LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 5, 2015) -- Graduate students from across the nation will descend upon Lexington and the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy June 11-13 for the 47th annual Pharmaceutics Graduate Student Research Meeting (PGSRM).
PGSRM is a graduate student-organized conference with more than 20 schools participating across the midwest to eastern regions. The main research areas covered in this conference are drug design and discovery, formulation development, drug delivery, biotechnology, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, biopharmaceutics, pharmaceutical materials science, and pharmaceutical analytical methods.
The College is hosting this event for the first time since 1985 and registration for the event – including poster and podia presentations – is now open for members across the UK graduate, postdoctoral and faculty scholar communities. More than 200 students in attendance are expected from schools throughout the region.
“We hope fellow graduate students from across the UK community come out and support PGSRM, it’s a great way to welcome the visiting students and scholars to UK and to showcase all the excellent research taking place here ” said Lin Ao, a UK College of Pharmacy graduate student and co-chair of PGSRM 2015. “Our guest speakers represent a wide array of scientific disciplines that we hope will be interesting to faculty, postdocs, and students across campus.”
Featured speakers include:
• Brad Anderson, Ph.D., the H.B. Kostenbauder Professor in Pharmaceutical Sciences and director of the Division of Drug Development at the UK College of Pharmacy, and co-program director/MPI for the UK Cancer Nanotechnology Training Center. His current research interest include controlled drug delivery to solid tumors using nanotechnology, chemical stability in amorphous solid-state formulations, and molecular dynamics simulations to explore the properties of drugs in amorphous formulations.
• Renier Brentjens, M.D., Ph.D., director of cellular therapeutics at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He is a medical oncologist specializing in the treatment of acute and chronic leukemias. His laboratory is focused on developing novel treatment approaches for certain leukemias and lymphomas utilizing the patient's own immune system.
• Kim Brouwer, Pharm.D., Ph.D., a UK College of Pharmacy alumna, is the William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor and chair of the Division of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics of the University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy and a professor in toxicology. Dr. Brouwer directs an NIH-funded research program focused on hepatobiliary drug disposition and development and refinement of in vitro model systems to predict in vivo hepatobiliary disposition, drug interactions and hepatotoxicity.
• Paul Hergenrother, Ph.D., the Kenneth Rinehart Jr. Endowed Chair in Natural Products Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois. The overarching goal of his research is to use organic compounds to identify novel cellular targets that can be exploited in the treatment of diseases including cancer, degenerative disorders, and drug-resistant bacteria.
• Hamid Ghandehari, Ph.D., professor in the Departments of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Bioengineering, director of Utah Center for Nanomedicine, and co-founder and co-director of the Nano Institute of Utah and director of the University of Utah Nanotechnology Training Program at the University of Utah. His research focuses on the design of new polymers for gene therapy of head and neck cancer, targeted delivery of polymer therapeutics to solid tumors, oral delivery of chemotherapeutics, and assessing the biocompatibility of silica and dendritic nano constructs.
Ao notes that there are many ways for attendees to engage in PGSRM 2015. From attending world-class lectures to presenting a poster or podia presentation or attending one of the many banquets and social events, the meeting is primed to be a hit for UK’s scientific community.
“PGSRM provides a great opportunity for graduate students to discuss their research with peers, alumni, and members from academia, government and industry,” said Ao. “And we look forward to seeing members from throughout the campus community also take part in this unique opportunity.”
The deadline for registration and abstract submission is May 15. Registration is $65 and is available through the official PGSRM 2015 website: http://pharmacy.mc.uky.edu/programs/graduate/pgsrm2015.php.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 6, 2015) — Students enrolled in a College of Communication and Information course worked with the Kentucky Refugee Ministries (KRM) to provide a fully furnished apartment for a refugee family from the Congo as part of their class project this semester.
Students who worked on the project are junior geography major Lindsey Funke, freshman economics major Clay Thornton, freshman chemistry major Elizabeth Woodall, freshman nursing major Kaitlin Kilcourse and freshman biology and psychology major Hamza Ashfaq. They are in Allyson Beutke DeVito’s section of CIS 112, an accelerated composition and communication course that incorporates a service-learning component.
“All of our CIS 112 students complete at least 10 hours of community service around the Lexington community,” DeVito said.
Students collected donations of money, furniture and other items for the home through a Facebook group. They used the donations to furnish the home and make it comfortable for the new family. The students even helped the family settle into their new apartment on the night they arrived in Lexington.
“The joy on the sons’ faces as they saw that they each had their own beds was contagious and so humbling,” Kilcourse said.
After the family, KRM staff and the students arrived at the new home, there was a knock on the front door. A fellow refugee family from the Congo brought dinner for the family.
“I was blown away by the generosity of those who have so little,” Kilcourse said. “It was midnight by the time we arrived, and the woman who prepared the traditional meal had just given birth to a baby boy four days earlier, but she was so willing and happy to sacrifice her time to prepare this meal to welcome our family to the United States.”
Students learned more about refugees and their lives. Kilcourse noted that The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees describes a refugee as a person who has left his or her home country because of a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality or membership of a particular social group or political opinion.
“However, I think the definition should include a description of refugees as people of great strength and courage who have overcome obstacles I would only face in my nightmares,” she said. “The refugee community is one filled with stories of hope, hard work and perseverance.”
The refugee family inspired the students who helped them.
“They leave everything behind, which takes tremendous courage, strength, and resilience most of us could only dream about,” Thornton said. “It is humbling and inspiring, to say the least.”
For Thornton, the idea of an American ‘melting pot’ became personified when he met the family.
“As Americans, we always take pride in our heritage as a ‘melting pot’ representative of many peoples; yet, I cannot express how much more pride I experience in that sentiment after helping the refugee family resettle in Lexington,” Thorton said.
The project brought students, families and the UK community together for a common goal.
“Friends near and far contributed goods and donations to support the family,” Funke said. “I was able to take a weekend and go home to collect apartment items with my grandmother, bringing my own family closer together through the project.”
The project brought people together, taught students a new perspective and helped a deserving family settle into a new home.
“The thoughtfulness and solidarity that the refugee community exudes should be an example for the rest of society on how to treat one another,” Kilcourse said.
