Campus News

KIPRC Urges Construction Workers to Stand Down for Safety

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 17:24

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,

Markey, LLS Host Fourth Annual 'Meet the Researchers Day'

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 15:32

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

Wildcat Wheels Now Accepting Bicycle Donations

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 14:25

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.



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

Earthquake Prompts UK Students From Nepal to Mobilize

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 11:13

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.”

Artificial Sweeteners: Zero Doesn't Really Mean Zero

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 10:58

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.

STEMCats End Spring Semester Strong with Research

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 09:48

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,

WUKY's 'UK Perspectives' Features UK's VP for Institutional Diversity

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 18:37

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


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

Portion of University Court Closed May 4-6

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 18:25

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 or with the free Transloc app. Riders can view the actual location of Lextran buses with the MyStop Mobile iPhone app or at

UK, Ziliak Working to Battle Kentucky's Poverty, Improve Nutrition

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 16:14




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.







MEDIA CONTACTS:  Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200/; Alicia Gregory, 859-257-2980/


CAFE Bowl on May 3 Caps Unique Experience for Faculty, Staff

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 14:29

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;

Gill Heart Institute's Walk With a Doc is Back

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 14:14

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.


No registration is required, but you can sign up to receive email reminders at:


"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.

Kentucky Derby Blooms With UK Connections

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 14:13

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.

Tom Hammond


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;

Sanders-Brown "Mind Matters" Health Fair is May 18

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 13:49

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 1, 2015) - University of Kentucky's Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (SBCoA) will be holding its seventh annual "Mind Matters" health fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., May 18 at the Fayette County Extension Office, 1140 Red Mile Place, Lexington.


The focus of this year's event is proper nutrition for a healthy brain, providing information on how diet can help promote healthy brain aging and prevent age-related brain disease. There will be free 'brain healthy' food provided by Chef Ouita Michel as well as live cooking demonstrations.


The event will also feature interactive exhibits, health and memory screenings, and presentations about healthy brain aging, Alzheimer's and music therapy.


The event is free of charge and open to the public. For more information contact Sarah Tarrant at (859) 323-1331.


The Sanders-Brown Center on Aging is one of the world's leading research centers on age-related diseases. SBCoA improves the health of the elderly through research, education and outreach programs related to understanding the brain's aging process and managing age-related cognitive impairment. 

UK Voices Dominate at NATS Regional

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 13:33

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 1, 2015) — Many University of Kentucky School of Music students took home honors, including wins in 10 categories, at the 2015 Mid-South Region of the National Association of Teachers of Singing Inc. (NATS) competition held April 17-18, at UK. The event featured 261 vocalists from 30 schools, universities and private studios in Kentucky and Tennessee competing.


The 10 UK Opera Theatre students who took first place in their divisions at the NATS competition are:

· vocal performance and music education sophomore Willnard Anderson, from Florissant, Missouri, who won the Sophomore Men Division;

· doctoral candidate Shareese Arnold, from Lexington, who won the Post Advanced Division;

· vocal performance senior Gabrielle Baker, from Lexington, who won the Advanced Women Division;

· vocal performance freshman Clark Davis, from Lexington, who won the Freshman Women Division;

· vocal performance and music education freshman Blake Denson, from Paducah, Kentucky, who won the Freshman Men Division;

· graduate student Brittany Jones, from Louisville, Kentucky, who won the Adult Intermediate Division;

· graduate student Christopher Kenney, from Fargo, North Dakota, who won the Advanced Men Division;

· vocal performance senior Laura Salyer, from Lexington, who won the Senior Women Division;

· vocal performance junior Mary Catherine Wright, from Lexington, who won the Junior Women Division; and

· music education sophomore Joseph Wrightson, from Lexington, who won the Music Theater Underclass Division.


Anderson, Barker, Davis and Wright study voice under Everett McCorvey, director of UK Opera Theatre and the OperaLex Endowed Chair in Opera Studies. Kenney studies under Endowed Chair, Professor of Voice Cynthia Lawrence. Arnold studies under Angelique Clay, associate professor of voice. Denson and Wrightson study under Dennis Bender, associate professor of voice. Jones studies under Noemi Lugo, professor of voice.


