Get Excited for One of the Best Week's of the Year!

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 22:18

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 22, 2014) – Get excited! It is DanceBlue's bi-annual Blitz Week now until Friday, Sept. 26. During Blitz Week, University of Kentucky students will be encouraged to register for DanceBlue 2015.


DanceBlue is a 24-hour no-sleeping, no-sitting dance marathon that benefits the Kentucky Children’s Hospital DanceBlue Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic and the Markey Cancer Center.


Blitz Week begins today with DanceBlue committee members giving gold ribbons to University of Kentucky students and faculty members at White Hall Classroom Building in honor of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.


On Tuesday, Elena’s Lemonade Stand will serve lemonade outside the Classroom Building.


McAllister’s Deli will be providing sweet tea on Wednesday as students write “Why I DanceBlue” on a giant ribbon outside of the Student Center.


Thursday night, Mellow Mushroom will host a fundraising night for DanceBlue, with part of the dining proceeds benefitting the organization.


Blitz Week culminates on Friday with a social media scavenger hunt for teams that have registered for DanceBlue.


Registration for individuals and teams participating in DanceBlue is due Monday, Sept. 29, 2014. The 2015 DanceBlue dance marathon will be Feb. 14 and 15. This year’s marathon marks the 10-year anniversary of DanceBlue at the University of Kentucky.


For more information about DanceBlue, registration information or to support its efforts, please visit


MEDIA CONTACT: Katy Bennett,, 859-257-1909

DanceBlue CONTACT: Michael Danahy,

Plan for Construction Delays to Campus Bus Service

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 21:22

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 19, 2014) — University of Kentucky Parking and Transportation Services is aware of delays impacting campus bus service over the past few weeks, and is working with university and Lextran officials to mitigate these delays. These delays are primarily caused by two recent construction projects, both of which are significantly impacting the Lextran Stadium-Greg Page Route (also known as Route 14).


The first involves work being done by Columbia Gas in the Shawneetown Apartment area that has closed University Court until Wednesday, Oct. 1. The second involves utility work on South Limestone in front of the Kentucky Clinic scheduled for completion Friday, Oct. 10. No acceptable alternate route exists, so UK and Lextran have collaborated on the following measures to lessen delays as much as possible:


  • Lane closures on South Limestone, when necessary, will occur only between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Lextran has assigned a field supervisor to monitor the situation and adapt as necessary.
  • The number of buses on Route 14 has been increased from six to seven. Additional buses can be added if needed due to demand.
  • During the construction, Lextran will discontinue the practice of sending all buses to Greg Page. To improve efficiency of service to the campus core, Lextran will dedicate two buses to shuttle students between Greg Page and Commonwealth Stadium, reserving other buses for the stadium to central campus section of the route.
  • The Shawneetown bus stop will be out of service until Wednesday, Oct. 1, as a result of the gas line work. Shawneetown residents are advised to use the Greg Page bus stop in the interim.


Even with these measures, travel times are expected to be longer than normal. Therefore, you should plan on allowing extra time to reach your destination until the construction period has passed. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this time of campus growth, and hope to return Lextran bus service to normal levels in early October.


WUKY's 'UK Perspectives' Explores a Student's Interesting Summer Research

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 21:09

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 19, 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.  Today's program features UK senior Nathan Moore who spent the past summer in New York as a fellow for the Schomburg-Mellon Humanities Summer Institute. He discusses his experience there and his research into slave narratives and their coded references.


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.

Student Government Selects Leadership Development Program Participants

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 17:33

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 22, 2014) — The Student Government Association's Leadership Development Program selected its 2014-15 class on Sunday, Sept. 14. Each year, 40 outstanding freshman students are selected through a competitive application and interview process. Nearly 200 students applied and 98 were invited to interview.


The program is dedicated to building future leaders on campus. Participants will have opportunities to work with various campus organizations, network with student leaders and administrators and learn how to become a leader on campus.


SGA welcomes the Leadership Development Program Class of 2014-15:

Alli Overfield

Christina Pistilli

Stephanie Hayden

Linsdey Porter

Eric Winkler

Elizabeth Mechas

Evelyne Mechas

William Haydon

Natalie Sams

Mitchell Steinhauser

Michael Lewis

Maylon Ellington

Frances Tracy

Megan West

Nicole Martin

Erica Rogers

Wesley Averill

Gammon Fain

Reza Katanbaf

Emma Guilfoil

Abigail Herman

Logan Hickey

Parth Patel

Paige Domhoff

Nicole Mattingly

Elizabeth Foster

Esias Bedingar

William Lovan

Camiran Moore

Abbey Bowe

Caroline Will

Ben Childress

Alexander Polus

Andrea Bomkamp

Donna Hall

Adrienne Arnold

Quentin Cooke

Mary Hackman

Kendall Mooney

Katherine Wells

UK Confucius Institute Director Wins KWLA Award

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 17:05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 19, 2014) — This weekend, Huajing Maske, executive director of the Office of China Initiatives and director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Kentucky, will receive the Amici Linguarum (Friend of Languages) Award given by the Kentucky World Language Association (KWLA). The honor recognizes an individual or organization not directly involved in teaching world languages that has made a significant contribution to the profession.


Maske will be presented with the Amici Linguarum Award at the annual KWLA Awards Luncheon scheduled for Sept. 20, at the Hilton Downtown Hotel, in Lexington.


