Campus News

Stoops Appointed Editor of American Psychological Association Journal

Mon, 07/25/2016 - 15:22

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 26, 2016) – Dr. William Stoops, associate professor in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, has been appointed editor of Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, a journal published by the American Psychological Association. Stoops will serve in this role from 2018 to 2023. Beginning in 2017, he will serve as incoming editor, overlapping with outgoing editor Dr. Suzette Evans.


Stoops received his Ph.D. in experimental psychology at the University of Kentucky and completed his postdoctoral work at UK in the Department of Behavioral Science. Following his education, he joined the University of Kentucky faculty in the Department of Behavioral Science. His research at UK primarily focuses on the behavioral and pharmacological effects of drug abuse. One of the goals of his research is to identify potential treatments for use in those diagnosed with stimulant use disorders.


The multi-step process that ultimately resulted in Stoops’ appointment as editor began with his being nominated for the position by colleagues. After several more steps, which included his identifying goals for the future of the journal, Stoops was selected for the position.


Stoops aims to maintain the strong reputation the journal  holds and to build upon its standing. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology publishes advances in translational and interdisciplinary research on psychopharmacology and drug abuse. The scope of research in these areas continues to expand and to benefit from collaborations across a broad range of disciplines, including behavioral science, brain imaging, genetics, neuroendocrinology, neuroscience and pharmacology.


Stoops said he hopes to bring new and different voices into the journal; he would like to see the inclusion of ethnic, gender, career stage and research area diversity of authors submitting to the journal.


UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, visit #uky4ky #seeblue


UKPR&M CONTACT: Olivia McCoy,, 859-257-1076


UK Launching New Curriculum Management System

Mon, 07/25/2016 - 15:17

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 26, 2016)  The University of Kentucky is transitioning from the current eCATS curriculum system to a new online curriculum management system, Curriculog. This transition will be effective for fall semester 2016. 


Curriculog includes a transparent approval process which allows proposers and other interested users to track the progress of proposals as they move through the process. It also includes other features such as committee agendas, user-specific dashboards and various reports. 


Steering committee and project team who have been involved in the selection and development of this new curriculum management system include faculty and staff from the University Senate, Undergraduate Education, Graduate School and college administration. Curriculog was chosen following a Request for Proposal and structured evaluation and selection procedures to ensure the software solution was the best fit for UK.


Curriculog is a highly configurable system that will allow UK to maintain consistency among course proposals, systems of record and published bulletins. This solution was created based on existing curriculum forms and follows UK’s standard curriculum approval processes. 


Course proposals that are generated for clinical courses or those that are currently pending review in university curriculum councils will continue to be processed in eCATS in the interim. Councils will accept eCATS proposals until Oct. 3, 2016. At that time all proposals not already submitted to the councils will need to be resubmitted in the new system, which is scheduled to be available Aug. 15.


This project supports UK’s strategic plan by improving the process by which new and innovative curricular offerings are provisioned. More information will be distributed as the official launch of Curriculog approaches.



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



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

UK Markey Cancer Center Launching New Undergraduate Training Program

Mon, 07/25/2016 - 14:29

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 26, 2016) – The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center has received nearly $200,000 in funding for a new two-year training program designed to prepare UK undergraduate students from Appalachian Kentucky to pursue cancer-focused careers. Administrators of the program are now recruiting applicants.


Led by Markey Director Dr. Mark Evers and Markey Assistant Director for Research Nathan Vanderford, the two-year program will provide its students with research and clinical experience at the state-of-the-art facilities of the cancer center and the UK College of Medicine. Students will also participate in outreach activities to educate the residents of Appalachian Kentucky communities, who are plagued by disproportionately high cancer incidence and mortality rates, on cancer screening and prevention strategies.


“The program is geared toward getting undergraduate students interested in pursuing cancer-focused careers and then using their knowledge and passion to have an impact on their home communities,” Vanderford said. “The students can use their education to train others in their communities, and to provide meaningful research and clinical care innovations that can reduce cancer in Appalachian Kentucky.”


The UK Markey Cancer Center Training in Oncology Program will accept four students this year. Current UK freshmen, sophomores and juniors who are natives of one of the 54 counties of Appalachian Kentucky and are majoring in one of many life or health sciences subjects are encouraged to apply. Students are expected to commit two years to the program and will be paid for their work plus some tuition to cover the cost of taking a cancer-related course each semester.


Students can find more information (including which counties are eligible) or submit an electronic application at


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

What You Need to Know About Bladder Cancer

Mon, 07/25/2016 - 11:17

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 26, 2016)  Bladder cancer accounts for 5 percent of all new cancer diagnoses in the U.S. with nearly 77,000 new cases annually; 1,100 people died of bladder cancer in Kentucky between 2010 and 2014.


The bladder is composed of an inner lining called the urothelium and an outer muscle that contracts to empty urine.  Cancer cells that grow into tumors normally start within the urothelium. Generally speaking, these tumors are classified as low- or high-grade.  Low-grade tumors may recur but have a lower chance of invading the bladder wall while high-grade tumors can behave much more aggressively, invading the muscle wall and potentially spreading to the lymph nodes and throughout the body.


Risk factors: Cigarette smoking is one of the greatest risk factors that can contribute to the development of bladder cancer. Tobacco use in Kentucky is considerably higher than the national average.  Because of this, Kentucky is disproportionally affected by a large number of people who develop bladder cancer. Other risk factors include exposure to certain industrial chemicals, and bladder cancer has been associated with people of certain professions including mechanics, painters, miners, hair dressers, and truck drivers.


Caucasians are about twice as likely to develop bladder cancer when compared to African-Americans and Hispanics. Bladder cancer is also more common in men, and the risk for bladder cancer increases with age.


Symptoms: One of the most common symptoms is blood in the urine.  Often, patients do not have any pain so they delay seeking evaluation from a doctor.  Also, this blood may not be visible to the patient and can sometimes only be detected through specialized tests of the urine.  Other symptoms such as urinary burning and frequency can mimic a urinary tract infection.


Screening/Evaluation: Currently, there are no formal bladder cancer screening recommendations; however, patients at higher risk for developing bladder cancer may benefit from tests that check for blood in the urine.


