Campus News

WUKY's 'UK Perspectives' Previews Big Blue Move

Thu, 08/04/2016 - 18:55

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 5, 2016) — WUKY's "UK Perspectives" focuses on the people and programs of the University of Kentucky and is hosted by WUKY General Manager Tom Godell.  More than 5,000 new and returning students will move in to campus residence halls between Aug. 13 and 20. On today's show, Godell talks to Sarah Nikirk, executive director for auxiliary services, who is overseeing Big Blue Move 2016. 


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


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



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

Visual Arts Study Provides Dementia Participants With a Gift for Life

Thu, 08/04/2016 - 15:30


Photos courtesy of UK School of Art and Visual Studies. 


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 5, 2016) “This is the greatest gift you ever gave me.”


Those are the very touching words of just one of several changed patients who participated in the University of Kentucky's first visual arts study for patients with dementia held last spring at the School of Art and Visual Studies. The comment, shared with his spouse and caregiver, was all the confirmation she needed to know about how valuable the experience was to not only her husband but their family.


That couple was not alone, the majority of the eight-week study's 12 participants echoed that praise.


From new ideas to new confidence, patients felt they benefited in a multitude of ways. "I gained self-confidence from the research study," said a second patient. "Allan (Richards) and Ann’s (Christianson-Tietyen) encouragement helped excite me about my art. I met others and their caregivers who are going through the same things I’m starting to experience. It was comforting to spend time with them. It felt good being around people that are in a similar situation to me and we all wanted to be helpful to each other. The class was much more than art. I learned new techniques that I will use in my own hobby of gourd painting.”


And yet another patient, who was worried about losing his own current artistic skills, found solace in the opportunity to create again, albeit in another art medium. “Participating in the visual arts study occurred at a good time for me. I just became aware and was realizing, as well as acknowledging, my cognitive and physical failures. I previously held an interest in arts and crafts (wood turning and inlay) which had to be curtailed due to using potentially, dangerous tools. The possibility of a safe craft gives me hope and appears it will not cause me to be a worry and burden to others.”


But patients were not the only ones who treasured the experience. The study was also very interesting to their caretakers, who saw changes, and more importantly, hope in their loved ones.


“It is so difficult for someone with this horrible disease, Alzheimer’s, to have the confidence to do anything, especially new things," one caregiver said. "So with the help, guidance, encouragement and understanding of Dr. Richards and Ann and the support of the others in the class it became easier for all of them to once again succeed in something. The joy this gave them would not have been possible without the continued encouragement, inspiration and love shown by Dr. Richards and Ann. They made this wonderful, fulfilling experience possible. To see the joy and hear the laughter and see the accomplishments from all the participants, especially my husband, was worth our four-hour round trip drive from Russell Springs to Lexington every week.”


Another patient's adult child, who serves as her mother's caretaker wholeheartedly agreed and was thankful for an outside outlet. "This art class was a wonderful experience for my mother and I. My mother is currently living a very isolated life. The eight-week art class provided her with socialization that she had not been receiving. The class gave us both something to look forward to attending on Fridays. Art education was something we both had always wanted to participate in and UK's class gave us the opportunity to fulfill a goal.’


Researchers Allan Richards and Ann Christianson-Tietyen were extremely happy with the study's initial response. “The spring program was valuable to many and lots of fun for everyone involved. The participants enjoyed creating beautiful works of art. Many expressed a desire to continue pursuing art projects past the duration of the program,” Christianson-Tietyen said.


Funded by a grant from the U.S. Alzheimer’s Disease Centers and based on the study's initial success, Richards and Christianson-Tietyen will present a second study this fall. Like the first study, the eight-week program will include groups of 12 (six people with dementia and their partner caregivers) who will participate in various visual arts activities, including painting, sculpture or collage to explore the effects of visual arts activities on quality of life for people with mild to moderate dementia and their caregivers.


“Our study is focused on providing mentally stimulating and enriching activities in the visual arts for persons with dementia in order to engage cognitive processes, emotions, and motor skills, perhaps slowing cognitive decline and improving quality of life,” Richards said.


The second study will begin Saturday, Sept. 10, and will be held once a week on Saturday or Sunday at UK College of Fine Art's new Art and Visual Studies Building, located at 236 Bolivar St. The location allows study participants to peruse other artwork by UK students and faculty through its windowed classrooms and gallery spaces letting them see similar art lessons at work and find inspiration for their own art.


“It was a lot of fun coming to UK and seeing the different art exhibits in the workshops and hallways every week, and exciting to see what kind of assignment the professors had for us. It was a weekly outing we both looked forward to each week," said one participant with dementia.


Each study session will last about an hour and a half. All art supplies are free to study participants and free handicapped-accessible parking is available next to the building.


For more information about the study or to see whether you are eligible, call Richards at 859-361-1483 or Christianson-Tietyen at 859-312-4553.


With the second study just weeks away, the researchers hope once again to hear words like these from their participants. “It was a blessing to meet both of you, and for the gift of art. I think this will make a difference in the way I live and see the rest of my life.”



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



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

UK Researchers: Gut Bacteria Have Own Circadian Clock

Thu, 08/04/2016 - 15:20

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 8, 2016)  The circadian rhythm, or circadian clock, is an internal mechanism that drives the 24-hour cycles that tell our bodies when to sleep, wake and eat — and now, new research has found that bacteria living within the gut also have a clock.


"We are the directors of that clock, much like the sun directs our own circadian rhythms!" said Jiffin Paulose, UK post-doctoral scholar and co-author of the study in PLOS ONE.


Paulose and Professor and Chair of the Department of Biology Vincent Cassone found that a certain class of bacteria found in the human gut, Enterobacter aerogenes, expresses circadian patterns because of its sensitivity to melatonin, the hormone produced at night and stimulating sleep.


While melatonin is made by the pineal gland, a small gland in the brain, it is also present throughout the gastrointestinal (GI) system. In addition, many foods contain melatonin. The GI system's circadian clock is coordinated to both light and the timing of eating.


Paulose said the effect of melatonin on this bacterium is remarkable: when exposed to melatonin at levels similar to those found in the gut, the individual cells begin to communicate with each other and coordinate periods of swimming and dividing in a phenomenon known as swarming. 


"This swarming in the presence of melatonin occurs every 24 hours and keyed us toward finding the circadian clock," he said.


This is the first demonstration of a circadian clock in a prokaryote outside the phylum Cyanobacteria, and the researchers' findings suggest that the cyanobacterial and E. aerogenes clocks share common evolutionary ancestors.


