Campus News

Gensel Laboratory Awarded Grant to Study Spinal Cord Injury Repair

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 15:28

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 19, 2015) — The National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke (NINDS) has awarded a five-year, $1.6 million grant to John C. Gensel, Ph.D., of the University of Kentucky Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center (SCoBIRC), to study the potential role of the immune system in repairing spinal cord injuries.


Spinal cord injuries can result in permanent paralysis. Macrophages, white blood cells involved in immune responses, migrate to wounded areas of the spinal cord following an injury, where they assume M1 (i.e. pro-inflammatory) or M2 (i.e. pro-tissue repair) functions. M2 macrophages have the potential to improve wound healing and subsequent recovery from spinal cord injury, whereas M1 macrophages are believed to contribute to progressive tissue loss that impairs functional recovery.


"We do not fully understand why macrophages sometimes promote pathology instead of promoting tissue repair following a spinal cord injury," Gensel said. "This grant will fund efforts to clarify how macrophages assume M2 functions so physicians and scientists can develop new drugs that promote spinal cord repair after an injury."


Gensel and his team will also examine how age and gender alter the macrophage response to spinal cord injury and affect the drugs that promote M2 macrophage production.  


Jim Geddes, Ph.D., SCoBIRC director, notes that Gensel's work is particularly important as there are so few treatments for SCI currently available. "This innovative research by Dr. Gensel will explore how to exploit our own body's repair mechanisms to enhance recovery following spinal cord injury," said Geddes.  "We're delighted that John's work has been appropriately acknowledged by the NINDS."


The Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center at the University of Kentucky was established in 1999 to promote both individual and collaborative studies on injuries to the spinal cord and brain that result in paralysis or other loss of neurologic function.


The National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke of the National Institutes of Health funds this research under the R01 award number NS091582.


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

UK Art Museum Exhibitions Highlight Sculpture, Works of Koestenbaum, Katchadourian

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 15:11



... var cpo = []; cpo["_object"] ="cp_widget_2197985f-c4b1-4846-87f4-6365417503a7"; cpo["_fid"] = "AgAAwHNvO9b-"; var _cpmp = _cpmp || []; _cpmp.push(cpo); (function() { var cp = document.createElement("script"); cp.type = "text/javascript"; cp.async = true; cp.src = "//"; var c = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; c.parentNode.insertBefore(cp, c); })(); Powered by Cincopa <a href=''>Video Hosting for Business</a> solution.<span>New Gallery 2015/11/18</span><span>Selections from current featured exhibitions at UK Art Museum on display through Dec. 18</span><span>originaldate</span><span> 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AM</span><span>width</span><span> 720</span><span>height</span><span> 960</span><span>"Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey" - "Weed" by Tony Matelli</span><span>originaldate</span><span> 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AM</span><span>width</span><span> 1280</span><span>height</span><span> 853</span><span>"Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey" - "Wheel of Fate" by Robert Morgan</span><span>originaldate</span><span> 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AM</span><span>width</span><span> 743</span><span>height</span><span> 959</span><span>"Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey" - "The Star" by Alexander Calder</span><span>originaldate</span><span> 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AM</span><span>width</span><span> 252</span><span>height</span><span> 217</span><span>"Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey" - "Visage" by Pablo Picasso</span><span>originaldate</span><span> 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AM</span><span>width</span><span> 960</span><span>height</span><span> 960</span><span>"Sculptors on Paper" - "Untitled" by Jim Dine</span><span>originaldate</span><span> 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AM</span><span>width</span><span> 198</span><span>height</span><span> 271</span><span>"Sculptors on Paper" - "Untitled" by Jim Dine</span><span>originaldate</span><span> 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AM</span><span>width</span><span> 656</span><span>height</span><span> 960</span><span>"Sculptors on Paper" - "Untitled" by Claes Oldenburg</span><span>originaldate</span><span> 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AM</span><span>width</span><span> 736</span><span>height</span><span> 960</span><span>"Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar, Paintings from 2010-2015" - "I Pose Problems"</span><span>originaldate</span><span> 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AM</span><span>width</span><span> 766</span><span>height</span><span> 960</span><span>"Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar, Paintings from 2010-2015" - "Everything is Nice"</span><span>originaldate</span><span> 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AM</span><span>width</span><span> 430</span><span>orientation</span><span> 1</span><span>height</span><span> 564</span><span>"Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar, Paintings from 2010-2015" - "More Speedy Fruit as Landscape"</span><span>originaldate</span><span> 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AM</span><span>width</span><span> 890</span><span>height</span><span> 960</span><span> "Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions" - "Pink Volcano"</span><span>originaldate</span><span> 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AM</span><span>width</span><span> 640</span><span>height</span><span> 480</span><span> "Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions" - "Lavatory Self-Portrait in the Flemish Style #12"</span><span>originaldate</span><span> 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AM</span><span>width</span><span> 324</span><span>height</span><span> 384</span><span> "Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions" - "Natural Crossdressing"</span><span>originaldate</span><span> 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AM</span><span>width</span><span> 198</span><span>height</span><span> 248</span>

Slideshow of selections from the current exhibitions at the UK Art Museum. 



LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 19, 2015) — The world of sculpture and the work of Wayne Koestenbaum and Nina Katchadourian are currently sharing the spotlight at the University of Kentucky Art Museum. Less than a month remains to take in "Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey," "Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar, Paintings from 2010-2015," "Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions" and "Sculptors on Paper" on display at the museum through Dec. 18. All exhibitions are free and open to the public.


Sculpture Goes Bottoms Up

"Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey" is a wide-ranging exhibition of numerous forms that have been carved, cast or assembled. In varying scales and materials, they are situated on the museum's floor or on pedestals, hung on the wall, or suspended from the ceiling.


Installed in the main gallery of the UK Art Museum with its soaring ceiling height, this exhibition revels in the dialogue between specific sculptural objects: a Native American totem pole (1880-1910) is seen with Peter Forakis’ 1981 horizontal steel "Rainbow II"; Willie Cole’s "Shoonufu Female Figure" cast from high-heeled shoes and Tony Matelli’s insidious "Weed #294" offer representations of human and plant shapes; and a functioning race car made by Lexington artist Federico Pizzurro for his son Mike is seen alongside Joe Goode’s "Coke Bottles and Carton," both produced in the 1960s and celebrating aspects of American desire.


The exhibition also includes work by John Ahearn, El Anatsui, Harry Bertoia, Alexander Calder, Jean Baptiste Carpeaux, Mark Di Suvero, Sol LeWitt, Tony Matelli, Pablo Picasso, Peter Reginato, George Rickey, Lucas Samaras and Rachel Whiteread, who all have helped to clarify and complicate the ways that sculpture can give viewers a complex physical encounter. Their works utilize weight, mass, gravity, color, gesture, movement and sound.


Funding for "Bottoms Up" was provided by the Breeders’ Cup and the Albisetti Exhibition Fund.