In addition to the 10 wins, UK opera students took home 14 second place and third place finishes at the NATS Mid-South Region. Those students and honors are:

· Jonathan Adams, third place in the Junior Men Division;

· Jenna Day, third place in the Music Theater Underclass Division; 

· Alyssa Marie Detterich, third place in the Junior Women Division; 

· Liz Frodge, second place in the Junior Women Division; 

· Wesley Hammond, third place in the Music Theater Upperclass Division;

· Caitlyn Howard, second place in the Advanced Women Division;

· Henry Huhtulag, third place in the Freshman Men Division; 

· Thabang Masango, second place in the Adult Intermediate Division;

· Steven  Olson, third place in the Men Sophomore Division;

· Michael Pandolfo, second place in the Freshman Men Division;

· Maria Daniela Ruiz, third place in the Freshman Women Division; 

· Hunter Shaner, second place in the Men Sophomore Division;

· Maggie Smith, second place in the Senior Women Division; and  

· Mary Catherine Wright, second place in the Music Theater Upperclass Division.


Accompanying UK's finalists at the competition were Suna Avci-Gunther, coach at the Academy for Creative Excellence and assistant music director of Schmidt Opera Outreach Program; William Cooper, UK alumna Maris Deddens; Maureen Howell; Cliff Jackson; Tedrin Blair Lindsay, lecturer and vocal coach; doctoral candidate Yuri Kim; doctoral candidate Lucia Marin; Nan McSwain, lecturer and vocal coach; Lynn Vera; and music education sophomore Wurile Wang.


NATS encourages the highest standards of the vocal art and of ethical principles in the teaching of singing and promotes vocal education and research at all levels, both for the enrichment of the general public and for the professional advancement of the talented. Founded in 1944, NATS is the largest association of teachers of singing in the world and boasts more than 6,500 members in the United States, Canada and more than 25 other countries around the world.


The UK School of Music at the UK College of Fine Arts has achieved awards and national and international recognition for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as for music education, composition, theory and music history.



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


Student Center and Alumni Gym Parking Lots Closing May 17

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 13:06

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 30, 2015) — As part of the upcoming Student Center renovation and expansion project, the Student Center Lot and the Alumni Gym Lot (~220 total spaces) will permanently close on Sunday, May 17.


Employees who currently park in the Student Center or Alumni Gym Lots are advised to park in either the nearby South Limestone Garage (PS #5) or the Coliseum Lot, located behind the Joe Craft Center. Employees with valid E permits may park in any parking lot designated as an E Lot; additional options in the North Campus area include the Taylor-Dickey Lot and Scott Street Lot.  A map of these locations can be found here:


In the near-term, the options outlined above will provide sufficient capacity for those who had previously parked in the Student Center and Alumni Gym Lots, given the reduced campus population during the summer months.


Construction on a new ~230 space parking lot at the northeast end of Scott Street is scheduled to begin this summer, and will provide another option for employee permit holders upon completion.


Parking and Transportation Services will have staff stationed at the entrances to the Student Center and Alumni Gym lots in the days surrounding the closure of the Student Center lots to answer questions and to direct employees to appropriate parking alternatives.


For more information on the Student Center renovation and expansion project, visit; for additional information on campus parking, visit For information on the status of the University Transportation Master Plan, visit

Gaines Center Accepting Proposals for Bingham Seminar, Clark Lectureship

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 13:04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 1, 2015) — The University of Kentucky Gaines Center for the Humanities is now taking faculty proposals for the Spring 2016 Mary C. Bingham Seminar and Thomas D. Clark Lectureship in the Humanities.


Every other year, the Gaines Center holds an open competition among UK faculty who wish to offer a special humanities-oriented seminar that includes a travel experience. Ten students are then selected by way of competitive application for participation in this seminar.


The Bingham Seminar provides faculty and students a chance to explore a subject not in the university's regular course offerings and to do so on-site, since the seminar provides funding to offset the cost of course development and two to four weeks of study either in the U.S. or abroad. The winning educator is responsible for documenting the Bingham Seminar experience.