"If our future work demonstrates this is true, then the evolution of circadian organization predates the emergence of oxygen generating photosynthesis some 3.5 billion years ago," Cassone said.


Their findings also point to the overall circadian organization in vertebrates as being an arrangement of multiple circadian pacemakers organized in a hierarchical system of clocks. Paulose said now they must consider the bacteria that coexist within the body as part of that hierarchy.


"Not only are we sending signals (like melatonin) to the bacteria in our guts, mouths, skin, etc., but they are also sending signals back that affect us; from the molecular level all the way up to our behavior," he said. "The biological and clinical significance of this grand scale of circadian coordination will be important to discover in the very near future." 



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



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

College of Public Health Establishes National Center for Research in Underserved Rural Areas

Thu, 08/04/2016 - 15:10

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 5, 2016) — A new research center operated within the University of Kentucky College of Public Health will investigate and inform health policies and services affecting impoverished rural communities around the nation.


The Center for Rural and Underserved Health Research at the University of Kentucky received a $2.8 million grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration’s Rural Health Research Center Cooperative Agreement grant program. The Center became one of seven federally funded centers in the nation dedicated to health policy and services research in rural populations. The award, supported by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will provide an annual $700,000 in funding to operate the center for four years. The Center is situated to address health services and systems in impoverished and underserved areas of Appalachia.


Research conducted at the Center will expand the breadth of knowledge available about the organization, coordination, strategizing and efficiency of health services and policies in impoverished and underserved rural communities. The Center was founded with the objective of building a portfolio of translational research to inform and influence policy makers, managers and other rural health stakeholders. The data collected by the Center will reach both local and national stakeholders.


According to Ty Borders, the director of the Center and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky Endowed Chair in Rural Health Policy, few research studies focus on health care delivery systems and policies in underserved rural areas of America. Researchers within the Center aim to this fill gap in public health scholarship. Their studies will address topics including hospital and public health system collaborations, financial viability of rural hospitals, patient-centered medical care and treatment, and the impact of the Affordable Care Act.


“It really helps to validate our status having expertise in rural health research,” Borders said of receiving four-year renewable funding for the Center. “This center is really focused on doing research on rural health issues, including how we can better organize care and improve access to services nationally.”


While the Center is located within the College of Public Health, it represents a multidisciplinary collaboration among UK health researchers and experts. Researchers from the College of Pharmacy, College of Agriculture and the College of Medicine will contribute to research projects. The Center will also work in conjunction with the American Board of Family Medicine, which is headquartered in Lexington.


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,


UK Workshops Preserve Food as Well as Finances, Health

Thu, 08/04/2016 - 13:27


Video by Jeff Franklin/UK Ag Communications.


LEXINGTON, Ky., (Aug. 5, 2016)  Preserving food at the height of summer to consume in the pit of winter — at one time, was a skill that nearly every woman learned from her mother and passed on to her daughters. With the advent of grocery stores and a food distribution system that defies the seasons, food preservation skills have declined over the past three or four decades.


The University of Kentucky and its College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Family and Consumer Sciences Extension, within the School of Human Environmental Sciences, are doing something about that.


Recently, folks with the Kentucky Nutrition Education Program have seen a renewed interest in food preservation and responded by creating a three-day “boot camp” style workshop in methods that include canning, freezing and drying. Retired family and consumer sciences extension agents are teaching the workshops around the state for the second summer.


“We’re trying to reach families with information that will help them make good financial and healthy choices in terms of selecting and preserving their food,” said Renee Fox, nutrition and marketing specialist with the Nutrition Education Program. “Many of them don’t know these techniques. Sometimes it’s been lost over the generations, but even if they do have the skills, some of the products and regulations have changed as we’ve learned more about food preservation, so we want to make sure they’re using the safest methods and doing things the right way.”


On the first day of a recent workshop in Scott County, retired agents Grace Angotti and Cheryl Case taught the 15 participants about different canning methods, the proper equipment and safety considerations. In the more than 20 years each woman worked as an extension agent, they’ve seen interest in home food preservation ebb and flow.


“I think it’s part of the farm-to-table movement, where we’re interested in knowing where our food originates. We want to know that food is healthy and safe. We want to know what’s in our food, and we want it to be as natural as possible,” Case said.


Angotti remembered, in particular, the reaction of an enthusiastic participant at a 2015 workshop.


“As soon as we learned to can green beans, she went home and did a mess of green beans and some corn,” Angotti said. “And then she brought us pictures of them.”


The workshops are under the umbrella of the Kentucky Nutrition Education Program, which includes two U.S. Department of Agriculture programs for limited-resource families and individuals: the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, EFNEP, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education, known as SNAP-Ed. The goal of both programs is to educate program participants on how to plan nutritious meals on a restricted budget, acquire safe food handling practices, improve food preparation skills and develop behaviors that will result in a healthy lifestyle.


“Obesity (in the state) is high; blood pressure is a big concern. Eating healthy can go a long way in lowering your health risks. It’s really vital,” Fox said. “SNAP-Ed and food preservation workshops are making a difference in people’s lives.”



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



MEDIA CONTACT: Carol Lea Spence, 859-257-8324,

Traffic Exiting UK HealthCare Parking Garage to be Temporarily Rerouted

Wed, 08/03/2016 - 14:35
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 4, 2016) — Beginning Friday, Aug. 5, Conn Terrace between South Limestone and the UK HealthCare garage exit will be temporarily closed. The closure is necessary to allow for construction of a pedestrian bridge linking the new Shriner’s Hospital Medical Center to the UK HealthCare parking garage and is expected to last approximately two weeks. During this time, traffic exiting the garage will be detoured to Virginia Avenue (for northbound travelers) or Waller Avenue (for southbound). Visitors who need to pick up patients at the hospital will need to use the detour to Waller Avenue, turn left onto Waller and left again onto South Limestone. The entrance to the hospital will then be on the right.  Patient and visitor shuttles will also be detoured during this time and will require extra travel time. Patients should allow extra time for getting to and from appointments whenever possible.  Detour routes will be marked on the street and signs will be posted by all garage elevators. Printed maps of recommended exit routes will be available in racks near the garage elevators and at all information desks.  Patients who have appointments in the Kentucky Clinic building may wish to use the Kentucky Clinic Parking Garage, which is located on Huguelet Avenue.  

