Campus News

VIDEO: Brent Seales Motivated by Possibilities of Seemingly Impossible Problems

Tue, 07/19/2016 - 11:56

Video produced by REVEAL Research Media. 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. (July 20, 2016) At the age of 11, Brent Seales conducted his first research project. He wanted a hang glider and without the money to buy one, he wanted to build it. He wrote to a distributor and learned a lot about flying. It was a failed project — but it was that curiosity that led Seales, now a University of Kentucky researcher, to accomplish things no one else has ever done before.


Eventually, as a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Seales' curiosity became fixed on computing and the possibilities it offered.


"For me, it was a completely blank slate, in a world where a lot of things were already settled," he said. "So, I think it was the unknown potential for how I could contribute. That was really what spurred me as a graduate student to go forward with research."


Seales, chair of the UK Department of Computer Science in the College of Engineering, would end up contributing significantly, answering questions that many hadn't thought to ask yet. His research has been funded by Google, the National Science Foundation, the Mellon Foundation and the U.S. Army. He has received more than $10 million in funding during the past 10 years and is the author of more than 100 peer-reviewed publications.


Today, he is known internationally for his innovations in digital imaging of antiquities. Seales has dedicated most of his career to uncovering treasures buried in old manuscripts and damaged materials.


"In the mid '90s there was a huge push, because of the internet's emergence, for us to make libraries digital," he said.


But as he began imaging books and art for the world to access digitally, Seales realized there was a more challenging problem to solve: imaging materials from centuries past that were too charred to decipher, such as ancient scrolls.


"I wanted to move quickly towards things that were much more fragile, mysterious, unknown, located in the nooks and crannies of museums and libraries," he said.


He had a vision to take the most badly damaged things — Herculaneum scrolls, items in the Dead Sea Scrolls Collection, things in Saint Catherine's Monastery — and completely unwrap them using only the imaging, never physically disturbing the artifacts. Not only would he digitally preserve the material, but he would bring back to life writings not seen for millennia. So working with students, Seales created a revolutionary virtual unwrapping tool that can help uncover text from ancient scrolls non-invasively.


His most recent breakthrough was an ancient scroll discovered inside the Holy Ark of the synagogue at Ein Gedi in Israel. He and his research team revealed within the scroll the oldest known copy of the book of Leviticus (other than the Dead Sea Scrolls), carbon dated to the 3rd century C.E. The revelation garnered worldwide attention.


"The moment that I received an email from Israel, telling me that we had discovered a text in a scroll that was 1,500 years old…that's a moment that I don't think I'll be able to replicate in my career," he said.


Seales credits his team at UK and former colleagues at the Google Cultural Institute, where he was a visiting scientist in 2012, for making discoveries like the Leviticus text possible.


"The year at Google was fantastic because of the inspiration that comes from being around people who are swinging for the fence…trying to work on a problem that everyone else thinks might be impossible," he said. "I really needed that at that point in my career, because we had come up against some really tough obstacles, and I wanted to just start thinking about those problems in a different way."


He brought that inspiration back to UK and looked to students to help him forge a path to discovery.  


"Because, honestly, we can't really get much done in a university setting without having really talented students willing to work with us on our work," Seales said.


Many of his students have gone on to work at NASA, Google, Microsoft and other tech giants after graduating from UK.


"Every time I have a student graduate, we take that photo and I see the joy," he said. "That's a moment that I love."


At the December 2015 Commencement, Seales stood by former student and Google software engineer Matt Cutts as Cutts received an honorary doctorate of engineering. Cutts has become well known as one of Google’s first 100 employees and headed the company’s Webspam group until taking leave recently to work with the U.S. Digital Service.


"That was the first time that I'd had a former student receive an honorary Ph.D.," he said. "It was a tremendous, tremendous moment for me in my career."


The success of Cutts, and other students, is no surprise to Seales though. He thinks UK is one of the most productive places a computer scientist could be. UK is one of eight universities in the U.S. that has colleges of agriculture, engineering, medicine and pharmacy on a single campus, and computer science has a role to play in each of those.


"With such a large number of opportunities at the University of Kentucky, there's space for a student to really discover who they are, what their talents are, and then to find the direction that they really need to be going while they’re here," he said. "I think, having that space, is a key part of being at the University of Kentucky."


