Campus News

With UK Doctor's Support, Former Ms. Wheelchair Kentucky Finds Few Limitations in Life

Mon, 01/05/2015 - 13:54



LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 6, 2015) — Pockets on the backside of pants are useless for people who sit in a wheelchair all day. And low-waist jeans can be uncomfortably tight and, even worse, an embarrassment when exposing skin.


For spinal cord injury patient Heidi McKenzie, finding a fashionable yet functional pair of jeans to wear was just one more challenge related to living with a disability.


A lifelong fashion enthusiast, McKenzie thinks men and women in wheelchairs deserve a chic pair of jeans to accommodate their needs. She's in the process of launching a business called Alter UR Ego, a fashion-forward clothing line specially designed for people in wheelchairs.


No stranger to the spotlight, the former Ms. Wheelchair America contestant is already a natural spokesperson for her products. She got the idea for her business while meeting other women competing in the 2012 Ms. Wheelchair America pageant, who also expressed an interest in hip and youthful clothing for people with disabilities.


"Most disability clothing is targeted toward the elderly — so flower pots and cats," McKenzie said. "I want an everyday pair of jeans for someone. Because that is your go-to article of clothing."


Founding her own start-up company is only the latest of many endeavors for the paraplegic patient at the University of Kentucky Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Cardinal Hill Hospital. Now living in Mount Sterling, Kentucky, McKenzie graduated from Morehead State University in 2011 and competed in the Miss Wheelchair America pageant the following year. She drives her own wheelchair-adapted van, works at her father's company in Morehead and currently lives independently in her apartment. She's tried out a number of adapted sports, including horseback riding, tennis, scuba diving and kayaking.


With every opportunity life brings, McKenzie consults with Dr. Sara Salles, professor in the UK Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, to ensure her health and physical condition permits an active lifestyle. After sustaining a complete spinal cord injury in a car accident in 2007, McKenzie moved back to Kentucky to live with her father, and began rehabilitation with Salles at Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital. She received inpatient care at the hospital for two weeks. In addition to her spinal cord injury, McKenzie needed cognitive therapy from a brain injury caused by the accident. McKenzie worked with Salles to set realistic, attainable goals, which included living a completely independent lifestyle. 


Seven years later, McKenzie maintains her health and lifestyle through "tune-up" appointments with Salles every few months. Salles monitors her patients with a holistic approach, addressing any health issues related to the injury, discomfort caused by her wheelchair, or other physical or psychological problems. Salles said normal tasks able-bodied people take for granted, like putting on shoes and using the bathroom, are challenges for her patients.


"Daily life is challenging for folks with spinal cord injuries," Salles said. "The beauty of our patients is they do it with grace. The struggle is there, but most of them will not tell you or share that struggle with you on a regular basis."


Because spinal cord injury patients require long-term care, Salles frequently develops personal relationships with her patients and their families. Salles introduced McKenzie to many extracurricular and leadership opportunities available to people with disabilities, including an adaptive sports camp in Colorado. A model patient, McKenzie has played an active role in regaining her independence and keeping a positive attitude about her condition. Salles said McKenzie will communicate when something's wrong and proactively follow her advice to stay healthy.


In addition, McKenzie serves as a volunteer counselor and mentor to Salles' patients who have recently sustained a spinal cord injury. Warm, endearing and optimistic, McKenzie has a special ability to shed positive light on hard situations. She emphasizes to Salles' patients that life post-injury can be exciting and rewarding.


"I think everyone who comes to know Heidi loves Heidi," Salles said. "Just because she is who she is. She lights up a room. You know when Heidi is around because usually she is doing her (Miss America) wave."


McKenzie relates her relationship with her doctor to a "long-distance marriage." While she lives in Eastern Kentucky, she contacts her doctor often. McKenzie appreciates Salles for being frank but compassionate when discussing the pursuit of goals. Salles gives her patients the freedom to make decisions about their lifestyles, but counters that freedom with advice to stay healthy and not further complicate their conditions.


"She has always been so supportive in living an active lifestyle at your convenience," McKenzie said. "Because everybody takes a while to adapt to disability, and she doesn't rush that. So when you're ready to go out and adventure and experience new things, she is going to be encouraging."


For more information about Alter UR Ego, and to learn how to support McKenzie's start-up company, visit


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

UK Study Disputes Previous Theories on Loss of Muscle Stem Cells and Aging

Mon, 01/05/2015 - 13:46

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 7, 2014) – Professional athletes often spend hours in a gym working to build strong healthy muscles needed to keep them at the top of their game. But strong muscles help all humans maintain peak physical performance – the non-athlete, the young and the old – and can prevent frailty later in life, a condition that can exacerbate an illness and even shorten one's life. According to Charlotte Peterson, co-director of the Center for Muscle Biology at the University of Kentucky, "muscle powers health."


Peterson, who is also a professor and associate dean for research in the College of Health Sciences and associate director of the UK Center for Clinical and Translation Sciences (CCTS), has spent her career studying muscle structure and function at the cellular and molecular level, and the changes that occur with age with the long-term goal of preventing frailty to maintain functional independence. She says muscles have always fascinated her because they are very adaptive, clinically relevant, and an accessible organ system to study.