Kentucky Refugee Ministries Inc. assists refugees who have been legally admitted to the United States as victims of warfare or other forms of persecution because of their religious or political beliefs. KRM, a nonprofit organization, is dedicated to providing resettlement services to refugees through faith- and agency-based co-sponsorship in order to promote self-sufficiency and successful integration into the community. KRM is committed to offering access to community resources and opportunities and to promoting awareness of diversity for the benefit of the whole community.
For more information on Kentucky Refugee Ministries or to learn how to volunteer, visit kyrm.org.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 5, 2015) – STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) teachers received a boost to their “cool” factor with the “All the STEM Teachers” parody of Beyonce’s hit song “All the Single Ladies…Put A Ring On It” released today in honor of National Teacher Appreciation Day.
The musical dance video, which can be found at www.TeachScienceandMath.org, features lyrics and choreography rewritten to focus on the importance of STEM teaching in the U.S., spotlighting the career choice as one that is fun, high-energy and innovative. The producers of the video hope it will “go viral” and generate more dialogue about one of the most critical and rewarding career paths open to today’s generation of young people. Currently, the nation is experiencing a shortage of science and mathematics teachers in our middle and high schools. The shortfall has been the subject of much attention from educators and lawmakers alike.
“Our number one goal with this video was to shine a bright and positive light on teaching careers,” said Ed Dickey, of the University of South Carolina Department of Instruction and Teacher Education and leader of the Teach Science and Mathematics effort. “Playing off the hit Beyonce song will help us connect with a younger generation. By communicating with our audience through this video, we hope to augment traditional communications about the value of STEM teaching as a career path. Plus it is a lot of fun.”
“Our efforts here mirror a national movement to recruit more and improved STEM teachers,” said Margaret Mohr-Schroeder, STEM PLUS program co-director in the University of Kentucky College of Education. “We are partnering with the national Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership and the 100Kin10 project to recruit, place, and retain 100,000 STEM teachers nationally by 2023 and to have a comparable impact in our own states.”
Dickey and Mohr-Schroeder collaborate with teams at over 100 universities to improve STEM teacher recruitment.
Approved by Beyonce and her team, the parody is a collaboration between the University of South Carolina (UofSC) and UK. The video was filmed using students and faculty from the University of South Carolina’s schools of Education, Dance and Journalism and Mass Communications as well as students from C.A. Johnson High School.
Students who might have an interest in teaching science or mathematics are encouraged to visit http://seeblue.com/stem for more information.
Along with UofSC, UK is especially equipped to train STEM teachers like never before with the College of Education's STEM PLUS (Producing Leaders for Urban/rUral Schools) program. The program, offering an undergraduate bachelor’s degree and teacher certification is the first STEM education major in the nation and represents a unique transdisciplinary approach to teacher education.
“We think teachers prepared this way will have a better understanding of STEM fields and career pathways and integrate that knowledge in their own classrooms,” said Mohr-Schroeder.
Housed within the College of Education’s Department of STEM Education, STEM PLUS is a double major in STEM Education and the student’s chosen area of focus (such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, earth science, and computer science). The program makes it possible to earn a bachelor’s degree and teacher certification in four years.
In 2011, UK STEM faculty joined a national campaign, known as 100Kin10, that endeavors to enrich America’s classrooms with 100,000 excellent STEM teachers by 2021. One of those teachers will be Jamie Kosel, who graduated from Jacobs High School in the northwest suburbs of Chicago in 2011, and is currently finishing her senior year in UK’s STEM PLUS program while student teaching at Henry Clay High School.
“Math is known to be a difficult subject for many students,” Kosel said. “This all roots directly from the way the material is presented to a student and their self-esteem towards math. Everybody is capable of being good at math. In the past, math was typically presented in a very dry manner- hand-written notes and excessive drill-and-practice homework assignments. The really cool thing about STEM and math in general is that we are trying to incorporate engineering and technology into our lessons to spice things up. I try to encourage collaboration, inquiry learning, and applications in my classes.”
The STEM PLUS program familiarizes students with all areas of STEM, while also building a depth of knowledge in the specific subject students wish to pursue in their teaching careers. Additionally, it is a clinically-based teacher preparation program, meaning students take education-focused coursework each semester and go into local schools for field experience starting their freshman year. They learn to teach STEM subjects in such a way as to engage learners and make STEM knowledge and skills relevant and useful for all students.
Katherine Poe graduated from Larry A. Ryle High School in Boone County in 2012 and is currently a junior in the STEM PLUS program.
“I chose math because so many students struggle and hate math, but I want to show them they can succeed and have fun while doing it,” Poe said. “It is important in education to be able to connect concepts to other subjects and real world problems. Having the STEM background makes this easier because you are learning how all of these subjects can be integrated.”
Through an agreement with the UK College of Engineering, all STEM PLUS students take an introductory engineering course, and can optionally take more advanced engineering and computer sciences courses.
“Ultimately, this program gives undergraduates more exposure to the unique learning opportunities being created in the STEM field,” Mohr-Schroeder said. “Teachers prepared in our program will be able to give their students the opportunity to spark an interest in STEM.”
For more information on STEM PLUS, visit https://2b.education.uky.edu/stem/new/undergraduate-programs/.
About the University of South Carolina
The University of South Carolina (UofSC) was established in 1801 and is a full-service, state-supported research university that includes the 358-acre Columbia campus and seven regional campuses with a total full-time student body population of more than 39,500 and 2,100 full-time faculty members. The University provides researchers with a full range of grant-related services through its Sponsored Awards Management, Research Compliance, and Contract and Grant Accounting offices. Located in the capital city of Columbia in the geographic center of the state, UofSC’s main campus is part of a thriving metropolitan community of more than 450,000 inhabitants. UofSC offers a broad spectrum of educational opportunities with 14 colleges and schools that encompass 324 undergraduate and graduate degree-granting programs.
About the University of Kentucky
Founded 150 years ago as a land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky is nestled in the scenic heart of the beautiful Bluegrass region of Kentucky. UK’s 918-acre campus adjacent to downtown Lexington is home to more than 30,000 diverse students representing 117 countries and every state in the nation, and approximately 14,500 employees. UK is one of eight universities in the U.S. that has well-established programs in agriculture, engineering, medicine and pharmacy on a single campus, leading to groundbreaking discoveries and unique interdisciplinary collaboration. Kentucky’s flagship university consists of 16 academic and professional colleges where students can choose from some 200 majors and degree programs.