Nominated, by Jacqueline Van Houten, world language and international education consultant for Kentucky Department of Education, Maske was recognized for the work the Confucius Institute does in K-12 teaching and outreach programs as a central initiative of the institute. The association noted Maske's work building language programs of substance and a sustaining nature within schools, specifically mentioning the placement of teachers in Woodford County and the regular professional development with national and local presenters provided to those educators. The awards committee also recognized the support Maske has given these programs by organizing trips for school administrators, university leaders and community members to understand the importance of the language programs.


In addition, KWLA praised Maske's work with UK College of Education creating a rural school site in Xi’an, China, where student teachers can learn culture in an authentic placement and while strengthening their language skills. The program has even created classes for mothers and babies to start interest in Chinese language skills early in communities.


"Huajing Maske has raised the bar and set the standard, going above and beyond the call of duty, telling people everywhere that world language education is important and a worthy investment," said Benjamin Hawkins, KWLA awards committee chair. "In the end, people all over the Commonwealth will be the ultimate beneficiaries as they will be equipped with one more tool as they experience an ever-changing global job market, they will have a more informed, and hopefully open and positive, global outlook." 


KWLA is a network of individuals who support, promote and advocate the teaching and learning of a variety of world languages and cultures; a clearinghouse for data, information and research relevant to effective programs and practices in the learning and teaching of world languages and cultures; and a provider of professional development for P-16+ teachers of world languages and cultures.


The KWLA Amici Linguarum Award is just the most recent honor Maske has garnered for her work with the institute. Last December, she was one of only 15 leaders of institutes to receive the 2013 Confucius Institute Individual Performance Excellence Award. The year before that, the UK Confucius Institute won one of only 25 Confucius Institute of the Year awards.


The mission of the UK Confucius Institute is to serve as Kentucky’s gateway to China in the areas of education, arts, culture and business. Maske and her staff have been largely successful in fulfilling this mission at UK, local Kentucky schools and in the community at large.


Since its inauguration, the institute has positioned itself as a conduit of UK’s China initiatives, and created many successful partnerships between colleges at UK and Chinese Universities. As noted above, the UK Confucius Institute has also played a valuable role in K-12 Chinese language and cultural education.



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

Harwood Lab Has Three Papers Published in Journal

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 15:19

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 22, 2014) — Scientists in a University of Kentucky insect ecology lab recently had three papers published in a special edition of the academic journal Molecular Ecology.


The edition, focused on scientists’ efforts to unravel food webs in nature, was a result of an international meeting hosted by UK’s Department of Entomology and College of Agriculture Food and Environment in 2013.


“A lot has changed in this area of study since the first international meeting in Austria seven years ago, including the ability to use next generation sequencing to rapidly identify the unique molecular signatures of prey present in predators’ guts,” said James Harwood, UK associate professor in entomology, who is internationally known for his work in molecular gut-content analysis and insect food webs. “Articles in the journal cover diverse ecological studies and techniques including predation, parasitism and herbivory in land and water ecosystems.”


The special issue consists of 27 scientific articles. Harwood and William Symondson from Cardiff University in Wales wrote the journal’s introduction. Harwood’s former lab members Jason Schmidt, a post-doctoral scholar, and Kelton Welch, a doctoral student, were principal authors on the other two articles.


Schmidt’s research was in collaboration with Mark Williams, UK associate professor of horticulture, and Ric Bessin, UK extension professor of entomology. The research investigated predator and prey relationships in organic agriculture. Schmidt particularly focused on identifying natural enemies of the squash bug, a major pest of organic squash and pumpkins in the United States. Schmidt tested 640 potential predators through molecular gut content analysis of each predator and squash bug. He found that 11 percent of the predators tested preyed on the squash bug but their predation varied over the season between different groups of predators. Data from his research can help producers more effectively use beneficial insects to control squash bug populations and rely less on organic insecticides that are expensive, have limited efficacy and negatively impact pollinators and natural enemies.


Welch’s study tests two statistical approaches to advance molecular gut content analysis. His study tested these approaches on orb-weaving and sheet-weaving spiders and their common prey, springtails. He found that orb-weaving spiders consume more springtails compared to sheet-weavers, even though springtails are not as common in their microhabitat. He was able to link the orb-weaving spiders’ ability to feed on more springtails to their web structure.


The journal is available online at




MEDIA CONTACT: Katie Pratt, 859-257-8774.


From Wah Wah to Wall, UPK Book Captures 'Wildcat Memories'

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 13:44

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 19, 2014) — The University of Kentucky Wildcats own arguably the greatest tradition in college basketball — the winningest program in NCAA Division I history, first in NCAA tournament wins, the leader in all-time winning percentage and the only school with five different coaches to win NCAA Championships. In addition, Kentucky’s eight national titles rank second only to University of California, Los Angeles.


In the Bluegrass State, however, UK basketball means more than just the statistics. Fans have always had a personal connection to their Wildcats, perhaps because, as All-SEC forward and expert analyst Mike Pratt of UK Sports Network said, “Kentucky is a small state. It doesn’t have a professional baseball team or a professional football team.” True blue fans can be found across the globe, selling out arenas and cheering their team wherever they play.