The associated Clark Lectureship provides funding to host a visiting lecturer. The lectureship allows the seminar instructor to invite a distinguished person in the field of study to offer two lectures, one for the public and the other for the seminar in the spring of 2016. The Clark Lectureship provides an honorarium and also covers transportation and hospitality expenses of the speaker.


Faculty should submit their proposals for the Bingham Seminar and the Clark Lectureship no later than Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. More information about the seminar can be found here: The application can be found here:


Proposals may be submitted by email to Phil Harling, director of the Gaines Center, at Faculty may also submit a hard copy of the proposal to: The Gaines Center, 232 E. Maxwell Street, Lexington, KY 40506-0344.


Founded in 1984 by a generous gift from John and Joan Gaines, the Gaines Center for the Humanities functions as a laboratory for imaginative and innovative education on UK's campus. Part of the Academy of Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Undergraduate Education, the center is devoted to cultivating an appreciation of the humanities in its students and faculty. The center embraces varied paths of knowledge and particularly strives to integrate creative work with traditional academic learning.




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

UK Twitter Chat Focuses on "see blue." U

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 18:04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 30, 2015) — With incoming University of Kentucky students registering for "see blue." U through May 1, this week's #AskACat Twitter Chat will answer questions on the minds of the class of 2019. The Twitter chat will take place from 3-4 p.m. today (Thursday), on @universityofky.


Today's #AskACat experts are representatives from UK's office of “see blue.” U Orientation. They will answer questions beginning at 3 p.m. via the university's official Twitter account, @universityofky. Those interested in following and/or participating in the chat can follow the university's account or #AskACat for questions posed and responses from the Twitter chat.


Individuals interested in asking questions about “see blue.” U summer orientation, enrollment deposits, accepting scholarship offerings from UK, and anything else one needs to know about joining the class of 2019 should send their questions to through 4 p.m. today, April 30, or post on the UK Facebook page prior to 3 p.m. today, April 30. Responses to questions will be shared with the university's followers and those following the hashtag #AskACat.

At the see blue. U Orientation newly admitted UK students will meet other students, hear from campus offices and organizations, meet with an academic advisor and also register for classes. 



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

'Alexithymia' Features Art of 14 Graduating UK Seniors

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 17:44

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 30, 2015) — The University of Kentucky School of Art and Visual Studies is currently presenting the B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) Senior Show, "alexithymia," showcasing the artworks of 14 graduating art studio seniors. The show, on display now, will conclude with a reception from 6-8 p.m. Friday, May 1, at Barnhart Gallery, in Reynolds Building #1. Both the exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.


The exhibition "alexithymia" will feature art of various media, including ceramics, fiber, graphic design, mixed media, painting, photography and sculpture. The word alexithymia is defined as a difficulty in experiencing, expressing and describing emotional responses. Artists whose work is featured in the exhibit are: Grant H. Aumiller, Crystal G. Bolin, Kayla Jean Burton, Kyle Patrick Campbell, Samuel Clark Cooper, Luke I. Francis, Mackenzie A. Haag, Alexandra Elaine Hawkins, Andrew Scott Johnson, Rebecca Louise Kozlowski, Emily Mae Latham, Connor M. Query and Shamaria Maria Rankin. 


An art studio major and published photographer, Grant Aumiller's work is known for eye-catching commercial based photography and design. Growing up in Danville, Kentucky, Aumiller pursed his creative talents throughout high school. He was introduced to photography in college, which led him to the UK School of Art and Visual Studies where he developed a passion for the still image. He uses a variety of mediums and techniques in his photographic practice including digital and film photography. A former UK football player, Aumiller works as a graphic designer and plans to pursue a full-time career in freelance photography, shooting editorial, commercial and wedding photography. 


Crystal G. Bolin will show work in ceramics, fiber and photography. A Louisiana native and U.S. Air Force veteran, she is a mother to a toddler and wife to Chris Bolin, also an Air Force veteran. Her inspirations come from the rich culture of her home state, life and change, and from her beautiful experiences in motherhood. Bolin discovered her love for the arts in high school, spending time in ceramics classes. She attended the University of Louisiana at Monroe from 2004 to 2008 where she studied studio art, concentrating on photography, and worked as a photographer for the school newspaper, The Hawkeye. Bolin’s time in the U.S. Air Force gave her a love of change and of adapting to new surroundings. Once at UK, she continued to pursue her art studio degree in mediums of photography, clay and fiber.