If you have symptoms or blood in the urine and are at risk for bladder cancer, your doctor may recommend a procedure called a cystoscopy. During this procedure, a small scope is inserted through the urethra into the bladder, allowing the doctor to evaluate the inside of the bladder for tumors.


Treatment: The optimal treatment for bladder cancer is patient-dependent and can be influenced by the grade and stage of the original tumor, evidence of spread of cancer as seen on radiology studies such as CT scans, and certain patient specific factors. Low-grade tumors are often treated by a combination of endoscopic surgery and intravesical therapy (instilling medication into the bladder via a catheter).  High-grade, invasive tumors often require a combination of chemotherapy and surgery. Radiation treatment may be an option in select situations.


People diagnosed with bladder cancer often require life-long surveillance through imaging tests and cystoscopies due to the risk of recurrence of these tumors.


Dr. Andrew James is a urologic oncologist with the UK Markey Cancer Center. 


Media Contact: Allison Perry,

UK Study Suggests Dementia Diagnosis Could Have a Silver Lining

Mon, 07/25/2016 - 09:18

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 26, 2016) — Results from a study of patients with a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment or early dementia indicates that their outlook isn't as dark as expected.


A group of scientists from the University of Kentucky's Sanders-Brown Center on Aging asked 48 men and women with early dementia or mild cognitive impairment (MCI) a series of questions about their quality of life and personal outlook post-diagnosis.


Called the Silver Lining Questionnaire (SLQ), the instrument measures the extent to which people believe their illness has had a positive benefit in areas such as: improved personal relationships, greater appreciation for life, positive influence on others, personal inner strength and changes in life philosophy. The SLQ has been administered previously to patients with cancer diagnoses, but hasn't been given to MCI/dementia patients, according to Dr. Gregory Jicha, professor at the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging and the study's lead author.


"The overall assumption is that this diagnosis would have a uniformly negative impact on a patient's outlook on life, but we were surprised to find that almost half of respondents reported positive scores," Jicha said.


Positive responses were even higher on certain scores, such as:


·      appreciation and acceptance of life

·      less concern about failure

·      self-reflection, tolerance of others, and courage to face problems in life

·      strengthened relationships and new opportunities to meet people.


"The common stereotype for this type of diagnosis is depression, denial, and despair," Jicha said.  "However, this study –while small – suggests that positive changes in attitude are as common as negative ones."


The next step, according to Jicha, is to explore the variables that affect outlook in these patients with an eye towards interventions that might help the other half find their “silver lining.”


Jicha presented the study data at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Toronto on Monday.


The study was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH P-30 AG028383).


Media Contact:  Laura Dawahare,, (859) 257-5307.


UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue






Connecting the Common Reading Experience to Research

Mon, 07/25/2016 - 09:06

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 26, 2016) — Every year, new University of Kentucky students are prompted to read a book selected for their cohort the summer before their first semester on campus. This program is referred to as the Common Reading Experience (CRE). 


The goal of the CRE is two-fold: first, to bring new students together for a common reading experience that introduces them to academic discourse prior to the start of classes; and second, to engage the UK community in a common intellectual experience through yearlong programming that encourages deeper thinking and discussion to further unite the campus community.


The CRE eases the academic transition to college of first-year students through small group discussion, curricular assignments and co-curricular programming based on a single book.


One way the CRE book is integrated into first-year curriculum is through various UK Core classes such as Rachel Farr's "Introduction to Psychology" course.


Farr began her career at UK in the summer of 2015. As a developmental psychologist, her research is focused on adoptive families and families headed by sexual minority parents.  


The 2016-2017 CRE book, "Orphan Train," relates directly to Farr's research as it tells the story of personal upheaval and adoption. The main character in the novel is orphaned as a child, taking her on a journey of living with several families. After growing up in an early form of foster care, she eventually faces adoption again as an adult.


"I like that 'Orphan Train' highlights some aspects of adoption history in our culture to a wider audience that might not know anything about this and have ever heard of it, so it can stimulate some interest in that," she said.


Farr plans to incorporate lessons and themes from "Orphan Train" into her teaching. Her diverse family systems seminar, for example, will spend two weeks focusing on adoptive families and the foster care system.


"I think it is helpful for students to make connections across the research and the book and then also real world scenarios," she said.


Farr's personal connection to adoptive and diverse families sparked her interest in this field of study.


"Although I am not adopted, my sister is from India. She is a couple of years younger than I am and was adopted into my family when she was nine months old," said Farr. "The most intimate way in which I saw another kid coming into the family actually was adoption."


"Above all, my personal connection to my research gives me a lot of motivation for continuing in this work." 


For more information about the 2016-2017 CRE book, "Orphan Train," visit the Common Reading Experience website.



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, visit #uk4ky #seeblue



MEDIA CONTACT: Blair Hoover, 859-257-6398;

New UK Course Explores Confidence, Creativity Through Hip-Hop Dance

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 17:47

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 25, 2016) This fall students will have the opportunity to explore hip-hop dance through a new course offered by the University of Kentucky Department of Theatre and Dance in the College of Fine Arts. TAD 447-001: Hip Hop Dance, will be taught by new faculty member Anthony Alterio in the new Creative Arts Living Learning Program.


The class is multifaceted and covers a wide range of topics. "We will be covering different styles of hip-hop. From pop and locking, boogaloo, fresno, free-style to commercial, the goal will be not only for students to work on movement phrases, but to also gain a level of confidence to improv on their own," Alterio said.


When asked what he wanted students to take away from the course, Alterio shared an interesting philosophy. "We are going to move a lot, and fail a lot. Dance is about failure: failure to stand, failure to be vertical, failure to look cool. With this in mind, I hope people in this class fail so that they can learn new things about their own bodies, rhythms and the communities around them. If you succeed in all you do, how much are you really learning or pushing yourself?"


Alterio continued by adding that dance is rewarding for the mind, body and soul. By assisting students in gaining a better understanding of the techniques of hip-hop dance, Alterio aims to encourage confidence beyond just dance.


TAD 447 will be offered from 2-3:15 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday this fall and is open to all UK students, regardless of major or minor. And, for those who can't get in the popular course this August, the class will be offered again next spring.


