 31 other states, including all seven neighboring states. The previous law required children younger than 7 years old who are between 40 and 50 inches in height to ride in booster seats before graduating to adult seat belts. The enhanced bill increases the height requirement to 57 inches and the age requirement to 8 years old, the size and age at which children begin to fit properly in adult seat belts.


“Passage of this bill provides greater safety and protection to our most precious asset – our children. I commend the Kentucky Senate and House for their effort on enhancing our existing booster seat law,” Gov. Beshear said.


House Bill 315, which passed with a vote in March, was championed by child safety experts in the Kentucky Injury and Prevention Research Center (KIPRC), the Kentucky State Safe Kids led by KIPRC and the Kentucky Department for Public Health, and the Fayette County Safe Kids Coalition led by Kentucky Children's Hospital. The bill also received support from the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety, safety advocates from Kosair Children’s Hospital, and Safe Kids coalitions, law enforcement officials, emergency responders, pediatricians and booster seat advocates from around the state.


“Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children above the age of 1 in Kentucky," Dr. Susan Pollack, a Kentucky Children's Hospital pediatrician, Safe Kids Kentucky coordinator and director of the Pediatric and Adolescent Injury Program at KIPRC, said. "We know many Kentucky children are saved every year, even in serious crashes, by being properly restrained and protected in a booster seat. The revised law gives parents better guidance for safely transporting their children.”


A properly installed, belt-positioning booster seat lowers the risk of injury to children by nearly 60 percent, compared with seat belts alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


“The reason is simple: Motor vehicle seat belts were designed for adults, not children. The added height of the booster seat enables the child to fit into a seat belt properly,” Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock said.


Effective on June 24, the bill requires law enforcement officers to issue citations with a $30 fine with no court costs. In addition, violators will have the option to purchase a booster seat instead of paying the fine.


Click here for a link to House Bill 315.


For more information about the bill:

Kentucky Office of Highway Safety

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Kentucky Children's Hospital

Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center

Safe Kids Kentucky

Safe Kids Fayette County


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, 

Hoven Elected First Female Chair of World Medical Association

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 16:09

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 16, 2015) – Retired University of Kentucky professor Dr. Ardis D. Hoven was elected the first female chair of the World Medical Association (WMA) at the organization’s 200th council meeting in Oslo, Norway.


Hoven has served as chair of the American Medical Association delegation to the WMA for the past few years and now will serve a two-year term as chair of the WMA. The WMA is the international organization representing physicians from 111 national medical associations.


“I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to do this,” Hoven said. “I see myself not so much as a woman in this role, but as a leader of a global organization of physicians who are working to support their peers around the world and improve the lives of their patients.”  


Born in Cincinnati, Hoven received her undergraduate degree in microbiology and then her medical degree from the University of Kentucky. She completed her internal medicine and infectious disease training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Board-certified in internal medicine and infection disease, Hoven is a member of the American College of Physicians, and the Infectious Disease Society of America.


Hoven has been the recipient of many awards, including the University of Kentucky College of Medicine Distinguished Alumnus Award and the Kentucky Medical Association Distinguished Service Award. In 2015, she was inducted into the Hall of Distinguished Alumni for UK. She was president of the Kentucky Medical Association from 1993 to 1994 and served as a delegate to the AMA from Kentucky. 


Hoven hopes for the WMA to raise its profile internationally and increase the impact of its policies and advocacy on behalf of physicians and patients.


“I want to make our footprint bigger and our voice stronger,” Hoven said. 


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

Rising Roll Reopens for the Remainder of the Summer

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 15:19

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 16, 2015) — Rising Roll®, a popular campus dining location in the Ralph G. Anderson Building, reopened its doors yesterday and will remain open the rest of the summer.


Rising Roll Gourmet Café offers gourmet sandwiches, salads and soups made from the freshest ingredients. The restaurant focuses on service with a smile and giving customers the "best bang for the buck," according to popular restaurant rating service, Zagat.


Upon its return, Rising Roll is offering an abbreviated summer menu with delicious options including a strawberry salad, chicken salad sandwich and a turkey, bacon and avocado wrap. Rising Roll also offers Caribou Coffee.


Rising Roll is open from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday. Summer Flex Dollars, Plus Account, cash, Visa and MasterCard are accepted.



MEDIA CONTACT: Blair Hoover, 859-323-2395,

Big Blue Family VIDEO: Lexington Couple Grateful for UK's Sanders-Brown Center on Aging

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 14:46



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 17, 2015) — The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that every 67 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).


While the news brings an incredible amount of uncertainty to patients and their families, there is a valuable resource at the University of Kentucky providing information, support and hope. 


UK's Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (SBCoA) was established in 1979 and is one of the original 10 National Institutes of Health-funded Alzheimer's Disease Research Centers. SBCoA is internationally acclaimed for its work in the fight against age-related diseases.