Kayla Burton is a sculptor, photographer and filmmaker whose work investigates material and form in the broadest sense. She investigates the idea of modern American culture and human mentality through various concepts and mediums. Burton works as a gallery attendant at the Art Museum at UK. Her work has been exhibited at Open Studio and in the 2013 Carey Ellis Juried Student Art Exhibition. Burton, from Winchester, Kentucky, received first place for her piece “Steel City” in the "Foundations" exhibition, juried by Gary Setzer.


From Louisville, Kentucky, Kyle Campbell graduated from Ballard High School where his interest in photography and visual studies first began. He came to UK as a transfer student from Northern Kentucky University, where he studied graphic design. Campbell works as a senior resident advisor at UK with Residence Life. Recently, he sold his first piece of art to UK Arts in HealthCare; it will be exhibited in one of the residence halls this coming fall. Campbell will be showcasing his most recent photography series, which focuses on Lexington’s North Limestone Community Development Corporation in "alexithymia."


Sam Cooper was born and raised in Wilmore and grew up working for his father at his greenhouse business, and hiking and backpacking in the wilderness of Kentucky and surrounding states. Cooper was active in his local church; played basketball in high school; became an Eagle Scout at age 17; and was named a Kentucky Colonel. During his sophomore year at UK, he worked for the College of Agriculture, Food and Enviroment in tobacco research where he had the opportunity to be close to nature — working with plants on a farm. His art started to reflect his love and experiences in nature. The images used in his artwork are mainly drawn from the environment and an illustrative, design-based mindset. Cooper's current works-in-progress are pieces inspired by the American West wildlife and a series of illustrated characters invented to tell a story. Cooper is a busy freelancer and has also worked as an intern for the Living Arts and Science Center in Lexington.


Luke Francis, a native of Lexington, has been producing art since a very young age.  During his junior year of high school he attended the Kentucky Center Governor’s School for the Arts, in which more than 1,700 rising juniors and seniors audition for 223 spots for the chance to attend an intensive three-week program focusing on their discipline. During this program, Francis found inspiration to continue his artistic career. He focuses on digital and traditional illustration, using a variety of mediums including printmaking (relief printing/screen printing), pen and ink on paper, and Giclée prints. His work, when not creating for others, tends to deal with childhood imagination coupled with human-environmental interaction. Francis is aware that environmental conservation is a problem that many people ignore.


Mackenzie Haag was born in Lexington. She began her college career in the College of Education but later discovered that the School of Art and Visual Studies was where she belonged. She has spent the last five semesters working on her skills in various types of art media including drawing, painting, ceramics, fiber and sculpture, while honing her skills in digital media and graphic design. She has interned with the College of Fine Arts Communications Department, as well as worked for UK’s Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance Nancy Jones. Haag currently holds a position at DecoArt as a marketing assistant.


Alexandra Hawkins graduated from Boyle County High School and is an alumna of the Governor’s School for the Arts. She first exhibited in the UK School of Art and Visual Studies "Foundations" exhibition, where she took first place honors in 2011. Hawkins has experience working in many mediums and prefers to work with whichever medium fits the current idea. She is inspired by the natural aesthetics of our world. Hawkins will show large-scale ceramic work with applied design, fired in a variety of experimental methods, as part of "alexithymia."


Color, line, movement, contrast and rhythm form the foundation of the artwork of Andrew Johnson, of Lexington. His fascination with bending and manipulating the bare-basic elements of visual media is approached with the attitude of a scientist. Pragmatic, disciplined, and iterative processes help to express his creativity in pixels, code and ink. Working chiefly with digital illustration and digital 3D, Johnson explores his interests in physics and arithmetic, incorporating fundamental concepts from other fields to create imagery that is straightforward, but laborious to create. Lumps of virtual stone are barraged with simulated raindrops to carve and gash the raw form into an uncanny facsimile to real-world terrain. Struggles with imprecise traditional media, and Johnson's own difficulty with fine motor control drove him to computers for the control necessary to realize his ideas, but that resulted in too much control that lacked natural chaos. The solution was reintroducing the variables of nature into digital media. By simulating natural processes like erosion, combustion and aerodynamics, Johnson's creations are given motion and life, and a past and future.