Alterio earned his bachelor's degree from University of Colorado at Boulder and his master's degree from the School of Music, Theatre and Dance at the University of Michigan. He began teaching dance in 2007 and has worked with students ages 6 to 50. Alterio has experience choreographing numerous styles of dance including ballet, tap, lyrical, studio hip-hop, jazz and modern. 


The Department of Theatre and Dance at UK College of Fine Arts has played an active role in the performance scene in Central Kentucky for more than 100 years. Students in the program get hands-on training and one-on-one mentorship from the renowned professional theatre and dance faculty. The liberal arts focus of their bachelor's degree program is coupled with ongoing career counseling to ensure a successful transition from campus to professional life.



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



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


Gatton's Troske Appointed to Federal Policymaking Commission

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 15:54

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 25, 2016)  University of Kentucky Gatton College of Business and Economics Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and Outreach Kenneth R. Troske has been appointed to serve as a member of the newly established Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking, part of the executive branch of the federal government.


Troske was appointed to the 15-member commission by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.


Among other responsibilities, the commission is charged with conducting a comprehensive study of the data inventory, data infrastructure, database security, and statistical protocols related to federal policymaking.


"Ken is highly qualified for service on this new commission," said McConnell. "He is a well-recognized researcher in the area of evaluating the effectiveness of government programs, or lack thereof. His research and experience at the University of Kentucky and his previous work at the Census Bureau make him well suited for this commission’s mission. I look forward to monitoring the activities of the commission and know that Ken’s leadership will be a welcomed addition to the commission’s work."


Established by congressional legislation passed earlier this year and signed into law by President Barack Obama, the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking is empowered to hold hearings, take testimony and receive evidence. The commission must submit a comprehensive report of its findings to the president and Congress within 15 months.


“Ken is an excellent choice,” said David Blackwell, dean of the Gatton College. “Both as an economist and as a leader on campus he promotes making important policy decisions — either by government or by the university — based on scientific evidence and good data. Further, he has examined the effectiveness or the potential impact of public policy through his academic research and as a consultant to government and industry. He is one of the leading economists in Kentucky and is very well respected across the economics discipline.”


Troske, the William B. Sturgill Endowed Professor of Economics at UK since 2005, previously served as a member of the Congressional Oversight Panel, which was created in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to evaluate the U.S. Department of the Treasury's efforts under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, commonly referred to as TARP.


Troske, who earned his doctoral degree in economics from the University of Chicago, has served as a research fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn, Germany, since 2002. He also is in his seventh year as a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland Lexington Business Advisory Council.


"I am pleased that Sen. McConnell has chosen me to serve on this commission," Troske said. "My academic career has been focused on producing research that is designed to help policymakers make more informed decisions about the most effective ways to use taxpayer dollars. It is something I am passionate about, so I am excited to serve on a commission whose purpose is to increase the amount of policy research being conducted and to amplify the impact this research will have on government policy."


Troske's research consistently appears in leading academic journals and he is frequently quoted in the local, regional and national news media.


A 2014 recipient of the William T. Lyons Award for outstanding service to the university, the community and the Commonwealth, Troske is a member of the American Economic Association, the Southern Economics Association and the Society of Labor Economists.



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, visit #uk4ky #seeblue



MEDIA CONTACTS:  Carl Nathe,, 859-257-3200; Jay Blanton,, 859-699-0041

UK Poultry Specialist Stresses Sanitation in Combatting Salmonella Outbreaks

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 14:44

LEXINGTON, Ky., (July 25, 2016)  Salmonella outbreaks associated with contact with live poultry in backyard flocks that began in early June are now affecting people in 45 states, and Kentucky appears to have the highest number of illnesses. University of Kentucky poultry specialists are stressing the importance of preventing bacteria for backyard flock owners.


“The most important thing poultry owners can do is review their sanitary measures,” said Jacqueline Jacob, UK poultry extension project manager for the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “Many of the cases in the current outbreak are linked to backyard flocks, so we want to remind folks of simple things they can do to protect themselves.”


In the initial outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported seven multistate outbreaks in 35 states with nearly 300 people infected. The CDC reports that now more than 600 people in 45 states are ill amid eight separate outbreaks. In Kentucky, 35 people have confirmed salmonella infections. According to the CDC, poultry handlers need to remember all chickens can carry salmonella, regardless of where owners purchase them. They can carry the bacteria even if they look clean and healthy.


The CDC emphasizes that all poultry owners should always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately after touching live birds or anything in the area where they live. They should not bring live poultry into the house or let young children handle chicks, ducklings or other live poultry without supervision. In the current outbreaks, 88 of the ones infected are children younger than 5 years of age.


"Any contact with live poultry puts you at risk for salmonella infection," Jacob said. "Salmonella germs can be in the birds’ droppings and on their bodies and also on their cages, coops, hay, plants and the soil where they live and roam."


Anyone handling poultry should keep the birds away from their noses, mouth and eyes. Shows and fairs with birds and chicks on display should have a way for people to wash their hands or provide sanitizer with 99 percent or higher bacteria kill rate.


“Remember to be careful when you wash equipment or eggs in the kitchen sink,” Jacob said. “You don’t want to cross contaminate food. Always use a good disinfectant to clean up in the kitchen when you’re finished.”


Symptoms of salmonella infection include fever, abdominal cramps, vomiting and diarrhea. It usually lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment. However, very young children, older adults, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems are more likely to have a serious illness. Those who suspect they have been infected should contact their health care provider as soon as possible.


For more information about the current outbreak, visit the CDC website at


For more general information about raising small poultry flocks, visit the UK Poultry Extension website at



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



MEDIA CONTACT: Aimee Nielson, 859-257-7707

Mentoring a Key Factor in Spinal Cord Researcher's Success

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 13:57

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 25, 2016) — In ivory towers all over the world, experts ponder the factors that foster career success and overall well-being in their college graduates.


Gallup tried to answer the same question. In a 2014 poll of more than 30,000 graduates, the polling juggernaut tried to find connections between the college experience and long-term career and personal "wellness." In other words: did graduates feel they had achieved personal and career success? And if so, what college experiences contributed to that?