The literature on aging research, particularly muscle aging, postulates a strong correlation between the loss and/or dysfunction of muscle stem cells and sarcopenia, the scientific term for the age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength. Despite the correlation, no studies have directly tested this relationship to determine if the loss of muscle stem cells actually causes sarcopenia, although Peterson says that assumption has almost become dogma in the field of aging research.  


Sarcopenia affects millions of aging adults. Age-related loss of muscle mass and strength not only robs elderly people of the ability to perform even the most basic tasks of daily living, but also significantly increases their risk of suffering devastating injuries and even death from sudden falls and other accidents. Studies show that people lose one percent muscle mass per year beginning around the age of 50. Although weight-lifting (resistance) exercise can help to maintain and increase muscle mass, as humans age, muscles become less responsive to exercise.  


Currently entire research programs are focused on developing muscle stem cell therapy to delay, prevent or even reverse sarcopenia. In light of Peterson's current study published in the December issue of Nature Medicine, researchers will no doubt reconsider previous theories.


Peterson's lab, in collaboration with John McCarthy in the Department of Physiology at UK, developed an animal model that allowed them to deplete young adult muscle of stem cells to a level sufficient to impair muscle regeneration throughout the life of a mouse. They expected the mouse to be a model of premature muscle aging.


"To our surprise, the mice aged normally; life-long depletion of skeletal muscle stem cells did not accelerate nor exacerbate sarcopenia," Peterson said. "Nature Medicine published our 'negative results' which show a clear distinction between therapeutic strategies that may effectively treat degenerative myopathies, such as dystrophies and cachexia, versus sarcopenia. While degenerative conditions are expected to benefit from a stem cell-based therapy, this does not appear to be a viable approach for treating age-associated muscle wasting. Hopefully, our work will help to refocus aging muscle research on new therapeutic targets to effectively maintain muscle function and prevent frailty in the elderly."


Chris Fry, Ph.D., former postdoctoral fellow in Peterson’s lab, and current assistant professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch, is first author of the study. He adds that “the loss of muscle mass and function was unaffected by the depletion of stem cells in our model. Our results challenge years of correlative findings that emphasized the role of stem cells during aging and will hopefully spur scientists into pursuing new lines of research aimed at attenuating sarcopenia.” 


Peterson heads a multi-million dollar research program at UK funded by the NIH that includes a wet lab, where biochemical muscle analyses are performed, and the recently established Human Performance Lab, where physical functional assessments and exercise training studies are conducted. Other researchers in the College of Health Sciences also study muscle biology related to a wide range of functions.  Esther Dupont-Versteegden, co-author on the Nature Medicine publication, studies muscle wasting due to disuse and inactivity and, together with Tim Butterfield, is funded to determine the mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects massage.  Joe Stemple’s work is focused on laryngeal muscles controlling voice production, which become compromised with age, as well as due to strain in professional singers.


Informed by her work in animal models, and concerned by the poor response to exercise in many older people, Peterson began to explore other aspects of muscle to identify new targets to help to maintain and increase mass and strength. She noted that the abundance of an immune cell type, called a macrophage, in muscle predicted how well individuals responded to exercise. 


These preliminary findings formed the basis of a newly funded exercise training study in the elderly designed to augment macrophages in muscle to improve the overall response to resistance training.  This is a collaborative project with Philip Kern in the College of Medicine, and director of the UK CCTS, and Marcas Bamman at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. 


For more information about the study, go to


Peterson joined the faculty at the UK College of Health Sciences in 2006.  She was previously professor of Geriatrics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, where she served for 16 years. Peterson received her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Notre Dame and her doctorate from the University of Virginia, followed by two postdoctoral fellowships, the first at the National Eye Institute at the NIH and the second at Stanford University School of Medicine.  Peterson is an associate editor of the Journals of Gerontology and was recently appointed to the National Institute on Aging Board of Scientific Counselors.


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



What Were Most Read and Most Viewed UK Stories of 2014?

Mon, 01/05/2015 - 10:23

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 5, 2015) — What University of Kentucky news stories and videos garnered the most attention in 2014 on UK's news website?  The list of top 10 UK videos on UK's YouTube channel and the list of top 10 stories on UKNow show a varied interest -- showcasing students, faculty, staff, alumni and UK HealthCare.


By far, the most read story on UKNow, the university's news website, was the announcement of the largest gift ever made to UK — a $20 million commitment from UK alumnus and trustee Bill Gatton for construction of a new UK Student Center.


The most-watched video highlighted what it's like to be twins on the UK campus.  The story focused on three sets of twin students,  including UK basketball player Alex Poythress and his sister Alexis. 


Review the top stories of 2014.