LEXINGTON, Ky., (May 5, 2015) — Imagine a person with no family, no schooling, no transportation and no home. Then, think about that person being only 15. This is a reality for some Kentucky young people who find themselves homeless or unstably housed.
A team of researchers led by experts with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment are reaching out to homeless or unstably housed young people in Louisville with the opportunity to develop essential life skills. Janet Kurzynske, Kerri Ashurst and Ken Jones received a five-year grant from the Children, Youth, and Families at Risk program in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
According to the 2013 Kids Count statistics, Kentucky teenagers have high rates in several categories that increase their chances of being homeless or unstably housed. These include a later-than-expected or no high school graduation, unemployment, teen births and incarceration.
Due to a lack of consistent life skill programs available to this group, the Louisville YMCA’s Safe Place Services contacted the Jefferson County Extension office for help. They were able to connect them with UKAg researchers, and a partnership developed. Kentucky State University also joined the partnership to help these young people take a positive step forward.
“We have always wanted to work with the homeless, but in order to work with them you need infrastructure that Cooperative Extension doesn’t have,” said Janet Kurzynske, UK extension professor in dietetics and human nutrition and the project’s lead investigator. “When you are working with homeless youth, you have to provide shelter. That’s what the YMCA has. So it made for a really good collaboration.”
UK will collaborate with two YMCA centers in Louisville for the project. One is a shelter that offers housing, food, transportation to school, homework assistance and counseling to homeless or unstably housed young people under the age of 18. The other is a youth development center that offers young people between 18 and 22 bagged food, showers, washing machines, dryers, basic skills training and computer access.
“They are different groups and different ages, but when you look at the life skills they are missing, they very much are lacking the same things,” Kurzynske said.
For the program, UK hired Nick Brown as an extension associate housed at the YMCA centers in Louisville. Brown has extensive experience with homeless youth and the YMCA programs offered to them.
Brown will work with young teens at the shelter to identify their most critical life-skill needs and then help them strengthen those skills, as they are only allowed to stay at the shelter for 30 days. At the youth development center, he’ll offer educational programs and work with those youth on both a group and a one-on-one basis, as they are allowed to use those services for a longer period of time. Areas he will cover include communication, boundaries, healthy lifestyles, workforce preparation, personal safety, stress management, goal setting and financial management.
“The YMCA’s No. 1 goal is to reunite the youth with their family, but that’s not always as easy as it sounds,” Kurzynske said. “That’s why life skill education is so important, because they can’t always be reunited or sometimes they need some additional life skills to be reunited.”
UK and KSU extension personnel will also work with the group to build a community garden at the YMCA shelter that will be used as a food source and provide them with a hands-on opportunity to build a skill and learn about teamwork. Extension personnel are also providing a valuable link to other potential partners the youth may be able to access in the area.
Throughout the process, the researchers will collect pre- and post-test data from participants to evaluate the program’s effectiveness. Part of this data will go into CYFAR’s Common Measures for workforce preparation, a national program that measures the young people’s ability to effectively solve problems and make decisions and provides a perception of their competence.
“We are really looking at it from a positive standpoint. These youth have had enough negative in their lives; we’ve got to help them focus on the positive,” said Kerri Ashurst, senior extension specialist with Family and Consumer Sciences Extension.
MEDIA CONTACT: Katie Pratt, 859-257-8774.
Video from Studio Walz website, www.studiowalz.com/blog.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 5, 2015) — As adults, many of us look back fondly on childhood and the world of wonder that surrounded us. Nothing seemed impossible until the daily routine of life dampened our sense of optimism with age and responsibility.
Unfortunately, bleak realities can come all too early for some children, who witness domestic violence or struggle with illness at an early age. In an attempt to help bring light to these sometimes dark times, a class of University of Kentucky arts administration students developed real life arts workshops for children working with two Lexington organizations. The resulting artwork is the focus of a book published by the class that will raise money for the organizations and future community art programs from the class.
The enterprising UK arts administration students presenting these art workshops are part of a spring course first presented in 2014 that created an initiative called Art in Unlikely Places. The class is led by Mark Rabideau, adjunct assistant professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Arts Administration Program. The goal of Art in Unlikely Places is driven by a belief that creativity is the seed of hope. The initiative connects inspiring artists to those most in need of the transformative powers of the arts.
The students' vision is that this organization will deliver the work of inspiring artists to the ailing, the impoverished and the distraught, sharing beauty with those whose life-circumstances might otherwise prevent them from discovering the hope that is found in the artistic moment.
Students participating in Art in Unlikely Places, now in its second year, developed a project titled "A Beautiful Life: Through the Eyes of a Child." The project introduced children in need to the arts by providing them an opportunity to express themselves in creative ways. At the suggestion of some members of the class, the group partnered with Greenhouse 17, a refuge for children who have been witness to domestic violence, and The Kidz Club, where children with medical needs are provided special attention with academic and social interaction.
"As a child, the arts were so strongly encouraged to me at an early age. The same goes with my classmates. We wanted to share our love with these children, so that they could have an opportunity like we did to experience the power the arts have," said art studio senior Janie Kegley, of Louisa, Kentucky, who serves as director of marketing for the arts administration course.
Art in Unlikely Places held workshops with 30 local children from the organizations, prompting the kids to create artwork that expressed their inner feelings, hopes and dreams. All were asked to draw what made life beautiful to them.
In addition to using visual arts to help the children give voice to their feelings, the class also invited music therapists from Evolve to partner with them and lead the children in songs and games.
Lending his talents to "A Beautiful Life” is renowned fiber artist, UK Professor Arturo Alonzo Sandoval. The internationally celebrated artist was pleased to participate when approached by one of his students, noting that service is one of the three elements of being a UK professor.
The class was honored Sandoval took them up on their request. "Arturo is an artist who has touched the lives of myself and another student inside our class. When we were discussing artists there really wasn't any competition. His heart is so big and he achieved a product even better than we imagined. He did all of this for free and we are so grateful," Kegley said.
Sandoval, with the assistance of photographer Scott Walz, incorporated images of the artworks the children created into four quilts. Two of the art quilts will be donated to the respected organizations and the remaining two have been sold to benefit the program.