What the poll found was that the three most powerful elements linked to long-term success for college grads were about emotional support: Did they have a professor who made them excited about learning? Did their professors care about them as a person? Did they have a mentor who encouraged them to pursue their goals? If graduates strongly agreed with these three things, it doubled the odds that they were engaged in their work and thriving personally.


Jenna VanRooyen knows this first-hand. In Professor Sasha Rabchevsky's lab at  the University of Kentucky's Spinal Cord and Brain Research Center (SCoBIRC), mentoring is a group affair, and Jenna – and her research – have benefitted hugely from the experience.


VanRooyen came to UK in 2011 from Texas. The UK Interdisciplinary Biomedical Science Program to which she was admitted required a rotation through four different labs. Her first rotation happened to be in Rabchevsky’s lab.


"After my first rotation with Sasha, I knew that was where I wanted to be. His excitement about his work in neuroprotection and repair after spinal cord injury is infectious."


Consequently, VanRooyen was offered a graduate studentship in the Rabchevsky lab – but it came with a challenge. The research project offered her was high-risk/high reward – a tough proposition for a young graduate student.


"To my knowledge, no one else anywhere is looking into this idea for spinal cord injury," Rabchevsky said. "Students don't want to graduate based on negative data, so Jenna's willingness to work on something completely novel is a testament to her tenacity."


The project explores the therapeutic possibilities of transplanting healthy mitochondria into injured spinal cord tissue. Colonies of mitochondria reside in every one of our cells, functioning as a sort of battery to power various cellular functions.  When enough of them are damaged, the cells die. VanRooyen would be looking into whether transplanting mitochondria into the injured spinal cord could reduce or repair damage, promoting long-term functional recovery.  Put more bravely: could this help prevent paralysis?


"I was given the lead with full creative freedom to explore this hypothesis," VanRooyen said. "It was scary and exhilarating all at once."


Luckily, VanRooyen was in the right place at the right time. Rabchevsky had explored microglial transplantation into spinal cord tissue after injury and Samir Patel, a research assistant professor and a member of Rabchevsky's lab, had vast experience in mitochondrial function. VanRooyen could use their merged expertise to help complete the project. Other SCoBIRC faculty had relevant experience that further informed her work. 


"Sasha's mentoring style is based on open communication, clear expectations and a supportive environment.  He reminds me that it's OK to fail and he knows when to push and when to help me up in those situations," she said.


"There's a lot of distraction when you're not sure where the science will lead you. Each answer raises four new questions. Sasha helps rein me in and think about the logical next step in the experiment."


VanRooyen adds that Patel has done quite a bit to mentor her as well.


"I get direct mentorship from Sasha, but Samir is guiding me through a lot of the experimental aspects of my training," she said. "I credit him for much of what I've learned in that area."


According to Rabchevsky, Jenna is disciplined, patient, and willing to listen to others to gain insight into her own work, all qualities that strengthen her potential as a successful scientist.


Her efforts have recently earned her a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health. The grant is intended to foster career development for young scientists.  There must be "sound science" in the grantee's application, but the grant also requires that there be resources in place to help the student learn the other skills required for success as a scientist, including hypothesis development, experimental design and analysis, manuscript/grant preparation, and presentation/defense skills. Rabchevsky's mentorship style suits the award – and VanRooyen – perfectly.


"I've always ascribed to the philosophy of 'See it. Do it. Teach it,'" Rabchevsky said.  "Sharing my learning and experience with everyone in the lab from top to bottom sparks collaboration and fosters creativity. It doesn't matter where you sit in the hierarchy. In my lab, everyone can contribute and everyone can learn."


Clearly, VanRooyen's experience in the Rabchevsky lab has paid off. Her poster, presented at the National Neurotrauma Society's (NNS) annual meeting last month, garnered the Michael Goldberger Award – the top honor in the trainee poster competition. 


Since its inception in 1982, the NNS symposium has served as the premier forum for the exchange of ideas and information related to traumatic brain and spinal cord injury. Fortuitously, this year's symposium was in Lexington, which meant that many of her colleagues were in attendance.


"There were more than 300 posters submitted, and Jenna was one of the top 20 posters selected to showcase her work. The fact that she got top honors with competition from places like Washington University, Drexel, Penn and UVA speaks volumes about her skills," said Rabchevsky. 


"It felt like forever as they read through all the awards," VanRooyen remembers.  "When they got to the last award, I thought to myself, 'well, it's all or nothing.' Then they called my name, and all the SCoBIRC people made quite a ruckus in the back."


Rabchevsky, who mentors seven students plus lab techs, is particularly impressed with Jenna's growth as a scientist.  "I think she can write her own ticket," he boasts of her. "I wish we could take more credit, but this is truly her accomplishment."


Jenna mirrors Rabchevsky's words.  "If I didn't have this time in Sasha's lab I would not be where I am today."


UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue


Media Contact:  Laura Dawahare,, (859) 257-5307


Summer Partnership with UK CAER and Kentucky State University

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 12:19

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 25, 2016) — Kazi Javed, associate professor of chemistry at Kentucky State University (KSU), has always been committed to bringing science to life for his students. This summer, he is doing just that thanks to a unique partnership with the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER).


Javed, who teaches an analytical instrumentation class at KSU, is volunteering in the Biofuels and Environmental Catalysis Group at CAER this summer. With a focus in the classroom on instrument design and method development, Javed is bringing KSU students to CAER’s lab this summer to introduce and train them on instrumentation not available at KSU.


Joining Javed are four students: Ma’Kaylah Garrett, a biology student from Indianapolis, Indiana; Steven Hall, a mechanical engineering student from Frankfort, Kentucky; Andrew Lentini, a mechanical engineering student from Shelbyville, Kentucky; and Siraj Ramsey, a mechanical engineering student from Hopkinsville, Kentucky. The mechanical engineering students are taking part in KSU and UK’s joint program, where the students attend KSU for three years and UK for two years. Participants receive a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from KSU and a bachelor's degree in engineering from UK.