The top 10 most viewed videos produced in 2014 on the University of Kentucky YouTube page are:


1.    UK's Big Blue Family: #Twinning

2.    The University of Kentucky: View from Above

3.    Dr. Peter Nelson explains Primary Age-Related Tauopathy and his role in defining this new disease

4.    Creating a Home Away from Home at UK...Who Does That?

5.    The "see blue." story is made up of a million individual stories. What will yours be?

6.    Spreading UK's Big Blue Spirit...Who Does That?

7.    "see community." Living & Learning at the University of Kentucky

8.    UK Researcher Helps Paraplegic Patient Kickoff World Cup with Robotics

9.    UK Welcomes New Students During Move-in 2014!

10. Q and A about Ebola Preparedness for UK HealthCare employees


Or view all videos at once below:




The top 10 read UKNow stories for 2014 are:


1.    University of Kentucky Announces Largest Gift in its History

2.    UK Nursing Care Rises to No. 1 in National Patient Satisfaction Survey

3.    1956 Time Capsule Found, Re-buried With 2014 Items

4.    UK HealthCare Physicians Named to Best Doctors in America Listing for 2014

5.    Quick Action by UK HealthCare Multidisciplinary Team Saves Life of Young Mother

6.    Medical Emergency on Airplane Elevates UK Nurse to Hero Status for Local Businessman

7.    Celebrating UK Graduates: the 147th Commencement Ceremonies

8.    Dining Partnership Will Transform Vital Service to UK Campus

9.    UK Breaks Ground on ‘The 90,’ New Dining, Student Support Facility

10.  UK HealthCare Divisions Unite to Perform Rare Procedure on 12-Year-Old Trauma Patient


Staying Active As We Age

Wed, 12/24/2014 - 10:48

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 5, 2015) -- Staying physically active is especially important as we age. Beginning around age 50, we lose 1 percent of our muscle mass each year. Over time, this can negatively affect quality of life and our ability to maintain functional independence. 


Exercise is the best medicine to protect our quality of life and independence as we age. Physical activity benefits literally every organ in the body, from our muscles to our brains, promoting not only physical health but also mental and cognitive well being. Physical activity can also help to prevent and alleviate or manage chronic illnesses such as diabetes.


Here are some reminders for staying physically active throughout our older years:


It's never to late to start. You can benefit from physical activity and exercise even if you’ve never been an athlete or don't start exercising until a relatively old age. Start with whatever activity level fits your ability and lifestyle.


Combine endurance and strength training for overall health.

Keep up endurance with aerobic exercise like walking, stationary biking or rowing. This helps maintain energy and stamina to prevent fatigue.


Keep up your strength with resistance or weight training. Free weights, resistance bands, and body weight exercises like squats and push-ups help maintain muscle mass and strength to prevent frailty.


150 minutes of activity is recommended each week. That's five times a week for 30 minutes.


But some studies show that short bouts of intense exercise are also beneficial. If you don't have 30 minutes, take the stairs quickly or walk as fast as you can for ten minutes. Any and all movement is good.


Make it social. Find a walking buddy or try an exercise class. Not only is there more fun and accountability with an exercise companion, studies suggest that positive social interactions are just as important to our health as physical activity.


Make it part of your routine.  You're more likely to exercise regularly if it's part of your daily schedule and fits in with the rest of your life.


Remember that your body changes with age. Your body likely won't respond to exercise the way that it did at age 25, and you may not respond to exercise just like your gym buddy does. This physical variability increases as we age, so keep your expectations in line with your own abilities.


Researchers at the University of Kentucky are currently studying why some older adults respond better to exercise than others. If you are over 65 and interested in learning about participating in this research, please submit your information at the following link and a member of the research team will contact you in January 2015.


Charlotte Peterson, Ph.D., is professor and associate dean for research in the UK College of Health Science and serves as associate director of the UK Center for Clinical & Translational Science and co-director of the UK Center for Muscle Biology and UK Human Performance Lab. 


This column appeared in the December 28, 2014 edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader

Lexington Celebrates Martin Luther King Jr.

Wed, 12/24/2014 - 09:45
LEXINGTON, Ky (Dec. 24, 2014) — The theme for Lexington’s celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 19, is MLK Today: The Courage to Change. The events are free with the sponsorship of the University of Kentucky and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. 

Susan L. Taylor will present the keynote address. Taylor, the visionary and chief editor of Essence magazine, established the National CARES Mentoring Movement, a national initiative devoted to providing quality mentoring support to young people.


Lexington’s schedule for the free Martin Luther King Jr. Day events is:

·       Freedom March lineup, 9 a.m., corridor of Heritage Hall, downtown Lexington Center

·       Freedom March begins, 10 a.m.

·       Commemorative Program, 11 a.m., Heritage Hall

·       “Red Tails” showing, 2:30 p.m., Kentucky Theatre, 214 E. Main St.


UK Art Museum Closed for the Holidays

Mon, 12/22/2014 - 11:39

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 23, 2014) — Today is the last day to visit the Art Museum at the University of Kentucky before it closes for the holidays. The museum will be closed Wednesday, Dec. 24, through Monday, Jan. 5, for the holiday break.


The museum will be open by appointment from Jan. 6-13. For an appointment, call 859-257-5716.


The Art Museum at UK will return to regular hours Wednesday, Jan. 14.