Faculty and researchers work together within the framework of the Center's mission to explore the aging process and its implications for society. Research spans bench to bedside, from defining disease mechanisms in the brain and exploring cellular changes that lead to AD, to studies exploring healthy aging and ways to lower risk of dementia, to clinical trials testing potential new therapies that slow or stop the progression of age-related diseases of the brain.


Watch the Big Blue Family video above to discover how Sanders-Brown has impacted Carolyn and Ron Borkowski and why philanthropy is so integral to ensuring UK researchers will contribute to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease while also helping other Kentucky families.   


This video feature is part of a regular 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 or who are impacted by UK’s reach through the Commonwealth.  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!


For more information on the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, visit:


VIDEO CONTACTS:  Amy Jones-Timoney, 859-257-2940, or Kody Kiser, 859-257-5282,




Euclid Avenue Lot to Temporarily Close June 16

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 14:44

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 16, 2015) — University of Kentucky's Euclid Avenue Employee Lot, which has 20 spaces, will temporarily close today, June 16, to facilitate construction and reconfiguration of the parking lot. This project will result in a larger parking area by connecting the series of smaller surface parking lots in the vicinity. The closure is expected to last until early August.


Employees with valid E permits may park in any parking lot designated as an E lot. A map of these locations can be found here.



MEDIA CONTACT: Blair Hoover, 859-323-2395,

New Study Discovers Potential Target for Tissue Regeneration

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 13:46

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 16, 2015) – A new study co-led by Hsin-Hsiung Tai, professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Kentucky, suggests that a key prostaglandin (PG) metabolic enzyme shows promise as a drug target to help tissue regeneration and repair, particularly after bone marrow transplantation and tissue injuries.


Published in the June 12 issue of Science, the study looked at the role of 15-PGDH, an enzyme that quickly degrades a bioactive lipid called PGE2, in tissue regeneration in mouse models. Recent studies have shown that PGE2 may have a positive effect on tissue regeneration. However, 15-PGDH negatively regulates tissue regeneration and repair as it negates the lipid's ability to stimulate tissue regeneration.


The investigators discovered a tight binding inhibitor known as SW033291 which showed promise to inhibit 15-PGDH, allowing PGE2 levels to increase in the bone marrow, colon, lung and liver of the normal mice as much as that found in those of the 15-PGDH knockout mice.


Mice treated with SW033291 showed a six-day faster reconstitution of hematopoiesis after bone marrow transplantation, with accelerated recovery of their blood cells counts than the control group. The treated mice also showed a marked resistance to experimentally induced colitis, in addition to enhanced liver regeneration following partial hepatectomy.


"This is the first report describing the discovery of a potent and specific inhibitor of 15-PGDH, which had a significant positive affect on hematopoiesis and tissue regeneration," Tai said. "This enzyme may prove to be a promising target for relevant drug development and these drugs could have applications for patients undergoing bone marrow transplantation, surgical resection of certain liver or colon cancers, and the treatment of ulcerative colitis."   


This study was conducted jointly between Tai and investigators from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. 


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

Looking for a New Direction in Mapping Your World?

Fri, 06/12/2015 - 15:27


New Maps Plus Graduate Certificate from New Maps Plus on Vimeo. University of Kentucky College of Arts & Sciences.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 15, 2015) — When Gov. Steve Beshear named University of Kentucky geography professor Matthew Zook the state geographer this spring, Zook knew exactly how he wanted to honor his adopted state — by creating a new type of online mapping education for a new era in maps.


Zook along with Matthew Wilson, Rich Donohue and Jeremy Crampton — part of a larger initiative called New Mappings Collaboratory — have been working for the past year on a new curriculum they call New Maps Plus, an online graduate program in innovative digital mapping, including graduate certificate and master’s degree programs. With the support of his department, the UK College of Arts and Sciences and eLearning Innovation Initiative (eLII) at UK, the curriculum received the university’s Board of Trustees approval May 8.


New Maps’ coursework for the graduate certificate in digital mapping begins Oct. 4 with the master’s degree in digital mapping courses offered in the spring of 2016. The certificate is a pre-requisite to the graduate degree. The development of the curriculum was aided by a grant from the eLearning Innovation Initiative and involves a whole range of faculty from the Department of Geography.


“Drawing on both applied and conceptual traditions in mapping practices and mapping thought,” explained Zook, “New Maps represents a stream of scholarship centered at UK and focused on public engagement, ‘big data’ and user-generated Internet content, as well as the affordances of place-based thinking, analysis and representation."


“As a catalyst for mapping engagements on and off campus, New Maps will work to promote creativity, excellence and interaction around emergent mapping technologies,” added Zook, who also serves as director of the department’s GIS initiatives.