Rebecca Kozlowski graduated from Garrison Forest School in Owings Mills, Maryland, in 2011. Just months earlier as a member of the Garrison Forest polo team, she was a member of the team that won the National Interscholastic Girls Championship. Hoping to pursue her love of arts and horses, Kozlowski enrolled in UK. She helped establish the UK Polo team, beginning as a varsity member and ending with becoming president of the group. When Kozlowski returns home to Baltimore in the summers, she works at the Maryland Polo Club in Fallston as a groom and became assistant manager during the 2014 summer. As an art student at UK, her love of photography evolved to a love of fibers. Having studied under Arturo Alonzo Sandoval for three years, Kozlowski learned many textile processes but focused on weavings.


In addition to earning her art studio degree this May, Cincinnati native Emily Mae Latham will also receive a bachelor's degree in digital and mass communication and has an associate’s degree in graphic design. Latham was always interested in the human form, specifically close up faces. By starting with digital video, she was able to film herself and make a small motion picture called "Selfie." She later decided to spend more time painting, and her obsession with identity and faces grew and developed deeper concepts in her painting. Much like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Latham was interested in the use of minimalism and conceptualization to reintroduction of the human form. To create a dialogue within her artwork she was able to develop a sense of abstract expressionism. Her work has been inspired by other great artists like Cy Twombly, Julian Schnabel and Francis Bacon. 


Connor Query, of Lexington, has studied the arts in all mediums, including sculpture, painting, mixed media and 2-D format. She has sold and shown work at shows like the Woodland Art Fair, Daniel Boone Pioneer Festival, Woodford County Art Fair and Lexington Farmers’ Market. Query attended a summer studio for graphic design at the Art Institute of Nashville, Tennessee. She has also served as art chair to Chi Omega Fraternity for four years. Since 2013, Query has been interning and working part time as the graphics and media designer for an events and management company, LexEffect. In addition to her bachelor's degree in art studio at UK, she will also be finishing an associate's degree in graphic design at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 2015.


A native of Louisville, Shamaria Rankin began showing an interest in clay, photography and needlepoint during elementary school.  By 2006, Rankin received her first camera and began documenting her ideas in photographs and video. She also helped create an organization called Ethics, a local group involving minorities working to create a better community. At UK Rankin is a recipient of the William C. Parker Scholarship. She has participated in FUSHION and the Visual Arts Association where she learned the functions of a film camera and silk painting. Her ideas have progressed with vivid use of color and manipulation of tools. She uses raw silk, stretching it on wood and painting the entire image with dye. Next, she works with needles, fusing it together with wool and trimming the edges. The end result of these pieces are organic shapes hung as a panel about 28 inches high. Rankin has also explored arts administration through an internship with InteriTEA, a local tea company. 


For more information on "alexithymia," contact Kyle Campbell at    


The UK School of Art and Visual Studies in the UK College of Fine Arts is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the fields of art studio, art history and visual studies, and art education.



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

Student Inside Cat Suit Engages Imaginations of KCH Families

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 16:34

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 30, 2015) — Veteran mascot Jahana Wazir has a few pointers for students interested in her former role as Stitches, the youngest member of the Wildcat mascot family who represents Kentucky's Children's Hospital.


First, no movement in the Stitches suit can be too exaggerated. Stitches is known for spontaneous dancing, funny gestures and big hugs. Next, Stitches should be willing to engage with families in a variety of situations, from holding a new baby to comforting a child in a hospital room. Finally, never underestimate the impact of Stitches — sometimes a hug or high-five from the big baby cat is enough to brighten a patient's day. 


Wazir, a food science senior from Charleston, W. Va., said suiting up as Stitches has given her rare opportunities to connect with children and create joyful moments in the midst of pain. As Stitches, she's had the pleasure of eliciting happy expression from an unresponsive child and easing tension by playing with families in the hospital. Putting on the cat suit has been a college highlight for Wazir, who has always enjoyed interacting with children.