This video feature is part of a monthly series called ‘“see discovery:” The People Behind Our Research.’ The videos, produced by UKNow and REVEAL, highlight the important work being conducted at the University of Kentucky by telling the stories of our researchers. The idea is to discover and share what motivates our faculty, staff and students to ask the questions that lead to discovery.


Since this is a monthly feature on UKNow, we invite you to submit future ideas. If you know of a researcher who you think should be featured, please email us.



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



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

UK Emeritus Professor Named to Spanish Royal Academy

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 16:34

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 19, 2016)  John Jay Allen, emeritus professor of the University of Kentucky’s Department of Hispanic Studies, has been made a corresponding member of the Spanish Royal Academy of the Language (Real Academia Española de la Lengua), one of the highest academic honors in the Spanish-speaking world.

Allen taught in the UK College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Hispanic Studies (formerly Department of Spanish and Italian) from 1983 to 1999 and as emeritus professor since 2000.


Allen´s accomplishments are quite numerous, but the most salient are: National Endowement for the Humanities (NEH) Fellowship for Independent Research, 1981-82; NEH Summer Seminar for College Teachers, 1989; Residential Fellowship to the National Humanities Center, North Carolina, 1989-90; UK's Albert D. and Elizabeth H. Kirwan Memorial Prize; and an honorary doctor of letters from Middlebury College, 2004. He has been honored with two journal homages in the  Bulletin of the Comediantes 53.1 (2001) and Cervantes 23.1 (2003), and one book, “Corónente tus hazañas: Studies in Honor of John Jay Allen,” edited by Michael J. McGrath and published by Juan de la Cuesta Press (2005).


Allen was a visiting professor at the Reijsuniversiteit te Utrecht in The Netherlands in 1977, Visiting Mellon Professor at the University of Pittsburgh in 1982, and visiting professor at Middlebury College in 2004. In addition, he was an honorary fellow for the Hispanic Society of America; founding editor of Cervantes, bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America (1979-85); and president of the Cervantes Society of America (1995-97). In 1989 the City Hall of Alcalá de Henares, Cervantes´ birthplace, appointed him member of the Commission on the Preservation and Reconstruction of the Teatro Cervantes to advise the Spanish government on matters of conservation.


His publications deal with two main fields of scholarship: Cervantes’ masterpiece, “Don Quijote,” and the archaeology of playhouses in Europe in the early modern period, from the late-sixteen16th to the early-18th centuries. Allen has authored major studies on “Don Quijote," "Don Quixote: Hero or Fool?” and “Don Quijote: Hero or Fool? Part II,” which were merged and published in 2008 as "Don Quixote: Hero or Fool? Remixed"; and "Don Quijote en el arte y pensamiento de Occidente," co-authored with Patricia S. Finch in 2004.


Allen is also responsible for the standard edition of “Don Quijote,” used by universities and centers of higher learning throughout the world. This publication has over 26 revised and updated editions. In a parallel fashion, his work on Spanish theaters of the Golden Age has earned him international renown. His books on the subject include two major studies: "The Reconstruction of a Spanish Golden Age Playhouse. El Corral del Príncipe, 1583-1744" (1983); "Los teatros comerciales del siglo XVII y la escenificación de la comedia," co-authored with José María Ruano de la Haza (1994); and one scholarly edition of Pedro Calderón de la Barca´s "El gran teatro del mundo" (1997). In addition, between 1962 and 2008, he published some four dozen articles, primarily on Golden Age poetry, prose and drama in top-drawer venues such as Modern Language Notes, Hispanic Review, Journal of Hispanic Philology, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, Anales Cervantinos, Ínsula, Nueva Revista de Filología Hispánica, Symposium, Revista Hispánica Moderna, Edad de Oro and Comparative Literature Studies, among others.


Far from being limited to scholarly publications and lectures, Allen’s accomplishments include interesting archaeological research. For instance, a model of the theater Corral del Príncipe (Madrid, 1583-1744), based upon his research design and commissioned by the Teatro Español, was placed on exhibit in the Museo Municipal de Madrid in 1986. It is now on permanent display in the Museo Nacional del Teatro in Almagro, Spain. Allen´s own model was on display in the Royal Castle, Warsaw, from July through October 2003, as part of the exhibit "Teatro y fiestas en las tierras europeas de los Austrias," directed by José María Díez Borque of the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, Spain. In addition to serving as consultant for the redesign of the Casa de Cervantes in Alcalá de Henares, 2000-2001, his expertise was requested for the archival project titled "20 documentos cervantinos en el Archivo Histórico de Protocolos de Madrid," for which he also wrote the prologue (2001).