The idea for the New Maps program came from the realization that there were very few graduate programs to educate people about the robust range of new and exciting open source mapping tools. “Digital mapping has transformed over the last five years and has become much more accessible and cheaper for people to use,” said Zook.


For examples of Zook's students' mapping projects, vist and


“Our team began experimenting with new ways to geovisualize social media at the FloatingSheep website over five years ago, and that really set us on this track,” he said. “We want to leverage open-source mapping tools to help people use maps to tell their stories and better understand the world around them.”


As the state geographer for Kentucky Zook sees this program as one of the key outcomes of his tenure in that position. His key goal is to build spatial awareness and skills in map-making within the Commonwealth and the nation. The program was planned to accommodate working adults with a bachelor's degree and an interest in mapping, with classes in 10-week terms with four start dates a year.


“Maps are all around us, in our phones and in our browsers. Folks who want to learn how to do this are exactly the kind of people we want,” said Zook. “They can start from ground zero, and in a couple of months they can begin making dynamic and interactive online maps.”


The proposed master’s degree in digital mapping and cartography is designed to serve the expanding landscape of mapping. This includes new professional sites and applications where maps are made by various people, from small business owners to nonprofit managers to marketers, using all kinds of often freely available software and websites.   


“Although this is targeted at graduate education, we'll see plenty of spillover into undergraduate education as well,” Zook said. “We're already introducing some of the same technologies in the first semester for undergraduates at UK, and students are doing some amazing work.”


The curriculum takes a new and rather unique approach to mapping that the team hopes will push mapping into a whole new range of applications, from nonprofits to business. Previously mapping has been fairly concentrated in certain industries, like local governments or engineering, largely for reasons of cost. GIS software has tended to be expensive and only a few enterprises could devote the necessary resources. The curriculum focuses on open source mapping software precisely because it opens up mapping to a whole new range of users, previously deterred by cost.


The curriculum is focused on helping students develop the technical skills and design fluency needed to make elegant and impactful web maps. But even more importantly, the courses will also teach students to think critically about the social dimensions of the maps.


“Maps, after all, are powerful things: they shape what we see and what we don't, with serious implications for how we come to know the world,” said Zook.


Graduate certificate in digital mapping

Curriculum includes:

·        Introduction to New Mapping

This course introduces students to both the social and technical aspects of digital mapping in the 21st century. Students will learn fundamental concepts and techniques in cartography and GIS, including file types, data classification, projections and coordinate systems and elementary analytical techniques in a range of desktop and web-based mapping platforms. In addition to providing the fundamental technical competencies necessary to create maps, students will develop the critical awareness required to effectively communicate complex social processes through maps.

·        Programming for Web Mapping

This course introduces students to the fundamental concepts and techniques of web development and computer programming through web mapping. Students will become familiar with current web standards and proficient in manipulating the structural, stylistic and behavioral elements of web maps through programming. Students will translate these practices to achieve objectives in web cartography such as the display of a basemap, the thematic representation of data, and the employment of interaction to enhance visual communication and the presentation of information.

·        Design for Interactive Web Mapping

This course integrates the principles of geographic representation and web programming in order for students to develop high quality interactive web maps. Students will design interactive web map projects that appropriately represent spatial data in order to serve end-user goals of map engagement and visual communication. The course will train students to compose interactive maps within the context of a coherent web page layout, including the development of supplementary content (such as text and metadata) to aid in visual storytelling.


Master's degree in digital mapping

In addition to completing the three courses outlined above, students will take the following courses.

·        History of Critical Cartography

This course outlines key moments and arguments in the history of cartography with particular attention to advent of digital mapping and GIScience. Students will review and discuss the epistemological and ontological tensions within the field and practice a range of philosophical approaches to cartographic representation and spatial analysis.

·        Spatial Data Analysis and Visualization

This course will introduce students to advanced techniques for the quantitative analysis and visualization of spatial data. Students will become familiar with a broad spectrum of data cleaning, transformation, analysis, and visualization techniques helpful for answering in-depth questions based on geospatial data. Students will learn how to prepare raw source data and subsequently apply both global and local spatial analysis techniques, resulting in advanced, interactive data visualizations.

·        Collaborative Geovisualization

This course will enable students to build rich, user-centered web interfaces to promote the exploration and understanding of complex spatial datasets. Students will be able to critically engage with a variety of data sources (e.g., public data repositories, crowdsourced or volunteered data) and design interactive cartographic solutions in order to visualize geographic information. Students will be able to augment prototypical ‘slippy’ web maps through more advanced cartographic enablements and accompany information graphics.