The mission of the Art Museum at UK, part of the UK College of Fine Arts, is to promote the understanding and appreciation of art to enhance the quality of life for people of Kentucky through collecting, exhibiting, preserving and interpreting outstanding works of visual art from all cultures. Home to a collection of more than 4,500 objects including American and European paintings, drawings, photographs, prints and sculpture, the Art Museum at UK presents both special exhibitions and shows of work from its permanent collection. 



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

UK Libraries Launches Improved WorldCat Search System

Mon, 12/22/2014 - 11:20

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 23, 2014) — University of Kentucky Libraries’ local WorldCat search system has an improved user interface.   


"With the goal of creating a better user experience, the improved user interface is a cleaner version of the previous one," said systems librarian Tari Keller.


Advantages of the new WorldCat search interface include:

· The ability to search all of WorldCat, but see items owned by UK Libraries appearing first in the results;

· An adaptive interface that works well from computers, as well as mobile devices;

· The ability to download citations into software such as EndNote or RefWorks; and

· A Request Item button appears in the the record display to take users to a screen to request the item via inter-library loan when the resource isn't already part of the UK Libraries' collection.


For more information on the update to the WorldCat search system, contact Tari Keller at



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

Update and Clarification to Construction Impact on Sports Center North Parking Lot

Mon, 12/22/2014 - 10:04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 22, 2014) – University of Kentucky Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) is taking several steps to mitigate the impact of necessary parking changes to deal with ongoing construction around campus.


Starting today, for example, the construction of a bypass road that will connect the area east of the new residence halls on South Campus to Woodland Avenue will impact a number of the parking spots in the Sports Center North Parking lot adjacent to Cliff Hagan Stadium.


While long-term options are being explored to mitigate this impact, several additional options are immediately being made available during the holiday break. The R3 parking areas, which include Complex Drive, the Sports Center South Lot and the Small Sports Center Lot (adjacent to the tennis courts), will not be controlled for permits through Friday, Jan. 9, 2015.  Similarly, the Sports Center Garage (PS#7), will be open parking with no permit required through Friday, Jan. 9, 2015.  Both areas will resume normal operations Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015.


University officials will work closely with the bypass road project team to further minimize the impact of the project on parking inventory during the construction period.  The 166-space impact in the Sports Center lot for spring semester will be mitigated by the following:

  • Adding approximately 40 spaces on University Drive near Complex Drive that would be available for employee parking.
  • Transition an adjacent parking lot from student to employee parking in an effort to more effectively balance the parking needs in the area.


Details of these changes will be communicated in early 2015.


PTS will also begin the feedback cycle on the Transportation Master Plan Jan. 28 and 29. This feedback and communication cycle will continue throughout the spring semester and will conclude with a completed plan in Summer 2015.

UK's Green Dot Featured on Fusion Network

Mon, 12/22/2014 - 09:37


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 22, 2014) -- Earlier this fall, Alicia Menendez of Fusion, a news and pop culture TV and digital network, visited the University of Kentucky to explore  why the White House recently acknowledged UK’s Green Dot approach as an effective prevention to sexual assault.


Green Dot is unique because it attempts to prevent violence before it happens. It’s working to create a campus-wide culture that encourages intervention and relies on students to look out for one another,” said Menendez.


The anchor for “Alicia Menendez Tonight” interviewed President Eli Capilouto, Director of the Violence Intervention and Prevention Center Rhonda Henry and several students, including senior Allyson Lough.


“But just as much as I would intervene,” Lough said, “I’m trusting that my fellow student, my peer, someone in their 18 to 20s, someone who is also a University of Kentucky Wildcat, is willing to recognize that we are similar, and that we respect each other enough for them to step in for me.”


For the complete report, visit here.


UK HealthCare Implements Temporary Visitation Measures Due to Flu

Sun, 12/21/2014 - 19:49


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 22, 2014) – UK HealthCare has temporarily amended its inpatient hospital visitation policy to be proactive in helping protect the health and well-being of patients and health care workers during this flu season. Visitation restrictions are in effect as of 7 a.m. Monday, Dec. 22.


The measures include:


o     No visitors under the age of 12

o     No visitors with any symptoms of flu-like illness

o     Only two visitors will be permitted in a patient’s room at one time

o     Visitors may be issued masks or other protective clothing for use when visiting

o     Additional restrictions may be in place in special care units such as women's and children’s units, critical care and oncology units.

o     Compassionate visitation exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis.


"Due to an increasing number of flu cases in Kentucky, UK HealthCare will be instituting these procedures designed to help protect patients, visitors and staff from exposure to the flu and are in effect at all UK HealthCare inpatient units including University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, Kentucky Children's Hospital, UK Good Samaritan Hospital and Eastern State Hospital," said Kim Blanton, enterprise director for infection prevention and control at UK HealthCare. 


Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the flu was widespread in 29 of the 54 states and territories that it tracks -- including Kentucky. This time last year, it was widespread in only four.


It is still recommended everyone six months of age and older who hasn't received a flu shot yet, receive one, Blanton said. "A flu vaccine is still the first and best way to prevent influenza," she said.


Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Flu antiviral drugs are available and work best for treatment when they are started within two days of getting sick. However, starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high risk health condition or is very sick from the flu.