This collaborative work was made possible thanks to National Science Foundation grants titled “MRI: Acquisition of a Gas Chromatograph with Dual Detection Capabilities to be Used in Sustainable Energy Research” (award number 1531637) and “SusChEM: Promotion of Nickel Catalysts for the Conversion of Biomass-derived Oils to Fuel-like Hydrocarbons” (award number 1437604).



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, visit #uk4ky #seeblue



MEDIA CONTACT: Jenny Wells, 859-257-5343;

Nominations Open for 2017 Medallion for Intellectual Achievement

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 09:42

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 25, 2016) Nominations are being sought for the 2017 University of Kentucky Libraries Medallion for Intellectual Achievement. Nominations for the honor will be accepted through Aug. 19. 

The UK Libraries Medallion for Intellectual Achievement, one of UK's most prestigious awards, was first awarded in 1990 to recognize high intellectual achievement by Kentuckians and to encourage education and promote creative thought. Final selection of the medallion recipient is determined by majority vote of the UK Libraries National Advisory Board

Individual candidates may be nominated with completion of the application and a nominating statement that describes the intellectual achievement realized in a scientific, artistic, literary, social, or humanitarian field; significance of the achievement; and endorsements or verification of the work. To be eligible, nominees must be a Kentucky native or had more than three years of study, work or residency in Kentucky.


Last year's recipient of the Medallion for Intellectual Achievement was historian James C. Klotter.

The general public is welcome to submit nominations for the UK Libraries Medallion for Intellectual Achievement. More information can be found online at, along with the 2017 nomination form



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



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

Performing Arts Troupe High Note of Teen's 4-H Experience

Thu, 07/21/2016 - 16:38

LEXINGTON, Ky., (July 22, 2016) — Music has been Halie Sawyers’ passion since she first started belting out tunes as a child. But it was not until she joined the Kentucky 4-H Performing Arts Troupe and Leadership Board that the Todd County native learned how her passion could transform her into a leader and guide her to a future career path.


“Becoming a member of the troupe was one of the best decisions I have ever made,” Sawyers said. “It has helped me grow as a leader, a musician and a person.”


Sawyers was a high school freshman when Lee Ann McCuiston, Todd County 4-H agent with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, encouraged her to try out for the troupe in 2012.


“When Halie entered the Todd County 4-H Variety Show as a 9-year-old, she stole the show with her big voice and amazing stage presence. She won every year she entered,” McCuiston said. “When the 4-H Performing Arts Troupe was created, I knew I had to get her on the board.”


That was the first year for the Performing Arts Troupe and Leadership Board, which formed due to the popularity of the Talent Track at 4-H Teen Conference. Kentucky 4-H’ers in grades eight through 11 can apply and audition to become a member of the statewide troupe. Those selected perform at a variety of 4-H and other UK Cooperative Extension events. They also attend a music camp, advise the state 4-H staff on performing arts projects, teach younger 4-H’ers about the arts during 4-H Summit and learn about careers in the arts.


The first troupe had six members. Sawyers was the only freshman.


During the next four years, Sawyers involvement with 4-H and her community grew. Not only was she traveling with the troupe, but she also attended 4-H Issues and Teen conferences as a participant. She became the host of the Todd County 4-H Variety Show and began seeking out service opportunities to serve and better her community.


“I’ve always been interested in leadership, but being part of the troupe gave me the confidence, skills and resources I needed to become a leader in an area I’m passionate about, so I can help others discover their passion for it,” she said.


In May, Sawyers graduated as the valedictorian of Todd County High School, and in June, she ended her time with the troupe.


“People often talk about performers having ‘it.’ Halie Sawyers has ‘it,’ and she is going to use her talent to make the world a better place,” said Jennifer Tackett, 4-H youth development specialist and troupe director.


While her stint in the troupe has come to a close, she credits the troupe with helping her find her next adventure. Sawyers had always wanted to use her musical talents to impact children, particularly those with special needs. After meeting with professional musical therapists on a troupe field trip, she knew how she could combine her passions into a career. She will begin pursuing a degree in musical therapy this fall.



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



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

UK College of Dentistry’s Dental Assisting Program Will Begin in September

Thu, 07/21/2016 - 16:27

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 22, 2016) – According to the U.S. Department of Labor, between the years 2014 and 2024 the demand for dental assistants is expected to grow 18 percent. Beginning in September, the UK College of Dentistry (UKCD) will offer a six-month Dental Assistant Program to help interested individuals gain valuable experience and training for this vital role on the dental team.


Program Director Dr. Kenneth Nusbacher described what those who complete the program can expect in their professional lives, “The day to day work for dental assistants will vary between dental offices. It may involve various patient care tasks, office duties, or even lab functions. By completing our program, a person gains real experience in a variety of areas, helping them be better prepared for their first day at a dental office,” Nusbacher went on to say,  “I’m very proud of the unique balance our program offers in regard to overall program length, cost and the number of hours students will spend learning by working in our dental clinics.” 


Program participants will benefit from hands-on experience as approximately 70 percent of students’ time will be spent in the dental clinic assisting with procedures, working side by side UKCD dental students, clinical faculty and staff. While serving a large patient pool with a variety of needs across multiple areas of dentistry students will also get exposure to a variety of dental specialty areas. Additionally, they will gain familiarity with auxiliary dental services such as radiology, sterilization and dental labs. Program extras include certification in basic life support such as CPR, coronal polishing and radiation safety.


The UKCD Dental Assisting Program consists of lecture courses, pre-clinical courses and clinical experiences in multiple UKCD clinics. Students will train with experienced UKCD professors and staff who also train current UKCD dental students.


A minimum of high school diploma or GED is required for acceptance to the program. The next start dates for the program are Sept. 15, 2016 and Feb. 15, 2017. To learn more or apply to the program, visit our website here.     


UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue


MEDIA CONTACT: Olivia McCoy,, (859) 257-1076

Vanderford Featured in New Issue of Science

Thu, 07/21/2016 - 14:11

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 22, 2016) – In a commentary published in the July 22 issue of Science, Nathan Vanderford, assistant director for research at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, describes his path to landing a nontraditional faculty position at UK. Science is one of the world’s most prestigious research journals.