Appalachian Health and Well-Being Forum Focuses on Southeastern Kentucky

Wed, 08/03/2016 - 14:17

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 4, 2016)  As Southeastern Kentucky works to address well-documented and long-standing regional disparities in health and well-being, scientists from the University of Kentucky and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) came together with community leaders and research partners recently for the Appalachian Health and Well-Being Forum, which highlighted innovative health promotion and disease prevention programs and activities in the region.


Held at the Letcher County UK Cooperative Extension Office, the forum provided an opportunity for residents and investigators interested in health and well-being to share success stories and lessons learned from past and ongoing projects. A variety of exhibitors from both the community and UK were also on hand to distribute materials and information about health-related programs and activities.


The conference included a panel discussion featuring Linda Birnbaum, director of the NIEHS, part of the National Institutes of Health; Dawn Brewer, assistant professor in the UK Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition within the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment; L.M. "Mike" Caudill, chief executive officer of Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation (MCHC) in Whitesburg; and Frances Feltner, director of the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health (CERH) in Hazard. The discussion was moderated by Ernie Scott, director of the Kentucky Office of Rural Health. After a welcome by Whitesburg Mayor James W. Craft, the panelists focused their discussion on the role of community in preventing disease and promoting health and well-being.


Describing a number of NIEHS-funded research activities, Birnbaum emphasized the importance of community-based problem-solving for understanding and addressing challenging health issues, including reducing exposures to toxicants prenatally and across the lifespan.


Brewer described nutrition research under way by UK and its community partners that hopes to “make the healthy choice, the easy, or default, choice.”


Caudill talked about the importance of place and how it is central to the efforts of MCHC to promote health within the region.


Discussing the work of UK's CERH, Feltner highlighted the need for workforce development programs and how economic depression can affect the health of a community. 


Prior to the forum, the NIEHS director participated in site visits to the UK CERH, MCHC, Appalshop and the Cowan Community Center. During the visits, local leaders were able to share valuable information with Birnbaum on the issues impacting natural resources in the community.


“Our mission for NIEHS is to discover how the environment affects people in order to promote healthier lives,” Birnbaum said.


“Too often, individuals and organizations work in overlapping areas to promote community health and positive lifestyles but are not fully aware of each other’s work,” according to Lindell Ormsbee, Raymond-Blythe Professor of Civil Engineering in the College of Engineering and associate director of the UK Superfund Research Center (SRC). “This forum provided an opportunity to help make those connections.”


Kelly Pennell, associate professor in the College of Engineering and co-leader of the SRC Research Translation and Community Engagement Cores, who joined Ormsbee in leading a planning team comprising community members from Perry and Letcher counties, as well as UK faculty and students, added, “We were honored to be welcomed so warmly into these communities and be given the opportunity to learn about and share with other organizations the many programs taking place to improve health and well-being in Eastern Kentucky.”


Organizers of the forum, which was sponsored by UK and NIEHS, hope the event will further enhance the numerous ongoing efforts taking place in the southeastern part of the state.



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



MEDIA CONTACTS: Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200;; Kara Richardson, 859-327-2825;


UK Students Create Elkhorn City Railroad Museum’s Mobile Exhibit for Schools, Tourists

Wed, 08/03/2016 - 11:59


Photos courtesy of the Elkhorn City Railroad Museum.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 4, 2016) Kentucky is privileged with a bounty of railroad museums and attractions, but the Elkhorn City Railroad Museum has a charm and history all its own.


With its unique collection of railroading tools, equipment, uniforms and instruments; enhanced by books and photos; and personalized by retired railroad employees eager to share their tales of life on the rails, the Elkhorn City Railroad Museum preserves and protects Eastern Kentucky’s pride and culture as well as its hope for the future.


This past spring semester, University of Kentucky sociology students in Associate Professor Shaunna L. Scott’s “Sociology of Appalachia” class were quick to recognize the potential of the small museum supported by the Pike County community. With the help of the citizens of Elkhorn City, they created an exhibit that reflects the importance of the railroad to the region’s history, commerce and way of life. Although the exhibit’s home is the Elkhorn City Railroad Museum during the spring, summer and fall tourist seasons, the university students’ educational exhibit will be housed in the Elkhorn City Public Library during the winter. The exhibit is portable, capable of transport to schools and libraries throughout the region during the winter months.


For a brief history of the Elkhorn City Railroad Museum, visit


“My students did research on the region’s history and the role of the railroad in and around Elkhorn City to build the exhibit,” said Scott, who is also director of the Appalachian Studies Program at UK. “There were plenty of pictures and artifacts that had been donated to the museum, as well as books and pictures that the students located from other sources.” 


The state historical marker in front of the museum reads, “Two major railroads, C&O from north and Clinchfield from south, connected at Elkhorn City, Feb. 8, 1915, opening up trade from (the) Ohio Valley to (the) South Atlantic Region. Elkhorn City became (an) important railroad town. Trains went through several times a day transporting goods from north and south, and coal and timber from (the) surrounding area.”


The exhibit in part recounts the construction of the last few miles of the Clinchfield Railroad, a feat considered an engineering marvel at the time of its completion in 1915. Snaking 266 miles from Spartenburg, South Carolina, through Western North Carolina, Eastern Tennessee and Western Virginia, the Clinchfield line terminated and joined the C&O line in Elkhorn City. The last few miles of the Clinchfield line crossed Pike County’s steep mountains and Breaks Gorge, known as the “Grand Canyon of the South.” The construction required 56 tunnels and six bridges. For nearly a century, the Clinchfield Railroad hauled untold millions of tons of coal and lumber out of the hills of Eastern Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee to the textile mills of South Carolina, and on to other population and industrial centers in America.


Locals in this southeastern corner of Kentucky can trace their area’s rich history as far back as 1767, when Daniel Boone made his first hunting excursion west of the Cumberland Mountain range. Barely a crossroads in the early 20th century, Elkhorn City credits the railroad with the town's population growth and its role in moving coal, freight and passengers across the country.


Nestled in the stunning Appalachian foothills, within a few miles of the picturesque Breaks Interstate Park and surrounded by some of the region’s best whitewater rafting and wilderness hiking/biking trails, citizens of Elkhorn City are determined to preserve their region’s cultural heritage through the modern post-coal, post-railroad transition. Hence, the region is transitioning to an alternate source of commerce, one that can preserve its heritage, its beauty, its uniqueness — the tourist industry.


“We hope that the exhibit that my students created will help educate local children about the history and culture of their community and will also serve as an attraction to people visiting the area for outdoor recreation. The Elkhorn City Railroad Museum and the Actors Collaborative Theater are two of the town’s cultural centerpieces,” Scott said.