From Paper to Form

Jim Dine fell in love with a collection of Greek and Roman sculpture he visited in 1987. The antique figures come to life in the etchings they inspired. Robert Rauschenberg found a stuffed angora goat in a second-hand store, famously put a tire around its middle, and stood it on a painting. "Monogram," as he called it, became his first “combine.” It revolutionized the art world in 1959, but not before he worked out the composition in a series of sketches over several years. Claes Oldenburg found his muse in Mickey Mouse, creating huge sculptures and installations based on America’s favorite rodent.


The work of these and other artists celebrated for their three-dimensional work are featured in "Sculptors on Paper," which illuminates the ways that drawings and prints serve as preliminary or parallel means for sculptural inquiry. Ranging from a watercolor attributed to Auguste Rodin to works by Lee Bontecou, Mark di Suvero, Alberto Giacometti, Richard Hunt, Seymour Lipto, and Richard Serra, this exhibition serves as a two-dimensional companion to "Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey."


Koestenbaum Goes Solo

Acclaimed essayist, poet, cultural critic and artist Wayne Koestenbaum has examined subjects including Andy Warhol, Jackie Onassis, Harpo Marx, opera, fashion, desire and humiliation. In 2010, he took up the paintbrush, and, since then, has produced hundreds of canvases of male portraits and nudes, landscapes and dense abstractions rife with meandering lines, riotous colors and suggestive iconography. One work features a male head looking straight at the viewer with the phrase “I pose problems” written above. This may be true of Koestenbaum’s creative output in art and literature, but it must also be said that he offers outrageously complex and candid revelations about the self and society.


Without any formal training but spurred by his numerous friendships with visual artists and years as a contributing critic to many magazines, Koestenbaum’s painting investigations continue those of modernist forebears like André Derain, Henri Matisse and Alice Neel.


"Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar, Paintings from 2010-2015" is Koestenbaum’s first solo museum exhibition.


Intervening Artistic Expression

Nina Katchadourian pays attention to what most of us miss, improvising with materials she finds close at hand to generate numerous representational acts. When held captive on a long flight, she ducks into the lavatory with her iPhone, fashions a headdress out of a toilet seat cover or paper towels and creates a self-portrait in the Flemish style. Have you ever thought a wooly caterpillar resembles a moustache? Katchadourian does, and adds a black beret to become a classic Parisian artiste in "Natural Crossdressing."


In 2015, Katchadourian has shown video work at the Venice Biennale; installed houses for imaginary birds in the middle of "Manhattan for Drifting in Daylight: Art in Central Park"; discussed the 15th-century painter Hans Memling for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s online series "The Artist Project"; and created an audio tour inspired by a pile of dust as part of the Museum of Modern Art’s "Artists Experiment" series.


Katchadourian’s photographs appear within UK Art Museum's permanent collection reinstallation for fall 2015.


In addition to the seeing the new exhibitions, visitors are now taking advantage of new museum hours. The facility is now open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.


The mission of the UK Art Museum, part of the UK College of Fine Arts, is to promote the understanding and appreciation of art to enhance the quality of life for people of Kentucky through collecting, exhibiting, preserving and interpreting outstanding works of visual art from all cultures. Home to a collection of more than 4,800 objects including American and European paintings, drawings, photographs, prints and sculpture, the Art Museum at UK presents both special exhibitions and shows of work from its permanent collection. 


The UK Art Museum is located in the Singletary Center for the Arts at Rose Street and Euclid Avenue. Admission is free but donations are encouraged. For more information on membership, contact Lyndi VanDeursen at 859-257-8164 or



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

UK College of Education’s Diane Johnson Receives Kentucky Science Teachers Association Award

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 13:03

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 19, 2015) — The University of Kentucky College of Education’s Diane Johnson received the Sherry Fox Distinguished Service Award in the field of science education at the Kentucky Science Teachers Association’s annual conference in Lexington Nov. 5-7.


Johnson is the assistant director of Partnership Institute for Math and Science Education Reform (PIMSER), where she works with a range of partners, including K-12 teachers and administrators from across the state, the Kentucky Department of Education, the Council on Postsecondary Education, and higher education professors.


The Sherry Fox Distinguished Service Award is designed to recognize exemplary science leaders across the state of Kentucky who make significant contributions to science education.


Johnson has spent 35 years as an educator, with most of those years in Lewis County, where she taught science subjects ranging from chemistry to astronomy at Lewis County High School. She was also an instructional supervisor for Lewis County from 2003-2010.


“One accomplishment that makes me glow is having at least one student in every graduating class I taught for a 15-plus year span go into scientific research,” Johnson said. “This has been a source of pride, because the odds of this happening in a poor, rural county are close to zero. Yet, I am grateful that I could play a small part in sparking an interest, making a dream attainable, and cracking the door open for a student to pursue a passion to know, to find, to figure out. “


Over the years, Johnson has demonstrated her commitment to K-12 science education through a variety of leadership roles on both a state and national level.


Johnson is a past president of the Kentucky Science Teachers Association, chaired the regional National Science Teacher Association (NSTA) Conference twice, and served as an author and reviewer for The Science Teacher, a national journal for science educators. She was a part of a Kentucky team that authored three chapters in "Active Chemistry."




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

100 Days Until DanceBlue: A Time to Celebrate

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 12:44

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 19, 2015)  Today marks 100 days until the 2016 DanceBlue Dance Marathon!


The first marathon took place in February 2006 with around 30 student organizations and 180 dancers. The marathon raised $123,323.16, and with that, began creating a culture of support for pediatric cancer patients and their families. It became the most successful student-run philanthropy event in University of Kentucky history in 2006, and has flourished in the decade since.


Now a few months removed from its 10-year anniversary, DanceBlue is still thankful for the time spent dancing.


This year, a record 114 teams have registered for the 2016 marathon in an amazing response to September’s Blitz Week. Throughout the years, these teams have helped build a community that has successfully raised more than $8.2 million for the DanceBlue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic.


But at its center, three words embody the feelings and emotions surrounding the DanceBlue family: For The Kids. The joy we all witness on a child’s face during the holidays is the same joy DanceBluers experience every day from the patients the organization supports at the clinic: the kids. By being For them, DanceBlue aims to celebrate them.


For the next 100 days, DanceBlue will not only celebrate past and present milestones (such as — first, naming, and now redesigning the clinic), but also, the families the organization cares about. That is what FTK means.


To that end, DanceBlue will be outside of White Hall Classroom Building today (with a lot of balloons) and very active on social media for the 100 Days Celebration. Here’s what is planned for you during this exciting time:

·       On Twitter: Two “scavenger hunts” will be occurring each day, and you can win exclusive DanceBlue merchandise.

·       On Facebook: Replace your banner to show that you support the kids.

·       On Instagram: Post pictures from the White Hall table, and DanceBlue will feature them! Plus, participants can win more merchandise.

·       Share your stories on the DanceBlue Blog.