·        Social Impacts of New Mapping (seminar)

This seminar introduces social and cultural issues that have emerged alongside the growth of digital mapping and location based services. It reviews the evolving nature of digital divides, expert versus crowdsourced knowledge, surveillance, privacy and the ethics of big geospatial data collection and use. Students will utilize these discussions of the social impacts of new mapping to challenge and contextualize their own mapping projects.

·        Final Project Preparation

This course will enable students to design and prepare a web mapping workflow for a project of their own selection. This project is the masterwork for the master’s degree program in digital mapping. Students will determine a geographic problem mapping can address, identify user needs, review relevant literatures, address ethical concerns, collect and prepare the data necessary for the project. Students will also propose strategies for data representation, user interface and online dissemination of the project. This course will culminate with a project design presentation and critique by peers and instructors.

·        Final Project Implementation

This course builds upon the project design developed in the project preparation course and develops a mapping project based on this outline. Students will conduct data analysis, iteratively review and improve the map user interface, produce written documentation on methods used and findings and engage in intense testing of the mapping solution with peers and targeted end users. At the end of the course, students will make a real time online oral presentation and defense of the project for a committee of faculty members.




MEDIA CONTACT: Gail Hairston, 859-257-3302,



Combined Effects of Tobacco Smoke and Radon Put Kentuckians at Heightened Risk of Lung Cancer

Fri, 06/12/2015 - 14:12

LEXINGTON, KY. (June 15, 2015) -- In Kentucky, a trifecta of risk factors contributes to high prevalence of lung cancer.


While high smoking rates and weak or non-existent smoke-free laws in Kentucky are undeniably linked to high rates of lung cancer, the soil underground also poses considerable dangers. Exposure to radon -- an odorless, tasteless gas that escapes from our limestone-enriched landscape, also increases a lung cancer risk. Finally, our laws don't adequately protect Kentuckians through mandated testing and monitoring of radon levels or smoke-free protections.


We need to be vigilant about monitoring both exposure to radon and second- and third hand smoke particles in the home. The risk of lung cancer increases 10-fold when a person is exposed to both high levels of radon and tobacco smoke. In fact, most cases of radon-induced lung cancer occur in those also exposed to tobacco smoke. Here are a few ways to reduce your risks: 


Minimize your exposure to second- and third hand smoke. Radon gas and tobacco smoke particles stick to each other, and when both are inhaled, the damage to DNA in the body is elevated. Don't permit smoking in your home and car, where recirculating particles give off third hand smoke long after the visible smoke is gone. Do not permit smoking at least 20 feet from all entryways, vents and windows. When smoking outside, smokers need to cover their clothes with a jacket to avoid bringing third hand smoke into the home. Quitting smoking is the most important thing you can do to protect your health and your family.


Don't assume your home is radon-free. Testing your home for radon is easy and low-cost. Some health departments provide free test kits or you can buy one at most home improvement stores. If you're buying a home, test for radon during a home inspection. If you're a renter, ask your landlord about radon testing.


Test your home for radon every two years. All homes and buildings need to be monitored for radon levels every two years. If your home tests at an EPA rating of 4.0 or above, it's imperative to invest in a radon mitigation system. It doesn't matter if your home is old or new, or if your neighbors have low radon levels.


Get a professional to install a system to solve the problem. Cracking windows or ventilating a basement won't reduce levels of radon. If your radon levels are high, call a certified radon mitigation company to test your home.


If someone in your home smokes cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, you may be eligible to participate in a research study underway at the University of Kentucky examining combined effects of radon and smoke. For more information about the study, send an email to UKFRESH@LSV.UKY.EDU or call 859-323-4587.


Ellen Hahn, Ph.D., is a professor in the University of Kentucky College of Nursing and College of Public Health, and she directs the Clean Indoor Air Partnership and Kentucky Center for Smoke-Free Policy.

This appeared in the June 14, 2015 edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader

Only Three More 'Grand Nights' Ahead

Fri, 06/12/2015 - 13:05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 15, 2015) — University of Kentucky Opera Theatre will wrap up its 23rd production of It's a Grand Night for Singing! with its last three performances June 19-21, at the Singletary Center for the Arts.


Since 1993, this popular event has kicked off the start of Central Kentucky's summer arts season, with an incredible turnout and multiple sold-out shows. It's a Grand Night for Singing! is a highly anticipated production in Lexington, with university and regional performers showing off their talent. The event features Broadway-inspired music as well as Top 40 hits to entertain guests of all ages.


Grand Night tickets are $45 for general admission, $40 for seniors and $15 for students with valid student IDs. A special 40 percent discount has been added this year for members of the military and their families with a valid military ID. In addition, each performance has a limited number of select seats available to UK staff for only $25. Military and staff tickets must be purchased by phone or in person. Tickets for "Grand Night" are available through the Singletary Center ticket office, by phone at 859-257-4929, online at or in person at the venue. All applicable fees will be added to tickets upon purchase transaction.


