Student Teacher Student Exhibit and Reception at Rasdall Gallery

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 11:44

LEXINGTON,Ky. (April 15, 2014) — The Student Activities Board Cultural Arts Committee presents the Student Teacher Student Exhibit and Reception. The Student Teacher Student Exhibit opens today and is on display through April 25. The opening reception will take place today in the Rasdall Gallery from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.


Attendees will be able to look at the displays of work by student teachers who are currently teaching at schools in the local Lexington area. The students range from elementary to high school. Some of the artists include students from Lafayette, Bryan Station and Henry Clay high schools, Beaumont Middle School, Veteran’s Park, Harrison, and Tates Creek elementary schools, The Learning Center, and many more.


“This will bring together students in Lexington,” said Cultural Arts Committee Director Melissa Simon. “It will also create a community to show what students do once they leave the University of Kentucky.”


The reception and exhibit give students the chance to see how other students are impacting children in the Lexington area. All of these displays will get to show what the local students have to offer as they showcase their work.


SAB brings more than 100 entertaining educational and enriching programs that are reflective of contemporary issues and trends to the University of Kentucky annually. These programs are designed to enhance the college experience for students, faculty, staff, and the greater Lexington community.


Connect with SAB at, follow them on Twitter at, or like them on Facebook at For more information about SAB and events, email or text a question beginning with SABQ, followed by your question or comment, to 411-247.


Marvel Comics’ Bill Rosemann Brings Insight Into Comic Industry

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 11:41

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 15, 2014) ― What happens behind the comics at one of the industry’s most iconic companies? How can you be the hero of your own story? Bill Rosemann, Marvel Comics’ creative director, will share insight and inspiration tonight at “Superheroes On and Off the Page” at 8 p.m. in Worsham Theater of the University of Kentucky Student Center. The event, sponsored by the UK Student Activities Board Pop Culture Committee, is free and non-ticketed.


Rosemann, who has written comics featuring superheroes including Spiderman, Captain America, Iron Man, Superman, Batman and the Avengers, seeks to help audiences realize their own abilities. His work attempts to inspire and entertain. Rosemann has experience in numerous roles within the comic industry, including project manager, marketing director, blogger and editor. “Superheroes On and Off the Page” will cover what Rosemann has learned in his 20-year career working with comics ― and how audiences can unleash the hero inside them.


“Superheroes are an integral part of pop culture, and comic books are just as important,” said Zach Johnson, SAB director of pop culture. “This is an event that we feel will empower students while giving an inside look at the comic industry.”


Students can win a Marvel prize package by describing or drawing their personal hero and explaining why in 500 words or less. Winners will be selected by Rosemann, who will announce them at the event. Entries should be sent to by noon Tuesday.


SAB brings more than 100 entertaining, educational and enriching programs that are reflective of contemporary issues and trends to the University of Kentucky annually. These programs are designed to enhance the college experience for students, faculty, staff, and the greater Lexington community.


Connect with SAB at, follow them on Twitter at or like them on Facebook at For more information about SAB and events, email or text a question beginning with SABQ, followed by your question or comment, to 411-247.



MEDIA CONTACT:  Katy Bennett,


UK Alum’s Lifelong Curiosity Fosters Unique Career at Area Zoo

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 08:35


Video Produced by UK Public Relations and Marketing.  To view captions for this video, push play and click on the CC icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.  If using a mobile device, click the "thought bubble" icon in the same area.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 15, 2014) — While the animals understandably take center stage at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, the environment where they live is always on the mind of UK alum Steve Foltz.


As director of horticulture for the zoo, it’s his job to create habitats for hundreds of animals every day. 


“It's so hard to get the right plants to grow in exhibits,” said Foltz.  “Trying to put shade in a giraffe exhibit when they can reach 20-25 feet is very difficult.  We also have to make sure we have the right plants in some of the exhibits but then also use some plants to actually feed them, and we have to make sure there's nothing toxic in the exhibit.”


Part of the Covington native’s job involves research, as he discovers what plants grow best in particular locations within the zoo exhibits.


“What excites me everyday is we get to plant plants, and not only just plant them but test them out, keep records on them and figure out which plants are doing better than other plants and then we provide that information back to the community,” Foltz said.  “That obviously came from my training at the University of Kentucky.”


Foltz was an ornamental horticulture major in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

“The University of Kentucky taught everything from trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, to soils, to the chemistry of turf. It's not just about the plants, it’s about being able to grow plants successfully and all of those courses were tailor-made for my job right now.”


Foltz says his outside-the-classroom experience also helped propel his career through internships. 


“I did two internships at the Cincinnati Zoo and botanical gardens, and that’s when I realized this was more than just a zoo,” Foltz said. “Then I was hired as assistant director, and I just basically worked my way up.” 


He also earned valuable experience helping to build The Arboretum near UK's campus, what is today a favorite spot for students.


“Just as I was leaving, they were building The Arboretum, so I was one of the ones that helped with the first planting. It’s nice to see that grow and see how well it’s doing now,” Foltz said. 


The Northern Kentucky resident enjoys making the short drive to Lexington to visit not only The Arboretum but also to cheer on the Wildcats and reminisce about life on campus.


“It was just really a great place to be ― it felt like home,” Foltz said. “UK offers a wide variety of learning experiences.  It was just so well rounded for me, and I really enjoyed that type of environment.” 


Foltz says the professors helped to foster an atmosphere of learning. 


“The professors were so welcoming and knowledgeable,” Foltz said.  “They were and still are the best in their field."


Some 25 years later, Foltz is thankful his professors shared that expertise with him as he gears up for another summer season doing the job he loves.


“We have 1.3 million people coming through the door, so to create a landscape that’s enjoyable to that many people is just phenomenal,” Foltz said.  “Seeing the people come in and go, ‘wow it’s so beautiful here,’ I never get tired of hearing that. It is really a nice way to make a living.”


Watch more UK Alumni “see success.” stories by clicking on the playlist below.




Alliance of Nine Universities Seeks to Improve Diversity in STEM Fields

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 00:08
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 14, 2014) — University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto, as the principal investigator, will lead a multi-million-dollar initiative with Kentucky and West Virginia universities to increase underrepresented undergraduates studying in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).