Now in her third year of a partnership with the small town of Elkhorn City, the sociology professor with a soft spot in her heart for Appalachia will lead future UK student volunteers as they assist the area in diversifying its economy to better cope with the post-coal transition.


“With a history older than our nation, we don’t want to just see the people of Appalachia survive, we want to see them and their culture thrive,” Scott said.



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



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


UK's Academic Exploration Tool Given Excellence Award at UCDA Design Competition

Wed, 08/03/2016 - 11:36


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 4, 2016) — The University of Kentucky and Up&Up have been presented the Award of Excellence from the University and College Designers Association (UCDA) for the design of the UK Academic Exploration Tool (AET).


The 2016 UCDA Design Competition evaluated 224 digital entries with 23 awards given. This year's show will be on display at the UCDA Design Conference, Sept. 24-27, in San Antonio, Texas.


The AET, which launched this past fall, revamps the way students prepare for college classes and their futures, making the process more user friendly and allowing for more creativity when searching and considering forthcoming career possibilities.


The team that worked on the project include the following:

Creative Director Mark Gerardot

Senior Developer Michael Oostdyk

Front-End Developer Ben Robertson

Project Director Grace King

Director of Marketing and Strategy Matt McFadden

Front-End Developer Jordan Barber

Director of Communication and Technology (University of Kentucky) Tyler Gayheart

The UCDA Design Competition recognizes the best of the exceptional design work done to promote educational institutions (secondary, vocational or higher education) and supports the exchange of ideas and information relating to the unique role of these designers.


Learn more about the project at:



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



MEDIA CONTACT: Rebecca Stratton,, 859-323-2395 

UK Law’s Grisé Receives Meritorious Service Award from ABA Commission

Tue, 08/02/2016 - 15:27

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 4, 2016)  Jane Grisé, director of academic success and legal writing instructor at the University of Kentucky College of Law, has been named the American Bar Association's Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs’ (CoLAP) 2016 Meritorious Service Award winner.


The award recognizes a law student, law school, staff or faculty member who implemented a significant initiative or made a contribution toward law student mental and physical wellness through prevention, education, intervention and treatment of substance abuse, addiction and mental illness with the law student population.


Grisé was nominated for this prestigious award by Yvette Hourigan, director of the Kentucky Lawyer Assistance Program, and chosen for her leadership and implementation of the Dean’s Challenge Program at UK Law.


The Dean’s Challenge Program consists of a 5-week challenge to introduce students to exercise, nutrition, health issues, yoga, meditation and other programs.


Grisé will be honored at the ABA CoLAP 2016 National Conference for Lawyer Assistance Programs Annual Dinner on Thursday, Oct. 6, in Vancouver, British Columbia.



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



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

UK Biology Grad Student Wins Prestigious Blue Waters Fellowship

Tue, 08/02/2016 - 14:39

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 3, 2016) University of Kentucky doctoral student Paul Hime has been awarded the Blue Waters Graduate Fellowship from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). Hime, a graduate student in Associate Professor David Weisrock's lab in the Department of Biology, is one of only 10 students across the country who has been selected for the program.


The NCSA's Blue Waters Fellowship will give Hime access to one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world — the Blue Waters supercomputer. He will also receive a $38,000 stipend, up to $12,000 in tuition allowance, an allocation of up to 50,000 node-hours on the computing system, and funds for travel to a Blue Waters-sponsored symposium to present research progress and results.


"Access to extremely powerful supercomputing resources is vital to my research, and the Blue Waters Fellowship through the NCSA provides unprecedented opportunities to advance this work," Hime said.


Hime is an aspiring evolutionary biologist, whose research centers on diversity among different organisms. Specifically, his research seeks to reconstruct evolutionary relationships among amphibians, using new computational and statistical approaches, to better understand and conserve their biological diversity.


Hime credits Weisrock and others in the Department of Biology and Center for Computational Sciences as being instrumental to his research and scholarship thus far.


"Dr. Weisrock has allowed me the intellectual freedom to pursue risky projects, to ask big questions, and to learn to become an independent scientist," Hime said.


He looks forward to finishing his dissertation research and gaining new computational skills from his work with NCSA researchers. After graduating from UK with his doctoral degree, Hime plans to continue his work as an academic researcher.  



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



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

UK Law Showcases Scholarship at SEALS Annual Conference

Tue, 08/02/2016 - 14:21

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 3, 2016) University of Kentucky College of Law faculty and staff are sharing their expertise with legal educators across the country at the Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS) Conference this week. The conference, held in Amelia Island, Florida, runs until Aug. 9.


The annual conference provides numerous panels and discussion groups on cutting-edge topics and a breadth of legal issues important to both scholarly work and teaching. The conference also offers newer faculty the opportunity to present a work in progress and to receive feedback from assigned mentors and audience participants.


The following UK Law faculty and staff members are participating:  


· Professor Scott Bauries will present in a new law teachers workshop, a labor and employment law workshop and a workplace law discussion group.

· Dean David A. Brennen will participate in several dean panel discussions.

· Law Library Director James Donovan will speak in several legal education workshops.

· Academic Success Director Jane Grisé will speak in several legal education workshops.

· Associate Dean Nicole Huberfeld will participate in a discussion group on race and federalism, a legal education workshop and a health law workshop.

· Professor Cortney Lollar will participate in a discussion group on the advancement of remedies and a workshop on access to justice.

· Professor Kathy Moore will moderate a tax law workshop.



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



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

Pet Therapy Program Brings Man’s Best Friend to Patients at UK HealthCare

Tue, 08/02/2016 - 09:07

UPR&M Video by Jenny Wells.



LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 3, 2016) – The Pet Therapy Program run through the Volunteer Office at UK HealthCare gives volunteers the chance to let man’s best friend brighten the days of people who need it most. Developed in the past few years, the program has volunteers and pets that visit patients in the Markey Cancer Center and the Kentucky Children’s Hospital.


Kathryn Allen and Bosco, her three-year-old golden retriever, are two participants in the program. Allen and Bosco spend two hours a week visiting patients at Markey. When Allen began the program, she knew she wanted to work at the cancer center. Her own work as a physician’s assistant helped Allen see the need to cheer up patients when they are going through a stressful experience. After seeing a story on another therapy dog used in hospice care, Allen said she was “really moved by the story,” and decided to get involved in UK’s program.