While volunteering in the UK HealthCare Volunteer Office her sophomore year, Wazir came across a flyer calling for students to audition for the role of Stitches. Uncertain of what to expect, Wazir showed up for the audition at the Seaton Center.


"I thought, I've never done that before — not many people can say they've done it. I can say I've been a mascot at some point," Wazir said.


Candidates were asked to climb into the suit and act out different scenarios as Stitches. The next day, Wazir was awarded an apprenticeship for the mascot position, which carried the added bonus of a partial scholarship. The following year she was promoted to the lead Stitches role, which requires two hours of visiting with children every week as well as attendance at special events, such as family picnics, promotional events or seasonal celebrations.


Children and families never get to meet the individual inside the suit — the real person who brings Stitches to life. But Wazir thinks walking into a child's hospital room as a character, rather than a health care provider, gives her a unique advantage.


"When you are looking and interacting with kids it's really cool because they still have this wonderment in their eyes," Wazir said. "I don't think there's any other situation as an adult where you are staring into those kids' eyes and they still have that amazement and excitement. It's hard to understand until you do it."


Even adults appreciate the presence of Stitches in the hospital. During one visit, Wazir was about to take a break (as Stitches) when she came across a solemn family clustered together in the hospital hallway. She knew she couldn't get around the family without some display of character. So Stitches started teasing and dancing around, snatching their hats from their heads.


"All I could do was joke and play with them," Wazir said. "They seemed to be in a better mood when I left."


A man who appeared to be the father in the group followed Wazir and grabbed her by both arms. Even though he couldn't see who was inside, he seemed to be looking Wazir directly in the eyes. He told her thank you — she made such a difference for his family that day.


Kentucky Children's Hospital is looking for a new Stitches mascot and apprentice. Stitches tryouts will be held at the Seaton Center at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 2. The two students selected will receive partial scholarships.


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

Chemistry's Jason DeRouchey Receives NSF CAREER Award

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 14:39

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 30, 2015) — Jason DeRouchey, assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Kentucky, has received a prestigious five-year, $691,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award for his project, “Linking Structure, Stability and Protection in Protamine Packaged DNA.” 


The CAREER Award is given in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.


Funds from the award will allow DeRouchey to study the ways in which protamines (a class of proteins) package, protect and store DNA in sperm cells. The mechanisms underlying the tight packaging of DNA by protamines remain poorly understood, but have important health ramifications as well as promise for the development of new DNA based technologies.


DNA damage is cumulative in sperm, repaired only after fertilization and affects not only male fertility but was recently shown to impact normal embryonic development, DeRouchey says, and his research will provide detailed insight into how the chromatin structure can be modified and the result of such modification on the protection of the sperm genome.


DeRouchey said that his research has very broad applications.  “A better understanding of the mechanisms of DNA packaging in sperm may have a direct effect on health such as improving assisted reproductive technology (ART) in identifying damaged sperm," DeRouchey said. "In addition, there are unique aspects of protamine-DNA interactions that have the potential to be exploited in synthetic systems aiding the development of new DNA delivery systems or biosensors.”


DeRouchey’s CAREER award will offer multidisciplinary training opportunities to undergraduate and graduate student researchers, and includes K-12 education initiatives in chemistry and biophysics, along with the continued development of massive open online courses (MOOCs). In addition, summer workshops will be created for high school teachers to learn about and actively participate in refining and assessing the proposed MOOCs to best meet the needs of teachers and their students nationwide.


Professor DeRouchey joined the UK Department of Chemistry faculty in 2010. He received his bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Texas at Dallas in 1996 and then obtained master's and doctoral degrees in polymer science and engineering at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. 


He first began working with questions of DNA structure and dynamics as an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow working with Professor Joachim Rädler at the Institute of Experimental Physics at the Ludwig Maximilians Universität Munich. He then continued investigations on the biophysics of DNA as an Intramural Research Training Award Fellow in the Laboratory of Physical and Structural Biology at the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development at the National Institutes of Health.




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