The five-year, $2.5 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant establishes the Kentucky-West Virginia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (KY-WV LSAMP) in the STEM disciplines. Coordinated by the UK Office for Institutional Diversity and UK’s co-PI and engineering Associate Professor Johné Parker, the alliance of nine institutions of higher learning includes UK, University of Louisville, West Virginia University, Western Kentucky University, Centre College, Marshall University, Kentucky State University, West Virginia State University and Bluegrass Community and Technical College.


With an undergraduate focus, the grant will fund programs and initiatives at the alliance members’ institutions to increase diversity in the STEM fields. The alliance has the potential of significantly impacting the lives of up to 5,000 underrepresented undergraduate students in the two Appalachian states. Programs will be developed at the member institutions to attract greater numbers of diverse students to the STEM fields, increase retention and graduate up to 500 students over the next five years. 


“The University of Kentucky is proud to lead an alliance of exceptional public and private colleges and universities in our region,” Capilouto said. “The LSAMP initiative provides rich opportunities that we hope will excite more underrepresented students to explore, delve into, and thrive in academic and research programs in STEM fields. Their increased participation will stimulate and improve the alliance institutions' outcomes in disciplines critical to the future of our state, our region and the nation.”


Projected goals are:

·       To increase minority student enrollment in the STEM fields alliance-wide by 15 percent by 2016 with a 10 percent to 20 percent increase yearly thereafter.

·       To increase the 4-5 year graduation rate for minority STEM majors alliance-wide by 50 percent or above and maintaining or increasing this rate thereafter.


Reaching the LSAMP goals by 2018 will translate into 260 or more STEM baccalaureate graduates among the nine universities each year.


"This partnership — one that brings together strong, though different institutions — creates wonderful opportunities for young people who might otherwise miss such a chance to do research and learn about first-rate higher education.  Centre College — with its shared commitment to high quality and high opportunity — is honored to play a role in the lives of these young men and women," said Centre College President John A. Roush.


"Forming alliances is crucial in today's world, and it is an honor for West Virginia University to be part of this innovative and collaborative partnership with various institutions in West Virginia and Kentucky," said WVU President E. Gordon Gee. "LSAMP is a project that mirrors our university's commitment to diversity and research. We stand firmly in line with LSAMP's goals to increase minority enrollment in the STEM fields, in addition to improving retention and graduation rates for underrepresented students."


While each campus will be evaluating and improving its own programs, they will be collaborating, sharing information and ideas, as an alliance. The first KY-WV LSAMP alliance-wide conference “along with others involved as appropriate” will be held at UK in the 2014-15 academic year, said UK Vice President for Institutional Diversity Judy “JJ” Jackson. Jackson is also an associate professor of educational policy studies and evaluation.


Jackson recently completed site visits to all alliance member campuses to learn how each is structured and to gain valuable insight and feedback. The alliance will seek out cross-institutional opportunities for students in undergraduate research and internships.


“We can only imagine what we can achieve with $2.5 million to mine the talents of the promising young people across the alliance. This investment will have a multi-generational impact on the future of this region,” Jackson said.


“The impact on students will help to define the future of these institutions and this geographical area. The people of this region are coming increasingly to believe in their potential for greatness,” said Jackson. “We will be constructing our future success without the bias of economic status, skin color, gender, religion...”


The goals are ambitious, but the KY-WV LSAMP universities plan to reach them with strategic recruiting and intentional focus on senior year attrition. National studies show that underrepresented minority students enroll as STEM majors at the same rate as their counterparts, but graduate at significantly lower rates. The project abstract asserts that the key to retention will be the provision of timely and effective individual support as needed, based on real-time tracking and both faculty- and peer-mentoring.


The NSF Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program’s aim is to grow a greater number of diverse students to successfully compete in the nation’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) baccalaureate degree programs, and to increase the number of students interested in, and academically prepared to matriculate into graduate study programs. LSAMP supports sustained and comprehensive efforts that facilitate achievement of the long-term goal of increasing the number of students who earn doctorates in STEM fields, particularly those from populations underrepresented in STEM fields. The program defines under-represented groups as African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans.




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


Sullivan Award Winners Announced for 2014

Sun, 04/13/2014 - 23:35

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 14, 2014) ― A local business owner with 30 years of public service focusing on social justice issues and homelessness, the founder of a service-dog training program to assist people with disabilities, and a student leader who expanded alternative spring break service trips globally are the recipients of the University of Kentucky's 2014 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Medallions for outstanding humanitarian service.


They will receive their medallions this evening at UK's annual Honors and Recognition  Awards Program in the Student Center Grand Ballroom. A 6 p.m. reception will be followed by the formal program beginning at 7 p.m.


The citizen recipient of the Sullivan Award this year is Debra Hensley, owner of the Hensley Agency of State Farm Insurance Companies in Lexington. She has worked in insurance and financial services since 1974.


When she was a council member for Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government from 1986 to 1992, she focused on social justice issues and homelessness. As chair of a task force on homelessness in Lexington, Hensely emerged as a leading force behind creation of the Hope Center to assist homeless and at-risk people.


Hensley is a past recipient of the Humanitarian Award from the National Conference for Community and Justice, and she is the founder of Debra Hensley’s Social Stimulus, which hosts events featuring local “do good” businesses and nonprofits. She is past chairwoman of The Plantory, which covers administrative needs of nonprofit tenants focused on social innovation, bringing together artists, activists and entrepreneurs who share the goal of improving the well-being of people and the planet.


As a co-founder of JustFundKY, Hensley helped create an endowment to fund efforts to eradicate discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. She worked with public officials and community advocates for passage of the Fairness Ordinance to protect LGBT individuals against discrimination.


She was honored in 2012 by the Girls Scouts of Kentucky as one of 100 Women of Distinction, and in 2013 she was recognized by the Lexington Herald-Leader as one of Lexington's Most Influential Leaders.


Katharine E. Skarvan was selected to receive the Sullivan Award for the graduating senior woman. An animal science major, Skarvan was the founder as a freshman and the inaugural president of Wildcat Service Dogs (WSD) at the University of Kentucky. WSD is a student-run organization that trains service dogs for the benefit of disabled individuals.


With its goal to "help students to help dogs help people," WSD trains dogs to turn on lights, fetch phones, open refrigerators and perform other basic tasks that challenge their disabled owners.


Skarvan recruited and trained an 11-member officer team and negotiated with the UK legal office to allow the organization’s dogs to live in the dormitories and attend classes with their handlers.