For the past year, Allen and Bosco have been working with Love on a Leash to complete the certification process to participate in pet therapy. First, Allen had to decide if Bosco had the right disposition to work closely with patients who range in age and severity of health issues.


It’s important that pet therapy animals are obedient and have a gentle disposition. The certification process officially began with Bosco receiving a Good Citizen certification from the American Kennel Club. After that step was completed, a pet can begin working with Love on a Leash where they are observed for 10 visits where they serve a therapeutic role. Bosco was observed visiting nursing homes, at reading programs with children at local libraries and visiting the Veteran Affairs hospital. Pet handlers must also ensure their pet’s immunizations are up-to-date.


On Friday mornings, Allen and Bosco spend their time visiting patients at Markey and they start their day by stopping at the nurses’ station in the Ben F. Roach Building and getting the names of patients that would like a visit. Bosco spends five to 10 minutes visiting patients and comforting them by letting them pet him. Allen said she sees the change in patients’ mood immediately. “Every time they see the fluffy dog with his tail wagging they perk up,” Allen said.


During a visit to Markey, Bosco and Allen stopped to visit Judith Wilson, a patient from Russell Springs, Kentucky. Wilson has her own pet, a seven-year-old Dachshund, who she’s been missing since she’s been staying in Lexington. Wilson said when she heard the dog was coming to visit, she got excited and was looking forward to the visit. The visit was a nice change from the way days typically go for a patient staying for an extended period of time. “It helps patients, especially if they’re here for a while. It’s a nice change and it’s especially nice if you have pets of your own,” Wilson said.


While the therapy program is very rewarding Allen says potential volunteers should consider what department they’d like to work in and how their dog may function in those situations. Allen also noted that walking around and interacting with patients is very tiring for the pets, but she said Bosco loves it and it makes her feels good to see her family pet bringing joy to patients, as well as doctors and staff when she walks down the halls.


For more information on becoming involved with the Pet Therapy Program contact the volunteer office at  


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



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


Their Countries on Their Chests and Kentucky in Their Hearts

Mon, 08/01/2016 - 17:23


Video 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 on the "thought bubble" in the same area.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 2, 2016)  The entire world is gearing up for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, that begin this Friday, Aug. 5. The excitement is palpable as athletes from 206 countries and two independent teams head to Rio for the Opening Ceremonies and 19 days of competition (soccer/football will begin group play on Wednesday, Aug. 3).


While fans rally around their countries and pride is abundant, it is no surprise that Big Blue Nation can be found everywhere! University of Kentucky connections can be found on numerous teams participating in the games and as part of the telecast.


For the 14th season, NBC Sports/NBCUniversal will televise the games, and a very familiar voice will be heard calling the play-by-play for track and field. UK alumnus Tom Hammond, a graduate of College of Agriculture, Food and Environment in 1966, will serve as part of the broadcast team for his 12th games. Over the years, he's also covered men's and women's basketball (Seoul 1988), diving (Barcelona 1992), gymnastics (Sydney 2000) and figure skating (Winter Games: Salt Lake City 2002, Torino 2006 and Vancouver 2010).


He's not the only Kentucky connection at this year's games. Nine current or former students/student-athletes are in Rio representing their home countries.


Greg Rummel

Sophomore, pre-biosystems engineering, Columbus, Ohio

USA Karate - demonstration

As karate makes it's case to become a part of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Rummel, a resident advisor in the Woodland Glen community, will be displaying his talent for USA Karate. Rummel was a member of the 2014 USA Karate Junior National Team. The International Olympic Committee will make their final decision on inclusion of karate in the 2020 Games on Wednesday.


Andrew Evans

UK 2014 graduate, Portage, Michigan

Team USA - Discus

Best Discus Throw: 66.37 meters

Evans is a decorated athlete; he is a two-time All-SEC and All-American selection and was the 2013 NCAA bronze medalist in discus. He qualified for Team USA at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, placing third in discus. Discus qualifying round begins at 8:30 a.m. ET Friday, Aug. 12.


Leah Nugent

UK 2015 graduate, volunteer assistant coach, Abington, Pennsylvania

Team Jamaica - 400-meter hurdles

Best time: 55.44 seconds

Nugent is a multiple-times All-American and the 2015 NCAA bronze medalist in the 400 hurdles. She qualified for the Jamaican team by finishing second in the finals with a personal-best time of 55.44 seconds. Women’s 400-meter hurdles round one begins at 7 p.m. ET Monday, Aug. 15.


Rondel Sorrillo

UK 2010 graduate, volunteer assistant coach, Vessigny, Trinidad and Tobago

Team Trinidad and Tobago - men's 4x100 meter relay, men's 200-meter and men's 100-meter

Best Time: 9.99 seconds (men's 100-meter)

Sorrillo is the first UK men's track athlete to win the NCAA Championship in the 200 meters (2010). The three-time Olympian, he is also the 2012 SEC Champion in the 200 meters, the bronze medalist in the 100 meters and the NCAA runner-up in the 100 meters in 2010. He's competed in three IAAF World Championships. At the Trinidad and Tobago Championships, he ran a personal best (9.99 seconds) to finish second in the 100-meter finals and won his fifth national title in the 200-meter. Men’s 100-meter preliminary round begins at 8 a.m. ET Saturday, Aug. 13.


Mikel Thomas

UK 2009 graduate, Brooklyn, New York

Team Trinidad and Tobago - 110-meter hurdles

Best Time: 13.57 seconds

Born in Maloney, Trinidad and Tobago, Thomas is competing in his third Olympic games. He won the national title in the 110-meter hurdles to qualify him for the Olympics. Men’s 110-meter hurdles round one begins at 7 p.m. ET Monday, Aug. 15.


Jasmine Camacho-Quinn

Freshman, North Charleston, South Carolina

Team Puerto Rico - 100-meter hurdles

Best Time: 12.78 seconds

The 2016 NCAA 100-meter hurdles champion is the first freshman to win the title. In just her first year competing for UK, she is already a three-time First Team All-American, SEC Freshman of the Year, SEC 100-meter Hurdles Champion, SEC All-Freshman Team selection and holds the UK freshman record for the 100-meter hurdles. Women’s 100-meter hurdles round one begins at 8 a.m. ET Tuesday, Aug. 16.


Many of our track and field athletes train together in Lexington; click here for a photo shoot of a recent workout including several of our Olympic athletes and Kendra Harrison, the world-record holder in the women's 100-meter.