DanceBlue is a yearlong student-run fundraising effort culminating in a 24-hour, no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon. The efforts behind this marathon benefit the Golden Matrix Fund and the DanceBlue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Hematology/Oncology Clinic.


DanceBlue is a program housed in the UK Center for Community Outreach. The CCO seeks to serve, connect and unite the University of Kentucky with the surrounding community in collaborative efforts to promote life-long community service.




MEDIA CONTACT: Katy Bennett or Rebecca Stratton, or, (859) 257-1909/(859) 323-2395 

UKSGA’s All-student Survey Now Live

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 11:25


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 19, 2015) — The University of Kentucky Student Government Association (UKSGA) has released its annual all-student survey to the student body.


SGA Deputy Chief of Staff Rowan Reid, who oversaw the survey’s completion, said, “The all-student survey allows us to understand what’s important to every student on campus, not just those who contact us regularly.  The survey’s results provide SGA with data to ensure student voices are not overlooked when important decisions are being made at the university level.”


The all-student survey addresses a wide variety of topics, including the new alcohol policy, parking, dining, diversity and inclusion, mental health and wellness, housing, quality of classes, quality of advising, tuition, student debt and SGA’s services.


 “The information we receive from the all-student survey will allow us to plan for future goals based on what is most important to the student body,” Austin Mullen, student body president, explained. “It guides us in the right direction when discussing which initiatives to take on next.”


Students are encouraged to complete the survey by Friday, Dec. 18.  Those who complete the survey will also become eligible to win an Apple TV, Overboard 360 or tickets to a Kentucky basketball game.


The mission of the UKSGA is to represent all undergraduate, graduate and professional students enrolled at the university. UKSGA exists to increase student influence over academic policy, provide necessary student services, protect and expand student substantive and procedural rights and to better represent the student body in relations with the faculty, administration, Board of Trustees and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.


For questions or concerns regarding the all-student survey, contact Rowan Reid at




MEDIA CONTACT: Katy Bennett or Rebecca Stratton, or, (859) 257-1909/(859) 323-2395 

Kentucky Blood Donors Lead Going into Day 3

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 08:53

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 18. 2015) — More than 550 Kentucky fans generously donated blood Tuesday during the 28th annual Big Blue Crush and stretched Kentucky’s lead over Tennessee, 1,060 to 753.


“Kentucky fans have a long tradition of saving the lives of Kentucky patients, and we appreciate that they are stepping up again this year,” said Martha Osborne, executive director of marketing and recruitment for Kentucky Blood Center (KBC). “We have three days left in this blood battle, and we know anything can still happen. We hope to see another 1,500 Kentuckians in the next three days in order to meet the holiday season needs of Kentucky hospitals.”


Big Blue Crush continues through Friday.


This yearly competition between Kentucky Blood Center and Medic Regional Blood Center in Knoxville pits fans of the Cats and the Tennessee Volunteers to see who can donate the most blood the week before Thanksgiving. Kentucky leads the competition 14 to 12 with one tie and has won the competition the last five years.


Donors will receive a Big Blue Crush T-shirt and a chance to win tickets to the Kentucky-Louisville football game on Nov. 28.


Blood donors must be 17 years old (16 with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds, be in general good health, show a photo I.D. and meet additional requirements. Sixteen-year-old donors must have a signed parental permission slip, which can be found at


KBC’s five donor centers will be open special hours – 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. – during Crush week. There will also be daily mobile blood drives throughout the region. Donor centers are listed below, and blood drive locations can be found at



Lexington - Beaumont Donor Center

3121 Beaumont Centre Circle


Lexington – Andover Donor Center

3130 Maple Leaf Drive


Louisville – Middletown Donor Center

12905 Shelbyville Road


Pikeville Donor Center

472 S. Mayo Drive


Somerset Donor Center

10 Stonegate Centre (Stoplight 16-A)


About Kentucky Blood Center

KBC, founded in 1968, is the largest independent, full-service, non-profit blood center in Kentucky. Licensed by the FDA, KBC’s sole purpose is to collect, process and distribute blood for patients in Kentucky hospitals.


Every two seconds someone needs blood. It could be a premature infant struggling for life, a firefighter suffering from burns, a neighbor undergoing chemotherapy treatment for leukemia, a truck driver injured in an auto accident or a young student with a congenital blood disorder. It’s for those patients and more that KBC exists.


All blood that is donated with KBC is returned to the Beaumont Donor Center where it is processed, prepared and stored for shipment to Kentucky hospitals.


Blood needs are ongoing. Red cells last only 42 days and must be continually replenished to adequately support Kentucky hospitals. Statistics show that one in seven hospital patients will require blood transfusions during their stay. However, only 37 percent of the population is eligible to donate blood and less than 10 percent does. All blood types are needed, and there is a particular need for type O negative blood since it is the “universal donor” and needed in emergencies when the patient’s blood type is unknown.


The blood already on the shelf is the blood used in an emergency. That’s why KBC is always encouraging people to donate blood.



MEDIA CONTACT: Denise Fields, 859-519-3721; 859-333-2022.

Make a Child’s Holiday Memorable by Participating in UK HealthCare’s Circle of Love

Tue, 11/17/2015 - 15:59

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 18, 2015) — UK HealthCare faculty and staff members will brighten the holidays for children across Central Kentucky by shopping for gifts to go under the Christmas tree this season.


The 2015 Circle of Love gift drive, coordinated by the UK HealthCare Volunteer Services Office, kicks off today with volunteers handing out wish lists for 800 Kentucky children whose families need help during the holiday season. Individual UK HealthCare employees and their families or departments can sponsor a child’s wish list, or multiple wish lists. Wish lists can be picked up at the following locations and times from Nov. 18 to 20, Nov. 23 to 24 and Nov. 30 to Dec. 4:


·      Pavilion H near the gift shop: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

·      Kentucky Clinic near the Wildcat café (third floor): 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

·      Good Samaritan Hospital cafeteria: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.


Gifts must be wrapped and returned with wish list cards on Dec. 7 or Dec. 8. If your wish list was picked-up at the UK Chandler Hospital or Kentucky Clinic, please drop off at the Chandler Hospital North Lobby from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. If your wish list was picked-up at Good Samaritan, please drop-off at the Good Samaritan Administrations Office from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Donors should not include personal notes, photos or any identification with their gifts. Those employees who work off-site or work evening shifts can request a wish list by contacting Volunteer Services at (859) 323-6023.


“Through the generosity and kindness of our employees, we’re able to make the holidays a bit merrier for families who would otherwise be struggling to put gifts under the tree,” Katie Tibbitts, manager of UK HealthCare Volunteer Services said. “We encourage everyone to get into the spirit of giving to make the drive a success again this year.”


On Dec. 11, Santa will help UK HealthCare volunteers load gifts into yellow school buses and vans bound for households needing help in nine Kentucky counties.