She secured a State Farm community service grant to ensure the program's future success after she graduates, and her work has been featured on local television and in area newspaper coverage. WSD received the 2014 Outstanding Leadership Award from the UK chapter of ODK, the National Leadership Honor Society.


Currently training a dog for the Louisville nonprofit Paws with Purpose, Skarvan keeps the dog in Lexington every other week and on the off week drives him to the Kentucky Correctional Institution in Pee Wee Valley, where an inmate handler also trains him.


The Sullivan Award for the graduating senior man goes to Andrew Ritzel, a double major in biology and Spanish who, beginning as a freshman, became involved in the Alternative Service Break (ASB) program at UK. Under his leadership, the program's opportunities doubled from 2010 to 2014 and the first service trips to Nicaragua and Ghana were launched.


He initiated ASB’s first formal partnership at UK with Shoulder-to-Shoulder Global, resulting in a medical brigade being sent to Ecuador for the first time over a Spring Break. In 2012-2013, Ritzel developed a need-based scholarship program to address increasing concerns about access for all UK students to be able to participate in the program.


Under Ritzel's leadership, ASB was named 2014 Program of the Year, a national recognition by College Educators International.


UK has been recognizing Sullivan Award winners since 1927 and is one of several Southern universities that present Sullivan Awards, sponsored by the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation. The award recognizes individuals whose commitment to community service evokes a spirit of love for and helpfulness to other men and women.


The criteria for selection, which puts a premium on character, integrity and humanitarian service, are written in the spirit of Algernon Sydney Sullivan, a Southerner who became a prominent lawyer, businessman and philanthropist in New York in the late 19th century.





Employee Band to Perform at UK Chandler Hospital Atrium

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 17:24

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 14, 2014) - A couple of times a week during the lunch hour, the tapping of drums, strumming of guitars and harmonizing of voices trails into the hallways of the Kentucky Clinic and the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital.


Faculty and staff stop to listen at the doorway of an office used as a rehearsal room for The CatsEclectic, a band comprised of UK HealthCare employees. The six-member band plays a variety of pop music and classic hits from artists including Neil Young, The Everly Brothers, The Chiffons and Marvin Gaye, as well as a couple original songs. As part of UK HealthCare's Arts in HealthCare program, the band will perform in the Pavilion A Atrium from noon to 1 p.m. every second Tuesday of the month beginning April 15.


True to their name, the band is made up of a diverse mix of UK HealthCare staff members. Carolyn "Chef Cat" Burnette, who works in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, recruited members of the band when she was organizing a flash mob around Christmas. The band started out with Burnette on guitar and two of her department co-workers, Kim “Sugar Cat” Pugh and Teresa “Sweet-T” Harmon, on vocals. After sending out a call for band members through a UK HealthCare listserv, Mike “Riff Daddy” Bratcher, an information technology trainer, joined as a bassist, and Glen “Tigger” White, a customer relations specialist, came on board as a percussionist. The band recently added Jimmy “J Flow” Thomas, medical technician and assistant manager in Women's Health/Rheumatology, on vocals and piano.


During their first and only performance so far in Atrium A, Burnette said co-workers, students and patients gathered to groove to the music. She remembers a man sitting with his son in his lap while enjoying the performance. Burnette thinks fun and upbeat music serves to cheer up patients in the hospital.


"It's a chance for us to share some good feelings with the patients and people passing by," Burnette said. "Music is a really powerful thing - words are powerful, but when you combine them with music, it's like medicine."


The Cats Eclectic are looking for experienced instrumental musicians at UK HealthCare as new members. If you are interested in joining the band, contact


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

UK Student Wins Scholarship to Study at Oxford

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 12:31

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 14, 2014) — University of Kentucky's Ryan Winstead, an English and gender and women's studies junior, has been awarded an English-Speaking Union (ESU) Scholarship presented by the English-Speaking Union Kentucky Branch. The scholarship will cover Winstead's expenses for summer study at the University of Oxford.


The Kentucky Branch of the English-Speaking Union awards a limited number of scholarships to qualified Kentucky college students for courses offered at institutions in the United Kingdom. Scholarship awards include tuition, lodging and two meals daily for three-week courses at the institutions chosen by the scholarship winners. Scholarships also include one week’s lodging in London and a cash allowance.


ESU scholarships are awarded for studies in English literature, history and social sciences at Oxford, Cambridge and Edinburgh University for the summer of 2014. Scholarship winners, selected through an essay and interview process for the program, are expected to become articulate lifelong ambassadors for British/American cultural exchanges. 


Winstead looks forward to pursuing studies in English literature while at Oxford. "The ESU will grant me invaluable insight into English literature that will be essential in my career path, as well as allow me to travel abroad."


The son of Denise and Russel Winstead, of Madisonville, Ky., Winstead is a 2011 Madisonville North Hopkins High School graduate. Besides pursuing majors in English and gender and women's studies, Winstead has also taken on undergraduate research working with Michael Trask, associate professor of English, social theory, and gender and women's studies, rhetorically analyzing the young adult LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) literature genre.


Winstead was attracted to his area of studies in his pursuit of finding a way to lend his voice in the fight for LGBT rights. "My experience as an LGBT individual growing up in a small Western Kentucky home prompted me to use my opportunity in college to explore and fight for rights for social outsiders. I believe writing is an especially effective way to accomplish this."


Outside of the classroom, the Gaines Fellow and former Chellgren Fellow is a member of UK's Speech and Debate Team and Phi Beta Kappa. Winstead also finds time to volunteer coaching local chess clubs and previously interned with the Lexington publication Ace Weekly.


Upon completion of his undergraduate degree, Winstead plans to pursue a doctoral degree in English.


The ESU of the United States is a nonprofit, nonpolitical, educational service organization whose mission is to promote scholarship and the advancement of knowledge through the effective use of English in an expanding global community. Headquartered in New York City, the organization implements programs through a network of 78 branches throughout the United States. The Kentucky branch of the ESU was chartered in 1923 by local business and civic leaders. Since 1960, more than 450 Kentucky teachers and college students have been awarded scholarships by the Kentucky branch of the ESU.


Students interested in applying for the ESU Award should contact Pat Whitlow, director of the UK Office of External Scholarships (OES). Part of the Academy of Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Undergraduate Education, OES assists current UK undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni in applying for external scholarships and fellowships funded by sources (such as a nongovernment foundation or government agency) outside the university. These major awards honor exceptional students across the nation. Students who are interested in these opportunities are encouraged to begin work with OES well in advance of the scholarship deadline.



MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale,

Twitter Chat Offers Insight on Organ Donation

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 12:20
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 14, 2014) — Donna Slone, client services coordinator for Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA) at UK HealthCare, and Teresa Schladt, a liver transplant recipient who underwent surgery at the University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital, will give insight on Donate Life Month for UK's April edition of the #AskACat Twitter chat.


Both Slone and Schladt have first-hand experience with the organ donation process.  They will answer questions about this and related topics beginning 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 15, via the university's official Twitter account, @universityofky.


Those interested in following the conversation or participating in the chat can follow the university's official account or use the hashtag #AskACat for questions and responses from the Twitter chat.


Individuals interested in asking questions about the topics of organ donation, Donate Life Month or other related topics should send their questions to through 3 p.m. April 15, or to the UK Facebook page prior to 2 p.m., April 15.  Responses to questions will be shared with the university's Twitter followers and those following the hashtag #AskACat.


UK's transplant program is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and is one of only two transplant programs in the state of Kentucky. Founded in 1987, KODA is dedicated to saving lives through organ and tissue donation and transplantation. KODA was formed to establish a statewide educational and procurement network. For more information on the organization or to learn how to become an organ donor, visit


UK will present its next #AskACat Twitter chat June 17.



MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale,

Learn About UK's Spring Writing Gallery on WUKY's 'UK Perspectives'

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 22:08

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 11, 2014) — WUKY's "UK Perspectives" focuses on the people and programs of the University of Kentucky and is hosted by WUKY General Manager Tom Godell.  On today's program, Jennifer Rice, director of composition for Writing, Rhetoric & Digital Studies, and her doctoral student Craig Crowder discuss UK’s Spring Writing Gallery, a showcase for the best nonfiction writing at the university.


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


"UK Perspectives" airs at 8:35 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. each Friday on WUKY 91.3, UK's NPR station.


Ambati Receives 2014 SEC Faculty Achievement Award

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 16:22


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (April 11, 2014) – Dr. Jayakrishna Ambati, professor and vice chair of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine has been named one of 14 recipients of the 2014 SEC Faculty Achievement Awards. The annual awards recognize a faculty member from every SEC university who demonstrates outstanding records of teaching, research and scholarship.


To be eligible for the SEC Faculty Achievement Award, a professor must be a teacher or scholar at an SEC university; have achieved the rank of full professor at an SEC university; have a record of extraordinary teaching; and a record of scholarship that is recognized nationally and/or internationally.


Since Ambati's arrival at UK in 2001, he has made significant contributions to the University as a teacher, physician-scientist, and researcher. His published studies appear in top-tier journals such as, Cell, Nature, and the New England Journal of Medicine. On a national and international level, Ambati and his team are perhaps most noted for groundbreaking discoveries and contributions to the body of knowledge related to Age Related Macular Degeneration.


Ambati's research has led to numerous coveted physician-scientist awards such as the Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Translational Research Clinical Scientist Award, the Ellison Medical Foundation Senior Scholar in Aging, the Prix Soubrane de la Recherehe en Ophthalmalogie in Paris, France, for his contributions to research in age-related macular degeneration, and the Mark Brothers Award from the Indiana University School of Medicine.  Additionally, he was recently inducted as a member of Club Jules Gonin, which is regarded as the most exclusive society of retina physicians and surgeons in the world.


“The 2014 SEC Faculty Achievement Award winners are some of our nation’s most accomplished instructors, researchers and scholars,” said Dr. Jay Gogue, President of Auburn University and President of the Southeastern Conference. “It is my great pleasure to preside over an intercollegiate athletics conference that not only recognizes their work, but strives to support it as well.”


SEC Faculty Achievement Award winners receive a $5,000 honorarium from the Southeastern Conference and become his or her university’s nominee for the SEC Professor of the Year Award. The SEC Professor of the Year, to be named later this month, receives an additional $15,000 honorarium and will be recognized at the SEC Spring Meetings in May and the SEC Symposium in September.


SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said, “These 14 professors positively represent the breadth and depth of education in the Southeastern Conference, and I want to congratulate each of them. The commitment to their students, universities and communities is truly commendable.”


Selected by a committee of SEC Provosts, the SEC Faculty Achievement Awards and the SEC Professor of the Year Award are part of SECU, the academic initiative of the Southeastern Conference, which sponsors, supports and promotes collaborative higher education programs and activities involving administrators, faculty and students at its 14 member universities.


Below is a complete list of the 2014 SEC Faculty Achievement Award recipients.

  • University of Alabama, Dr. George Rable, Charles Summersell Chair of Southern History
  • University of Arkansas, Dr. Carol Reeves, Cecil and Gwendolyn Cupp Applied Professorship in Entrepreneurship
  • Auburn University, Dr. Geoffrey Hill, Professor and Curator of Birds, Department of Biological Sciences
  • University of Florida, Dr. Peter Hirschfeld, Professor of Physics
  • University of Georgia, Dr. Gregory Robinson, Foundation Distinguished Professor of Chemistry
  • University of Kentucky, Dr. Jayakrishna Ambati, Professor and Vice Chair of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
  • Louisiana State University, Dr. Mark Batzer, Dr. Mary Lou Applewhite Distinguished Professor
  • University of Mississippi, Dr. John Hall, Arthur C. Guyton Professor and Chair of Physiology and Biophysics
  • Mississippi State University, Dr. Hossein Toghiani, Thomas B. Nusz Endowed Professor of Chemical Engineering
  • University of Missouri, Dr. Judy Wall, Curator’s Professor in Biochemistry
  • University of South Carolina, Dr. Kenneth Reifsnider, University Professor of Mechanical Engineering
  • University of Tennessee, Dr. Daniel Simberloff, Nancy Gore Hunger Professor of Environmental Studies

UK Media Contact:  Ann Blackford,


UK Otolaryngologist Works to Address Rural Disparities of Pediatric Hearing Loss

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 15:24


LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 11, 2014) -- LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 11, 2014) -- Dr. Matthew Bush will tell you two things about himself--that he is Appalachian by birth and that he is fascinated with the anatomy and physiology of hearing. And his work clearly reflects both: As an otolaryngologist at the University of Kentucky, he focuses on rural health disparities of pediatric hearing loss, particularly in Appalachia.