When journalist Doug Brunk had the opportunity to interview former Wildcats, he had one question in mind, “Who influenced you most while you were at Kentucky?” The answers he received became "Wildcat Memories: Inside Stories from Kentucky Basketball Greats," published by University Press of Kentucky (UPK). The respondants range from Basil Hayden, UK’s first All-American, to Washington Wizards' John Wall, the first Wildcat drafted number one overall by the NBA, including the beloved three-sport athlete Wallace "Wah Wah" Jones, who died this summer. Other recent Wildcats who contributed to the book include Patrick Patterson, who recently joined the Toronto Raptors, and Kentucky native Darius Miller, who currently plays for the New Orleans Pelicans.


In addition, interviews with former coaches Joe B. Hall and Orlando “Tubby” Smith, as well as former player and athletic director C.M. Newton, add a different perspective to that of the players. Their reminiscences provide a glimpse into the personal lives of some of the program’s most beloved figures.


Brunk has given former Wildcats a chance to put names to those who meant the most to them during their tenure at Kentucky. Many highlight the program’s behind-the-scenes figures, like assistant coaches Harry Lancaster, Dick Parsons and Herb Sendek. Others praise the support staff, including Mandy Polley (now Mandy Brajuha), UK’s former assistant media relations director; Helen King, the first permanent director of the alumni association who coordinated letter-writing campaigns to recruits; and Marta McMackin, administrative assistant to four consecutive head coaches. Perhaps no figure outside of the coaching staff is mentioned more often than “Mr. Wildcat” Bill Keightley, whether for opening up the gym for Kyle Macy when he wasn’t allowed to travel with the team or for providing a shoulder for Jack “Goose” Givens to cry on when he had a bad game.


Many mention their parents, their high school coaches and their teammates. Others recount less obvious figures who touched their lives at UK. Ed Beck recalls the kindness that Governor A.B. “Happy” Chandler showed him after his wife Billie died of cancer following the 1956–57 season. Charles “Cotton” Nash credits former Western Kentucky judge Ralph Smith for getting him started in the Standardbred business, and Jeff Shepherd calls Max Appel, former director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes for Central Kentucky," always positive, always smiling, always uplifting.”


While memories of on-the-court heroics can be found in "Wildcat Memories," the book is about more than just basketball. As the program’s all-time leading scorer, Dan Issel, says, “It contains reflections on life lessons, character, working through adversity, thoughts about what makes Kentucky unique from a cultural standpoint, and memories about people who helped the former players and coaches interviewed for this book find their way in life.” As Wildcat fans camp out to get their treasured tickets to Big Blue Madness and Coach John Calipari’s team prepares to take to the court again this season, Brunk has produced the ideal collection for fans of a team that transcends its sport.


Kentucky readers can hear more about the UK basketball legends' thoughts chronicled in "Wildcat Memories" in several talks and book signings scheduled for author Doug Brunk, an award-winning journalist who has written hundreds of articles for trade and consumer publications. The times and locations for these events are:

· 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7, at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, in Lexington;

· 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 8, at the Filson Historical Society, in Louisville, Kentucky;

· 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 9, at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, in Crestview Hills, Kentucky; and

· 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 10, at Barnes and Noble, in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

In addition, Brunk will be available to sign books at the Kentucky Book Fair beginning 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 15, in Frankfort, Kentucky.


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, 859-257-8716;

Have the Time of Your Life With SAB at 'Dirty Dancing' -- the Musical

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 13:44

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 19, 2014) — Students have the opportunity to experience art in motion on Sunday, Sept. 28, in Cincinnati, Ohio, at Proctor and Gamble Hall by going to see the musical "Dirty Dancing" with the Student Activities Board. The SAB Cultural Arts Committee is sponsoring the event for students to see the theatrical take on an iconic American film.


The event is $25 for students but includes lunch, transportation and their ticket. Transportation will leave Lexington at 11 a.m. and arrive in Cincinnati at 12:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the Student Center Ticket Office until the day of the event.


"The 'Dirty Dancing' event is a very exciting way for students to get off campus for an afternoon and get to experience another city and what it has to offer," Melissa Simon, director of cultural arts, said. "This trip will allow students to experience the art form of broadway while enjoying the classic that is 'Dirty Dancing.'"


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 Instagram 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,, 859-257-1909

SAB CONTACT: Olivia Senter,, 859-257-8868

Crime Bulletin Issued for Strong-arm Robbery Attempt

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 13:19

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 18, 2014) — In the interest of safety, University of Kentucky Police Department has issued a Crime Bulletin for the UK community.


  • At approximately 8:40 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014, an attempted strong-arm robbery was reported to have occurred in the northeast corner of the UK Student Center parking lot, near the UK Bookstore. (A strong-arm robbery is one without a weapon)  The female victim was getting into her vehicle when she was reportedly approached by three black females, one of which demanded she turn over her money.  The unidentified suspect then punched the victim, knocking her to the ground.  A second unidentified suspect then kicked the victim.  All three suspects fled the scene toward South Limestone Street without taking any of the victim’s belongings.  The first suspect is described as a heavy-set black female, dark complexion, facial piercing, and wearing animal print leggings.  The second suspect is described as a black female wearing a pink or peach-colored shirt.  The third suspect was described as a black female with no further description.  UK Police officers searched the area and were unable to locate the suspects. 