MEDIA CONTACT: Kristi Lopez, 859-806-0445 or





Mechanical Engineering Graduate Student Wins First Prize at International Forest Fire Conference

Sun, 12/21/2014 - 10:07

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 22, 2014)Jeremiah Fugate, recent graduate of the mechanical engineering master's program at the University of Kentucky, won first prize in the research poster session at the 7th International Conference on Forest Fire Research in Coimbra, Portugal, held Nov. 17-21.


Fugate worked with his UK advisors Kozo Saito, director of the Institute of Research for Technology Development (IR4TD); Nelson Akafuah, assistant research professor of mechanical engineering; and Abbot Maginnis, academic program coordinator in the Lean Systems Program; alongside U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers Mark A. Finney and Jason Forthofer, to produce a paper for the international conference titled, "A Focused Analysis on Lean Fire Management Systems." The paper proposes the application of lean manufacturing techniques to fire services, particularly root cause analysis and systematic problem-solving to post-incident reflection meetings for facilitation of continuous improvement.


The conference takes place every four years and brings together scientists and practitioners from various parts of the world working on different aspects of forest fires, encourages the presentation and discussion of recent advances in scientific research and technical development, and includes presentations on new management methodologies, according to the conference website. Alongside Fugate’s poster, there were 50 other posters on display from researchers worldwide.


In addition to this achievement, Fugate, from Hazard, Kentucky, also graduated from the UK College of Engineering with a master's in mechanical engineering on Dec. 19. While pursuing his master’s degree at UK, he was the Lean Systems Fellow at IR4TD, and prior to that graduated with a bachelor's in mechanical engineering from UK.


He now hopes to work in the manufacturing setting using the knowledge he gained from working in the labs of the Lean Systems Program. The product of a 20-year long collaboration between Toyota and UK, the program utilizes and teaches Toyota's method to create an environment that supports and equips employees to perform continuous improvement.


“I am thankful for Dr. Kozo Saito and the Lean Systems Program for their support during the past two years," Fugat said. "Working with them has allowed me to bring lean manufacturing principles to a whole new audience and discuss it for people from around the world.


“I am nowhere near an expert in lean manufacturing, but I can see the usefulness of applying it on a day-to-day basis after the time I’ve spent here at UK. In addition to this, I see the end of my college education as the beginning of a lifelong learning process thanks to the excellent people at the IR4TD and the Lean Systems Program." 




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

Kentucky 4-H Agents Take on National Leadership Roles

Fri, 12/19/2014 - 20:27

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 23, 2014) — A trio of University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service agents recently earned top leadership positions within the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents.


Lena Mallory, Susan Turner and Elijah Wilson are all Kentucky 4-H and youth development agents serving on the national association’s board of trustees. Mallory, of Marshall County, was named president-elect of the organization, and Turner, Monroe County, was named a junior director for the Southern Region. Cumberland County’s Elijah Wilson was appointed the chair of the Research and Evaluations Committee.


For Mallory, a Lexington native, 4-H runs in her family. She is a third generation 4-H’er and the daughter of a former 4-H agent. She began serving in a statewide 4-H leadership position when she served as state secretary while a 4-H’er. An agent for 15 years, Mallory has served young people in Graves and Marshall counties.


When she becomes president in 2015, Mallory plans to work toward increasing the involvement of international 4-H professionals, finding ways for the organization to work more efficiently and be more fiscally responsible while meeting the needs of the membership. She also wants to reignite mid-career agents’ passion for membership in the organization and continue to build relationships with National 4-H Council and 4-H National Headquarters. Her position is a 3-year appointment.


Mallory will represent the association and its nearly 3,800 members on the Joint Council of Extension Professionals, an organization that focuses on strengthening the efforts of member organizations and does what each cannot do alone.


A native of Monroe County, Turner has served as the county’s 4-H youth development agent for 16 years.


As a junior regional director, she will serve as liaison between the national association and the agent members in 17 southern states.


She and the other regional directors will be in charge of coordinating the council’s national conference during the next two years. She is also responsible for a quarterly regional newsletter that is sent out to members of the association.


“I firmly believe in the work that extension professionals do and how important it is for us to receive the support and guidance we need,” she said. “Our organization provides that support and guidance for us, and that’s something I wanted to be a part of.”


This is her first national appointment, but she has served Kentucky’s association as vice president and two terms as president.


Wilson, a Green County native, has served Cumberland County as the 4-H agent since 2006. Prior to that, the lifelong 4-H’er was a manager at Lake Cumberland 4-H Camp.


“I became an agent because I enjoy helping people help themselves,” he said. “I like being part of an organization whose mission is to improve the quality of lives of all Kentucky citizens.”


As chair of the Research and Evaluation Committee, Wilson oversees organizational research and The Journal of Youth Development, the organization’s peer-reviewed, scholarly journal.


This begins his second term serving as chair of this group and as a board of trustees member.

Semester Break Parking and Transit Changes

Fri, 12/19/2014 - 20:04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 22, 2014) — During the break between the fall and spring semesters, demand for student parking is greatly reduced. As a result, Parking and Transportation Services does not control many of the student areas for permits during this period.