Many new doctorate recipients are unaware of their nontraditional career options and of the challenges they may face when pursuing them. Vanderford, who applied for dozens of non-research jobs after earning his doctorate, knows this all too well. In his commentary, he recounts some of the obstacles he encountered during his own job search, and the realization that helped him to ultimately attain the position he holds today.


In 2009, Vanderford secured his initial opportunity at the Markey Cancer Center as a science writer and editor and, from there, he took on leadership roles that contributed to his transition into a unique tenure-track faculty position. Along the way, he made it a personal goal to help other scientists learn what some never do.


“It's important for the science community, and especially the trainees in the community, to understand all the career options available to Ph.D.s," Vanderford said. "Too often, Ph.D.s think it's a straight shot between training and landing a job, but there's usually a lot of twists and turns. If they remain vigilant, they can build rewarding careers in many different fields.”


Media Contact: Allison Perry,

Educating Kentucky's Youth on Cancer, One Child at a Time

Thu, 07/21/2016 - 13:31


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. (July 22, 2016) – Standing in front of a group of rowdy young children, eastern Kentucky native Melissa Hounshell only has to do one thing to grab their attention – bring out Mr. Gross Mouth.


Aptly named, Mr. Gross Mouth is a prop set of teeth and gums beleaguered by various medical problems caused by smoking and/or poor hygiene – rotting teeth, tongue cancer, lesions, and more. The kids excitedly voice their shock and disgust as Hounshell runs through all the bad habits that might lead to such a set of teeth in real life.


“Kids love how shockingly gross 'he' really is," Hounshell said. "Especially the tongue. They love to pass around the tongue!”


As the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center's Community Outreach Director, Hounshell spends her days traveling the state, partnering with businesses and programs in local communities to raise awareness and educate the public about cancer risk factors and screenings.


One of her latest endeavors is a youth outreach program called Get Fit, Be Smart, Don't Start. Using eye-catching props like Mr. Gross Mouth, it's geared toward educating young children and encouraging them to take an interest in their parents' health in addition to their own.


In a region where many adults avoid cancer screenings out of fear of what they might find, Hounshell notes the importance of getting children involved.


"We feel like it's really important to work with children in the state," Hounshell said. "What we're really trying to do is reach that younger population and change that mindset, to make them understand the importance and value of health and wellness throughout their lives, not just when they're 40, 50, 60 years old."


Overall, the youth program emphasizes a healthy lifestyle encompassing a good diet, staying active, avoiding smoking and tobacco products, and even the dangers of distracted driving. But considering Kentucky's No. 1 ranking in both cancer incidence and mortality in the country, the likelihood of these children having some connection to cancer in their family is high, and Hounshell hopes her message of prevention sinks in.


"I encourage kids many times to go and talk with their parents or grandparents about either stopping smoking or getting mammograms or colonoscopies, because so many times a child can ask someone to do something and they'll do it," Hounshell said. "Whereas if a physician says, 'It's time for your mammogram,' the patient might ignore it. But if her granddaughter comes and says, 'You know, you really need to have a mammogram,' she may listen."


Hounshell's passion for cancer education comes from a very personal place. An only child, she saw both parents suffer from cancer, with her father – a smoker – succumbing to lung cancer just 11 weeks after diagnosis. Her mother, a non-smoker, later battled breast cancer, celebrating six years of survival this month.


"This is very personal to me, it's not just a job," Hounshell said. "That's why I work at Markey. Because I understand -- I truly understand – the value of a wonderful cancer center, but I also understand how harsh cancer can be."


Markey's outreach program as a whole has one overarching goal: to reduce cancer rates in the state. Though it will take more time and a lot of data to see the program's overall success, Hounshell says every small positive anecdote that gets back to her keeps her driven: a middle-schooler who saw how much tar goes into the body from a half pack of cigarettes a day and vowed to ask her grandmother to quit; an older man who picked up a free Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) at a Markey screening event that led to the discovery and treatment of a pre-cancerous polyp; the countless young children who have pledged to ask their parents not to text and drive.


"It's not necessarily about the big numbers, but a change in mentality," Hounshell said. "It's more about the long-term impact, maybe in 10 years we look back and can say, 'These kids have helped change the way we think about cancer.'"


Much of Hounshell's travels have taken her to the eastern half of the state, where the cancer rates are particularly dire. However, with the UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network growing and expanding into Western Kentucky, she's prepared to travel anywhere in Kentucky to improve cancer education and offer information on screenings to those who need it.


"I work with a lot of affiliate partners, but you don't have to be an affiliate with our screening and outreach program," she said. "I'll partner with anybody as long as they're passionate about getting Kentuckians screened for cancer."


For more information about bringing a UK Markey Cancer Center outreach program to your community or business, contact Melissa Hounshell at or 859-323-2034. 


UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, visit #uk4ky #seeblue


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

WUKY's 'UK Perspectives' Highlights GEAR UP Summer Academy at UK

Thu, 07/21/2016 - 12:06

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 22, 2016) WUKY's "UK Perspectives" focuses on the people and programs of the University of Kentucky and is hosted by WUKY General Manager Tom Godell. This week guest host Alan Lytle talks with Assistant Provost Randolph Hollingsworth and Matthew Deffendall, director of UK First Generation Initiatives, about the GEAR UP Summer Academy, a three week program that helps Kentucky high school students experience college. 


To listen to the podcast interview from which "UK Perspectives" is produced, visit


"UK Perspectives" airs at 8:45 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. each Friday on WUKY 91.3, UK's NPR station.



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue

Novel Intervention Helps Adolescents Dealing with Substance Abuse

Wed, 07/20/2016 - 16:26

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 21, 2016) – In Kentucky, substance use by adolescents, rates of tobacco use, binge drinking and use of other drugs are higher than the national average. More concerning is that early use of these substances can quickly lead to dependence and be an indicator of lifelong use. A unique University of Kentucky program is working to help adolescents during health and recovery from substance abuse by connecting them with someone who has been in their shoes. 


In 2014, the University of Kentucky Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry received funding from the state to develop a model clinic for adolescent substance use treatment, Adolescent Health and Recovery Treatment and Training (AHARTT). Part of the spectrum of treatment provided through this clinic includes Youth Peer Support Specialists. 