Individual gift donations are also accepted. For more information, contact


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,






Campus Community Rallies for the Sixth Anniversary of the Tobacco-free Policy

Tue, 11/17/2015 - 15:20

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 18, 2015) — University of Kentucky students, faculty and staff members will cheer for clear air as the campus celebrates the sixth year of the tobacco-free policy on Nov. 19.


The UK Tobacco-free Task Force, the Tobacco-free Take Action! Ambassador Program, University Health Service, the UK College of Pharmacy, the Student Health Advisory Council and UK Dining will host the annual Tobacco-free Tailgate: The Great American Smokeout celebration from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in front of the Mining and Minerals Research Building on Rose Street. The tailgate includes giveaways, games, music and opportunities to learn about UK’s tobacco-free policy, as well as resources to quit or help someone quit using tobacco. The event is open to any member of the UK community.


UK cheerleaders will bring pep to the tailgate from noon to 1 p.m. The first 100 students to stop by the tailgate will receive a free t-shirt and UK Dining will provide free hot chocolate, s’mores and chili.


In the interest of promoting a healthy place to live, work, and learn for UK students, employees, patients and visitors, UK adopted the tobacco-free policy in 2009. The use of all tobacco products is prohibited on any property that is owned, operated or occupied by UK within Fayette County, which includes buildings, parking structures and lots, sidewalks, streets, and inside vehicles. Tobacco products are defined as all forms of tobacco, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, hookah, smokeless tobacco and electronic smoking devices. Everyone on campus — employees, students, patients, visitors, and vendors —are asked to respect others and adhere to the policy. Those who violate the policy could face corrective action.


This year, the UK Tobacco-free Task Force is recruiting campus-wide volunteers to serve as tobacco-free ambassadors. Tobacco-free Take Action! (TFTA!) is dedicated to helping make campus a healthy place to live, work and learn by promoting compliance with UK's tobacco-free policy. Our first group of volunteers has been identified and training is in process. Anyone interested can sign-up for spring semester. The 30-minute online training required for the program provides information on the policy, addresses how to approach violators of the tobacco-free policy, and how to report violations. To sign up for the volunteer program, go to:


UK continues to offer many options to help employees, students and sponsored dependents quit using tobacco. For more information on quitting, go to


Show your support for the tobacco-free campus on social media this week by using the hashtags #seeclear #seeblue.


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

Sustainability Forum is Dec. 1; Abstracts Due This Friday

Tue, 11/17/2015 - 14:44

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 18, 2015) — The 5th Annual Sustainability Forum, sponsored by the Tracy Farmer Institute for Sustainability and the Environment and the UK Appalachian Center, will take place from 4:30-7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1, at the Hilary J. Boone Center.


The forum will showcase interdisciplinary research in environmental and sustainability science and policy. UK faculty, staff and students conducting research in the areas of environmental science, public and environmental health, economic and social policy, political ecology, and manufacturing and materials science are encouraged to participate in the poster presentation.


Abstracts are due by Friday, Nov. 20. To submit an abstract, complete the form at


The poster presentation is limited to the first 32 abstract submissions. Awards for best posters will be presented to the top graduate and undergraduate student posters.


The Sustainability Forum will also highlight results of the 2014 Sustainability Challenge Grant program, which funded seven sustainability projects across campus and in Lexington. Winners of this year's grants, totaling $200,000 in funding, will be announced during an awards ceremony at 6:30 p.m.   




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

UK College of Law, A&S Team Up To Offer 6-Year BA + JD Program

Tue, 11/17/2015 - 12:32

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 18, 2015) — A new collaboration between the University of Kentucky College of Law and College of Arts and Sciences will allow students seeking a law degree to save time and money by graduating in six years instead of seven.


The UK BLUE (Bachelor-to-Law Undergraduate Education) program is open to incoming freshmen who know early on they plan to pursue a law degree. The program reduces total tuition costs by one year and exposes students to the practice and study of law early on in their undergraduate career.


"For highly motivated, exceptional students, this is a targeted pathway to help them reach their career goals," said Sarah Ballard, an academic advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences.


Participating students will complete their undergraduate coursework in three years and begin law school curriculum, pending admission to the UK College of Law, in the fourth year. Students will still receive their bachelor's degree in May of year four. Following two additional years of law courses, they will receive their juris doctor degree in May of year six.


"Over the course of their initial three years, students will also be offered enrichment activities in the College of Law that acquaint them with the legal, clinical, community service, and career opportunities that a law degree makes possible," Ballard said.


A number of graduates with degrees in English, history and political science matriculate to the UK College of Law. In the fall of 2015, approximately 40 students from these majors enrolled at UK College of Law. For this reason, the BLUE program will initially offer admitted students the opportunity to major in one of those three areas of study.


A minimum ACT score of 29 or SAT score of 1290 (critical reading and mathematics scores only) and a minimum high school unweighted GPA of 3.5 is necessary to be considered.


The application deadline for fall 2016 is Dec. 1.


“The BLUE program was designed with students in mind," said David A. Brennen, dean of the UK College of Law. "The program allows students to save money in a time when education costs continue to rise. Finishing the undergraduate degree and J.D. degree in less time means less tuition being paid by students, while concurrently allowing them to get out into the workforce a year earlier. This program, coupled with UK Law’s ranking as the No. 4 Best Value Law School in the country, makes UK Law a great choice in legal education.”


For more information, visit




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

UK Chorale, Lexington Singers to Perform 'Requiem' World Premiere

Tue, 11/17/2015 - 12:09

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 18, 2015) — The University of Kentucky Chorale will join forces with The Lexington Singers for the world premiere of local composer Gregory Partain’s masterpiece "Requiem." The ensembles will join their voices in song 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20, at Singletary Center for the Arts.


Conducted by Jefferson Johnson, director of UK Choral Activities and music director of The Lexington Singers, "'Requiem' and Other Sacred Works" will feature the combined voices of the two choral groups along with soloists and a professional orchestra.


Gregory Partain is professor of music at Transylvania University and has performed as piano recitalist, concerto soloist and chamber music collaborator throughout the United States, as well as in Germany, Poland, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Russia and Greece. "Requiem" was commissioned by the Kentucky Music Teachers Association in conjunction with the Music Teachers National Association. Originally, "Requiem" was an entirely a cappella piece, however, Partain’s newest incarnation is scored for chorus and orchestra with an additional movement for instruments alone.


"The work is by turns beautiful and dissonant, soothing and gut wrenching, powerful and intimate. It is an honor to premiere this finished masterwork and an exciting challenge to perform it," Johnson said.


The UK Chorale is the premier mixed choral ensemble at UK School of Music in the UK College of Fine Arts. It consists mostly of upperclassmen and graduate students. While the majority of singers are music majors, there are a number of other academic disciplines represented within the ensemble. The 40-voice group prides itself in performing a wide variety of choral literature from Renaissance to 21st century. Most recently, the UK Chorale has performed Mozart’s "Requiem" with the UK Symphony Orchestra and the live score to Stanley Kubrick’s iconic film, "2001: A Space Odyssey." The UK Chorale was the first non-professional chorus in the world to perform the challenging Kubrick film score in its entirety.