In general, all Residential (R) lots, with the exception of R6 (Seminary), R16, R17 and R18, and the C8 lot, are off control beginning Dec. 20. All employee lots will remain on control, including the joint use Employee/Commuter lots. Even though some lots are not controlled for permits, they are still monitored for other parking violations to include, but not limited to, parking in fire lanes, on yellow lines, and in disabled accessible parking.


The Kentucky Clinic Parking Garage (PS #3) and the UK HealthCare Parking Garage (PS # 8), will remain open at all times. No attendant will be on duty Thursday, Dec. 25 or Thursday, Jan. 1, at these two facilities.


The R4, R5, R11, R12 and R14 lots will resume normal parking control Monday, Jan. 5. The R3, R7, R8 and R10 lots will resume normal parking control on Saturday, Jan. 10. The C8 lot and evening and K areas will resume normal parking control Wednesday, Jan. 14.


Most regular CATS and Lextran campus bus service will not operate between semesters. For the 2014-15 semester break, PTS will operate one CATS bus on the Break Route. The route will run 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 22-24, Jan. 5-9, and Jan. 12–13. Please view the Break Route for pick-up times and locations. The UK HealthCare Route will not operate on Dec, 25 or Jan. 1. To support continual operations at the UK Chandler Hospital, the route will run 6 a.m. until midnight Dec. 24, 26, 29–31 and Jan. 2, but with only two buses on the route. The route will return to regular service on Jan. 5. The Kentucky Clinic Shuttle will not operate on Dec. 25 or Jan. 1; however, it will run a regular schedule Dec. 26, 29-31 and Jan. 2. On Dec. 24 and Dec. 31, the Kentucky Clinic Shuttle morning route will operate from 6:45 to 9 a.m. and the afternoon route will operate from 3 to 6 p.m. The route will resume regular service on Jan. 2.


The On-Demand Night bus will resume service Sunday, Jan. 11, operating from 7 p.m. to midnight with one bus to accommodate students returning to campus. The Yellow Night Route will resume Monday, Jan. 12. All other CATS routes and the Lextran Stadium Route will resume regular service Wednesday, Jan. 14.

UK Researchers Point to Impact of Combined Brain Injury and PTSD in War Veterans

Fri, 12/19/2014 - 16:54

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 22, 2014) — The U.S. Department of Defense identifies mild traumatic brain injury, or mTBI, as one of the signature injuries impacting veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. 


Often associated with the blast of an improvised explosive device (IED) in the field, an mTBI is commonly diagnosed in concurrence with posttraumatic stress disorder, a separate condition triggered by the traumatic event. A recent study suggests that 12 to 16 percent of all veterans involved in the Iraqi conflict have a history of mTBI and an estimated 13 to 17 percent of veterans return with a diagnosis of PTSD resulting from an injury. One-third of all veterans with a TBI also suffer from PTSD.


Since the time both conflicts began, medical researchers have studied the short- and long-term psychological and neuropsychological effects of PTSD and mild TBI as independent conditions. Recently, researchers at the University of Kentucky published findings from a collaborative, multi-site study considering the collective, as well as individual, effects of mTBI and PTSD on psychological and cognitive functioning.


The results, which are scheduled to appear in The Journal of Neurotrauma, suggest veterans suffering from both conditions have poorer cognitive and psychological outcomes than veterans diagnosed with only one of the conditions. The research also raises the possibility that mTBI results in persistent but mild cognitive challenges for some veterans.   


Dr. Walter High, an adjunct associate professor in the UK Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Neurosurgery and Psychology, and researchers at the University of Kentucky Department of Psychology, worked with veterans at the Lexington Veterans Affairs Hospital on the UK campus to conduct a series of neuropsychological tasks measuring their cognitive function. Participating veterans were classified as mTBi only, PTSD only, or both mTBI and PTSD. The tests evaluated cognitive processing speed, IQ, verbal memory, psychological distress and more. Participants were also grouped according to their similarities in IQ, age and other characteristics.


“Most previous studies have not adequately separated out the cognitive  effects due to mTBI from the cognitive effects due to PTSD,” High said. Our study is relatively unique because it includes a comparison group of veterans with PTSD only. This is extremely important because the effects of mTBI and PTSD can be very similar. The inclusion of a group of veterans with both mTBI and PTSD also allowed us to look at the interactive effects of these conditions."


While research has suggested that infrequent isolated concussions (mTBI) have minimal long-term effects, PTSD has been linked to long-term impairment of psychological functioning and memory loss. The set of data was distinctive from other research trials on long-term effects of mTBI in that the researchers were able to rule out confounding variables influencing cognitive processing. Through an analysis of the data, High and UK doctoral student Hannah Combs, who published the paper as her master's degree thesis, found small decrements in information processing efficiency, attention and memory that could be attributed to the mTBI. David Berry, Ph.D, professor in the Department of Psychology, was a key collaborator in the study helping to characterize the validity of veteran performances and chairing Combs' master’s committee.


"We feel we know this phenomenon, but this shows there is more to it than we originally expected," Combs said of the effects of mTBI. "If a veteran is complaining about these issues, there's a good chance they are  true."