Not only was Bush born in Appalachia (Charleston, WV), he also attended medical school in Appalachia at Marshall University in Huntington, WV. He completed his residency at UK in 2008, and following a research and clinical fellowship at The Ohio State University, returned to UK as a clinical faculty member in 2011.


In the course of his extensive training, Bush "fell in love" with hearing health care, ear surgery, and technologies like cochlear implants that offer revolutionary opportunities for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to rejoin or enter the hearing world.


"The reward is in the treatment," he said. "We love to see lives improved."


It was during his fellowship at OSU that Bush began to develop research ideas related to disparities of hearing health care for rural populations. While he has a diverse research background, including bench research, interacting with patients influenced his research most profoundly.


"Really it was the clinic setting that informed and fueled my efforts and interests because the patients that we see have some tear-jerking stories," he said. "They didn't have access to services, or they were totally unaware that there were options to help their hearing impaired child. So they show up at the clinic very delayed, well past the optimal age for intervention, and the child has already lost a lot of language development potential. Seeing those kinds of heartbreaking situations touched me as a person, as a father, as a clinician, and as an Appalachian. "


Pediatric hearing loss is common, affecting about 1 in 1000 children. Bush says that the incidence is slightly higher in Kentucky, about 1.7 in 1000, although the elevated rate might be related to Kentucky's thorough and mature reporting system.


As Bush explains, hearing loss is really a public health problem with lifelong impacts for individuals, particularly children. Hearing is vitally important in speech, language, and cognitive development of children, and children with hearing loss are at risk for difficulty in socialization, lower self-esteem, and increased behavioral problems.


"It might not seem to be a life threatening problem, but it is very impacting when it comes to the quality of life," he said.


The good news is that hearing loss is most often treatable.


"Nearly all forms of hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids or cochlear implants," Bush said. "Almost every child can have an option for rehabilitation."


However, early diagnosis and intervention for pediatric hearing loss are critical. Current standards of care dictate that diagnosis should occur no later than three months of age, and treatment should be initiated no later than six months of age. Delayed care is associated with language, cognitive, educational, and social development deficits in children, and can affect potential job productivity, employability, and overall economic well-being into adulthood.


"If a child receives appropriate intervention in a timely manner, they can be very highly functioning and do the things that they want to do. They wont be limited by their condition," Bush said. "But timing is essential – the consequences of delaying care in the first few years of life are amplified dramatically. "


For rural residents, who constitute 20 percent of the national population and experience significant health disparities across the board, delays in pediatric hearing health care are unfortunately common. Children with hearing loss in rural areas are diagnosed later than children in urban areas and subsequently receive interventions like hearing aids and cochlear implants at a later age.


Bush finds this reality is concerning, unacceptable, and solvable. He is currently investigating causes and potential solutions for delayed hearing health care among rural residents. The reasons for delays, he says, are multifactorial but are most likely related to distance from health care facilities and lack of knowledge of pediatric hearing loss and the importance of timely care.


"There's a direct relationship between distance to a tertiary care center for treatment and the timing of accessing those resources," said Bush. "The patients who are farthest away tend to be the most delayed because there's a lack of services in those communities."


To reduce the impact of distance on timeliness of hearing health care, Bush is looking to telemedicine delivery of hearing diagnostic and therapeutic services. These services require the time of experienced clinicians using a “hands on” approach but can likely be delivered effectively and remotely with an appropriate telemedicine set-up.


"There has been little research about telemedicine to change long-term hearing outcomes in children and access to hearing health care," he said. "We'd like to investigate the role of telemedicine in rural regions of Kentucky to do diagnostic testing, patient counseling, and hearing loss rehabilitation with hearing aids and implants. These are services that have not been offered before in Appalachia."


Lack of parental knowledge about hearing loss and treatments and limited experience of rural health care providers in addressing pediatric hearing loss also contribute to the delayed hearing health care for rural children.  According to Bush's recent research, about 14 percent of rural parents left the birthing hospital without knowing the result of the state-mandated hearing screening.


"There's an underlying issue of health literacy and knowledge of your child's condition, the importance of seeking treatment, and what the options are," said Bush. "A child may look completely normal and may be born to parents with no family history of hearing loss, yet may be profoundly hearing impaired."


He is currently working on a grant proposal to the National Institutes of Health to pilot a patient navigator program to assist parents in understanding the results of their child's hearing test results and the importance of early diagnostic testing and intervention. Patient navigator models have been successful in improving treatment and outcomes for other conditions, but haven't been employed and studied systematically with congenital hearing loss. The current patient navigator is a parent of cochlear implant recipient, so she has lived through the process and is dedicated to helping others access the care her daughter received.  


"We hypothesize it will be cost effective and sustainable because it will involve a lay person with personal knowledge about hearing loss in children, and a passion to provide psychosocial and education support to other parents of hearing impaired children," he said.


Another barrier to hearing health care for rural patients is that primary care practices in rural settings might not have experience in navigating the diagnostic and treatment processes for pediatric hearing loss.


"This is not something that they're seeing on a daily basis, so provider knowledge about next steps and resources is limited," Bush said. "But this is something that can be improved."


To that end, Bush is working to develop solutions that reduce delays of rural children accessing the hearing health care they need. He and his colleagues have assessed primary care provider practices in rural communities and have developed online educational modules with follow-up community accountability that will be circulated to providers. Hopefully, targeted education to rural health care providers will increase their knowledge of the condition and the medical community accountability support will impact their long-term practice.


Much of Bush's current research is facilitated by the KL2 Scholars Program of the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS).  The program provides multidisciplinary research mentorship, protected research time, and funding to support junior investigators in obtaining independent research awards. Like many physician-scientist-educators, Bush--who is also enrolled in the CCTS PhD program in clinical and translational science--understands the difficulty of managing competing demands.


"The KL2 program is a total game changer," he said. "It's very difficult in this day and age for clinicians to do research - to be able to balance productivity in the clinic and in the research realm while also being an educator."


The program is just one component of what Bush appreciates about working as clinician-researcher at UK.


"I just have to pinch myself to tell myself that I'm not dreaming," he said. "I'm so thankful to be here -- to have the opportunity to be where I love and do the work I love. My job is to help alleviate fears, provide knowledge, and use our expertise to provide the best care as timely as possible. It's a privilege and an honor to work in this field."