"The four art quilts are digital compositions of the original drawings the participating children accomplished," Sandoval said. "Scott Walz, my IT designer/expert, used his skills and our collaborative design sense to layer the children’s drawings into four lovely images with lots of energy, color and texture."
Sandoval and Walz believe helping bring the artwork from the coloring page to a book and art quilt form was a great fit for their talents. "The goal of art is to communicate beauty," Sandoval said.
For only $30, arts patrons can purchase the book of original artworks by children at Greenhouse 17 and The Kidz Club and receive an invitation to Art in Unlikely Places finale this week. All Art in Unlikely places supporters will be invited to the unveiling celebration of the final artworks Thursday, May 7, at Lexington Art League. Light refreshments will be served accompanied by a musical guest appearance from the popular UK a cappella group, the acoUstiKats.
Proceeds from the event will allow Art in Unlikely Places to continue to send art workshops back to Greenhouse 17 and The Kidz Club.
Additional funds will also insure that the Art in Unlikely Places will continue to thrive and benefit the future students of the program. "This class is groundbreaking in education. We want to make sure the students after us can have the same experience. It has truly been life changing," Kegley said.
In addition to the dedicated students in Art in Unlikely Places, who created and executed "A Beautiful Life," the project also was made possible with support of local organizations and businesses like the UK College of Fine Arts, WRFL, Red Mango, T.G.I. Fridays and Bourbon n' Toulouse, who helped the class and UK student organization achieve their fundraising and marketing goals for the semester.
For further information on this student project, visit Arts in Unlikely Places at their GoFundMe website: www.gofundme.com/artinunlikelyplace. You can also find them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at: www.facebook.com/artin.unlikelyplaces; www.twitter.com/ArtinUnlikely; and www.instagram.com/artinunlikelyplaces.
MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716; email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2015) — Gov. Steve Beshear, University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray — joined by key state legislators — announced Monday the start of work on the realignment of Alumni Drive between Tates Creek and Nicholasville Roads.
The $5 million project is slated for completion by Sept. 1, in time for the start of the UK football season. Beshear, Gray and Capilouto were joined at the announcement and ceremonial groundbreaking Monday by Sen. Reginald Thomas and Rep. Kelly Flood, both instrumental in the project.
"Alumni Drive serves as one of the gateways to our campus,” Capilouto said. "We look forward to the project’s completion in September, at which point we will have a safer, more functional route for the UK family and the many who visit our campus and the Arboretum every day."
The project, which is funded through the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and was approved during the 2014 legislative session, was a priority for Sen. Thomas and Rep. Flood as well as Gov. Beshear, who authorized the project.
“Once this project is complete, all travelers along Alumni Drive — whether on foot, on bicycles, or in vehicles — will enjoy a friendlier, safer trip,” said Gov. Beshear. “Like many of our road improvements, this project will improve access and safety but will also encourage citizens to enjoy nearby recreational spaces.”
Key features of the realignment project include:
- The reconstruction and realignment project is designed to help calm traffic on Alumni Drive, a major connector road that serves 18,000 to 20,000 vehicles per day. The realigned road also is expected to slow vehicular speeds, and the new design features will include enhanced bicycle and pedestrian facilities.
- At the intersections of College Way and University Drive, roundabouts – also known as traffic circles – will replace existing stop signs.
- The road changes will also include moving College Way to the west, along with creating new entrances to the Commonwealth Stadium Blue Lot and to athletics facilities.
- The improvements to bicycle and pedestrian facilities along the corridor will provide safe connections to existing facilities, as well as opportunities for recreational use.
- Additionally, the improvements will include an ADA-accessible route from main campus to the Arboretum.
"It was a great pleasure to work with Governor Beshear, Mayor Gray and the University of Kentucky on behalf of this project, which will improve traffic flow and the safety of our community,” said Sen. Reginald Thomas. "This project has been a high priority, and I look forward to seeing its completion in September in time for the start of the home football season.
"The Alumni Drive redirection and realignment project will provide enormous benefits for our community, most notably by increasing the safety of a major connector road. I'm proud to have worked with Governor Beshear, other members of the Fayette legislative delegation, Mayor Gray and UK in obtaining the funding for this important initiative,” said Rep. Flood, whose district includes Alumni Drive and the campus.
Alumni Drive will be closed beginning Sunday, May 10, with traffic being re-routed through the immediate area. Access to the Arboretum will be maintained at all times via Tates Creek Road. The Lexington Senior Center will be accessible from Nicholasville Road. Additionally, the other occupied buildings on Alumni Drive – a child care center and UK graduate housing – will be accessible throughout the project.
“Alumni Drive is a significant corridor for Lexington, connecting neighborhoods, businesses, the Arboretum and the UK campus,” Mayor Jim Gray said. “For many citizens, this project will require a major adjustment to travel routes for the next several months.”
Maps and more detailed information on the project can be found at construction.uky.edu and a fact sheet is available at: http://uknow.uky.edu/content/fact-sheet-alumni-drive-project. Those traveling in the area should plan accordingly and allow extra time.
For more information on the project visit: http://uknow.uky.edu/content/fact-sheet-alumni-drive-project.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2015) — Student summer parking permits became available for purchase Friday, May 1, at the University of Kentucky.
These permits are $7 per week and may only be purchased in person at the Parking and Transportation Services office, located in the Press Avenue Garage (PS #6), at the corner of Press and Virginia Avenues. The office is open 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Summer permits may be purchased for any number of weeks between May 11 and August 7, 2015.
All University parking lots will be controlled for permits during the summer months. For more information on summer parking policies, visit www.uky.edu/pts/parking-info_break-parking_summer.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2015) -- Dr. John Fowlkes took the helm as new director of the University of Kentucky's Barnstable Brown Diabetes and Obesity Center earlier this year with a vision to build upon the center's past work and develop a robust and comprehensive adult and pediatric center providing research, education and patient care for the thousands of Kentuckians diagnosed with diabetes. But the Texas native who has spent the last decade at the University of Arkansas Children's Hospital, has found himself in familiar territory.
Fowlkes, who succeeds Dr. Philip Kern who served as the Center's inaugural director and who had been performing a dual role as director of the UK's Center for Clinical and Translation Science, previously held the Barnstable Brown Gala Professorship in Diabetes Research at UK in 2000-2001 and was part of the UK Department of Pediatrics from 1996 until 2001.