The Lexington Singers add this premiere to their long tradition of debuting major works, including Rollo Dilworth’s "In the Spirit of Reconciliation," Rene Clausen’s "Celebration Canticles" and Joseph Baber’s "An American Requiem," among others.


"'Requiem' and Other Sacred Works" kicks off the 57th season for The Lexington Singers. This season, the singers are celebrating local talent. In addition to Partain’s "Requiem," the annual performance of George Frideric Handel’s "Messiah" will once again feature world-renowned local soloist and UK alumnus Gregory Turay. The spring will feature a performance of local composer Angela Rice’s oratorio, "Thy Will be Done."


Tickets for "'Requiem' and Other Sacred Works" range from $9 to $20 and can be purchased from the Singletary Center box office at 859-257-4929,, or in person at the box office.


For more information about this concert or The Lexington Singers, visit  



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

'Appalachia in the Bluegrass' Series Closes With Dulcimer Artist Don Pedi

Tue, 11/17/2015 - 11:26


Don Pedi performing earlier this year in Townsend, Tennessee. 


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 18, 2015) — The 2015 "Appalachia in the Bluegrass" concert series will end this week with the sweet sounds of the dulcimer in a performance by celebrated musician Don Pedi. The free public concert will begin noon Friday Nov. 20, in the Niles Gallery of the John Jacob Niles Center for American Music, located in the University of Kentucky Lucille C. Little Fine Arts Library and Learning Center.


A talented dulcimer player, who grew up in Chelsea, Massachusetts, Don Pedi was born to a musical family. Pedi's grandfather played guitar, mandolin and banjo, his uncle sang and played music for a living, and his father was a talented singer. He eventually got involved with the folk music scene himself in the early 60s. It wasn't until 1964, however, when Pedi first laid eyes on a dulcimer at a live performance by Richard Farina. The sound of the dulcimer and a conversation with Farina is what sparked an interest and made him want to play the instrument himself.


Contemporary performers like Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, Patrick Sky, Joan Baez and others are what attracted Pedi to the Newport Folk Festival. It was there where he was exposed to various traditional musicians like Frank Proffitt, Doc Watson, Mississippi John Hurt, Almeda Riddle and others, who would become a major influence on his musical tastes.


By 1966 Pedi started traveling, he lived for various periods of time in different parts of the country. In 1973, while living in Colorado's Rocky Mountains, Pedi met Tad Wright and Keither Zimmerman, musicians from Asheville, North Carolina. After hearing Pedi play, they invited him to join them. He took them up on the offer and together they drove to North Carolina. After Pedi's arrival in Asheville he instantly fell in love with the place. Ever since then he has lived in and around the area.


Since settling in Western North Carolina, Pedi has been recognized as the man who could "really play" a dulcimer. His music has broken new ground and cleared a path for others. In Pedi's hands, the dulcimer has been accepted as an instrument well suited to playing traditional southern dance music. This was at a time when most old time musicians thought a dulcimer should be used for decoration.


In 1991, Pedi and his wife Jean moved to a little farm in the mountains of Madison County, North Carolina, an area rich in traditional music and customs. Pedi is still performing and making music there, his most recent recording is "Stranger on a Mule" with acclaimed fiddler Bruce Greene.


The Appalachia in the Bluegrass concert series celebrates the old time roots of American folk music by featuring a diverse range of traditional musical expression. The concert series showcases 12 different artists, duos and groups from Southern Appalachia ranging from artists straight off their front porch to those who have earned international acclaim.


The John Jacob Niles Center for American Music, host of the concert series, is a collaborative research and performance center maintained by the UK College of Fine ArtsUK School of Music and UK Libraries.


For more information on the Appalachia in the Bluegrass concert series or the concert featuring Don Pedi, contact Ron Pen, director of the Niles Center, by email to or visit the website



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


Call for Enrichment Proposals to be Funded by the Donovan Memorial Endowment

Mon, 11/16/2015 - 18:33

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 17, 2015) — Faculty, staff and students at the University of Kentucky are invited to submit proposals for the 2015-2016 academic year for projects to be funded by the Herman Lee and Nell Stuart Donovan Memorial Endowment.  Qualifying projects should provide for the creation of an atmosphere of culture and enrich educational opportunities by developing an appreciation of culture and beauty in the environment in which students live and study.


The endowment was created by a permanent trust in 1963 by former UK president Herman Lee Donovan and calls for "no part of this endowment ever be spent for ordinary recurring expenses of operation or maintenance, but that it be spent for what are so frequently thought of as the luxuries of an institution, such as beautiful books, for the promotion of musical programs, for acquiring beautiful pictures, for the production of flowers and shrubs, or for any investment that will promote an appreciation of the lovely and beautiful in the environment in which students live and study.”


Awards may range from $1,000 to $15,000.  Anyone interested can download a copy of the application from the Office of the Treasurer website at  or call Mary Fister-Tucker, chair of the Advisory Committee for the Donovan Trust, at 257-2956.


Applications must be submitted by Dec. 21, 2015.  The Advisory Committee for The Donovan Trust will consider all eligible proposals. In some cases the Advisory Committee may request a more detailed proposal or request the applicant to make a presentation on the project. Applicants will be contacted if additional information or a presentation is necessary

Submit Abstract for NCUR 2016 by Dec. 2

Mon, 11/16/2015 - 17:59

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 17, 2015) — University of Kentucky undergraduates participating in research projects are encouraged to submit an abstract for the 2016 National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) — the annual student conference dedicated to undergraduate research in all fields of study. The call for abstracts will remain open through Dec. 2.


Students involved in research or creative activities on campus are strongly encouraged to submit abstracts of their work for this highly valuable opportunity. Information about how to apply can be found at


"NCUR is the premier venue for undergraduates to present their research and creative activity, and to network with other students across the nation and beyond,” said Diane Snow, director of UK’s Office of Undergraduate Research. “UK, a former two-time host of NCUR, is an enthusiastic supporter of this high impact experience for our students, and strongly encourages all interested students to submit applications.”


The 2016 NCUR will be held at the University of North Carolina-Asheville April 7-9, 2016.  


For more information, call the UK Office of Undergraduate Research


The UK Office of Undergraduate Research is part of the Academy of Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Undergraduate Education at UK.

UK HealthCare Earns ‘Top Performer on Key Quality Measures’ Recognition from The Joint Commission

Mon, 11/16/2015 - 17:35

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 17, 2015) – UK HealthCare has been recognized as a 2014 Top Performer on Key Quality Measures in seven categories by The Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of health care organizations in the United States.