University of Kentucky Police Department has issued this Crime Bulletin for the UK Community in compliance with the “Timely Notice” provision of the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Police and Campus Crime Statistics Act of 1998.


If anyone has any information regarding this incident, please contact UK Police at (859) 257-8573.

The University of Kentucky values a safe community for all students, staff, faculty, and visitors. In the interest of promoting a safe and secure campus environment, UK Police offer the following safety precautions:

  • If you see something, say something. For emergencies, call 911.
  • Carry a cell phone to be able to call for help in emergencies.
  • Do not travel alone after dark; walk with a friend or with a group. 
  • Whenever possible, look out for your friends when you go out together; walk together and make sure that everyone gets home safely.
  • Request a FREE SAFECATS student safety escort or coordinate after-hours on-demand bus service during the fall and spring semesters by calling (859) 257-SAFE(7233).
  • Park in well-lit areas when possible.
  • Turn over any requested items (purse, wallet, etc).
  • Make statements with authority – “BACK-OFF! STOP! NO-WAY!” You deserve to be respected.

Feeling Crafty? Join SAB for a Pinterest Party!

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 12:35

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 19, 2014) — Pinterest Parties are based on the popular social media site that houses many DIY projects and crafting ideas. The first Pinterest Party of the semester is Tuesday, Sept. 23, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Rasdall Gallery, located at the end of Great Hall in the Student Center on UK's campus. The event is sponsored by the Student Activities Board's Campus Life Committee and students can follow or browse SAB’s Pinterest board at


The event series gives students a two-hour window to craft with friends and celebrate the theme of the party. Each Pinterest Party will have a different theme and the crafts will coordinate. The first theme is "Patriot Day and the University of Kentucky." Students will have the opportunity to make wreaths, key holders, mason jar soap dispensers and more.


“Now that school is in full swing it's time to create some apartment flare for your living space,” Abbey Tillman, director of campus life, said. “It is important to show your school pride and celebrate our awesome country, and you can do this at our first Pinterest Party using burlap, red, white and blue colors, UK stickers and Kentucky cut-outs to make your own crafts!”


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 Instagram 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,, 859-257-1909

SAB Contact: Olivia Senter,, 859-257-8868

DanceBlue Wants to be Your Valentine's Date

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 11:26

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 19, 2014) – The date of the largest student-run philanthropy in the Southeastern Conference has officially been set! DanceBlue will be held from 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14, until 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015, at Memorial Coliseum on UK's campus.


DanceBlue is a 24-hour no-sleeping, no-sitting dance marathon that benefits the DanceBlue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic. Fundraising for DanceBlue spans the entire year and ends with the marathon in early spring.


Jonathan York, DanceBlue’s Overall Chair, says that the organization is incredibly excited to finally announce the date.


“What better way to show the kids love than to have a Valentine’s Day marathon?” York said.


Team registration is open from now until Monday, Sept. 29. Groups from all over campus are encouraged to sign up and participate.


Since 2006, DanceBlue has raised nearly $6.2 million for pediatric cancer patients and research. This year’s marathon marks the 10-year anniversary of DanceBlue at the University of Kentucky.


Give to DanceBlue here and connect with DanceBlue on Facebook at and on Twitter at


DanceBlue is a program housed in the UK Center for Community Outreach. The CCO seeks to serve, connect and unite the University of Kentucky with the surrounding community in collaborative efforts to promote life-long community service. For more information about the CCO, visit Connect with the CCO on Facebook here and on Twitter at




MEDIA CONTACT: Katy Bennett,, 859-257-1909


UK Research Hopes to Prevent Bird-Plane Collisions

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 15:46

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 18, 2014) — The type of grass planted at airports may be able to prevent bird-plane collisions in the air.


UK entomology graduate student Diana Miller is determining if a grass variety developed in New Zealand can deter white grubs, earthworms and caterpillars, and as a result, creatures like blackbirds and gulls that feed on them. She is also interested in learning if the grass can deter Canada geese, deer and other grass-feeding wildlife that can be airport hazards.


“In 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration reported 11,000 bird strikes in the United States,” said Miller, a student in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “In an average year, bird strikes cost the FAA $682 million in repairs and damages, and of course, there is the safety issue.”


Miller’s advisor, UK entomology Professor Dan Potter, heard about Avanex bird-deterrent grasses during a sabbatical to New Zealand. New Zealand scientists gave him seed to try in a greenhouse experiment. Results from the greenhouse study were promising. The grass Miller is evaluating — a tall fescue cultivar called Jackal — contains a novel endophyte, a type of fungus that produces chemicals that deter insects and other grass feeders. Her project at UK’s Spindletop Research Farm is the first time the grass has been field tested in North America.


Miller is testing Jackal’s ability to reduce insects and bird populations and comparing her findings to the more common KY 31 tall fescue. She is testing both endophyte- and endophyte-free varieties in each cultivar.


“Currently U.S. airports are using a mixture of grasses on their airstrips,” Potter said. “Some tall fescue is being used, but it may not have the endophyte in it.”


Miller uses wild game cameras placed along the plots to monitor the presence of birds and other small animals. In place of deer, she brought in goats to feed on the plots to determine their preference between endophytic and non-endophytic grasses. Miller monitors insects with pitfall traps in the ground and takes vacuum samples of the plots.