"Having that prior life here and knowing the expertise that already exists at UK, provided the excitement and impetus for me to return to UK to develop a comprehensive diabetes center," said Fowlkes. "I think there is a potential to organize research, education and patient care in a way that we can see some real accomplishments and do some things that are very innovative."
However, Fowlkes, a nationally recognized clinician scientist funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) who is intimately involved in patient care, realizes some challenges lie ahead.
Fowlkes' primary goal is to begin the work of "rethinking the clinical care model" and developing a new way of delivering state-of-the-art patient care.
"Right now we are looking at how to get the team in a collaborative environment and to develop operational clinic space that is much more than just seeing patients and prescribing drugs," he said. "We want to be able to see a patient, educate them and most importantly, serve as a medical home that addresses all of their needs in a one-stop shop."
The team he refers to includes Dr. Kathryn M. Thrailkill, professor of pediatrics and the newly named Barnstable Brown Chair in Pediatric Diabetes Research; Dr. Alba E. Morales Pozzo, an associate professor of pediatrics; and Clay Bunn, Ph.D., who will direct pediatric research laboratories. All three joined Fowlkes in coming to UK from the University of Arkansas.
In Kentucky and in the U.S., diabetes is one of the leading causes of death and disability. Besides leading to premature death, both types 1 and 2 Diabetes are associated with complications that threaten quality of life. It is also the leading cause of adult blindness, end-stage kidney disease and nontraumatic lower-extremity amputations.
Already UK has a sizable diabetes patient population in both pediatrics and adults, but Fowlkes wants to better coordinate care throughout the various ambulatory clinics where those patients are treated and wants to provide educational opportunities. Additionally, the clinical care will be complemented with intellectual questions looking at outcomes, quality and providing fertile material for research. Increasing the number of clinical trials available for both pediatric and adult patients is also a big focus for the future, he said.
"Diabetes is perhaps the greatest scourge assaulting Kentuckians. It kills indirectly through heart attack, strokes, kidney failure, nerve damage and blindness but there is an explosion of new therapeutic treatment modalities," said UK College of Medicine Dean Frederick de Beer "The Barnstable Brown Center under Dr. Fowlkes' leadership has the potential to be developed to lead and integrate our assault on diabetes."
Currently, the Center has approximately $24 million per year in research funding focusing on prevention and treatment of the disease and various complications of diabetes. Funding comes from the NIH, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and other funding agencies, as well as the Barnstable-Brown family.
Patricia "Tricia" Brown and Priscilla "Cyb" Barnstable, together with their mother Wilma Barnstable, have been hosting a Derby eve gala to raise money for diabetes research in Kentucky for nearly 25 years with celebrities coming from around the globe to attend the famous Barnstable Brown Gala in Louisville -- with the most recent event being held this past Derby weekend.
Tricia Brown's late husband, Dr. David Brown, was diagnosed and later died of diabetes was the inspiration for the establishment of the Barnstable Brown. Since 2008, all proceeds from the gala go to the center at UK.
"The Barnstable-Brown family made not only the essential initial investment but provides continuous support and a consistent presence that is an incredible and immeasurable asset to our center," said Fowlkes. "Their enduring commitment is something that makes a true impact and we are very appreciative."
Media Contact: Kristi Lopez, 859-806-0445
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2015) — The Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center based at the University of Kentucky has joined the Occupational Health and Safety Administration's National Safety Stand-Down initiative from May 4 to 15.
The public safety campaign calls for all construction site managers to suspend work for a short period to review safety standards, including fall prevention, rescue plans, job-specific hazards and other protective measures. To participate, construction companies of all sizes can hold a Safety Stand-Down, or voluntary event for employers to speak directly with workers about safety. Employers are encouraged to focus on fall hazards and fall prevention during the Stand-Down. Falls from elevated heights continue to cause preventable deaths in the U.S. In 2013, 291 of 828 reported construction worker fatalities were caused by falls.
"In 2014, Kentucky saw 14 fatalities from falls from elevation — 14 deaths that could have been prevented," De Anna McIntosh, a safety specialist for the Kentucky Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation at KIPRC. "We are hoping that in raising awareness about falls and how to prevent them, we can eliminate this type of workplace fatality."
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, employers should prohibit work when weather conditions are wet, windy or icy. Workers should be required to wear a personal protective fall system during all phases of a roofing job. Also, employers should have a fall protection plan in place and a written document outlining the fall protection plan before a job begins.
The OSHA Safety Stand-Down initiative coincides with North American Occupational Safety and Health Week. Last year, more than one million construction workers participated in a Safety Stand-Down. Employers can obtain resources to conduct a Safety Stand-Down as well as a certificate of participation by clicking here.
MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2014) — The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society hosted their fourth annual "Meet the Researchers Day" last Thursday. Meet the Researchers Day is a field trip given as a prize to two schools in the region who successfully raise more than $1,000 for the LLS's Pennies for Patients campaign.
This year, students from Bondurant Middle School (BMS) in Frankfort, Ky., and Shelby County West Middle School (SCWMS) in Shelbyville, Ky., won the opportunity to visit the Biomedical/Biological Sciences Research Building (BBSRB) on UK's campus and learned more about how the money they raised for Pennies for Patients will help further cancer research.
After a formal introduction by UK researchers Tianyan Gao and Craig Vander Kooi, the students received a a tour of cancer research lab space in the BBSRB and learned how to use some basic lab equipment. The event also featured presentations by BMS student and cancer survivor Tyler Calhoun, the LLS Honored Hero, and UK pediatric hematologist/oncologist Dr. John D'Orazio.
Pennies for Patients is the annual fundraiser for the School & Youth division of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It encourages students to collect spare change during a set three-week time frame early in the year. Funds raised support leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma research; patient and community service; public health education; and professional education.
For this year's campaign, more than 340 schools across the region participated. Kentucky schools participating in Pennies for Patients had to raise a minimum of $1,000 to win the chance to attend Meet the Researchers Day. BMS and SCWMS were chosen in a random drawing, raising a combined $5,027.12 for LLS.