UK HealthCare — which includes the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, UK Good Samaritan Hospital and Kentucky Children's Hospital — was recognized as part of The Joint Commission’s 2015 annual report “America’s Hospitals: Improving Quality and Safety,” for attaining and sustaining excellence in accountability measure performance for:

  • Heart Attacks
  • Heart Failure
  • Pneumonia
  • Surgical Care
  • Children's Asthma
  • Stroke
  • Perinatal Care

UK HealthCare is one of only 1,043 hospitals out of more than 3,300 eligible hospitals in the United States to achieve the 2014 Top Performer distinction.


The Top Performer program recognizes hospitals for improving performance on evidence-based interventions that increase the chances of healthy outcomes for patients with certain conditions. The performance measures included in the recognition program including heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, surgical care, children’s asthma, inpatient psychiatric services, stroke, venous thromboembolism, perinatal care, immunization, tobacco treatment and substance use.


To be a 2014 Top Performer, hospitals had to meet three performance criteria based on 2014 accountability measure data, including:

  • Achieve cumulative performance of 95 percent or above across all reported accountability measures;
  • Achieve performance of 95 percent or above on each and every reported accountability measure with at least 30 denominator cases; and
  • Have at least one core measure set that had a composite rate of 95 percent or above, and within that measure set, achieve a performance rate of 95 percent or above on all applicable individual accountability measures.

“Delivering the right treatment in the right way at the right time is a cornerstone of high-quality health care. I commend the efforts of UK HealthCare for their excellent performance on the use of evidence-based interventions,” said Dr. Mark R. Chassin, president and CEO, The Joint Commission.


“Quality and safety is vital to our success at UK HealthCare in providing the best care for patients across the Commonwealth and beyond," said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs. "This recognition is an acknowledgement of the commitment and dedication of our staff working hard day in and day out."


For more information about the Top Performer program, visit


MEDIA CONTACT:  Kristi Lopez, (859) 323-6363,

Organ Donors Honored in Annual UK HealthCare/KODA Gift of Life Celebration

Mon, 11/16/2015 - 16:24

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 17, 2015) – At age 16, Greenville, Ky. native Emily Austin Rhoads went to get her driver's license, just like any other teenager. When asked about signing up for the Kentucky Organ Donor Registry, she agreed to join without a second thought.


"At the DMV, they asked if she wanted to become an organ donor, and she said, 'Why wouldn't we do that?'" her mother, Martha, recalls. It was typical of Emily's selfless nature.


"She was beautiful inside and out," Martha said.


Last year, a car accident tragically cut short Emily's life at age 27. Honoring her wishes, Emily's heart, liver, and kidney were donated to patients in need of a transplant.


Meanwhile, Tennessee native Becky Hayes suffered from an inherited liver cancer, causing her to spend 15-20 hours a day in bed. She worried she wouldn't live long enough to spend time with her youngest grandchildren.


On Aug. 18, 2014, Becky got word that a matching liver was on its way. After a successful surgery at the University of Kentucky Transplant Center, she recovered well and says her health has dramatically improved.


"It's made my entire life better," Becky said. "I feel like the most blessed woman in the world."


This past Saturday, Nov. 14, Becky got the opportunity to thank her donor family in person. She and Martha – along with several of their family members – attended the fourth annual Gift of Life Celebration together. Hosted by UK HealthCare and Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA), the event celebrates organ donors with a special ceremony and the unveiling of their names on the Gift of Life Memorial Wall, located prominently inside UK Chandler Hospital's Pavilion A.


Every year, the wall is updated to honor both new donors and those who have donated in years past. This year, 41 names were added to the wall. To date, more than 360 donors have been honored on the memorial wall.


“Creating a lasting tribute to those who have given hope and new life through donation has been a dream of UK and KODA for many years,” said Donna Slone, client services coordinator for UK HealthCare and KODA. “There have been nearly 1,000 donors at UK since transplantation began here in 1964. Some have chosen to remain anonymous, but we hope other families of UK donors that we have not reached will see the Gift of Life wall and allow us to add those names in the future.”


In addition to the official recognition of donors, the ceremony also featured a vocal performance by KODA Client Services Coordinator Diana Thacker as well as remarks from liver recipient Amelia Brown Wilson, UK HealthCare's Chief Administrative Officer Ann Smith, and Dr. Andrew Bernard, UK's director of trauma and acute care surgery. Bernard, also the chair of the Donation and Transplantation Action Council, emphasized the importance of organ donation in Kentucky and beyond.


“UK HealthCare is both a major trauma center and a transplant center, so we see each day how donation and transplantation touch the lives of fellow Kentuckians in very remarkable ways,” Bernard said. “Each donor family’s generosity and their loved one’s gifts are represented in the more than 28,000 lives saved each year in the United States through transplantation.”


Every year, an estimated 6,000 people die while waiting for an organ transplant. More than 122,000 Americans are currently waiting for donated organs, including more than 1,000 people in Kentucky. Their names are on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) waiting list. The level of necessity, blood type, and size are among several criteria that determine who can receive a donated organ. One individual donor can provide organs and tissue for nearly 50 people in need.


Though honoring Emily's legacy is emotionally tough, Martha says that looking for the good that has come from Emily's donations helps the family heal.


"We prefer to remember Emily's life, not her death," she said. "You look for the positive things that you can find. We're happy that other people have been able to benefit from this."


Becky says that the gift she received has given her a second chance at life – she and her husband had planned to go to Paris for an anniversary trip that was cancelled when she became ill. Next year, they have plans to finally take that trip, an opportunity that seemed unthinkable five years ago. Attending the ceremony with Martha gave her a chance to show her profound thanks.


"She saved my life, and I'm so beholden to [Emily and the Rhoads family]," Becky said. "I wanted to honor her – she gave me the gift of life, and how can you thank anyone for that?"




Although hospitals are obligated by law to identify potential donors and allow the organ donor procurement program to inform families of their right to donate, anyone can sign up to become an organ donor by joining the Kentucky Organ Donor Registry. The registry is a safe and secure electronic database where a person’s wishes regarding donation will be carried out as requested.


To join the registry, visit or sign up when you renew your driver’s license.  The donor registry enables family members to know that you chose to save and enhance lives through donation. Kentucky’s “First Person Consent” laws mean that the wishes of an individual on the registry will be carried out as requested. 


If your loved one was an organ donor at UK Chandler Hospital and you would like to have him or her honored on the Gift of Life wall in the future, contact the KODA office at UK HealthCare at (859) 323-7343.


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

Nomination Time for Ken Freedman Advisor Award

Mon, 11/16/2015 - 14:56

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 18, 2015) — The University of Kentucky Advising Network is now accepting nominations from undergraduate students for the Ken Freedman Outstanding Advisor Award. The award is designed to recognize outstanding service in the field of undergraduate academic advising for both faculty and professional advisors. Nominations are accepted online on the UK Advising Network website.