In addition to decreasing insect populations and flocks of insect-eating birds near runways, the bitter taste of the Avanex grass may also be undesirable to Canada geese, which feed on grasses.


If successful, the grass may have other applications beyond airstrips.


“It could be planted near ponds at parks and golf courses, where Canada geese are huge issues because of the messes they make,” Miller said. “The idea isn’t to harm the geese, just to make the grass distasteful enough that they’ll disperse and fly somewhere else, where their presence would not be a nuisance.”




MEDIA CONTACT:  Katie Pratt, 859-257-8774

Improving on Nature

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 15:26

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 18, 2014) — A researcher at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy is working to develop the first-ever FDA-approved treatments for cocaine overdose and cocaine addiction.


Chang-Guo Zhan, who heads the college’s Molecular Modeling and Biopharmaceutical Center, currently has two investigational drugs in Phase II clinical trials.


The first is a fast-acting drug to treat acute cocaine toxicity by neutralizing the drug in the bloodstream. The second is a potential longer-acting “vaccine,” which could help break the cycle of addiction by preventing users from experiencing any of the desired effects of taking cocaine.


“The idea in both cases is to break down the cocaine chemically, to make it inert,” Zhan said. “In an overdose, you want that to happen very quickly in order to save the patient’s life. In treating addiction, you need a longer-acting drug to prevent a relapse, so that the treatment is still working even when the patient’s better judgment is not.”


Despite a recent resurgence in heroin overdoses, cocaine overdose remains the country’s No. 1 cause of emergency room admissions due to illicit drug use, with physicians treating more than 500,000 cases each year in the United States. Unlike heroin overdose, there is currently no approved treatment for cocaine overdose, which kills an estimated 5,000 people annually nationwide.


The overdose treatment proposed by Zhan and his collaborators at Columbia University and University of Michigan is derived from a naturally occurring enzyme found in bacteria that flourish in soil where coca, the source of cocaine, is grown. The enzyme, bacterial cocaine esterase, hydrolyzes cocaine into less harmful end products. The proposed addiction treatment is based on a human enzyme involved in cocaine metabolism, called butyrylcholinesterase.


Enzymes, which are highly specialized proteins, are of particular interest to drug discovery researchers. Their role in nature is to act as biological catalysts, regulating virtually all complex biochemical reactions. They are crucial to cellular processes such as metabolism, enabling organisms to efficiently break down complex molecules into simpler parts.

But enzymes can also be fairly fragile compounds, and they tend to break down and become inactive when exposed to heat. For example, bacterial cocaine esterase has a half-life of about 12 minutes at body temperature. This makes it a poor candidate for therapeutic purposes, Zhan says.


“What we do is take an enzyme from nature and look for ways to modify its chemical structure so that it retains the properties we want, while changing the properties that make it unsuitable as a drug,” Zhan said. “By strategically introducing what we call ‘mutations’ in the chemical structure, we can change the way the enzyme works.”  


Zhan and his colleagues, along with collaborators at Columbia University and the University of Michigan, introduced two mutations to the bacterial cocaine esterase molecule to make it thermally stable for up to six hours. Likewise, Zhan’s team modified the human enzyme to improve its catalytic activity specifically against cocaine by 4,000 times. Both experimental treatments, developed with grant funding from the National Institutes of Health, are now in clinical trials to test their efficacy in humans.


Zhan’s research specialty is drug design and discovery through integrated computational-experimental studies. Using a powerful supercomputer, Zhan and his team are able to produce models of many thousands of different, novel analog compounds based on a common structure. They are then able to model all sorts of different interactions to predict how these molecules will behave in the body.

“The goal is to find a drug that will not only treat the disease, but more importantly not to harm the patient,” Zhan said. “It would be very expensive and impractical to synthesize and test thousands of novel compounds. But through computational modeling of a series of complex interactions, we are able to narrow the field from thousands of compounds down to just a few.”


Last spring, the college announced the creation of the Molecular Modeling and Biopharmaceutical Center, to leverage Zhan’s expertise in computational drug design and to partner with investigators engaged in drug design and discovery projects, throughout the college and across the university.


Working closely with the college’s Center for Pharmaceutical Research and Innovation, the new center will specialize in computational chemical biology, assisting investigators in creating models for promising novel drug targets. In addition, it will conduct biochemical validation of targets and models. Another area focus will be biologics as therapeutics. It will help researchers design protein drug candidates as well as model desired functionality and stability in potential therapeutics.


“The Molecular Modeling and Biopharmaceutical Center will add great value to the university’s research community,” said Dean Timothy S. Tracy. “Dr. Zhan and his laboratory have developed many tools, computational methods and proven best practices in drug design, and I am excited that this center will allow other researchers to tap into that expertise in a new and exciting manner.”



MEDIA CONTACT: Keith Hautala, 859-323-2396;

Methodist Hospital in Henderson Joins UK Markey Affiliate Network

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 14:49

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 19, 2014) – Kentucky faces some of the highest rates of cancer incidence and mortality in the nation, but Methodist Hospital in Western Kentucky is stepping up the fight against cancer. The Methodist Hospital organization in Henderson, Ky., has announced a new affiliation with the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, the state's first and only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center.


Methodist Hospital CEO Bruce Begley said the announcement meant great things for their patients.