To learn more about the Pennies for Patients program, visit www.schoolandyouth.org.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2015) — Are you moving out of your residence hall and no longer have a need for you bicylce? Instead of leaving it behind, donate it! The University of Kentucky encourages students to donate their unwanted bicycles instead of leaving them at the bike racks on campus.
Bicycle donation helps expedite the abandoned bike process and frees up space on campus bike racks. Bikes donated through this process will go to a foster care program, become a part of the Wildcat Wheels program or go to UK Surplus, depending on their condition.
Simply fill out the Bicycle Donation Waiver and bring your bike to the Bike Donation Station at Wildcat Wheels Bicycle Library, in the basement of Blazer Hall, during the following windows:
· Monday, May 4, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
· Tuesday, May 5, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
· Wednesday, May 6, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
· Thursday, May 7, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
If you choose not to participate in the Bike Donation Station and are leaving campus for the summer, remember to take your bicycle with you. Abandoned bicycles are subject to impoundment, even if they are parked in a legal bicycle space.
If a bicycle is impounded, the owner will have 90 days to claim it at UK Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) and pay all citation and impoundment fees. Bicycles unclaimed after 90 days will be disposed of in accordance with university regulations.
PTS identifies abondoned bicycles before impounding them, and will wait a minimum of five days before removing bicycles that have been tagged. If a student or employee who is on campus during the summer months discovers a tag on their bicycle, simply removing it will notify PTS staff that the bicycle is actively being used.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2015) — A group of University of Kentucky students from Nepal is helping to relieve the suffering in their home country caused by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that took place Saturday, April 25.
The students have started a fundraising initiative, “Nepal, I am with you,” to obtain food, medical supplies, and rebuild broken communities. To learn more about their initiative, visit their fundraising website.
“We are far from home and are suffering from not being there,” said Suraj Upadhaya. “We are not there in physical support, but we can send emotional support while we are in Kentucky.”
More than 7,000 people have died in the earthquake, injuries top 14,000 and according to the “Nepal, I am with you” website, more than 450,000 people were reportedly displaced from their homes. Many homes were destroyed, and people are living in tents without relief.
“We must assure these families that they do not stand alone,” Upadhaya said.
The funds raised by this initiative will be used to help a small village of 20-40 families outside of Kathmandu to provide direct support at the community level.
“All foreign aid now is solely focused on the capital, Kathmandu. Small villages outside the capital are not getting enough aid and relief materials,” said Upadhaya. "Please, help us help our families and friends. Let us assure them by saying from around the world, 'Nepal, I am with you.' Stand with us. Stand with Nepal.”
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2015) -- The next time you add Splenda (sucralose), Sweet and Low (saccharin) or Equal (aspartame) to your tea or coffee, beware -- all three of these artificial sweeteners also contain dextrose, a simple sugar with about 3.6 calories per serving packet.
A violation of truth in advertising? Not necessarily. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows a product to be labeled "zero calories" if the food contains “less than 5 calories per reference amount customarily consumed per labeled serving." Although these artificial sweeteners do provide fewer calories, they are not calorie free, and people trying to watch their waistlines should keep this in mind.
Although artificial sweeteners are generally considered safe but there is still debate about whether they help with weight loss. There is conflicting research about the role diet sodas play in weight loss, with some research demonstrating that consuming diet sodas without decreasing overall calorie intake doesn’t appear to promote weight loss, while other studies show some weight reduction when switching from regular soda to diet.
The bacteria in your intestines, known as the gut microbiome, may hold the key to these controversies. A study last year showed that mice fed artificial sweeteners actually developed higher blood glucose levels than mice fed the simple sugar glucose. When the gut microbiome in these animals was eliminated by antibiotics, the mice fed artificial sweetener did not develop higher blood glucose levels, implying that gut microorganisms play some role in regulating blood glucose levels resulting from artificial sweetener use.
Furthermore, a small study in humans showed that four out of seven lean individuals developed higher blood glucose levels after consuming artificial sweeteners for a week. These data suggest that we are not identical in our gut microbiome and artificial sweeteners may affect us differently.
Until further study more clearly defines how artificial sweeteners alter the gut microbiome and ultimately affect blood glucose levels, it's entirely possible that smaller amounts of table sugar is better for you, since higher blood glucose is a risk factor for obesity and diabetes. The American Heart Association recommends less than 9 teaspoons a day for men and less than 6 teaspoons of table sugar per day for women.
Geza Bruckner is professor Clinical Nutrition in the Department of Clinical Sciences at the UK College of Health Sciences
This column appeared in the May 3, 2015 edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2015) — In the fall of 2014, a group of 235 incoming students became the first class of STEMCats at the University of Kentucky. This week, they are not only wrapping up their first year at UK, but also a semester of original research; an unusual experience for many college freshmen.
The STEMCats living learning program, sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and directed by UK Department of Biology Chair Vincent Cassone, was launched to increase retention of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors at UK.
A key component of the program is an authentic research experience for the freshmen, in addition to pre-fall "FastTrack" courses, a living learning community and STEM exploration courses.
With 16 departments and 62 faculty members involved in the program, a range of original research opportunities were available for STEMCats this semester. From "Analysis of Gene Expression During Salamander Tail Regeneration" to "Clean Water through Chemistry," the projects engaged faculty members and students across many departments and majors.
"This is fundamentally different from a traditional lab class; the students are doing something that has never been done before to address questions to which we don’t yet know the answers," said Douglas Harrison, associate professor in the Department of Biology who advised the "Sex, Flies, and Good Gene Hunting" project with Associate Professor Peter Mirabito.
Another project, "Drug Interactions in Breast Cancer," could help scientists understand why the drug tamoxifen may not work as a therapy for breast cancer in some patients. Hollie Swanson, professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences, and Ok-Kyong Park-Sarge, associate professor in the Department of Physiology, worked with 10 STEMCats students on the project. The group focused on the question, "If breast cancer patients taking tamoxifen are also taking drugs to treat epilepsy or heart failure, would those drugs interfere with tamoxifen and inhibit their breast cancer treatment?"
In addition to addressing a real-world issue through research, it was also a learning experience for students on what goes into a research project and how a lab works.
"I think it is important for the students to understand how scientists ask questions and how scientists' work improves our ability to treat diseases like cancer," Swanson said.