Even he will admit that there's much work left to be done to ensure timely access to hearing health care for all children, but he's hopeful about UK's capacity to affect change.


"The challenge of health care disparities is something that UK is poised to address as a national leader, with some brilliant researchers who are well-funded and very experienced in trying to address these problems," he said.  "You have to start small and delineate and define what the problem is before you can determine the best fix."


Bush, who says that the first doctor he remembers seeing as a child was an ear, nose, and throat doctor, nevertheless has a clear vision for what he and his colleagues can accomplish.


"In an ideal world," he said, "we wouldn’t have socioeconomic, educational, or geographic barriers that would prevent a child from getting the hearing healthcare that they need. There would be a seamless transition from the birthing hospital to resources for hearing testing and treatment, whether face-to-face or via telemedicine. We'd like the quality of care and access to care to be the same for all children. That's really what our passion is."



MEDIA CONTACT: Mallory Powell,


UK PT Student Sarah Martin Receives APTA Scholarship

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 14:24

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 11, 2014) − Sarah Martin, has been awarded the prestigious Mary McMillan Scholarship from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). Martin, who is from Lexington, is a student in the University of Kentucky College of Health Sciences Doctor of Physical Therapy program. 


“I'm thankful to the APTA for the Mary McMillan Scholarship,” Martin said. “I am so appreciative of the UK Physical Therapy program for nominating me for the award. It is an excellent program, and I’m excited to be able to represent the University as a student member of the APTA and as an award recipient.”


The Mary McMillan Scholarship Award recognizes students who exhibit superior scholastic ability and potential for future professional contribution. Awards are made on a competitive basis. Recipients are selected on the basis of the following criteria: superior scholastic performance, past productivity, evidence of potential contribution to physical therapy, and service to the APTA.


Martin received her doctorate degree in anatomy and neurobiology from UK in 2008 and entered the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program in August 2011. She is expected to graduate with her DPT degree in August 2014 with honors. She received the UK College of Health Sciences Academic Excellence Scholarship this year, and she was selected for the Kentucky Physical Therapy Association All-Academic Team this year as well. She currently maintains a 3.9 GPA in her major.  


“Sarah’s competence has been demonstrated consistently and with high quality in her lab practical examinations and in her clinical rotations,” said Anne L. Harrison, director of professional studies for the Division of Physical Therapy. “She excels in her understanding of the didactic material, as well as in being able to translate head to hands in the psychomotor domain.” 


Martin is one of only five students nationally to receive this $5,000 scholarship. She will be recognized during the APTA’s NEXT Conference and Exposition, June 11 through 14 in Charlotte, N.C.


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


UK to Observe National Student-Athlete Day April 14

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 14:21

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 11, 2014) — Hundreds of events around the nation in the coming days and weeks will mark the 27th annual National Student-Athlete Day, including activities sponsored by the University of Kentucky. Since the anniversary of the actual day fell on a Sunday (April 6) this year, UK will launch a series of events starting Monday, April 14 to mark the occasion.


A student-athlete appreciation table will be set up at the Center for Academic and Tutorial Services (CATS) on Monday, April 14.  UK student-athletes will also be involved with several community service events at local schools during the month of April.  A public service announcement featuring UK women’s basketball student-athlete Kastine Evans will air on WKYT during the entire month of April. And, UK student-athletes will be hosting a field day event for elementary school children who participate in Evans’ “Shooting at Success” after-school program sponsored by Lexington Urban Impact. The event will take place from 3:45–6: 30 p.m. Monday, April 14, at the Joe Craft Center and will feature arts and crafts, game stations and athletic instruction in sports such as basketball and soccer.  


National Student-Athlete Day honors student-athletes and the network of parents, coaches, teachers and school systems that make it possible for young people to strike a balance between academic and athletic achievement and who use sport as a vehicle for positive social change.  The day, established by the National Consortium for Academics & Sports, is co-sponsored by the NCAA and the National Federation of State High School Associations and Northeastern University's Center for Sport in Society.


President Obama has saluted those involved in National Student-Athlete Day activities. In an open letter acknowledging the day, he wrote, "A healthy balance between sports and academics is essential to ensuring that our students are prepared for the challenges of the future."


Bob Bradley, associate athletics director for student services at UK, said, "This is a wonderful and important tradition. It gives us a chance to show our appreciation and celebrate our student-athletes who work hard academically, athletically, and personally."


Bradley added, "It also gives us the opportunity to thank all of the people involved that make it possible for these students to balance academic and athletic pursuits, while also growing as contributors to their community and the larger society."


Governor Steve Beshear previously issued a proclamation recognizing National Student-Athlete Day in the state of Kentucky.


More information about National Student-Athlete Day is available at




MEDIA CONTACT:  Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200; Dustin Lewis, 859-257-2762.


Lexington and UK Medical Group Making Waves in India

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 14:04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 14, 2014) − Dr. Thomas Young, a University of Kentucky College of Medicine professor of pediatrics, had dreams from a young age of emulating Albert Schweitzer, an early 1900s medical missionary.


Thanks to a group comprised of UK employees and students and Lexington-area medical professionals, Young is closer to those dreams, while making life better for kids with disabilities in India.


In 2002, Young started Shoulder to Shoulder Global (STSG), which sent UK faculty and students to a clinic in Ecuador. Now, the organization is expanding its reach into Mayasandra, a rural Indian village.


Young and UK pediatric pulmonologist Dr. Mike Anstead were instrumental in establishing a Mayasandra clinic that is dedicated to kids with disabilities. The clinic, which the STSG group hopes to travel to annually after its first exploratory trip there in 2009, is staffed year-round, even when the Lexington professionals aren’t there.


Thirteen medical professionals and students traveled to Mayasandra during spring break as part of a multidisciplinary approach to diagnosing and treating Indian children with special healthcare needs. Physical therapists, special educators, a speech and language therapist and pediatric residents were all involved this year.


A “local champion” is necessary for these types of projects, Young said, and the STSG group found that person in Dr. M.N. Subramanya, a retired surgeon originally from Mayasandra, whose son-in-law, Dr. Harohalli Shashidhar, used to be a UK physician. Among help from Young, Anstead, Subramanya and Shashidhar, along with other STSG donations, the Mayasandra clinic was able to establish itself and purchase a van used to provide transportation to the clinic for children from 16 surrounding villages.