“The Methodist Hospital affiliation with the UK Markey Cancer Center brings to this region nationally ranked cancer treatment close to home," Begley said. "We believe this is a big step in the continuing battle against cancer, and I appreciate UK HealthCare's overall mission of extending high-quality cancer care to all Kentuckians.”


"We are extremely excited and proud for our cancer care program to become an affiliate of the Markey Cancer Center," said Dr. Arshad Husain, medical director of hematology and oncology at Methodist Hospital. "This alliance means great things for our patients. It will enable us to offer access to the latest practices in diagnosis and treatment of cancers and blood disorders, including clinical trials – thus providing a higher level of cancer care in our neighborhood."


The UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network was created to provide high-quality cancer care closer to home for patients across the region, and to minimize the effects of cancer through prevention and education programs, exceptional clinical care, and access to research.


Methodist Hospital in Henderson is a 192-bed acute care facility and is just one facet of the Methodist Hospital Healthcare system. Other facilities serving the area include

Methodist Hospital Union County, a critical access hospital in nearby Morganfield, Ky., and 19 outpatient physician offices with 47 providers over a four-county service area.


By becoming a UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate, Methodist Hospital is in keeping with the organization’s mission to provide safe, compassionate, high quality, and cost-effective services to the communities served. The Methodist Hospital Healthcare system will now be able to offer their patients access to additional specialty and subspecialty physicians and care, including clinical trials and advanced technology, while allowing them to stay in western Kentucky for most treatments.





The Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network supports UK HealthCare's overall mission of ensuring no Kentuckian will have to leave the state to get access to top-of-the-line health care.


"UK HealthCare doesn't just serve Lexington and central Kentucky – our mission is to provide all Kentuckians with the best possible care right here in the state," said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs. "The Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network allows us to collaborate with community hospitals to provide top-notch cancer care much closer to home -- saving both travel expenses and time for the patients, in addition to keeping them close to their personal support system."


Markey is one of only 68 medical centers in the country to earn an NCI cancer center designation. Because of the designation, Markey patients have access to new drugs, treatment options and clinical trials offered only at NCI centers.


Moving forward, the Markey Cancer Center is working toward the next tier of designation – an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. Currently, 41 of the 68 NCI-designated cancer centers in the country hold a comprehensive cancer center status. The Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network will play a large role in bringing that next level of cancer funding to Kentucky.


"The burden of cancer in Kentucky is huge, and unfortunately we have some of the worst cancer rates in the country," said Dr. Mark Evers, director of the UK Markey Cancer Center. "By collaborating with our affiliate hospitals across the state, we have the potential to make a serious impact on cancer care here in the Commonwealth."


The UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network began in 2006 and comprises 12 hospitals across the state of Kentucky:


  • Frankfort Regional Medical Center
  • Georgetown Community Hospital
  • Hardin Memorial Hospital, Elizabethtown
  • Harlan ARH Hospital
  • Harrison Memorial Hospital, Cynthiana
  • Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center
  • Methodist Hospital, Henderson
  • Norton Cancer Institute, Louisville (Norton Healthcare-UK HealthCare partnership)
  • Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, Ashland
  • Rockcastle Regional Hospital, Mt. Vernon
  • St. Claire Regional Medical Center, Morehead
  • Williamson ARH Hospital


Evaluations are under way for several other hospitals, including two more outside the state of Kentucky, extending Markey's reach and establishing it as the destination cancer center for the region. 

College of Public Health Inducts Two into Hall of Fame

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 14:42


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 18, 2014) —The University of Kentucky College of Public Health will induct two new members into its Hall of Fame during the 11th Annual Hall of Fame celebration 11:30 a.m., Oct. 10, at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Lexington.


The Hall of Fame was established in 2004 as a means of formally recognizing individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the health and welfare of the citizens of the Commonwealth, the nation, or the world. The 2014 inductees into the Hall of Fame are Dr. Samuel Matheny and Dr. Carolyn Williams, who have both demonstrated such achievement and commitment. 


Samuel C. Matheny, MD, MPH, has roots in Lincoln County, Ky., where four generations of his family lived on a farm.  He received a bachelor's degree at Emory University; a medical degree from the University of Kentucky; and master's of public health at UCLA. He received postgraduate training at the Medical University of South Carolina and the University of Southern California Medical Center.  He is Board Certified in general preventive medicine and family medicine and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Preventive Medicine.  He is currently the assistant provost for global health initiatives at UK and heads the University’s Global Health Advisory Committee.


Dr. Matheny has served as chair of the Division of Family Medicine at the University of South Carolina, as well as holding faculty appointments at UCLA and Loma Linda University.  Further, he served as chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at UK from 1998 to 2010, during which time the Department developed one of the earliest rural training track residencies.  He was also responsible for initiating the global health track for the College of Medicine.


He is a past president of the Association of Departments of Family Medicine (ADFM) and the Kentucky Academy of Family Physicians (KAFP).  His academic interests have been in medical student and graduate education, particularly in rural areas, as well as HIV and global health.


Carolyn A Williams, RN, PhD, FAAN, grew up in Louisville. She earned her bachelor of science in nursing at Texas Woman’s University, and an master's of science in public health nursing and a PhD in epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Beginning her career as a public health nurse in Texas, Williams returned to Kentucky in 1984 to accept the appointment of dean of the UK College of Nursing.  She served in that role for 22 years before returning to the role of professor, were she remains today.