In the "Sex, Flies, and Good Gene Hunting" project, STEMCats students searched for genes that contribute to reproductive lifespan, or how long an individual will be fertile. Because of its short lifespan, the fruit fly was used to conduct the research. Specifically, students performed crosses to determine the effects of bacterial infection and antibiotic treatments on the reproductive lifespan.
"The process of aging has many similarities across most animal species," Harrison said. "We anticipate that the findings from this research are likely to point to many genetic and environmental influences that will have similar effects on other animals, including humans."
The team is completing the last of their fly crosses and beginning to analyze the data. The data collected by students this semester will be added to a larger analysis of research by previous undergraduates, and the aggregate data will be used for a genome-wide association study that seeks to identify the genes affecting reproductive lifespan.
On Wednesday, April 29, STEMCats students presented these and other research projects at the UK Showcase of Undergraduate Scholars and the STEMCats Research Forum, held in conjunction with the showcase.
Shane D'Souza, a freshman biology major, and Alyssa Allen, a freshman medical laboratory science pre-major, helped present their group's project researching the regenerative abilities of axolotls (Mexican salamanders), led by Randal Voss, professor of biology.
"After coming to UK and studying in Dr. Voss' lab, I found myself very interested in research and genetics," D'Souza said. "I feel it really opened a new field of study to me."
Allen, who said she was at first very nervous to present at the showcase, enjoyed speaking to others one-on-one about the project.
"This interested me so much…I thought it was awesome," she said.
Another key component of the STEMCats program, closely related to the success of the research component, is the STEM-focused professional development for faculty. On Saturday, April 25, the STEM Teaching Enhancement Workshop and Scholarly Forum was held on campus.
Lectures were given on implementing high-impact STEM teaching practices; using technology to engage students and enhance learning; web-based homework; diversity in STEM fields; research integration and interaction in class; and more.
Stephen Testa, associate professor of chemistry, presented his STEMCats research project at the forum as a "teaching tip" talk titled, "Using a Freshman Chemistry Laboratory Experiment as a Springboard for Original Research." And that's exactly what Testa did this semester.
The STEMCats research project, called the Student Centered Original Research Experience, or SCORE, tasked STEMCats students with improving a current lab project taught in CHE 111 (the general chemistry lab).
"The whole experience was really a win-win situation for everyone involved," Testa said. "It was amazing to see these students in action, and to see how their abilities and knowledge evolved over the semester."
For CHE 111, the project is presented as a murder mystery, where students have to solve a simulated crime involving simulated DNA samples.
STEMCats students found multiple strategies for reducing material consumption (which will save money for the CHE 111 lab); found how to increase the rate of the reaction (which saves time); and figured out how to broaden the reactivity of DNA nucleobases (which will allow for more discrimination between the murder mystery samples that students test).
"For faculty involved in the program, it’s the curiosity to find new answers that drove us and got us excited about science and research when we first started out," Harrison said. "We hope that the freshman STEMCats research experience will generate that same enthusiasm in these students. At the same time, they’re learning to think critically, a skill that can be applied to anything they do afterward."
MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396, email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 1, 2015) — WUKY's "UK Perspectives" focuses on the people and programs of the University of Kentucky and is hosted by WUKY General Manager Tom Godell. Today's guest is J.J. Jackson, UK’s first vice president for institutional diversity. As she approaches retirement following the end of the semester, Jackson reflects on her tenure at the university and her efforts to increase diversity and inclusion on campus.
To listen to the podcast interview from which "UK Perspectives" is produced, visit http://wuky.org/post/legacy-diversity.
"UK Perspectives" airs at 8:45 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. each Friday on WUKY 91.3, UK's NPR station.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 1, 2015) — A portion of University Court, near the intersection with Alumni Drive on the University of Kentucky campus, will be closed from 7 a.m. Monday, May 4, through 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 6. The closure is related to the installation of storm drain pipes for the FEMA Flood Mitigation Project in the south campus area.
According to UK Parking and Transportation Services, bus service will be affected. The CATS Night Route and the Lextran Stadium-Greg Page Route will both be impacted by the closure. During this time, riders who typically use the Shawneetown bus stop should board at the Greg Page Laundry.
Riders can view real-time location of all CATS buses at http://uky.transloc.com or with the free Transloc app. Riders can view the actual location of Lextran buses with the MyStop Mobile iPhone app or at www.lextran.com/bustracker.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 1, 2015) — University of Kentucky Gatton Endowed Chair in Microeconomics James Ziliak, who also is director of UK's Center for Poverty Research, is playing a leading role in trying to figure out some of the challenges of poverty in this nation, including Kentucky, and how best to address those challenges.
Just in the last week results were released from a national study on food insecurity and senior citizens that Ziliak and a colleague conducted based on 2013 statistics. It shows that nationwide "seniors in 2013 continued to face increasing challenges meeting food need." The study showed the greatest threat of senior hunger is in Arkansas at 26.1 percent of the over-60 population and the lowest in Minnesota at 8.3 percent. Kentucky ranked 16th at 15.82 percent.
Ziliak and co-author Craig Gundersen of the University of Illinois were quoted in a Washington Post article about the study ranking the District of Columbia, fourth highest for a threat.
"The State of Senior Hunger in America 2013: An Annual Report," conducted for the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger, says that since the onset of the recession in 2007 until 2013, the number of seniors experiencing the threat of hunger in the U.S. has increased by 56 percent.
This study is one example of Ziliak's vast research that focuses on poverty, economic growth, taxes, health, education, and food security, but centers on translating those research results into recommendations that impact policy decisions.
"For me, it's a real passion," said Ziliak. "Poverty in America is a significant problem and one that requires a lot of attention by scholars to provide rigorous analysis of what we're doing and what we're not doing, what works and what doesn't work."
As a nationally recognized expert on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, Ziliak has testified before Congressional committees in Washington, D.C. on several occasions.
Ziliak recently utilized that expertise on SNAP to assist the state on a pro-bono basis to successfully win two multi-million dollar grants from the USDA for research in Eastern Kentucky. One pilot project, which was designed with the assistance of UK faculty Nancy Schoenberg, Mark Swanson and Alison Gustafson, will test whether allowing families to deduct a portion of excessive transportation costs in determining SNAP benefits improves the food security of children.
Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes said this is the first project of its kind to address transportation challenges to food access.