High said the decrements attributable to mTBI are small  and not disabling. Veterans can overcome the mild cognitive impairment caused by mTBI with proper  education about mTBI and therapies. The study will help guide psychologists implement proper cognitive therapies for injured veterans suffering from these mild effects.


“The take-home message is that we need to validate to the veteran that the problems they are experiencing are real, but to reassure them that their cognitive abilities are within normal limits and they can still be successful,” High said. “There are strategies to rehabilitate and exercise their memory.”


Researchers at UK, the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and Southern Arizona Department of Veteran Affairs collaborated on the study. One-third of the study’s participants represented patients at the Lexington Veterans Affairs Hospital. The study was supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

New Human Performance Lab Enhances Research Infrastructure, Collaborations

Fri, 12/19/2014 - 15:40

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 22, 2014) — In 1987, the UK colleges of Education and Allied Health, now called Health Sciences, and the Center for Biomedical Engineering formed a collaborative Biodynamics Lab to study sports injuries and rehabilitation. Building upon this rich history of helping athletes prevent injury and increase performance, today the lab has a new location, extensive new equipment and capacities, and a new name: the Human Performance Lab.


The new Human Performance Lab provides a state-of-the-art teaching and research facility not only for assessment of form during movements such as running and throwing, but other kinds of functional assessments as well, including strength, endurance, gait and balance. These types of assessments are critical to better understand functional movement and conduct more sophisticated movement and exercise studies in fields beyond athletics and injury, such as healthy aging and neurological disorders.


Robert Shapiro, Ph.D., associate dean for research and innovation in the UK College of Education, has directed the lab since its inception. Charlotte Peterson, Ph.D., associate dean for research in the College of Health Sciences, serves as co-director.


"The new space and equipment of the lab lets us expand beyond the athletic population, to include, for example, Parkinson's patients, 'pre'-habilitation, and aging issues," said Peterson. "The sorts of research projects that we want to highlight are those related to some of Kentucky's biggest health challenges — obesity, diabetes, and functional status in the elderly. We're interested in new ways to help people improve quality of life and maintain functional independence."


The dedicated space for exercise studies, including separate exam rooms, is also a benefit to research participants.


"Exercise and physical activity studies don't always need participants to come to the hospital, and the lab creates a non-clinical environment that's a little more like going to the gym instead of going to the hospital," said Dr. Philip Kern, director of the Barnstable Brown Diabetes and Obesity Center and the Center for Clinical and Translational Science.


The expanded capacity and resources of the lab not only support current research but also serve as a catalyst for new multidisciplinary collaborations and translational research. For example, the College of Health Sciences, the Department of Neurology in the College of Medicine, the Sanders Brown Center on Aging, and the Center for Clinical and Translational Science jointly purchased a GAITRite, which analyzes how a person walks, for the Human Performance Lab and will be used for pre- and post-testing of Parkinson's patients following deep brain stimulation surgery.


The lab also provides unique research opportunities for undergraduate students. There are currently around 1,000 undergradguate students majoring in exercise science at UK, all of whom will take a course that involves working in the lab.


Peterson hopes that in addition to expanding current research opportunities and involving students in research, the Human Performance Lab will prompt increased consideration of functional assessments across the spectrum of health research.


"Ideally, this facility and expertise will encourage researchers to think more about incorporating functional assessments and physical activity interventions into their research programs," she said.


To learn more about participating in research and to stay up-to-date about health research opportunities at UK, please visit www.ukclinicalresearch.comMEDIA CONTACT: Mallory Powell, 

VIDEO: UK Students Simultaneously Tackle Food Waste Problem and Help Lexington's Hungry

Fri, 12/19/2014 - 14:25



Video Produced by UK Public Relations & 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. (Dec. 24, 2014) — A new program on campus is fostering community outreach to those in need, educating students about hunger and nutrition and helping the university repurpose its food waste.


The new initiative is part of a nationwide program called the Campus Kitchen.  Like the recently opened Big Blue Pantry, it is an organization with aspirations to bring awareness to issues surrounding hunger, albeit in a different way. The focus of the kitchen is on helping people on and off campus in the greater Lexington community while also trying to keep food  from going to waste. 


During the past several weeks of the fall 2014 semester, more than 100 students have signed up to collect un-used food from UK Dining as well as produce from the UK College of Agriculture Food and Environment’s Horticulture Research Farm to cook meals.  They’ve delivered those meals to Lexington charities such as the Catholic Action Center, Salvation Army and Hope Center.   Students have even prepared meals for Martin Luther King, Jr. Academy students (on campus for tutoring through the Center for Community Outreach) to take home in hopes they will share with their siblings. 


UK sophomore Walter Brown, who is majoring in dietetics and human nutrition in the School of Human Environmental Sciences, serves as president of this student group.  He says being a part of this program is about much more than learning, cooking and giving back. 


Watch the video above to discover why Brown's background makes him so committed and how he hopes to change the perception of college students for the greater Lexington community. 