Williams led the faculty at the UK College of Nursing in developing the PhD in nursing program, which was initiated in 1986, and led the development and opening of the first doctor of nursing practice program in the United States in 2000-2001.  She is a former president of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the American Academy of Nursing.  Additionally, she has held appointments on federal research study sections and on national policy-making groups, including an appointment by President Carter to the President’s Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine, Biomedical and Behavioral Research.


She is the recipient of many awards, from the Young Practitioner Award from the Nursing Section of the American Public Health Association in 1973, to an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service in 2011, awarded by the University of Portland.


For more information about the 2014 College of Public Health Hall of Fame Inductees and the Hall of Fame Luncheon, please go here.



MEDIA CONTACT: Mallory Powell,

UK Staff, Cancer Survivors "Tealgate" to Raise Ovarian Cancer Awareness

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 14:14

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 18, 2014) - To celebrate Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, cancer survivors and UK faculty and staff participated in a special tailgating event called "tealgating" eariler this month.


The event further helped create awareness about the UK Ovarian Screening Program, an ongoing study that uses transvaginal ultrasound to detect ovarian cancers. Women over age 50 and women over age 25 who have a family history of ovarian cancer are eligible for the free program.  


More than 43,000 women have participated in the UK Ovarian Screening Program and more than 256,000 free ultrasound screens have been done through the program. Women from every county in Kentucky have participated in the program ane more than 85 malignancies have been detected.


For more information on the program or to schedule an appointment, visit 

Groups That Volunteer for WUKY Fund Drive Get Free On-air Promotion

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 12:51

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 18, 2014) — University of Kentucky NPR station, WUKY 91.3 FM, connects with listeners across Central Kentucky during its annual Fall Fund Drive, Thursday, Sept. 25 - Friday, Oct. 3.  The public radio station is seeking volunteers to assist during the on-air fundraiser.


"We are listener supported, with a loyal audience, and we depend on their generosity and the generosity of volunteers during our fundraisers to make it all work," said WUKY Membership Manager Robert T. Hansel. "We need groups, organizations, and individuals who are willing to volunteer to help answer calls and take pledges from our listeners. Feel free to contact your friends and have them join you during this worthwhile event.  Experience the excitement and energy of public radio that rocks!"


Hansel said this is also a good opportunity for companies or organizations to provide a group of volunteers for a day or multiple shifts.  WUKY will designate that specific day or shift to the group, and on-air announcements will be made during that time recognizing the company or organization for providing volunteers.  Ten free public service announcements will also be provided.


WUKY is located on the third floor (which WUKY has dubbed the rock 'n' roll penthouse!) of McVey Hall in the heart of UK's campus. Computers are available for all volunteers to easily take pledges, entering them automatically, while making the transaction seamless and much more cost effective for the donor and station.     


Shifts available include: 


Thursday, Sept. 25              6:30 a.m.-6 p.m., 8-9 p.m.

Saturday, Sept, 27               8 a.m.-8 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 28                 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 29                 8-9 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept.30                 6:30 a.m.-6 p.m., 8-9 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 1              6:30 a.m.-6 p.m., 8-9 p.m.

Thursday, Oct.                      6:30 a.m.-6 p.m., 8-9 p.m.


For more information or to register, call Robert Hansel at 257-3272 or send an email to with your contact information.


Not only can listeners support WUKY during its Fall Fund Drive, but also year-round with the Kroger Community Rewards program for charitable contributions. Register for the program through Kroger and specify WUKY as your chosen charity.  When using your Kroger Plus Card, a portion of your purchase will be donated to WUKY.  

UPK Biography Subject Wins Medal of Honor

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 11:42

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 18, 2014) – Almost 150 years after his death in the Battle of Gettysburg, Alonzo Cushing, first lieutenant of Battery A, 4th U.S. Artillery, has received the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration awarded by the United States. On Monday, President Barack Obama officially bestowed the honor on Cushing along with Command Sergeant Major Adkins and Specialist Four Donald P. Sloat, who both served and distinguished themselves during the Vietnam War.


According to a statement released by the White House, "Army First Lieutenant Alonzo H. Cushing distinguished himself during combat operations against an armed enemy in the vicinity of Cemetery Ridge, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 3, 1863.” In "Cushing of Gettysburg: The Story of a Union Artillery Commander," published by University Press of Kentucky (UPK), author Kent Masterson Brown offers an expansive view of the life and career of Lt. Cushing. Brown incorporates vivid descriptions of the fury of battle and the exhaustion of forced battles to honor the historic contributions of Cushing.


Cushing courageously led the Union troops to break Pickett’s Charge in the battle, even placing his thumb over the vent of a Confederate gun and having it burned to the bone. Shortly after this incident he was killed instantly by a gunshot to his face. His first sergeant, who survived the battle, was awarded the Medal of Honor. To read more about Cushing's last moments in battle, visit UPK's blog at


In an NPR interview, Brown revealed that the Army War Decorations Board contacted him as part of their verification process while vetting Cushing’s story. The board drew on Brown’s extensive knowledge of Cushing and the body of information that he had cultivated while writing "Cushing of Gettysburg."