“For a typical family, transportation is the second largest portion of the budget,” she said. “This innovative project addresses the challenges faced by low-income families where geography also plays a part in making ends meet.”
In the second pilot project, selected SNAP recipients will be offered employment and training services in order to improve their employment skills and ultimately improve their path to self-sufficiency.
This effort by Ziliak and others at UK has been recently recognized by Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear.
"Dr. Ziliak provided countless hours of work and research to help our state make a successful application for a $19.9 million federal grant to fund a pilot project in southeastern Kentucky aimed at helping SNAP participants find jobs and ultimately work toward self-sufficiency," said Beshear. "Kentucky is one of 10 states chosen to share in the competitive awards from the USDA to support this broad initiative."
Recently, Reveal, part of UK's Research Communications office, produced two videos (one above and one below) with Ziliak, focusing on efforts being carried out in Eastern Kentucky.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 1, 2015) — The public is invited to watch a football game on the University of Kentucky campus this Sunday afternoon, May 3. No, it will not be the actual UK Wildcats in action, but rather faculty and staff from the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment (CAFE) playing in the CAFE Bowl. The flag football event will be the culmination of a unique, three-day experience, the UK CAFE Gridiron Challenge, in which student-athletes will be the 'professors,' with faculty and staff taking on the role of student-athlete.
The Department of Community and Leadership Development, which is part of the college, came up with this idea in an effort to narrow the knowledge gap and curb misperceptions of what it means to be a student-athlete at a major university.
All day Friday and Saturday, participants will have coursework, position meetings, practice, weightlifting, training table, debriefing, and study. UK football players will be teaching and grading the faculty and staff participants as they go through their paces.
The game on Sunday will kickoff at 1 p.m. at the Pieratt Student Recreation Fields located near the intersection of University Drive and Cooper Drive. There is seating for 250 people and while there is no admission charge, attendees are encouraged to make a $5 donation, which will go to CAFE undergraduate scholarships.
MEDIA CONTACT: Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200; firstname.lastname@example.org.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 1, 2015) -- Put on your walking shoes and join the Gill Heart Institute cardiologist Dr. Alison Bailey for the 2015 Walk with a Doc season. From April through August, the program will meet twice a month on Thursdays for a 30 minute walk at the UK Arboretum. https://www.uky.edu/hr/wellness/community-opportunities/walk-with-doc#dates
No registration is required, but you can sign up to receive email reminders at: http://www.uky.edu/hr/wellness/community-opportunities/walk-with-doc
"There are countless physical activities to choose from, but walking is a simple and inexpensive change you can make to improve your health," Bailey said. "Since the thought of being alone can be enough to keep some people from walking, finding a group to walk with can be enough incentive to maintain an active walking schedule."
Bailey notes that walking for at least 30 minutes a day can help improve your blood pressure and blood sugar levels, reduce cholesterol, lower your risk for diabetes, colon cancer, breast cancer, osteoporosis, and possibly depression.
"Walking is low impact and therefore easier on the joints than running. It is safe – with a doctor’s o.k. – for people with orthopedic ailments, heart conditions, and those who are more than 20 percent overweight," Bailey said.
In fact, says Bailey, recent research comparing runners and walkers demonstrated that moderate-intensity walking and vigorous-intensity running resulted in similar reductions in risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes, all of which are significant risk factors for coronary artery disease and stroke.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 1, 2015) — Two prominent Kentuckians and University of Kentucky alumni will be featured as part of NBC's coverage of the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby.
Tom Hammond, a 1967 graduate of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, is the co-host of NBC's coverage of the Kentucky Derby, a position he's held since 2001.
Hammond is synonymous with Thoroughbred racing in the Bluegrass and across the globe. In his 30-year history with NBC, Hammond has covered figure skating, college and professional football and basketball, track and field, swimming and diving and gymnastics in addition to horse racing.
"I never thought I would go into broadcasting," Hammond said in a recent interview with UK Public Relations and Marketing. "It (was) something that happened almost by accident."
In 1984 Hammond was hired by NBC on what was intended to be a one-time-only basis as a reporter for the inaugural Breeders’ Cup. That telecast won the prestigious Eclipse Award, and Hammond has been involved with NBC Sports ever since. Hammond will also host the coverage of the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes, rounding out this year's Triple Crown coverage.
In the fall, Hammond expects to return to his "Old Kentucky Home," Keeneland, as the historic track hosts the 2015 Breeders' Cup for the first time.
"I think it belongs here, it's good to come here, the people will appreciate it, they love horse racing in this area, and to have it at Keeneland, which is one of the special racetracks in America, makes it a special day, I think," Hammond said. "It’s a homecoming of sorts."
Joining Hammond as part of NBC's broadcast is actress, philanthropist and UK super fan Ashley Judd. Judd, a 2007 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences, announced on Twitter that she was honored and thankful to NBC for "allowing me the pleasure of narrating the opening of the 141st Kentucky Derby at venerable Churchill Downs."
Judd is an Emmy and Golden Globe nominated actress famous for her roles in film and television including "Kiss the Girls," "Double Jeopardy" and the "Divergent" series. While at UK, she was a member of the UK Honors Program, Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and Phi Beta Kappa. In 2007, she delivered the Paul G. Blazer Lecture at the university.
The University of Kentucky connections at the Kentucky Derby do not end there. For the 28th year, the famous blanket of roses awarded to the Kentucky Derby winning horse is being created by the Kroger Floral Center at the Shelbyville Road Kroger location in Louisville. The Kroger Company's chairman and CEO is W. Rodney McMullen, a 1981 and 1982 graduate of the Gatton College of Business and Economics. McMullen started with the company in 1978 as a part-time stock clerk while attending UK.
Another important aspect of the Derby festivities is the food. For the third year, Chef Jeremy Ashby is a guest chef at the Taste of Derby celebration. Ashby, a 2007 graduate of the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, is a partner in the Azur Food Group and has participated in many James Beard dinner tours, is a winner of the inaugural Lyons Farm International Chef Showdown in 2012 and placed first in the Kentucky Great American Seafood Cook-Off in 2011.
The 141st running of the Kentucky Derby posts at 6:24 p.m. Saturday, May 2, from Churchill Downs in Louisville. Coverage of the event begins at 4 p.m. on NBC.
MEDIA CONTACT: Katy Bennett, 859-257-1909; email@example.com