Supporters provide patients with a person to talk to through the recovery process. The main difference between Youth Peer Supporters and clinicians is the fact that supporters have “lived experience.” Each supporter provides first-hand experience with both substance abuse and ongoing recovery. This experience allows the youth to more closely identify with their supporter, they understand that this person has been exactly where they have been.


This level of rapport is often unmatched by any other relationship they have encountered on their recovery journey.


Once substance use begins, it changes the biology of the brain and impacts life decisions. Specifically, more and more decisions revolve around the getting and using of the alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Longer use makes biological and behavioral changes more entrenched. One change especially difficult for adolescents to deal with when beginning treatment is the feeling of hopelessness and alienation. It is easy for them to feel that no one can relate, understand or help them. Friends and family usually struggle as they are unfamiliar with the emotions and struggles the adolescent is experiencing They are also terrified by seeing the change in their friend or child and by what may lie ahead for them.



However, this is where the five Youth Peer Support Specialist in the model clinic can make a difference.  The "Supporters" — James Riggs, Kelli Fullenlove, Josh Roehrig, Aaron Pope and Brittany Poe — have all undergone rigorous training from the state of Kentucky and are certified to work with patients on a one-on-one basis. 


They receive careful supervision and are in close contact with the clinician caring for the adolescent. Their main objective is to “bridge the gap from the clinic to the community.” When a youth enters treatment, a life altering process is about to take place. 


“It is important that the adolescent in recovery learns to change attitudes, values and coping skills,” said Fullenlove. Pope states, “As peer supporters, we are able to show them, instead of tell them, exactly how to do this.”


Riggs sees the Supporter’s role as showing patients, “people can be cool without using.” He also feels “it’s our responsibility” to give back and help people who are still struggling. The stigma associated with mental illness, especially substance abuse, can be a deterrent that keeps people from seeking necessary treatment. The Supporters feel they are able “to be an avenue to recovery that bypasses this stigma.”


The youth are able to share how they’re feeling with the Supporters who, because of their lived experience, are able to empathize in a way others cannot. “We are an untapped resource for youth to enter the recovery community without having to deal with the associated stigma,” Roehrig said.


Lisa Clark, AHARTT project director, hopes the youth peer support specialist portion of the clinic will expand. As a peer support specialist herself, she knows the value they add to the clinical setting. Clark hopes to add more specialists and accommodate a more diverse patient population by adding specialists who speak other languages, including Spanish. The team also hopes to see the inclusion of youth peer support specialists in other clinics, such as Adolescent Medicine, as well as in schools and hospitals.


Dr. Catherine Martin, director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and principal investigator of the AHARTT grant, believes that Peer Support Specialists are a cutting-edge advancement in the care of adolescents dealing with substance use. She has seen them step into difficult clinical situations and be the “life-preserver” that makes a key difference.


To learn more about the work being done to address substance use, listen to Dr. Catherine Martin on UK’s Behind the Blue Podcast here.


MEDIA CONTACT: Olivia McCoy,, (859) 257-1076



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue


UK Athletics Hall of Fame to Induct Six New Members

Wed, 07/20/2016 - 15:32

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 21, 2016) — The University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2016 has been announced, with Rich Brooks (football), Chuck Hayes (men’s basketball), James Johnson (wrestling), Molly Johnson-Belcher (softball), Bernadette Madigan-Dugan (cross country/track and field) and Wesley Woodyard (football) set to be inducted during Hall of Fame Weekend, Sept. 23-24, in conjunction with the football home game vs. South Carolina.


Rich Brooks, Football, 2003-09

Only coach in school history to guide UK to bowl games in four consecutive years and win three straight bowls … Took over a program mired in a severe NCAA probation and by 2006 led UK to a 28-20 upset win over Clemson in the Music City Bowl … Followed with a win over Florida State in the 2007 Music City Bowl, a season which included a Top-10 ranking and victory over No. 1 (and eventual national champion) LSU … Following 2008 season, defeated East Carolina in the Liberty Bowl and completed his career at the Music City Bowl in 2009 …  Won at least seven games four years in a row, first time that had happened at UK since 1909-12 … 2009 SEC Coach of the Year by … In last four seasons, led UK to 12 fourth-quarter comeback wins.


Chuck Hayes, Men’s Basketball, 2002-05

Fan favorite for relentless defense and tenacious rebounding … Named the 2005 SEC Defensive Player of the Year … Ranks seventh in career rebounds with 910 boards … Led the team in rebounding for three straight seasons from 2003-05 … Led UK in blocks in 2004 … Ranks eighth in career steals with 170 … Led team to the 2005 SEC regular-season championship … Also a key member on the SEC Tournament championship teams in 2003, 2004 … Member of the 1,000-point club … Appeared in the NCAA Tournament in all four of his seasons, including Elite Eight finishes in 2003 and 2005 … Two-time All-SEC honoree, including first-team honors by the AP and Coaches in 2005 … Named to the SEC All-Freshman Team in 2002 … 11-year NBA veteran.


James Johnson, Wrestling, 1977-80

Four-year letterman who started from 1977-80 at UK as a 190-pounder … Finished with a record of 65-21 and won the Southern Open twice … Three-time Southeastern Conference medalist, including a second-place finish at the 1980 SEC Championships … Went on to remarkable success in his post-college career as a Greco-Roman competitor … Member of the USA National Wrestling Team for 12 years, winning three national championships wrestling at 100 kilograms (220 pounds) … Named USA Wrestling’s Athlete of the Year in 1993 … Began coaching career as a graduate assistant at UK … Has coached in numerous national and international events, including the 2012 Olympics, and is on the training staff for the 2016 Olympics.


Molly Johnson-Belcher, Softball, 2007-10

Program’s first All-American … UK’s first four-time All-SEC honoree …  NFCA Scholar-Athlete … Led UK to its first NCAA Tournament berth … Ended her career owning career records in batting average (.389), doubles (56), runs (161), home runs (35), slugging percentage (.656), total bases (445); was second in assists (510) and RBI (135); third in hits (264) and stolen bases (66); fourth in triples (10) … Also set single-season records in hits (81), doubles (20), runs scored (53), on-base percentage (.498), as well as single-game records for runs (4), doubles (3), home runs (2) … Member of U.S. National team in 2009 and 2010 helping lead the Americans to gold at the 2012 ISF World Championship and the 2011 Pan Am Games … Current UK assistant coach.