Allen has been invited to give lectures on Cervantes and on Spanish theater at more than two dozen colleges and universities in this country, including the annual Cervantes Lecture at Fordham University (1978), the annual Raimundo Lida Lecture at Harvard University (1987), and the Donald Dietz Keystone Address at the annual meeting of the Association for Hispanic Classical Theater in El Paso, Texas, 2006. The list of invited lectures, as his curriculum vitae attests, is vertiginous and impossible to summarize.


Allen directed many dissertations and his superb teaching left an indelible mark on his students. He also rendered service to UK as chairman of the department. Even though he has been retired for several years now, Allen keeps up his productivity in writing and lecturing, with occasional teaching. 



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



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

Pregnancy Treated as a Moment for Recovery through UK HealthCare’s PATHways Clinic

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 12:27


Opioid addiction is a complex medical disorder that impacts the entire nation, but much of the problem is condensed to disparate regions of Kentucky. This is the second installment of a series of articles exploring the work of University of Kentucky researchers and UK HealthCare medical providers who are making progress toward solutions to the epidemic in our state and at large.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 19, 2016) — As she scooted around a table the UK HealthCare Polk-Dalton Clinic, Lenn’s volleyball-size baby bump knocked over a soda can.


At 38 weeks pregnant, Lenn joked about the obtrusiveness of her bump as she stepped on a weight scale at the Polk-Dalton Clinic. She was one of 16 women to join a pregnancy support group part of the Perinatal Assessment and Treatment Home (PATHways) clinic in June.


All these women were coping with the idiosyncrasies of pregnancy — the swollen feet, emotional swings, restless nights and incessant appetites. They also shared the distinctive challenge of recovering from substance abuse during this transformative time in their lives.


For Lenn, 36, the baby in her womb represented a second chance at motherhood. During her 20s, Lenn’s addiction to alcohol and pain pills disrupted her relationship with her first daughter. Unable to function or keep a job, Lenn lost custody of her daughter and connection with her family. Throughout her 15-year struggle with addiction, she attempted to get clean through rehabilitation programs twice but relapsed both times.


“I still couldn’t kick them,” she said of her addictions. “I would still get liquor and pain pills when I could. I had to have one or both — both was even better.”


Lenn found out she was pregnant for a second time in the fall of 2015. Her initial reaction was, “now what?”  With another life at stake, she was motivated to seek out addiction treatment again. But she feared judgment from health care providers because of the widespread stigmatization of substance abuse. And few addiction recovery programs were customized to accommodate the special circumstances surrounding pregnancy.


Lenn’s obstetrician referred her to PATHways, a comprehensive opioid maintenance treatment program for pregnant women recovering from addiction at the Polk-Dalton Clinic. Established about two years ago, PATHways integrates treatment for addiction with prenatal care, counseling and a supportive peer network. The program is based on the Centering Pregnancy model, which reduces negative outcomes and prepares women for labor, delivery and infant care through group counseling and peer support. PATHways achieves multiple objectives for women in recovery by treating the medical condition of opioid addiction, delivering specialized prenatal care, and giving women the skills and knowledge to fulfill their maternal roles once their babies arrive.


After coming to UK two years ago, Dr. Agatha Critchfield, the director of PATHways and an obstetrician-gynecologist at UK HealthCare Women’s Health, was overwhelmed by the cases of prenatal opioid use she saw in her practice. The program was born out of necessity to serve a large population of prenatal patients coming to UK with substance abuse disorders. Critchfield said few evidence-based opioid treatment programs were designed for pregnant women.


“I was sad and frustrated there was no outlet for viable treatment for women,” she said. “I think a lot of (pregnant) women avoid medical care, and don’t even come to receive medical care because they are afraid.”