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.


UK Opera Theatre is part of the UK School of Music at the UK College of Fine Arts. The school 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. 

CREEEK Project Examines Risk Factors Related to Respiratory Disease in Appalachia

Fri, 06/12/2015 - 12:41

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 15, 2015) ­– Researchers in the University of Kentucky College of Public Health were recently awarded a $2.5 million grant to investigate respiratory health inequities in Appalachia from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.


During the five-year project titled “Community-Engaged Research and Action to Reduce Respiratory Disease in Appalachia,” public health researchers will work with Kentucky’s Appalachian communities to develop strategies for improving respiratory and environmental public health. The project calls for the creation of a Community Response to Environmental Exposures in Eastern Kentucky (CREEEK).


Residents of Kentucky’s central Appalachian counties experience the highest rates of serious respiratory illness and disease of any region in the nation. Adults in Appalachian Kentucky are 50 percent more likely to develop asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) than the overall U.S. population.  As many as one in five adults in the region have received a diagnosis of asthma and rates of COPD are nearly two-and-a-half fold the incidence of the disease in other parts of the country.


“Faculty and staff are intently engaged on the questions of our day – pioneering solutions in – and with – communities that help transform lives,” UK President Eli Capilouto said.  “Moving the needle in Eastern Kentucky on important health issues is part of our land grant and flagship mission.”


Studies suggest associations between respiratory health inequities and environmental contaminants. However, data on this topic has not included individual-level assessments or accounted for behavioral risk factors frequently observed in the area, such as smoking, poor diet and insufficient physical activity, or social determinants such as socioeconomic status or occupation. The CREEEK Project strives to holistically examine factors that contribute to this elevated risk.


To address the need for a reduction in respiratory health disparities, the project will involve three interrelated steps. The first step will be a community-based assessment designed to identify the relationships between indoor air pollutants, behavioral and social determinants and the effects these factors have on risk of respiratory disease.  The project will involve community members in the collection of information and contaminants.


“Respiratory diseases impact not only individuals, but their families, and affect their way of living. This project is significant because it addresses a problem that is important to our Appalachian communities and works with the communities to identify causes and find innovative solutions," UK Provost Tim Tracy said.


As a second step, the information collected from the community-based assessment will be shared with local stakeholders in an effort to increase understanding of the environmental exposures present in the region.  The dissemination of information will take place through reports, community forums and meetings of a community advisory board (CAB).


Finally, the project will implement an environmental public health action strategy (EPHAS) and will evaluate that strategy’s ability to impact short-and long-term outcomes for respiratory health. The goal of the EPHAS is to inform, consult and collaborate with the community in reaching the goal of improved respiratory health. Specific outcomes that will be measured include improvement in pulmonary function, reduction of respiratory symptoms, increased knowledge of respiratory illness and health care availability, improved quality of life, and the extent and satisfaction of community participation.


The interdisciplinary research team is led by Steven Browning, associate professor of epidemiology, and Nancy Schoenberg, Marion Pearsall Professor in the Department of Behavioral Science in the College of Medicine and associate dean for research in the College of Public Health. Other members include David Mannino, chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health; Wayne Sanderson, interim dean of the College of Public Health and professor of epidemiology; Jay Christian, assistant professor of epidemiology; and Heather Bush, associate professor of biostatistics.


The project management will be led by Beverly May, a lifelong Appalachian resident and doctoral candidate in the College of Public Health, and Nell Fields, also a lifelong Appalachian resident, who has directed two community-engaged smoking cessation projects.


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

Four Grants in Six Months for Sanders-Brown Researcher

Thu, 06/11/2015 - 15:43
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jun. 12, 2015) — A researcher from UK's Sanders-Brown Center on Aging has received four different grants in six months to explore both disease processes and potential treatments for Alzheimer's and related diseases.


Since January of 2015, Joe Abisambra, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Physiology and Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, has been awarded grants totaling more than $1.3 million from the Department of Defense, UK's Center for Clinical and Translational Science, GlaxoSmithKline, and UK's Center for Biomedical Excellence.


"The overall objective of my research program is to investigate the molecular mechanisms by which tau causes neurodegeneration in diseases of aging like Alzheimer’s, and in doing so, identify therapeutic targets," Abisambra said. "These four grants will fund continued exploration into preclinical and translational therapies for the class of diseases we call tauopathies."


Abisambra's work exemplifies the collaborative research culture at the University of Kentucky, with contributors from the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (Chris Norris, Ph.D.), the Cardiovascular Imaging Research Team (Moriel Vandsburger, Ph.D.), the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Repair Center (Kathy Saatman, Ph.D.), the Epilepsy Center (Bret Smith, Ph.D.), Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology (Brian Gold, Ph.D.), and the MRI Spectroscopy Core.