Bernadette Madigan-Dugan, Cross Country/Track and Field, 1981-85

One of the greatest distance runners in Kentucky history … First UK female to win a national track championship when she won the NCAA two-mile run in 1982 … Won two Southeastern Conference titles, the 1982 3,000-meter run and the 1983 three-mile run … Earned All-America honors in five separate events – cross country, indoor two-mile, outdoor 3,000 meters, indoor 3,200-meter relay and the outdoor 10,000 meters … Competed for Great Britain in the 1985 World Student Games … Has coached collegiately at Marshall, Furman, UK and Transylvania … Currently coaching at Lexington Catholic High School … Also has been a mentor for numerous athletes in the running community.


Wesley Woodyard, Football, 2004-07

One of the best defensive players and team leaders in Kentucky history … First-team All-SEC as a junior and senior … Made 395 tackles in his career, seventh in school history … Led team in tackles three straight years, with at least 100 stops each of the three seasons … Led the SEC as a senior with 139 tackles … Unquestioned leader of the defense as the Wildcats posted eight-win seasons and won the 2006 and ’07 Music City Bowls … Led UK in tackles in both bowl triumphs … Second-team Sophomore All-America … Also a key contributor in special teams kick coverage … First-team Freshman All-SEC … SEC Academic Honor Roll … UK Athletics Society of Character … Has played eight years in the NFL with Denver and Tennessee.


The UK Athletics Hall of Fame was started in 2005 to recognize and honor persons whose participation and achievements enriched and strengthened the university’s athletics program. The charter class included 88 individuals who had previously had their jersey retired by UK.


There is a five-year waiting period after leaving UK to be eligible for inclusion into the Hall of Fame. A committee consisting of Hall of Famers, media members, campus representatives and current coaches and administrators elects new inductees each year. 



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



MEDIA CONTACT: Tony Neely,, 859-257-3838

UK Grains Center of Excellence to Strengthen Kentucky Agriculture

Wed, 07/20/2016 - 14:33

LEXINGTON, Ky., (July 21, 2016) – Thanks to funding from the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board, the University of Kentucky Grains Center of Excellence will help advance Kentucky agriculture for decades.


The board awarded the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment a $15 million grant last week to renovate and expand the UK Research and Education Center in Princeton, with particular emphasis on grain crops and forages. The university must match the award.


“Being awarded this project is a great honor,” said Nancy Cox, dean of the college. “We thank the commodity and producer organizations that inspired it. We appreciate the fact that the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board made this award from monies from a lawsuit settlement with tobacco companies. Thanks to the General Assembly, elected policy makers, Gov. Matt Bevin, Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy, Kentucky Farm Bureau, Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Kentucky Corn Growers Association, Kentucky Soybean Board, Kentucky Small Grain Growers Association and the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association.”


Center improvements will include updated and new state-of-the-art meeting facilities, laboratories and offices, and a boost to the center’s high-speed internet capabilities so professors at the center can teach classes for students in Lexington. The improvements will enhance the college’s extension, research and teaching capabilities and give center personnel the space to host additional educational workshops and trainings. While grains are in the center’s name, all commodity areas based at Princeton, including beef cattle, forages and pastures, and horticulture, will benefit from the improvements and expansion.


“The center will benefit Kentucky producers by providing new applications and technologies resulting in increased yields, reduced inputs and higher economic returns,” said Rick Bennett, UK associate dean for research and director of the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station. “This grant from the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board could not have been possible without the strong support of the Kentucky Corn Growers Association and other agricultural commodity groups in the state who have been strong partners and advocates for the college’s research efforts.”


The Kentucky Corn Growers Association purchased an adjoining tract of land for the center to lease. The land will allow UK specialists to conduct large-scale research on intensive agricultural production practices, to study water quality issues and to help define the environmental footprint of intensive agriculture.


“It’s great that the Ag Development Board approved the $15 million to fund the Grain Center of Excellence, said Philip McCoun, Shelby County farmer and promotion council chairman of the Kentucky Corn Growers Association. “This will help complete the two years of work many leadership groups have put in, and will provide farmers with unbiased research.”


Farmer-leaders with the Corn Growers Association and other commodity groups first envisioned the center and have been supportive and involved with making the new center a reality.


“Princeton is centrally located to the majority of crop production in the state, and research conducted at the center has always been top notch and valuable to farmers,” said Davie Stephens, Hickman County farmer and chair of the Kentucky Soybean Promotion Board. “The Kentucky Soybean Promotion Board is proud to be a part of the effort to move the center’s research to the next level.”


Pulaski County farmer and Kentucky Farm Bureau President Mark Haney said he was very pleased to see these funds allocated for the Grains Center of Excellence, a project the organization has supported since its inception, in keeping with its long-standing history of supporting agricultural research.


“Field crops contribute nearly $3 billion annually to Kentucky’s economy, and research is a critical component to that industry. This facility will take the outstanding efforts made at the UK Research and Education Center to a higher level, addressing the unique challenges of feeding a growing world population in the decades to come,” he said. “The center will not only be helpful to farm families but will be beneficial to all Kentuckians.”


Chad Lee, UK grain crops specialist, will be named the center’s director.


“While this idea began with grain farmers, we are excited that this funding will strengthen all areas of the center and renew our focus on grains and forages to positively impact at least another generation of growers,” Lee said. “I am humbled by the tremendous amount of faith the growers and state leaders have placed on us to make this center a reality.”


John Grove, director of the UK Research and Education Center, said the investment shows the trust the Kentucky agricultural stakeholders have for the center’s faculty, many of whom are new to the university and just starting their careers, and will help alleviate the limited space for research, extension and teaching.


“The center will benefit Western Kentucky farmers and the larger agricultural community within the region,” he said. “It will also create a work environment where our faculty can be fruitful, prosper intellectually and scientifically, and move grain and forage production forward in our state.”



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue



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