To cover a broad range of patient needs, Critchfield and Kristin Ashford, a professor in the UK College of Nursing and an investigator on the PATHways study, assembled an interdisciplinary team comprising women’s health specialists, nurses and nursing specialists, mental health providers, social workers and counselors. Critchfield and Dr. John O’Brien provide obstetrics care and clinical consultation during PATHways clinics, which are located at the Polk-Dalton Clinic every Wednesday. Psychiatrist Dr. Michelle Lofwall consults with the program as an addiction specialist. The program includes social services support from Toni Webb, a substance abuse counselor, and Sarah Bell, a perinatal peer support specialist.


Nancy Jennings, a registered nurse and the program’s perinatal recovery facilitator, and Dianne Frankenburger, the childbirth education coordinator for UK HealthCare, counsel patients and lead Centering sessions. Dr. Lori Shook, a neonatologist at Kentucky Children’s Hospital also provides clinical consultation and prenatal education for PATHways patients. Dr. Keisa Bennett, a physician with UK Family and Community Medicine, and Dr. Michael Kindred, an addiction medicine specialist, provide long-term comprehensive medical and substance abuse care for many PATHways patients after their deliveries.


“The goal of the PATHway program is to provide a holistic approach to medication assisted therapy to increase the likelihood these women will experience long-term success in life,” Ashford said. “PATHways provides an opportunity for women to share their experiences, while building trusting relationships with an expert team using a non-judgmental approach.”


Pregnant women with a history of addiction can start the program as soon as they find out they are pregnant. The interdisciplinary team follows the patients from the early stages of pregnancy through two years post-partum. During their half-day PATHways clinics, patients join a peer group in a circle for discussions addressing common pregnancy questions, such as nutrition, stress management, labor and delivery, and infant care. Two groups are designated for pre-natal and post-partum patients.


During these casual meetings, patients also learn about prenatal challenges and risks unique to their recovery situations. Candid discussions prepare women for potential challenges, such as receiving a diagnosis of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) or having a baby sent to the neonatal intensive care unit. NAS is diagnosed in approximately 40 percent of babies whose mothers are using an opioid-maintenance therapeutic during pregnancy. Group discussions are helpful for reducing uncertainty and managing labor and delivery expectations of PATHways patients. These sessions also equip women with resources and knowledge to fulfill their maternal role, even if their addiction medication complicates their baby’s health.


“The more we can try to prepare them, the more helpful it is,” Jennings said of the group sessions. “They are so used to people not caring about them, and out of the blue getting stuff thrown at them — that’s why we work hard to say the most important things to them.”


Some of the information patients receive during group sessions is harsh and daunting, but necessary for preparing them for an optimal birthing experience. Babies born with NAS are fussy and require extended hospital stays. Babies born with NAS also require a formality of referral from Child Protective Services. Frankenburger, who works in labor and delivery at UK HealthCare, lays out expectations and realities surrounding the delivery experience for PATHways women and serves as their advocate in the unit.


Since the program’s beginnings, 70 women have participated PATHways and 45 are currently enrolled and receiving treatment. Jennings said more programs like PATHways are necessary to reach the entire population of pregnant women dealing with addiction in Central and Eastern Kentucky. Some clinics prescribe opioid-maintenance prescriptions to pregnant women, but medication alone does not address the multitude of mental, physical, emotional and social needs of patients during the dual challenge of recovery and pregnancy. Jennings reiterated that the success of the PATHways model is dependent on a collaborative, interdisciplinary group of health experts.


“The key to our program is our team, and the people we put together to manage this population,” Jennings said. “Anybody can hand out the prescription ­— and they do — but we have lots of pieces put together.”


While some patients have fallen off the program, Critchfield knows many PATHways patients are serious about motherhood and recovery. She said pregnancy is a short window of time when women are open and wiling to change behaviors, but they needed resources and support to enact permanent change. 


“I think pregnancy is sort of a teachable moment,” Critchfield said. “The goal honestly is to provide stability and treatment for patients during this critical life change and hope that actually has some long-standing impact.”


Lenn, for instance, has remained sober for the past eight months. She’s relied on her relationships with family and faith in God to beat her addictions. With a new baby on the horizon and support from her fiancé, she’s optimistic about the future. She’s reconnected with her mom and her 14-year-old daughter, who is thrilled to welcome a baby sister.


“I feel so much better — my brain is clear,” Lenn said. “It feels good to be normal and live clean.”


UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, visit #uky4ky #seeblue


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,



"see blue." #selfie: Richie Simpson

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 11:25


LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 19, 2016)  Want to get to know the people behind some of the biggest student leadership positions on campus? We did, too! That's why we've introduced "see blue." #selfie  a series on UKNow that lets student leaders from across campus tell us a little bit more about themselves and their organizations. Up this week, 2016-17 Overall Chair of DanceBlue Richie Simpson.


Richie Simpson, an upcoming senior economics major from Lexingon, serves as the 2016-17 DanceBlue overall chair! We sat down with Simpson to get to know the true student leader behind the DanceBlue title! When he's not jamming to "Work from Home," Richie is spending his summer preparing for the 24-hour dance marathon, working part time at a local law firm and doing electrical contracting on campus! Get to know Simpson and his passion "For the Kids" in his "see blue." #selfie!


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

Richie Simpson: My major is econ and I'm a senior.


UK: Where are you from?

RS: I'm from Lexington, Kentucky.


UK: Tell me about your position in DanceBlue.

RS: So I serve as the overall chair for DanceBlue and in that position I am charged with helping each individual chair overcome any challenges on their way to achieving the goals they have set for themselves and for our organization.


UK: When did you become involved with DanceBlue?

RS: I became involved at the end of freshman year. I applied to be on committee and served on Corporate Committee my sophomore year.


UK: What are some major goals you have for DanceBlue this year? 

RS: Some major goals this year are reaching out to new parts of campus that haven't had the opportunity to explore DanceBlue and a more comprehensive thank you for students, community partners and even corporate sponsors.


UK: What does DanceBlue mean to you?

RS: DanceBlue is special because when I came to college I was like every other college student and I thought I was going to change the world. I heard about DanceBlue and wasn't able to participate the first year. I saw my friends do it and how they loved it and it was something I wanted to do. I wanted to make that impact they made. DanceBlue is special because of the fight we fight against cancer. My mother is a breast cancer survivor. It's special to be a part of something where people want to go out of their way to help people who have been put in tough situations.


UK: What else are you involved in? 

RS: I'm in Beta, I did UK101, taught it, and I did FUSION.


UK: What are you doing this summer to prepare for #DB17?

RS: This summer I have been working with chairs to talk about the big ideas and visions they have for DanceBlue and laying the groundwork and planning for that so when the year comes we have a plan we can execute to make sure everyone's ideas are implemented.


UK: What is one new initiative you'd like to start this year?

RS: One new initiative I'd like to start is better engaging the crowd at the marathon. For those in the crowd, they are the life support of the people dancing for 10 or 12 hours and they keep those dancers going. We want to direct things at the crowd to make sure they are having just as much fun as the dancers are.


UK: Was overall chair always a position that you wished to attain?

RS: Actually, no. When I was a freshman I remember someone telling me about their friend Claci that was overall chair and all the work she had to do to put together DanceBlue. I told them I couldn't imagine taking that on. As I was more involved, I thought my skills and qualities would be best for this position.


UK: What have you been doing throughout this summer that doesn't revolve around DanceBlue? Anything fun?

RS: So this summer I have been working part time at a law firm in downtown Lexington and I have had the opportunity to work on UK's campus with construction. I have been able to do the electrical contracting with the new Steak 'n Shake on campus.


UK: If you had a memoir about your life, what would the title be? 

RS: "It Is What It Is." I'm a big fan of that saying. Someone gave me a shirt with that as a little kid and I still wear it.


UK: If you could have a super power, what would it be?

RS: If I could have one super power, I would say fly.


UK: What was your first job?

RS: In high school I worked at Culver's as the drive-through attendant. I used to mess up the ice cream I made so people would get free ones.


UK: What is the longest road trip you've ever taken?

RS: I have been to Florida a few times driving. I went with my dad to a bucket truck auction so he could buy a new bucket truck for his business. It was somewhere deep in Florida. I just wanted to go to Disney World. We still have the bucket truck!


UK: So, DanceBlue has many mini-marathons throughout the year. What's one mini-marathon that was super memorable for you?

RS: Lexington Christian Academy's marathon. It was the first one I went to and being from Lexington it was good to see a hometown school take part in DanceBlue. The mini-marathon raised the most money any mini has in its first year. They got a ton of commitment that first year and didn't wait until it was cool to take part in it. They are the only ones that do their mini at night too, from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m.


UK: What are the top three played songs on your iTunes list? 