Luis Orta

UK 2013 graduate, Caracas, Venezuela

Best Time: 2:18:53

Team Venezuela - Marathon

At UK, Orta could go the distance. He holds the UK record for the 3,000-meter steeplechase, is a four-time All-SEC selection and was named the 2012 SEC Indoor Runner of the Year. He also delivered the 2012 December Commencement address. Originally a walk on, he qualified for the Olympics by reaching the required mark at the Marathon Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The men’s marathon final begins at 8 a.m. ET Sunday, Aug. 21.


Sean Gunn

Senior, Harare, Zimbabwe

Team Zimbabwe - 100-meter freestyle swim

Best Time: 50.91 seconds

Gunn is a rising senior at UK and Zimbabwe's national record holder in many swimming strokes. He qualified for Zimbabwe's Olympic team based on International Swimming Federation FINA points — a process that is different from the United States' Olympic Trials. Gunn is the reigning national champion in all of his events. The men’s 100-meter freestyle heats begin at noon ET Tuesday, Aug. 9.


Demarcus Cousins

UK alumnus 2010, Mobile, Alabama

Team USA - Basketball

College Statistics: 15.1 points per game, 9.8 rebounds per game

Cousins was part of the beloved 2009-10 UK men's basketball team, Coach John Calipari's first at UK. The All-American left UK after one year for the NBA Draft, where he was the fifth overall pick selected by the Sacramento Kings. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2011, was a member of the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup gold medal-winning US National Team and is a two-time NBA All-Star. Men’s Olympic basketball group phase, first game: USA vs. China, begins at 6 p.m. ET Saturday, Aug. 6.



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



Media Contact: Katy Bennett or Amy Jones-Timoney,,, 859-257-1909


UK HealthCare is No. 1 in Kentucky in Latest U.S. News Best Hospitals Rankings

Mon, 08/01/2016 - 16:51


Video by Allison Perry and Kody Kiser, UKPR and Marketing. 


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 2, 2016) – UK HealthCare’s University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital is No. 1 in Kentucky in the U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals Rankings released today. It also is the only hospital in the state rated as High Performing in cancer. The complete rankings for 2016-17 are now available at


In addition to being named as top hospital in Kentucky, UK HealthCare is nationally ranked No. 45 in Geriatrics and "High Performing" in six specialty areas including: Cancer, Diabetes and Endocrinology, Nephrology, Neurology and Neurosurgery, Orthopedics and Pulmonology.


UK HealthCare also ranked as high performing – the highest rating – in eight out of nine types of Common Adult Procedures and Conditions including:  Heart Bypass Surgery, Heart Failure, Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm, Colon Cancer Surgery, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Hip Replacement, Knee Replacement and Lung Cancer.


"This acknowledges the exemplary work of our health care team in providing the highest quality patient care in the Commonwealth," said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs. "We are committed to being one of the premier academic medical centers in the country and dedicated in serving those who need complex medical care without ever having to travel far from their home."


To be recognized as a Best Hospital this year, a hospital had to have been categorized in the American Hospital Association annual survey database as a general medical-surgical hospital and had to earn either at least one national ranking in the 12 data-driven specialties or at least four ratings of "high performing" across the 12 specialty rankings and nine rated procedures and conditions.


“This honor belongs to our physicians, nurses and staff,” said Dr. Phillip K. Chang, UK HealthCare chief medical officer. “Every day and every night, they go above and beyond to make sure our patients get the best possible care.”


The U.S. News Best Hospitals analysis includes multiple clinical specialties, procedures and conditions. Scores are based on a variety of patient outcome and care-related factors, such as patient safety and nurse staffing.


In February 2016, UK HealthCare achieved Magnet Status – the highest institutional honor awarded for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center's (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program. This designation factors into the U.S. News Rankings and impacted this year’s score.


“Our entire interprofessional team is proud of our Magnet designation and its impact and significance for UK HealthCare and the patients we serve,” said Colleen Swartz, UK HealthCare chief nursing executive. “The team’s work has been exemplified in the production of superb clinical outcomes as well as excellence in patient and family centered care and are well deserving of this recognition based on their hard work, commitment and scientific approach to care across the continuum.”


UK HealthCare has seen the number of patients who are 75 or older nearly double in the past 10 years. This volume and the level of care for these patients attributed to the national ranking in geriatrics. Additionally, the University of Kentucky and UK HealthCare are home to the only National Institute on Aging (NIA) funded Alzheimer's disease center in Kentucky with the prestigious UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, and Markey Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated center in the Commonwealth.


“Our goal is to provide the safest and highest quality patient care to those who come to us from every county in Kentucky, as well as from many other states, by providing them the expertise of integrated, multidisciplinary teams working to solve the most complex health issues,” said Bo Cofield, UK HealthCare vice president and chief clinical operations officer. “I congratulate our entire UK HealthCare team on this tremendous accomplishment and commend their work and dedication to patient care in the Commonwealth.”


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


Media Contact:  Kristi Lopez,, (859) 323-6363



"see blue." #selfie: Loretta Stafford

Mon, 08/01/2016 - 14:55


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 2, 2016)  Want to get to know the people behind some of the biggest student leadership positions on campus? We did, too! That's why we've introduced "see blue." #selfie  a series on UKNow that lets student leaders from across campus tell us a little bit more about themselves and their organizations. Up this week, Loretta Stafford, a 2016-17 University of Kentucky 101 peer instructor liaison!


Loretta Stafford is one of this year's UK 101 peer instructor liaisons! Stafford, a senior integrated strategic communication major from Madisonville, Kentucky, has taken on this leadership position since her sophomore year. She enjoys Crank & Boom ice cream, being involved on campus and making sure new students are welcomed and supported throughout their freshman year.


UKNow: What is your major and what year are you?

Loretta Stafford: I'm going to be a senior and my major is integrated strategic communication, public relations path and I'm minoring in Arabic and Islamic studies.


UK: Where are you from?

LS: I'm from Madisonville, Kentucky.


UK: Tell me about your position as a UK 101 peer instructor liaison.

LS: There are four of us. We do a variety of different things. We revise lesson plans and we have a small group of peer instructors that we mentor, train and assist before the class starts. We facilitate a meeting two times a semester where we do a progress check and at the end we host a big celebration of all our peer instructors.


UK: How many years have you been a UK 101 peer instructor liaison?

LS: This will be my third year. I've done it since I was a sophomore.


UK: What led you to this position?

LS: So, my freshman year, I had a great UK 101 peer instructor, Kahlil Baker. I had a great experience with his class and the two peer instructors — they were awesome. They helped me a lot outside of class, too. I knew I wanted to do that the next year. The next year I taught with Annie Kelly, and then on to Lauren Goodpastor. As the years go on, I just keep getting more and more great classes. They are super helpful and I really enjoy it.