For many, though, Cushing’s award is long overdue. Residents in Cushing’s hometown of Delafield, Wisconsin; the former governor of Wisconsin, Jim Doyle; and many Facebook fans pushed for the recognition. Former U.S. Senator Russell D. Feingold endorsed Cushing’s nomination in 2003, and in March of 2010, Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh confirmed that the Army supported Cushing’s nomination, ending years of lobbying by descendants and admirers.


In Brown’s interview he closed saying, “I wonder whether Cushing may be the last Civil War soldier to receive it. And if he is, I'd like to think that it's being given to him but on behalf of all those others who are going to go unnamed — that they will all share in Cushing's award of the Medal of Honor because we'll never be able to right all those, ‘wrongs,’ of all those other soldiers who were equally valorous.”


Brown is the creator or The Civil War magazine. He is author or editor of several books, including, "Retreat from Gettysburg: Lee, Logistics, and the Pennsylvania Campaign," "One of Morgan’s Men: Memoirs of Lieutenant John M. Porter of the Ninth Kentucky Cavalry" and "The Civil War in Kentucky: Battle for the Bluegrass State."


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, 859-257-8716;

$100,000 Available for Sustainability Projects

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 17:49
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 17, 2014) — A new program at the University of Kentucky will provide up to $100,000 in internal funding for sustainability projects on campus. 


The UK Sustainability Challenge Grant Program, announced by the President’s Sustainability Committee, is designed to engage multidisciplinary teams from the university community in the creation and implementation of ideas that will simultaneously advance economic vitality, ecological integrity and social equity, now and into the future.  


All members of the university community are encouraged to develop project ideas. Project teams must be led by a faculty or staff member whose home unit/department agrees to manage the dispersal of funds. Student involvement is strongly encouraged. Teams must include representatives from at least two distinct organizational units. 


A total of $100,000 is available and the awards for individual projects will range from $5,000 to $25,000. The selection committee intends to fund six to eight projects altogether. Funds will be awarded based on a rubric that prioritizes transformational potential, creativity, student engagement, use of campus as a living laboratory, and the potential for institutionalization.


In general, proposals should directly address one or more of the following categories:


  • Operations: Using the principles of sustainability to improve material, physical, or infrastructural elements at the University of Kentucky.
  • Engagement: Fostering a campus culture of sustainability.
  • Research: Designing projects to discover results with the potential to catalyze operational, academic, or cultural change at the University of Kentucky and beyond.
  • Academic: Improving the university’s capacity for integrating sustainability with the educational experiences of students, curricular and co-curricular.

Funds will be available starting January 2015, and the project duration will be 12 months from the time of the award. 

Funding is provided by the Student Sustainability Council, the Office of the Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration and the Office of the Vice President for Research. The program is a joint effort of the Tracy Farmer Institute for Sustainability and the Environment, UK Office of Sustainability and the President’s Sustainability Advisory Committee.


Complete information, including applications and instructions, are available online at

The deadline for submitting is 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 15. Announcement of awards will be Nov. 17. For additional information, please contact Shane Tedder (, 859-257-0014) or Suzette Walling (, 859-257-8987).


Red River Gorge: Site of Living Archaeology Weekend

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 16:30


FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 17, 2014) – Gov. Steve Beshear has proclaimed September as Kentucky Archaeology Month to commemorate the contributions made through the professional practice of archaeology toward the public’s understanding of – and appreciation for – the Commonwealth’s rich cultural heritage.


The designation also recognizes the success of Living Archaeology Weekend (LAW), Kentucky’s oldest and largest public archaeology event, which has taken place since 1989 in Red River Gorge. The 26th annual free event will be Sept. 19-20 at Gladie Visitor Center.


During Living Archaeology Weekend, hundreds of preregistered school students will take part in demonstrations Friday, Sept. 19, including how to tan animal hides, weave baskets, make pottery, mill corn, throw spears with an atlatl, and flint knap (make spears and weapon points). The public is invited to attend from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20. Admission is free.


The governor's proclamation credits the Kentucky Office of State Archaeology (OSA), located within the University of Kentucky Department of Anthropology, and the Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office for maintaining an extensive and growing database of thousands of archaeological sites across the state, many of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places or designated National Historic Landmarks. 


“This remarkable archaeological record documents more than 12,000 years of Kentucky’s past, from Native American hunter-gatherers and farmers, to colonial European farmers and African slaves, to their more recent descendants who farmed, mined and ran industries and businesses,” the proclamation reads.


“Our understanding of Kentucky’s indigenous history is still incomplete, many myths about it persist, and professional archaeologists working with the public are continuing to provide new insights into our collective past and greatly expand our knowledge about the cultural traditions of our ancestors,” Beshear said.


According to George Crothers, director of UK's William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology and the OSA, the proclamation affirms both the abundant quantity of archaeological resources and the important research these have yielded and have yet to yield about Kentuckians’ collective past.


“The prehistory and early history of Kentucky and the archaeological research that is conducted in the Commonwealth are on par with what others are doing around the world,” he said. “The declaration of Kentucky Archaeology Month significantly recognizes this work, and we hope its observance will encourage greater public awareness of the need to preserve these sites so that this tangible evidence of our ancestors can be studied and preserved for future generations.”


For a calendar of Archaeology Month events, visit The designation of Kentucky Archaeology Month is a precursor to International Archaeology Day, which will be observed Saturday, Oct. 18.



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