The four grants are:


·      A two-year grant from GlaxoSmithKline to study the impact of a novel compound on the treatment of Alzheimer’s tauopathy in mice.


·      A three-year grant from the Department of Defense to explore and dissociate the link between traumatic brain injury and the risk for Alzheimer’s.


·      An 18-month Innovation and High Impact Award from the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science to develop a novel and sophisticated MRI application for detection of early neuronal damage before signs of pathology in the brain. This would be crucial for preclinical signs of dementia and provide opportunity for early intervention.


·      A two-year grant from the University of Kentucky Center for Biomedical Research Excellence to characterize the role of the protein PERK immediately after brain injury in mice, providing opportunity for future therapeutic targeting.


According to Linda Van Eldik, Ph.D., director of the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, Abisambra's grant awards demonstrate the center's global excellence in all phases of the disease process for tauopathies and other age-related diseases.


"Sanders-Brown enjoys a robust research enterprise, and Joe is just one of several prolific minds at Sanders-Brown," Van Eldik said. "When you consider that Alzheimer's is considered the costliest and most difficult chronic condition to treat, the potential impact of work like Joe's is considerable."


MEDIA CONTACT: Laura Dawahare, 


UK Jazz Saxophonist Upbeat About DownBeat Award

Thu, 06/11/2015 - 14:45

Video by UK Public Relations and Marketing. View transcript here. 


LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 12, 2015) — University of Kentucky School of Music doctoral student and tenor saxophonist Carlos Espinosa Jr. is the recipient of the Outstanding Performer Award in the Blues/Pop/Rock Soloist category in DownBeat’s 38th annual student music awards featured in the magazine's June issue.


DownBeat is one of the world’s leading jazz and contemporary music publications. Students and educators can nominate themselves for the magazine's annual awards, and applicants range from junior high to graduate level individuals and ensembles. There are a variety of categories that include large jazz ensembles, jazz chamber groups, vocal ensembles and individual awards for composition, improvisation and producing.


The DownBeat award nomination process involves an online application and submission of audio recordings to be judged by professional musicians and educators from across the country. Judging criteria are based on musicianship, creativity, improvisation, technique, sound quality and balance, excitement and authority. 


The DownBeat Music Awards are considered the most prestigious awards in jazz education. More than 1,000 entries were submitted across all categories this year.


"This DownBeat award is an achievement of the highest honor," said Miles Osland, director of UK Jazz Studies and professor of saxophone. "The international competition is fierce — especially in the graduate category"


Espinosa, a third year Doctor of Musical Arts candidate in saxophone performance from Killeen, Texas, submitted a few recordings from one of his doctoral recitals, all of which were original compositions.


"I owe a debt of gratitude to the musicians that performed along with me: pianist Ben Geyer, bassist Rob Barnes, and drummer Paul Deatherage," Espinosa said. "I would not have won this award without them. As musicians, we are constantly inspiring and pushing each other to grow, so even though it is an individual award, they were the reason I was able to bring my compositions to life."


This is the third DownBeat award Espinosa has won, but his first in an individual category. The other two were in the Large Jazz Ensemble category as a member of the University of North Texas 2 O’Clock Lab Band.


Osland is far from surprised with Espinosa's recognition. "Carlos has been my doctoral teaching assistant for the past three years. In that time, he has proven to me to be the most passionate and talented performer and educator that I have had the privilege of mentoring."


There are numerous award winners in the 38-year history of DownBeat awards that have gone on to become successful professional musicians. The individual awards are especially prestigious, as the name recognition is helpful in networking with other professional musicians and educators. The awards also help bring recognition to the university and the professors who work with the up-and-coming artists. Espinosa is thrilled that UK and Professor Osland will receive well-deserved recognition for this award as well. 


During the time Osland has led UK Jazz Studies, the university's program has had eight previous award winners in the DownBeat competition. UK Mega-Sax has won three times in the Jazz Combo category, and in 2007 the UK Jazz Ensemble won in two categories (Jazz Combo and Classical Chamber Ensemble), the only time this has happened in the history of the magazine. In addition, alumni David Harper, Angela Ortega and Dieter Rice have previously won in the Classical Soloist, Jazz Vocalist and Blues/Pop/Rock Soloist categories.


"It is humbling to be acknowledged by my musical peers and heroes for my improvisation," Espinosa said. "It is a good feeling to have others recognize the hard work and dedication invested in your craft."



MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716;


New Study Links Excessive Iron in Cells with AMD, Other Diseases

Thu, 06/11/2015 - 14:07

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 12, 2015) — In a new University of Kentucky study published yesterday in Cell Reports, a  leading scientific journal in cell biology, researchers describe a new molecular mechanism that contributes to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) due to accumulation of excessive iron within the cells of the retina.  