UK: How do UK 101 peer instructor liaisons play an integral role in the transition and success of our new students? 

LS: We are the ones that serve as a liaison to the peer instructors, but we too are peer instructors. We have our own classes, but we are also mentoring other peer instructors. They can bring ideas and issues to us and we can help resolve and do whatever to make them have a good experience. In return, they can help their freshman or transfer students. It's all about what's best for the students.


UK: Were you in UK 101 as a freshman?

LS: Yes.


UK: What else are you involved in? 

LS: Theta Nu Xi, I'm a publicity chair. I'm going to be the treasurer of Public Relations Student Society of America. I am a student program coordinator for The Study, I was a Chellgren Fellow and I did research with Dr. DeSantis on the rhetoric of hip-hop music. I'm also a super crew leader during K Week.


UK: Do you have any tips for students taking UK 101?

LS: Definitely, go to class — it's only half a semester and it's only one credit hour. There's not a ton of homework, but you get so much out of it. It only helps. It doesn't stress you out! They are giving you such great information. Build a good relationship with your peer instructor and class instructor as well — they are still going to be there with you when the class is over. Your instructors are more than likely a professor of some sort somewhere and they can help you find opportunities and be a resource for you.


UK: Why did you choose UK?

LS: My family is all huge UK fans. I went on a lot of campus tours and UK has such a beautiful campus and it feels like home. I didn't feel that magical feeling anywhere else. I'm not too far away from home, but I'm not too close.


UK: Where's your favorite place to eat on campus?

LS: Rising Roll. I love rising roll. I miss it.


UK: What is your dream job after graduation?

LS: Working in diplomacy, using my Arabic. I think it would be so cool to be a press secretary for the White House.


UK: What is your favorite vacation spot?

LS: I like anywhere with museums. I think the coolest I've been to is in St. Louis. I love St. Louis.  


UK: What's a favorite thing to do on weekends in Lexington?

LS: Eat. I like to go to as many local restaurants as possible — always Josie's for breakfast.


UK: What is one local place you've visited in Lexington recently?

LS: I love Crank & Boom! I love ice cream. It's a hidden gem.


UK: What's the best ice cream they serve there?

LS: Blueberry Lime Cheesecake.


UK: What's one of your favorite things at UK in the fall semester?

LS: I wish we could have another Thursday night football game. I love K Week, I'm a super crew leader and I love seeing all the new students and all the free stuff!


UK: What's the best gift you've ever received?

LS: Probably my first car when I was 16. That was pretty monumental moment. I was not a very good driver.


UK: What is your Starbucks order? 

LS: Trenta passion tea lemonade, light lemonade and lightly sweetened.


UK: If you could have dinner with one person, who would it be and why?

LS: Beyoncé, so her grace and eloquence could just rub off on me.


UK: What is one word or phrase you're guilty of saying too often?

LS: Probably "can we go get something to eat?" or "do you have any snacks?"


UK: What would you tell an incoming freshman? 

LS: Try new things. If you try something and you don't like it, you don't have to stick with it, but you'd never know until you try it.


UK: You are happiest when…

LS: … my tummy is full. For sure.


"see blue." #selfies will appear every other Tuesday on UKNow. Know a student leader we should feature? Contact Rebecca Stratton at to nominate someone.



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



MEDIA CONTACT: Rebecca Stratton,, 859-323-2395 

Eric Hartman Tackling New Role as Innovation Office Director

Mon, 08/01/2016 - 14:07

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 2, 2016) Eric Hartman, a man with more than 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur himself, is now working full time to help others realize their dreams of turning innovative ideas into profitable businesses.


Hartman, who earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Kentucky College of Engineering, recently took over as director of the Lexington Office of the Kentucky Innovation Network, part of the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship within UK's Gatton College of Business and Economics. The Lexington Innovation Office is also part of a 12-office network partially funded by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, along with local strategic partners.


From 2000 to 2015, Hartman was co-founder and president of customKYnetics Inc. (cKY), a Central Kentucky medical device company which developed innovative rehabilitation products for physical therapy applications. The company was formed in 2000 based on research at UK.


Over the past year, Hartman served as director of the Kentucky Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) / Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) matching funds grant program for the Lexington-based Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC).


Warren Nash, executive director of the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship (VAC), said, "I am very excited to have Eric joining the VAC team. His background and startup experience will certainly prove to be very valuable to our clients from both UK and the regional entrepreneurial community."


Hartman, the lead inventor on eight issued U.S. patents, anticipates applying the knowledge and expertise he acquired as an innovative leader and high-tech/life sciences entrepreneur to serve clients of Lexington's Kentucky Innovation Network office.


"I am continually amazed by the passion, creativity and talent of our Central Kentucky entrepreneurial community," Hartman said. "I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to serve in the role of director of the Lexington Office of the Kentucky Innovation Network."


In addition to delivering numerous professional presentations over the past decade, Hartman continues to serve on the advisory boards of both the Scholars in Engineering and Management (SEAM) program and the F. Joseph Halcomb Department of Biomedical Engineering at UK.



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



MEDIA CONTACTS: Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200,; Ann Mary Quarandillo, 859-257-0750,

Frankfort Regional Medical Center Joins UK HealthCare/Norton Healthcare Stroke Care Network

Mon, 08/01/2016 - 13:53

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 3, 2016)  — Frankfort Regional Medical Center has become the newest member of the Norton Healthcare/UK HealthCare Stroke Care Network, a community-based stroke initiative providing the highest quality clinical and educational programs to hospital staff and the community.


As part of the Norton Healthcare/UK HealthCare Stroke Care Network, Frankfort Regional Medical Center will participate in the sharing of best practices and outcomes data to promote continuous quality improvement in stroke care. Additionally, two neurologists from UK HealthCare – Dr. Danny Rose and Dr. Ayman Al-Salaimeh – have joined the medical staff at Frankfort Regional Medical Center to provide neurology coverage.


“This affiliation will enhance Frankfort Regional Medical Center’s ability to care for stroke patients and improve the quality of life in the communities we serve,” said Chip Peal, chief executive officer at Frankfort Regional Medical Center. “Through collaboration with affiliate members, we will ensure patients in our service area have access to the most advanced stroke treatment and prevention.”