The recipients of the Ken Freedman Award will receive a $500 travel grant from the Division of Undergraduate Education and will be recognized at a luncheon Feb. 12, 2016. All students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to participate in the nominating process. Nominees can also be selected from special programs outside of UK's colleges, such as CARES (Center for Academic Resources and Enrichment Services), the Honors Program or Education Abroad. Enter only one nominee for each category (faculty or professional advisor). You can view a list of past recipients on the Advising Network website.   


The nomination deadline is Friday, Dec. 11.


The advisor award is named for Ken Freedman, who served as a professional advisor at UK for 15 years prior to his death in 2001. Freedman was one of the founders of the UK Advising Network in 1986 and instrumental in advising leadership on campus in the 1990s.


Academic advising is integral to fulfilling the teaching and learning mission of higher education. Through academic advising, students learn to become members of their higher education community, to think critically about their roles and responsibilities as students, and to prepare to be educated citizens of a democratic society and a global community.


Recipients of the Ken Freedman Outstanding Advisor Award will be nominated by UK for the Region 3 Excellence in Advising Award and for the National Academic Advising Association Outstanding Advisor Award. The National Academic Advising Association (NACADA), founded in 1979, promotes the quality of academic advising in institutions of higher education. NACADA is dedicated to the support and professional growth of academic advisors, administrators and the advising profession. Through its publications and conferences, NACADA provides a forum for discussion, debate and the exchange of ideas regarding the role of advising in higher education.


The UK Advising Network is sponsored by the Division of Undergraduate Education. For more information, visit



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

Lexington Venture Club Recognizes Entrepreneurs; Honors UK's Harvey

Mon, 11/16/2015 - 14:55

LEXINGTON, KY. (Nov 17, 2015) — Lexington’s fifth annual Global Entrepreneurship Week kicked off Monday, Nov. 16, evening with the Lexington Venture Club (LVC) announcing that the Central Kentucky entrepreneurial community created 280 new jobs and raised $50.6 million in capital funds in Fiscal Year 2015.


The companies, employing a total of 952 people, reported an average salary of $76,929 for full-time jobs. They represent industry sectors in biotechnology, advanced manufacturing, e-commerce, independent game development, IT and software development, energy technologies and business services — further demonstrating Lexington’s position as a leading location for high-growth, high-wage, technology-based jobs. 


“The funding and jobs numbers clearly demonstrate the continued growth of the Lexington region’s startup companies,” said Warren Nash, the director of the Lexington Office of the Kentucky Innovation Network, part of the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship within the University of Kentucky's Gatton College of Business and Economics. “These companies are in turn, creating high-paying, high-tech jobs and also producing revenue that is spurring additional economic growth for the region.”


The LVC also recognized recipients of the Lexington eAchievers Award for excellence in entrepreneurship. Twenty-two startup companies in the Bluegrass Region were honored with the eAchiever award for receiving at least $1 million dollars in funding and/or creating five new full-time jobs in fiscal year 2015. 


The companies that received the eAchiever award include: Care Team Solutions; CirrusMio; Coldstream Laboratories, Inc.; CrossCoat Medical; Gun.; Hera BioLabs; Intralink Spine; Invenio Therapeutics; MakeTime; MEP Equine Solutions; Mercury Data Systems, Inc.; MosquitoMate, Inc.; nfant; nGimat, LLC; OuiBox; PDx Biotech; Seikowave; Summit Biosciences Inc.; Transposagen; Twin Star TDS; VeBridge; and Vindico Nanobio Technology Inc.


Catalyzing on this opportunity to recognize innovation in our community, LVC also unveiled its new brand and direction, “SPARK.” Building on the LVC’s long-time role to help launch promising business ventures, SPARK’s mission is to provide a forum that fosters sharing between entrepreneurs, businesses, investors and professional services providers. SPARK will continue to have luncheons focused on the entrepreneurial community in addition to networking events, open coffees and business showcases.


In addition to the eAchiever awards, the BBDP gave the inaugural Harvey Award, which will be given annually to an individual or organization that has made a significant impact on the entrepreneurial community. The first recipient of this award, for which it is named, is Dean Harvey, who is the executive director of the UK Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship. Harvey has been a tireless supporter of UK’s commercialization efforts and the startup community.


Some highlights of Harvey’s tenure at UK include:

·         A co-founder of the Lexington Venture Club in 2002.

·         A co-founder of the Bluegrass Angels group established in 2004, which has now grown to a membership of close to 60 accredited investors.

·         Instrumental in the establishment of the Bluegrass Angel Venture Funds I and II.

·         One of the founding partners of the nationally recognized Bluegrass Business Development Partnership established in 2007.

·         Instrumental in the establishment and launch this past fall of the UK Venture Studio within the Gatton College of Business and Economics. 


The Lexington Venture Club, founded in 2002, connects great ideas, interested investors and business resources to promote a strong economy in Lexington. The group is managed by Commerce Lexington Inc., and the Lexington Office of the Kentucky Innovation Network, which is a part of University of Kentucky’s Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship, within the Gatton College of Business and Economics.


The Lexington Office of the Kentucky Innovation Network conducts an annual survey of these early-stage companies.  The results are based upon self-reported data for July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015. This year 133 companies responded to the survey, offering a 68 percent response rate from the more than 200 Bluegrass Business Development Partnership (BBDP) clients.


For information about the event and Lexington Venture Club, please visit or




MEDIA CONTACTS: Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200; Warren Nash, 859-257-6871; Hannah Huggins Crumrine, 859-226-1631.

VIDEO: Cardiovascular Research Is Personal for UK's Lisa Cassis

Mon, 11/16/2015 - 14:24

'"see discovery:" The People Behind Our Research' is produced by UKNow and REVEAL to highlight the stories of our researchers and what motivates them to ask the questions that lead to discovery. 


Video Produced by UK Public Relations & Marketing and UK Research Media (REVEAL).  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. (Nov. 18, 2015) —  For University of Kentucky Vice President for Research Lisa Cassis the drive to conduct meaningful research is personal.


“You don’t go into it for the money, you go into it because you want to help people,” Cassis said.


The longtime UK professor chose to devote her career to cardiovascular research after watching her father battle heart disease for nearly 30 years. He suffered his first heart attack at age 51, went through three open heart surgeries, and was able to live until age 80 by managing his diet. However, Cassis says his lipid problems kept coming back no matter what he did.


“I wanted to know why we aren’t able to help someone like him,” she said.


Now, with more than 26 years at UK, Cassis has made many important discoveries in cardiovascular research, including a link between obesity and health problems like high blood pressure. By studying the renin angiotensin system, which helps control blood pressure and fluid in the body, Cassis and her team were able to determine how the overproduction of fat cells contribute to high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and heart failure.


More recently, Cassis has begun studying sex chromosomes and their contribution to the vascular disease of aneurysms.


“Females are less likely to get aneurysms than men, and I’m trying to figure out why that is,” she said. 


Her findings over the last year suggest that the introduction of male sex chromosomes in biological females could raise the risk of aneurysm. Cassis says this work may have a broader impact than she initially thought.