Cells of the body use iron in dozens of normal metabolic processes. However, excessive iron or "iron overload" can be very damaging to cells and tissues and is implicated in numerous diseases, including AMD. 


 "The reason that cells die due to iron overload is not fully understood," said Bradley Gelfand, assistant professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the UK College of Medicine and lead author on the study. "Our study found that iron overload induces retinal cell death by activating an inflammatory signaling pathway called the inflammasome. This occurs because iron specifically impairs the ability of retinal cells to process inflammatory RNAs called Alu RNAs. In the presence of iron overload, these RNAs build up and cause inflammasome-mediated cell death."


Iron overload is most commonly associated with diseases like thalassemia and hemochromatosis. The liver is the most commonly associated target of iron overload. These diseases are due to systemic (i.e. whole body) overload of iron. Other diseases such as AMD, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's are associated with 'local' iron overload in which excess iron has been measured specifically in the area of release.


Implications for the study are that treatments previously targeted specifically to prevent inflammatory processes in AMD, may also prevent toxicity due to iron overload which is also thought to contribute to disease, but was previously thought to be separate.


This study was funded by the NIH and the International Retinal Research Foundation. 


Media Contact: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or

Cunningham to Serve as UK College of Dentistry Interim Chair of Oral Health Sciences

Thu, 06/11/2015 - 11:17

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 12, 2015) — University of Kentucky College of Dentistry Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Chief Dr. Larry Cunningham has accepted the position of UK College of Dentistry Department of Oral Health Science Interim Chair.


The chair oversees seven divisions of UK College of Dentistry, which include adult dentistry, oral and maxillofacial surgery, oral pathology, orofacial pain, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry and public health. He will continue to serve in his role as division chief. 


Cunningham began teaching at UK in July 2001. In addition to severing as the school’s oral and maxillofacial surgery post-graduate program director and division chief, he has also served as externship director. He brings a wealth of experience to the position, including a long history of resident training, involvement with program and curriculum development, an understanding of clinic flow and efficiency, as well as an understanding of the demands on clinicians who also serve as instructors or researchers.


“I am excited about the opportunity to work with our current administration as interim chair, and look forward to participating in the leadership transition as the college bids a thank you and farewell to Dean Turner and welcomes a new dean to our UK family,” Cunningham said. 


Cunningham received his medical degree from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and his dental degree at University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. He is board certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.


Media Contact: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or


Gill Heart Institute Doctor Assesses New Cholesterol Drugs

Thu, 06/11/2015 - 11:12

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jun. 11, 2015) — On the brink of FDA approval is a new class of cholesterol-lowering drugs with the potential to change the landscape in the prevention of heart attack and stroke.


"These new drugs are a blockbuster as far as achieving the goal of getting LDL levels down markedly," Dr. Thomas Whayne, director of the Lipid Management Clinic at the Gill Heart Institute, said. "Particularly in the cases where high-risk patients cannot tolerate the current standard of care, we will have a powerful pharmaceutical alternative. It's going to be fantastic."


Called PCSK9 inhibitors, these drugs appear to sharply reduce levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol. Clinical trials of PCSK9 inhibitor drugs developed by Amgen, Sanofi and Regeneron demonstrate LDL levels are reduced by 60 percent. By comparison, statins — the current class of drugs that are the mainstay of treatment for high LDL — generally reduce LDL levels by 30 to 50 percent.


High LDL levels are associated with increased risk for heart disease and stroke. Since nearly a third of all U.S. adults have high LDL, the market for these drugs is expansive.


Many in the medical field caution that there's no solid long-term evidence that these robust reductions in LDL levels actually translate to fewer strokes, heart attacks or other CV events, but Whayne is optimistic.


"There is data going back 40-plus years demonstrating without reservation that reducing LDL levels is of benefit in lowering cardiovascular risk," Whayne said. "While it's always prudent to have long-term safety and efficacy data, I think bringing this drug to market now makes good sense."


A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee reviewed the clinical trial data this week and recommended the FDA approve PCSK9 drugs by a 13 to three vote. A decision from the FDA whether to allow the drugs to go on the market should come by the end of July, but the agency usually follows the advice of its committees.


One drawback to the PCSK9 inhibitors is the $10,000 per year price tag. Dr. Whayne is concerned that insurers will be hesitant to approve PCSK9 inhibitors to patients when statins are far less expensive.


"Statins will still have their place in the medicine cabinet," Whayne said. "But having a whole group of other approaches for the patient who simply can't tolerate statins but is at extremely high risk...this could be very important. I can see myself doing battle with the pharmacy benefits companies to get this drug for those patients."