VIDEO CONTACTS:  Amy Jones-Timoney, 859-257-2940, or Kody Kiser, 859-257-5282,

Emeritus Gatton Professor Named Chair of Federal Bank

Fri, 12/19/2014 - 13:18

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 22, 2014)  University of Kentucky Professor Emeritus Donald J. Mullineaux recently was elected to serve as chair of the board of directors of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati. He succeeds Carl J. Wick as chair, for a two-year term beginning Jan. 1, 2015.


Mullineaux, who retired earlier this year after 30 years on the faculty of UK's Gatton College of Business and Economics, was first elected to serve on the board as an independent director beginning in 2010, and was re-elected in 2012.


"I am honored that my colleagues on the board saw fit to select me for this important position," said Mullineaux. "This institution provides financial services to member institutions in support of housing and economic development in Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee."


Mullineaux, a resident of Lexington, is Emeritus duPont Endowed Chair in Banking and Financial Services at the Gatton College. He received his doctorate in economics from Boston College and is a former senior vice president and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Mullineaux has served as the curriculum director of the American Bankers Association's Stonier Graduate School of Banking since 2002 and is widely published in the academic and financial press. He served as chair of the FHLBank's Finance and Risk Management Committee prior to his election as chair of the board.


Over the course of his three decades at UK, Mullineaux received numerous awards and honors for his teaching and research. In addition, he is regularly sought out by members of the news media for his expertise on banking and finance issues.


"The FHLBank of Cincinnati is indeed fortunate to have a person of Don Mullineaux's knowledge and experience to serve as its chair of the board," said David W. Blackwell, dean of the Gatton College.


Andrew S. Howell, who earned a bachelor's degree in business adminstration from the Gatton College in 1983, is president and chief executive officer of the FHLBank of Cincinnati.



MEDIA CONTACT: Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200;

Road Realignment to Impact UK Sports Center North Parking Lot

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 18:35

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 19, 2014) – The reconfiguration of the former Cooperstown Drive with Sports Center Drive is slated to begin Monday, Dec. 22. The construction of this bypass road connecting the area east of the new South Campus residence halls to Woodland Avenue is expected to result in the loss of approximately 127 of the 312 parking spaces in the Sports Center North Lot, adjacent to Cliff Hagan Stadium.


The need for the bypass road was established through the university’s master planning process. This project, which will upgrade and improve infrastructure in the South Campus area, is expected to last until mid-June 2015. Initially, 166 spaces will be blocked for construction, but 39 will be reclaimed at the conclusion of the project.


Employees with valid E permits who normally park in this lot may park in any E Lot. Options in the vicinity include the E spaces on University Drive and the Green Lot, adjacent to the Oswald Building. The Orange Lot, located at the corner of University and Alumni Drives, has park-and-ride service for UK HealthCare employees. Finally, employee (E) permits are now authorized to park in any K Lot, including the Red, and Blue Lots, as well as the Greg Page Overflow Lot and the Soccer/Softball Complex Lots, allowing employees more flexibility if their desired parking area is at capacity.  


International Student Council Creates Partnership With SGA

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 17:10

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 19, 2014) — University of Kentucky senior JoAna Jesus was recently selected to serve as the liaison between the International Student Council (ISC) and the Student Government Association (SGA) for the 2014-2015 academic year.


“Until this fall, my position didn’t exist as part of SGA or in ISC,” Jesus said.


With this partnership, Jesus will attend both weekly SGA and ISC meetings to foster and develop ideas in order to better serve international students.  


“We decided to create an additional liaison position within SGA in order to provide international students with a way to communicate their needs and concerns," Seth Greene, the SGA liaison director, said. "After meeting JoAna, I knew she was perfect for the position. As a senior political science major, she possessed the attributes needed to successfully represent and convey the needs of the international community. We are very excited about working closely with international students and representing them the best we can.”


The creation of the liaison position is only the first step that ISC has taken in order to become a prominent source of representation for the international student body on campus. The ISC has spoken with many parties on campus to discuss the need for coming together and finding solutions for various issues that international students face on campus.


“Current and ongoing conversations with any student or student group are beneficial for a better understanding of the issues each face. It is clear we have additional work to do to better understand and appreciate the challenges encountered by our international student population and create a strategy that better meets their needs,” said Victor Hazard, dean of students and associate vice president for student affairs, who has already held meetings with representatives from ISC to help develop ideas for resolving issues. 


With all of the work that ISC has done in their new role to promote its mission of being an umbrella organization that celebrates diversity and provides a forum for exchanging ideas and planning events, there is still much more work to be done.


“ISC has really made a lot of progress as far as becoming more systematic in our organization, but there’s still a lot more for ISC to do. I’m excited for the possibilities that this new collaboration with the SGA brings,” Jesus said.


Currently, Jesus is waiting to meet with senators in SGA to discuss plans for a workshop that will help international students new to UK easily adapt to life in Lexington.




MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Geegan, (859) 257-5365;


WUKY's 'UK Perspectives' Talks Sustainability This Week

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 16:31

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 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.  This week's guests are UK Sustainability Coordinator Shane Tedder and Suzette Walling of the Tracy Farmer Institute discussing sustainability at UK. The President’s Sustainability Advisory Committee recently awarded $100,000 to seven campus teams and Tedder and Walling discuss the projects and their impact on campus and the Lexington community.


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.