RS: "Under the Bridge" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers; "7 Years" by Lukas Graham; and "Work from Home" by Fifth Harmony.


UK: If you could witness any event in history what would it be? 

RS: Man landing on the moon.


UK: What is one of your most embarrassing moments?

RS: There's so many! I feel like high school was when the really embarrassing things happened. My freshman year of college, though, I went and sat in a class and I was in the wrong class the entire class and I dind't realize until the end of class when they called roll.


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

RS: There's a multitude. Probably "it's lit."


UK: What would you tell an incoming freshman? 

RS: Explore campus because being from Lexington I thought I had a grasp of everything that's here, but as I walk now around I find places to eat, hang out or study. I wish I would have taken the time to do that instead of now when I have limited time to appreciate those things. And read all the things your parents pick up for you about UK.


UK: You are happiest when…

RS: … I'm hanging out at the lake with my little brother.


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



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



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

Dry Eye is Common and Easily Treated

Sun, 07/17/2016 - 18:57

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 18, 2016) — Our eyes can become dry and uncomfortable due to a number of things - irritants in the environment, age, gender, certain medications or medical conditions - that can leave them feeling gritty, burning, itchy, and often feeling like there is a foreign object present. 


Dry eye syndrome (DES), is one where the eye produces an insufficient amount of tears to keep the eyes well hydrated. Tears are necessary for healthy eyes and clear vision.  Dry eye is a common and often chronic problem but is easily treated.


Dry eye can be attributed to a number of factors, such as antihistamine or diuretic use, cigarette smoking, exposure to second-hand smoke, and environmental factors such as air drafts and low-humidity. DES can be classified as mild, moderate or severe. In the majority of patients, the condition is not sight-threatening and is characterized by troublesome symptoms of irritation, redness and intermittently blurred vision. If these symptoms are persistent, you should see your ophthalmologist who can easily diagnose the condition with a simple external examination of the eye lids and cornea


The primary approaches used to manage and treat dry eyes include adding tears, conserving tears, increasing tear production, and treating the inflammation of the eyelids or eye surface that contributes to the dry eyes. Mild cases can be treated with artificial tears, emulsions, gels, and ointments. Moderate cases of DES can be treated with anti-inflammatory therapies such as Restasis and topical steroids may be considered. Use of omega-3 fatty acid supplements has been reported to be beneficial. Additional measures for more severe DES are oral medications such as immunosuppressives. Also, humidifying ambient air and avoiding air drafts by using shields and by changing the characteristics of airflow at work, at home, and in the car may be helpful.


Measures such as lowering the computer screen to below eye level to decrease lid aperture, scheduling regular breaks, and increasing blink frequency may decrease the discomfort associated with computer and reading activities.


Patients with Severe DES are at greater risk for contact lens intolerance and should be cautioned that refractive surgery, particularly LASIK, may worsen their dry eye condition.


Dr. Seema Capoor is associate professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.


UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, visit #uky4ky #seeblue


MEDIA CONTACT: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or


College of Social Work to Offer CE Boot Camp

Fri, 07/15/2016 - 15:07

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 18, 2016) – The University of Kentucky College of Social Work’s Office of Professional Development and Continuing Education will host the 2016 Continuing Education Boot Camp 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. on July 21 and 8:30 - 4:50 p.m. on July 22, 2016 at the UK Singletary Center for the Arts.


"The College of Social Work is committed to the mission of promoting community and individual well-being through research, teaching, and community engagement. We are pleased to offer this community event to serve social workers and other behavioral health professionals across the Commonwealth. The impact of continuing education and professional development is instrumental in ensuring behavioral health professionals can meet the needs of those they serve and the College of Social Work is proud to be a committed partner in that effort,” said Interim Dean, Ann Vail.


CE Boot Camp attendees will acquire cutting-edge, evidence-based learning opportunities designed for behavioral health professionals. The array of trainings offered will enhance their knowledge and skills while at the same time meeting state licensing and regulation requirements for professional practice. Participants will have the opportunity to choose the types of workshops they will attend at this conference to meet their specific CE needs.


All workshops offered at the CE Boot Camp are approved for continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards, the Kentucky Board of Social Work, the Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychology, Indiana Behavioral Health and Human Services Licensing Board, Kentucky Board of Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors, and the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board.