Although kids with disabilities were not the Mayasandra project’s original focus, Young realized during the 2009 exploratory trip, where his group saw 500 children, that the village had unfulfilled needs.


“After we saw all those kids, we all noticed the same thing,” Young said. “We saw all these kids with disabilities getting no service. I didn’t envision all this when I first started. You learn and make mistakes, and try to get better next time.”


Now, a multidisciplinary approach is being taken into Mayasandra. The Lexington community can pull from a variety of professions, and bring those talents to the village.


That approach, which allows physical therapists to work with special educators or speech therapists with medical school students in unprecedented ways, allows for an educational component for students, too.


“You’re never going to be operating on an island,” said UK medical student Justin Penticuff, who traveled to Mayasandra this year. “You’re always going to need to work with the whole team.”


Working with an entire interdisciplinary team is one part of the equation; getting real-world experience in an environment very different from what they’re used to is something else students can take away from the STSG program in India.


“We have to be able to come up with ideas for people who don’t have access to specialty things,” said Erin Sieberkrob, a UK physical therapy student on the trip. “It’s our job as healthcare providers to accommodate them and give them ideas of what they can do. That’s something important we learned just being in India.”


The program still has room to grow. Those involved want to build a new clinic in Mayasandra, which would require about $75,000. They want to hire a certified teacher at the clinic year-round. And building vocational programs at the clinic to help teach kids necessary skills is also a dream of STSG’s.


If interested in donating to STSG and its efforts in India, contact Dr. Thomas Young at


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





UPK Author Wins Department of Defense Award for Summerall Memoir

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 12:00

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 11, 2014) — University Press of Kentucky (UPK) author Timothy K. Nenninger has been awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service from the United States Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel. The award given to the editor of the UPK book “The Way of Duty, Honor, Country: The Memoir of Charles Pelot Summerall" was presented April 5, at The Society for Military History’s annual meeting in Kansas City, Mo.


The Secretary of Defense Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service was established Nov. 26, 1954, and is the second highest career award that is presented by the Department of Defense to a civilian employee. It is awarded to employees for exceptional devotion to duty and for contributions to the operation of the department. The award recognizes Nenninger’s contributions at the National Archives over three decades in assisting numerous government and academic historians in researching and writing military history that influenced and guided the professional education and decision making of Department of Defense civilian and military leaders at all levels.


“The Way of Duty, Honor, Country" chronicles the life and service of Charles Pelot Summerall. After graduating from West Point in 1892, Summerall launched a distinguished military career, fighting Filipino insurgents in 1899 and Boxers in China in 1900. His remarkable service included brigade, division and corps commands in World War I; duty as chief of staff of the U.S. Army from 1926 to 1930; and presidency of The Citadel for 20 years, where he was instrumental in establishing the school’s national reputation.


Summerall left behind a detailed manuscript of his life which Nenninger edited and annotated, adding comprehensively researched footnotes and creating an accessible biography that provides a valuable resource for anyone interested in the life of a celebrated soldier who witnessed profound technological, military and social advances.


Nenninger is chief of the Textual Records reference staff at the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. His previous works include “The Leavenworth Schools and the Old Army: Education, Professionalism, and the Officer Corps of the US Army, 1881–1918” and “Soldiers and Civilians: The US Army and the American People.”


UPK is the scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, representing a consortium that now includes all of the state universities, five private colleges and two historical societies. Led by Director Stephen Wrinn, its editorial program focuses on the humanities and the social sciences. Offices for the administrative, editorial, production and marketing departments of the press are found at UK, which provides financial support toward the operating expenses of the publishing operation.




MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale,

UK MANRRS Chapter Receives National Acclaim

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 11:20

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 11, 2014) – At the recent 29th annual MANRRS conference, the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s chapter received many awards and honors.


MANRRS stands for Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences.


The UK chapter was named National Chapter of the Year at the Birmingham, Ala. event for the second consecutive year. This is the first time a school has received back-to-back chapter of the year recognitions. This recognition is based on a written report and an oral presentation focusing on membership, leadership development, promotion of the national society, community service, and activities and events conducted. The UK chapter also won the Region 3 Chapter of the Year for the third consecutive year.


“We received this honor over 75 chapters in 38 states,” said Quentin Tyler, UK assistant dean and director of the college’s Office of Diversity. “This award is a direct reflection of the commitment to the development of our students in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment and the total support provided by our administration, faculty and staff, 4-H agents, and groups such as the Ag and HES Alumni Association and Farm Credit Mid-America. Moving forward, students are aware that they can attend our college and receive the support they need to reach their goals and dreams.”


In addition to the Chapter of the Year recognitions, Tyler was elected as the National MANRRS president-elect, a three-year term beginning in May.


Tyler said, of the 57 UKAg representatives attending the national conference, 36 were college students and 14 were Jr. MANRRS students. The rest included the academic coordinator in Agricultural Economics, the director of program and staff development for the college, one representative from the Department of Forestry, and four Cooperative Extension agents.


Other honors include:


•           Marcus Tyler Jr. -- Jr. MANRRS National John Deere Scholarship recipient; MANRRS Undergraduate Essay 2nd Place

•           Stephanie Cabrea -- Jefferson County 4-H Jr. MANRRS, third place public speaking. Her 4-H agents are Chanda Hall and Ashley Holt.

•           Anna Stacia Haley -- Christian County 4H Jr. MANRRS, first place impromptu speaking and first place public speaking. Her 4-H agent is Antomia Farrell.

•           Susanna Croney -- Christian County 4-H Jr. MANRRS, second place public speaking. Farrell is her 4-H agent as well.

•           Spencer Tribble – agricultural economics graduate student, one of three students in the country awarded a John Deere MANRRS Internship.

Several students were nominated and elected to the following national officer positions for 2014-2015:

•           Tribble  -- Graduate Region 5 vice president

•           Kelly Moore -- Undergraduate Region 2 vice president, Community and Leadership Development junior.

•           Jessi Ghezi -- Graduate Region 6 vice president, doctoral candidate in Plant and Soil Sciences.