“We’ve become more aware in this country of gender and gender identity,” said Cassis. “From my perspective, as a cardiovascular researcher, the process of seeking one’s gender is taking certain types of sex hormones to promote the outcome that you would like for that gender. My concern is how that therapy will influence that person’s cardiovascular health.”


Cassis hopes her contribution will help provide knowledge to people as they seek their own gender identity, so that they may understand different types of approaches and clinical care they may need.


At the end of the day, Cassis just wants to improve lives by doing what she loves most.


“I love trying to come up with a question and design an approach to tackle the question,” she said.


About Lisa Cassis

Lisa Cassis earned a bachelor's degree in pharmacy and a Ph.D. in pharmacology from West Virginia University, followed by postdoctoral positions as an Alexander Von Humboldt Fellow in Pharmacology at Wurzburg, West Germany, and within the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Virginia. Cassis joined the faculty at UK in 1988, and is currently a faculty member within the Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences, Saha Cardiovascular Research Center, the Graduate Center for Toxicology, the Barnstable Brown Diabetes and Obesity Center, and the College of Pharmacy.


Research within the Cassis laboratory has been continuously supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for more than 27 years, contributing to more than 130 scholarly publications. She has mentored many scientists, been the recipient of national and local research awards, and served for 10 years as program director of an NIH Training Grant in Nutritional Sciences. She currently serves as program director for an NIH grant that supports the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) focusing on obesity and cardiovascular diseases.


As vice president for research, Cassis reports directly to the president and administers UK’s nearly $285 million research enterprise that has an annual economic impact on the state of more than $500 million. Cassis oversees research proposal development, grants and contracts administration, federal relations, human subjects protection, 10 non-degree granting and multidisciplinary research centers, and an array of shared-use core facilities that serve UK researchers.


The University of Kentucky is one of only eight universities in the country with the full range of undergraduate, graduate, professional, and medical programs on one contiguous campus. That range of programs — world-class poets and writers working minutes away from nationally renowned researchers in cancer and energy — enlivens interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary initiatives in learning and discovery. UK is currently one of only 22 public institutions with a trifecta of federal designations of excellence — for aging, in cancer and in translational science.


This video feature is part of a new monthly series called, ‘“see discovery:” The People Behind Our Research.’  The videos, produced by UKNow and REVEAL, will highlight the important work being conducted at the University of Kentucky by telling the stories of our researchers.  The idea is to discover and share what motivates our faculty, staff and students to ask the questions that lead to discovery. 


Since this is a monthly feature on UKNow, we invite you to submit future ideas.  If you know of a researcher who you think should be featured, please email us




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


VIDEO CONTACTS:  Amy Jones-Timoney, 859-257-2940,

or Alicia Gregory, 859-257-2980,




Glen Campbell's Physician, Dr. Ron Petersen, to Speak at Annual Sanders-Brown Center on Aging Symposium

Mon, 11/16/2015 - 14:23

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 17, 2015) — Many people think there's never been a darker time for Alzheimer's disease (AD).


There's no cure, they point out. The field is littered with treatment failures; the last time the FDA approved a drug to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease was 2003. 


Dr. Ronald Petersen is adamant that this is wrong-headed thinking. "We learn even in failure," he said, "and we know more than ever before about how and when the AD disease process begins."


Petersen is the director of the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Center and the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging, a population-based study of aging with a cohort of more than 2,800 men and women. The study generates a massive amount of data that might help tease out the causes, markers and subtle signs of AD.


Petersen is coming to UK as the keynote speaker for the community session of the fifth annual Sanders-Brown Center on Aging's Markesbery Symposium on Nov. 21 to reinforce the idea that there is hope.


He will bring with him a clip from the documentary "Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me." Petersen has helped care for the country music star since he was diagnosed with AD in 2011.


"Glen Campbell's situation is a terrific example of both how frustrating and confusing AD can be, but also how the support of family and others can make the best of a bad situation," said Petersen, who is professor of Neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. 


The title of Petersen's presentation for the Markesbery Symposium's community session is "How early can we diagnose Alzheimer's disease?" In addition to the Glen Campbell clip, he'll share the story of a 53-year old woman recently diagnosed with AD.


"We've made great strides in the last decade or so, and are now able to detect the disease earlier than we formerly could," said Petersen. "While we currently have very little in the form of drug therapies to treat AD once it's diagnosed, we still encourage an early diagnosis to allow for lifestyle modifications and planning for the future."


The research community is focused on biomarkers as a means to that end. Biomarkers are biological hallmarks of disease: the urine contains hints that a patient has diabetes, for example, or the blood can tell someone whether they perhaps have prostate cancer.


(Sanders-Brown researchers have also been looking into biomarkers for AD. For the story click here)


Identifying AD's current biomarkers — amyloid and tau — require advanced imaging techniques or lumbar punctures for an accurate diagnosis.  The hope, says Petersen, is that a simpler test — blood or urine, perhaps — will be developed to reveal changes in the brain before irreversible cognitive decline has begun.


Also on Saturday, a research highlights session with moderator Fred Schmitt and researchers from Sanders-Brown: Erin Abner, Steve Scheff, Donna Wilcock, and Greg Jicha — will present the latest findings on research into age-related dementias and answer questions from the audience.


On Friday, Nov. 20 is the Markesbery Symposium's scientific session, with a poster presentation and a keynote address by Dr. Sam Gandy, Ph.D., of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who will discuss new concepts in the development of therapeutics for AD.  Sanders-Brown researchers Steve Estus, Elizabeth Head, Mark Lovell, and Dick Kryscio will also discuss their research at the session. Petersen will be presenting as well. 


"We are fortunate to have accomplished scientists like Drs. Petersen and Gandy here to complement the work of our own researchers for this very important weekend," said Linda Van Eldik, Ph.D., director of the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging. "The Markesbery Symposium has traditionally been a time when researchers convene to share their ideas about the diagnosis and treatment of age-related dementias like Alzheimer's disease, and from those conversations often come new collaborations and meaningful progress."


Both sessions are free and open to the public, however, registration is required.  For more information on registration call (859) 323-6040, email, or go to



Scientific session: Nov. 20, 2015

11 a.m.- 4 p.m.

University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital Pavilion A auditorium


Community session: Nov. 21, 2015

8:30 a.m. - noon

Lexington Convention Center Bluegrass Ballroom

(Free breakfast provided)


The symposium is named in honor and memory of the late Dr. William R. Markesbery, founding director of the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Center at UK. Dr. Markesbery’s legacy of groundbreaking research at the Center on Aging has formed the bedrock for the quest to understand and treat Alzheimer’s disease and to improve the quality of life of the elderly.


The Sanders‐Brown Center on Aging (SBCoA) was established in 1979, and received funding as one of the original ten National Institutes of Health Alzheimer’s Disease Centers in 1985. Internationally acclaimed, the SBCoA is recognized for its contributions to the fight against brain diseases associated with aging.


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