According to Dr. Michael R. Dobbs, director of the Norton Healthcare/UK HealthCare Stroke Care Network and professor in the University of Kentucky's Department of Neurology, the Stroke Care Network is designed to help local hospitals and emergency services personnel follow best practices in stroke care.


“Our affiliate hospitals teach us about their communities and their patients. Meanwhile, we provide access to the resources and knowledge we have as an academic medical center so that Kentuckians can recognize the signs of stroke, understand the importance of early treatment, and be able to get that treatment as close to home as possible," Dobbs said.


As part of the network, Frankfort Regional Medical Center is pursuing designation as a Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission (TJC), the nation’s leading health care accreditation agency, which recognizes centers that follow the best practices for stroke care.


In 2014, the TJC designated UK HealthCare a Comprehensive Stroke Center – its highest honor. It is one of 96 U.S. institutions – and the only one in Lexington – with CSC-designation.


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


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

UK Researcher Leads International Epilepsy Cure Initiative

Fri, 07/29/2016 - 17:25

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 1, 2016) — University of Kentucky College of Medicine Professor Matthew Gentry will direct a team international scientists recently awarded a five-year, $8.5 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to pursue a cure for Lafora’s disease.


The International Epilepsy Cure Center based at the UK College of Medicine’s Department of Molecular Medicine and Biochemistry represents a collaborative effort to advance translational research and improve the diagnosis and treatment of Lafora’s disease, with the ultimate goal of finding a cure. An inherited neurodegenerative condition, Lafora’s disease appears in patients during adolescence and causes severe epilepsy, loss of speech and muscle control, and dementia, eventually leading to death. The center, which is funded by an NIH Program Project Grant, provides a framework for uniting multidisciplinary researchers in conducting important research exploring the molecular mechanisms that underlie Lafora’s disease.


The team comprises distinguished basic science researchers from around the world, including Gentry, a professor of molecular and cellular biochemistry at UK, Joan Guinovart in Barcelona, Spain; Berge Minassian of the Hospital for Sick Kids in Toronto, Canada; Peter Roach of Indiana University; and Jose Serratosa of Autonoma University of Madrid in Madrid, Spain.


“It is an amazing opportunity to lead this group of distinguished scientists from around the world towards such an important goal,” Gentry said. “Each of us have worked independently for more than a decade on Lafora disease and this grant now brings us together to develop the first cure for an epilepsy.”


Members of the international team have discovered mutations in two genes, which encode for the proteins laforin and malin and cause LD.  Laforin and malin are both involved in glycogen metabolism. Cells store energy as the carbohydrate glycogen and release energy as glucose when metabolic needs increase. Glycogen synthesis and degradation is regulated by a number of proteins. Mutations in the genes that encode for laforin or malin lead to aberrant glycogen inclusions called Lafora bodies (LBs). The LB inclusions are analogous to inclusions observed in Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and ALS, except the LBs are comprised of carbohydrate and the other inclusions are comprised of proteins. Thus, LD is also a member of the broader family of glycogen storage disease (GSD). 


The collaboration has already made significant progress in finding a cure. The laboratories of Guinovart, Minassian and Roach have shown that the LB inclusions cause neurodegeneration and reducing glycogen synthesis can cure LD in mouse models. At UK,

Gentry’s lab group has discovered a novel mechanism for glycogen regulation by the LD protein malin.


In collaboration with Craig Vander Kooi of the UK College of Medicine and Sylvie Garneau-Tsodikova of the UK College of Pharmacy, Gentry is establishing a personalized medicine blueprint for LD by defining the mutation-specific mechanisms of LD using biochemical tools. David Watt, a professor in the UK College of Medicine, will be leading a medicinal chemistry effort to identify small molecules to treat LD. Moving forward, each lab will focus on a different aspect of the disease, from basic science to translational science, so their discoveries can be applied in the clinical setting.


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

Super Star Chef Hooks Kentucky Kids on Healthy Habits

Fri, 07/29/2016 - 14:46

FLEMINGSBURG, Ky., (Aug. 1, 2016)  When 13-year-old Shane Turner walked into the first day of the Super Star Chef program, the instructors could tell he didn’t want to be there, but by the end of the week, everything changed.


“I’ve never really been able to cook at home; I never really wanted to,” said Turner, a soon-to-be Fleming County eighth-grader. “I’m usually playing outside or playing video games, but now I’ll try this at home.”


The spark in Turner is a big reason why the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment sends staff all over the state during the summer to conduct hands-on nutrition, healthy eating and basic cooking skills sessions for Kentucky kids.


“There is a big need for this program in Kentucky,” said Sara Talbott, UK Nutrition Education Program area extension agent. “It helps teach children the importance of nutrition, but also the safety skills that go along with being in the kitchen. Kentucky kids consistently rank low in consuming fruits and vegetables, and this program gives them an opportunity to try them in a way they haven’t in the past.”


The summer program allows the UK Nutrition Education Program to expand their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education efforts. The staff, made up of students from UK and Eastern Kentucky University, use the Super Star Chef curriculum to conduct four-day sessions in county extension offices, housing authority offices, 4-H camps and schools.


“Every week it seems like each of the team members connects with one of the kids; it may be the same one or a different one for each of us,” said Madison Meredith, a recent UK human nutrition graduate in her second summer with the program. “We always find someone who is our real success story, and this week that was Shane. I could tell the first day he didn’t want to be here, but by the last day he was really having a good time. He did a really good job and learned so much.”


This summer, the teams traveled to 32 counties impacting the lives of hundreds of limited-resource youth.


Kurt Brown was another instructor. He is a UK senior majoring in human nutrition with plans to become a physician assistant. He taught a lesson each week showing participants how much excess sugar they consume.


“It really surprised me that kids just don’t realize how much sugar they consume and they don’t realize sugar is that bad,” he said. “It really shocks them when we show them. It’s also surprising how some kids have never tried basic fruits and vegetables like strawberries and cantaloupe. But the end of the week, most of the kids are at least trying things we offer them and realizing they like it.”


That’s really what the program aims to do — change perceptions that healthy eating can be fun, taste good and improve their well-being. Participants got to take home recipes, aprons and cooking utensils to help them continue using their news skills in their own kitchen. 


“I hope that if anything, we can inspire them to carry on these lessons for the rest of their lives,” Meredith said. “We hope they will continue learning and improving their cooking skills, eating healthier and that they will encourage family, friends and other people around them to do the same thing.”


Turner said that is what he wants to do — teach his parents what he learned.



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



MEDIA CONTACT: Aimee Nielson, 859-257-7707.