•           Marquel Lett -- Undergraduate president, Environmental Sciences junior


REVEAL Research Media: UK Hosts Largest-Ever NCUR

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 09:53


Video by UK REVEAL Research Media. LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 8, 2014) — Last week, the University of Kentucky hosted the largest-ever National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), an event that brings students and their mentors from across the country to present their research and creative endeavors.  This was the largest NCUR in the conference's 28-year history. The event featured poster, oral and performing arts presentations in a variety of topics, from film studies and music, to biology and engineering. The conference not only allowed students to present their work, but to develop their communication and presentation skills while meeting other like-minded students. A career gallery, graduate and professional school fair, art gallery, open houses, plenary speakers, concerts and excursions were also provided for the students. 

Preparation for an event of this size begun over two years ago, and was made possible by the collaboration of many colleges and departments across campus, and by the help of hundreds of student, faculty and staff volunteers.

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

UK’s Top Student Entrepreneurs Compete at Idea State U

Wed, 04/09/2014 - 19:19

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 10, 2014) — UK’s top undergraduate and graduate student entrepreneurs will compete for a share of $100,000 against 25 teams from across the state at Idea State U, April 11-12 at the Lexington Convention Center.


“The Idea State U business plan competition demonstrates the tremendous amount of entrepreneurial talent we have all across Kentucky,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “Many of the innovation-based student ventures will go on to form real companies that contribute real jobs to help our economy grow.” The Cabinet for Economic Development sponsors Idea State U to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship on the college level.


Students from eight Kentucky public universities, the Kentucky Community & Technical College System, and the University of Pikeville will deliver elevator pitches and make formal presentations to a panel of judges who will also provide valuable feedback and advice.

The following teams who were recent winners at the UK Venture Challenge student entrepreneur competition will represent UK at Idea State U.


Shouter – computer science seniors Josiah Hanna, Charlie Effinger and Craig Schmidt. Undergraduate business plan for a mobile application connecting users to the people and events around them while maintaining user privacy and security.


Reinforcer – Bryan Wright, architecture junior.
Undergraduate business concept to increase a home’s tolerance to withstand potentially damaging winds using an affordable internal structural system design.


MosquitoTech – MBA candidates Alex Blasingame, Justin Johnson and Rob Arnold.
Graduate business plan for an environmentally responsible product to control and eliminate the Asian tiger mosquito using UK researcher and medical and veterinary entomology Professor Stephen Dobson’s patented technology.


Arymza Technologies – Satrio Husodo, molecular and cellular biochemistry Ph.D. candidate; and MBA candidates Erica Clark and Miguel Doughlin.
Graduate business concept targets the $15 billion starch market using new enzyme technology developed by UK molecular and cellular biochemistry researchers Matthew Gentry and Craig Vander Kooi that makes it easier to process starch.


Twenty-three UK undergraduate and graduate students participated in the third annual UK Venture Challenge Saturday March 1. The winners shared $3,000 in scholarship prizes from sponsors including the Bluegrass Business Development Partnership, comprised of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, Commerce Lexington, and UK; the Gatton College of Business and Economics; and the College of Communication and Information.


UK Venture Challenge is organized by iNET, the Innovation Network for Entrepreneurial Thinking hosted by the College of Communication and Information, with the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship / Lexington Innovation and Commercialization Center in the Gatton College of Business and Economics, and the Big Blue Starters student entrepreneur organization.


For a schedule of events and additional information, visit




MEDIA CONTACTS: Deb Weis, 859-338-0751,; Joe Hall, 502-564-4886; Rick Johnson, KSTC, 859-246-3211


UK Medical Student Named Associate Editor of Stem Cell Research Publication

Wed, 04/09/2014 - 15:30


LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 11, 2014) -- Krishna Vyas has been named associate editor of The SAGE Encyclopedia of Stem Cell Research, Second Edition,  a 3-volume reference of emerging concepts in stem cell developmental biology, research, and therapy, and ethics.


Authored by international experts and scholars, The SAGE Encyclopedia of Stem Cell Research, Second Edition references emerging concepts in stem cell developmental biology, research, and therapy, in addition to the ethics, religion, politics and challenges of the field. The reference series is scheduled to be published in print and electronic editions in 2015. 


A fourth year medical student at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Vyas of Forest Hills, Ky., earned a master's degree from The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2010 and a bachelor's degree in biology, summa cum laude, from the University of Kentucky in 2009.  


"Krishna has a bright future ahead of him, and this appointment is a reflection of that," said Dr. Peter Sawaya, UK professor of medicine and a passionate advocate for student research.  




Sanders-Brown Research on Down Syndrome and Dementia Published in Neurobiology of Aging

Wed, 04/09/2014 - 15:15

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 10, 2014) -- A multidisciplinary group of scientists from the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging at the University of Kentucky have identified an interesting connection between the health of the brain tissue that supports cognitive functioning and the presence of dementia in adults with Down syndrome.


Published in the Neurobiology of Aging, the study, which focused on detecting changes in the white matter connections of the brain, offers tantalizing potential for the identification of biomarkers connected to the development of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.


"We used magnetic resonance imaging to compare the health of the brain’s white matter and how strongly it connects different parts of the brain," explains Elizabeth Head, the study's senior author. "The results indicate a compelling progression of deterioration in the integrity of white matter in the brains of our study participants commensurate with their cognitive health."


Research team member David Powell compared the brain scans of three groups of volunteers: persons with Down syndrome but no dementia, persons with Down syndrome and dementia, and a healthy control group. 


Using MRI technologies, brain scans of subjects with Down syndrome showed some compromise in the tissues of brain's frontal lobe compared to those from the control group. When people with Down syndrome and dementia were compared to people with Down syndrome without dementia, those same white matter connections were even less healthy.   

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the study was the correlation between the cognitive abilities of participants with Down Syndrome and the integrity of their white matter– those who had higher motor skill coordination and better learning and memory ability had healthier frontal white matter connections. 


Persons with Down syndrome are at an extremely high risk for developing Alzheimer's disease after the age of 40. The team hopes their work might eventually lead to the identification of biomarkers for the development of Alzheimer's disease in people with Down syndrome and, potentially, extend that to the general population as well.


Head cautions that these results are to some extent exploratory due to the small cohort of 30 participants.  But, she says, "If we are able to identify people who, based on biomarkers, have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, we might be able to intervene at an earlier point to retard the progression of the disease."


The Neurobiology of Aging is a peer-reviewed journal with a primary emphasis on mechanisms of nervous system changes with age or diseases associated with age. 


Media Contact:  Laura Dawahare,