Whayne is a clinical cardiologist with an interest in lipid management and the reduction of cardiovascular risk. He has published numerous papers, including a recent study on the benefits of coffee and cardiovascular health.


MEDIA CONTACT: Laura Dawahare, 

Dining Locations Serve UK During Summer Session II

Wed, 06/10/2015 - 16:44

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 11, 2015)  The University of Kentucky continues to remain committed to providing high-quality, affordable dining options for students, faculty, staff and visitors during the summer.  Dining locations will continue to serve our campus community throughout the second summer session, June 11 through Aug. 6.


There are 15 dining locations to choose from during this second summer session, including five in the newly opened Bowman's Den.


Bowman's Den, UK's temporary dining facility while the Student Center is being remodeled, opened June 1.  The dining section of this facility will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Bowman's Den offers Chick-fil-a®, Greens to Go, Panda Express®, Starbucks® and Subway®.


Also, K-Lair, a UK tradition located in Haggin Hall, is now open not only during the week but on weekends from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m.  Enjoy a variety of food options from Southern biscuits, to vegetarian wraps to Wildcat Burgers at this dining location any day.


Click here for a full list of operating hours for dining locations during the second summer session.


MEDIA CONTACT: Rebecca Stratton and Blair Hoover, (859) 323-2395;,


Murtha Wins Top Award From Journal of Marketing

Wed, 06/10/2015 - 16:37

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 11, 2015) — Brian R. Murtha, assistant professor of marketing and E. Vernon and William Smith Faculty Fellow at the University of Kentucky's Gatton College of Business and Economics, was awarded the prestigious American Marketing Association’s Journal of Marketing's 2015 Harold H. Maynard Award June 8. This award honors “the article that makes the most significant contribution to marketing theory and thought within the calendar year.”


Murtha’s paper, “Marketing Doctrine: A Principles-Based Approach to Guiding Marketing Decision Making in Firms,” co-authored with Goutam Challagalla from Georgia Institute of Technology and Bernard Jaworski of Claremont Graduate University, was published in the July 2014 issue of the Journal of Marketing. It examines a relatively new marketing concept, “marketing doctrine,” that leading business firms are beginning to adopt.


According to the awards committee, out of what were four very strong finalists for the award, “this paper was the ‘best of the best.’” The paper topped finalists from leading university business colleges including Wharton (University of Pennsylvania), Temple, Texas A&M, the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, and Hebrew University, Jerusalem.


“We are very excited to see Dr. Murtha’s work recognized internationally by the top thinkers in his field, and we are very proud of him,” said David W. Blackwell, dean of UK’s Gatton College of Business and Economics. “This award speaks to the quality of the college’s faculty and the importance and relevance of their research to businesses in the Commonwealth and across the globe.”


“This is an incredible honor,” said Murtha. “We are very excited and grateful, to say the least!”


The paper demonstrates that leading edge firms such as Apple, Amgen, Cisco, and others, are developing marketing doctrine because its simple, experience-based “principles” provide consistent guidance to marketers across the firm. As firms grow and diversify, they begin to hire and/or acquire marketers with very different marketing training, experiences, and means for making marketing decisions. Consequently, firms are increasingly dealing with a “marketing inconsistency” problem.


Murtha and his co-authors show that marketing doctrine can help address this problem. “Marketing doctrine refers to a firm’s unique principles, distilled from its experiences, that provide firm-wide guidance on market-facing choices,” they write. By identifying these principles, the firm provides strategic marketing guidance to all its decision-makers, but allows them the flexibility to execute responsive solutions.


While not yet widespread, this “principle-based” approach has begun to emerge among leading marketing firms. Apple’s doctrine relies on seven principles focused on marketing issues, including “Focus on few products and models” and “Read things that are not yet on the page (i.e. discover unmet or unrecognized needs) and don’t be a slave to focus groups.” The company has been extremely successful in the marketplace, and numerous firms try to follow their model.


But as Murtha and his co-authors discovered, the key difference between marketing doctrine and other forms of organization, according to most of the executives they interviewed, is “the importance of developing firm-specific principles that uniquely reflect a firm’s strategy and context, rather than…simply emulating other firms or theory.” Murtha’s paper not only identifies and defines the “marketing doctrine” concept, it also demonstrates ways firms can develop their own doctrine, and presents a conceptual model of how these doctrines can be used in the business world.


Murtha received his Ph.D. in marketing from Georgia Tech in 2008, MBA from Georgia Tech in 2000, and B.S. in business administration from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1995. His research and teaching focuses on strategy, marketing management, and personal selling. He has published in the Journal of Marketing, Management Science, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and the Journal of Business Research.


MEDIA CONTACT: Kathy Johnson, 859-257-3155,; Ann Mary Quarandillo, 859-257-0750,