“The UK College of Social Work CE Boot Camp offers social workers the ability to receive all of their required continuing education trainings (HIV, DV, PAHT, Ethics & Suicide Assessment, Treatment and Management) as well as additional optional continuing education. The CE Boot Camp experience is a truly unique opportunity for social workers to receive the bulk of their CEs needed for licensure renewal in one settling, at one time, and at an incredibly affordable rate,” said Christina Gevedon, of the College of Social Work.


The CE Boot Camp is applicable to all behavioral professionals and approved by the above mentioned boards to meet continuing education state licensing and regulation requirements for professional practice. Discounts are available for groups as well as recent 2015/2016 graduates and can be applied to any registration option. For more information on group discounts, or to register a group, call Christina Gevedon at 859-257-2035.


Please visit, or contact Christina Gevedon for more information. 

VIDEO: Meet Kentucky's Famous Pigeon Photographer, UK's David Stephenson

Fri, 07/15/2016 - 14:35

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


LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 18, 2016) Most folks at the University of Kentucky know David Stephenson as a multimedia instructor and the Kentucky Kernel's photojournalism adviser. People across Kentucky and media organizations across the nation know him as an award-winning photojournalist. But his nearly 17,000 social media fans know him as something else entirely - "The Pigeon Photographer."


"Usually whenever I talk about the pigeon photographer or the pigeons in general, people raise an eyebrow and cock their head sideways, and they're like, 'What do you mean, pigeons?'" he said.


Yes, pigeons. But not your average street pigeons. These are homing pigeons - bred for speed and endurance - that have the natural ability to find their way home, no matter where they are.


Stephenson has combined his two passions, photography and pigeon racing, into quite a unique hobby. With a pigeon loft in his backyard housing around 60 birds currently, he raises, trains and races the birds. At the same time, he documents the beauty of their flight with a Canon 5d Mark III and Canon 1DX and shares it with a global community on Facebook and Instagram.


"There are pigeon guys who have learned photography and they can take pictures of birds," he said. "But they're not going to do it like I'm doing it."


Pigeon racing dates back centuries. Here's how the sport works: pigeon fanciers release the special breed of pigeons from a distance – usually hundreds of miles away from their loft – and track which bird arrives home in the shortest amount of time. Today, the birds are tracked with tiny electronic chip rings fitted on their legs.


"The concept just blew my mind – that you could let them out and they would find their way back," Stephenson said. "It was just fascinating to me."


His love for birds began when he was a kid, around the same time his love for photography was building. Stephenson grew up in Lexington with both his parents working at UK and didn't have a lot to take pictures of around the house – so he turned to animals, namely birds, for his subjects. After a neighbor introduced him to homing pigeons, he raised some of his own until he left for college at Western Kentucky University.


His first photo ever published in a magazine, while he was in high school, was of one of his pigeons in Bird Talk magazine.


"I still have a copy of that $25 check!" he said.


During college and for years after graduation, Stephenson focused solely on photojournalism. He worked at the Lexington Herald-Leader for 12 years and joined the Kentucky Kernel as photojournalism and multimedia adviser in 2009, garnering numerous accolades. He is a four-time recipient of the Kentucky News Photographers Association’s Photographer of the Year Award and has been named Sports Photographer of the Year three times. He also won the National Press Photographers Association Region 4 Photographer of the Year twice.


In addition to his role at the Kernel, Stephenson began teaching integrated strategic communication and journalism courses in the UK College of Communication and Information full-time two years ago. He continues to freelance, specializing in equine and sports photography, for media organizations across the country, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press. And you can often find him shooting on the sidelines with Kernel photographers at a UK football game.


"It just depends on who calls and who needs me," Stephenson said. "I do a lot of magazine work, lately a lot of portrait work…breaking news if something happens in this neck of the woods. So I wear a lot of hats."


Eight years ago, his two passions finally came together again. Since then, Stephenson has been committed to showing pigeons, who have gained a bad reputation on the street, in a new light.


"These pigeons are athletes and they're a different breed of pigeons than we see on the streets," he said.


Stephenson compares them to thoroughbreds in horse racing – "they're a little bigger, more muscular, have more stamina, and are very tough, very smart birds."


With extraordinary photos of the birds up close displaying wing patterns, bright eyes and iridescent coloring on their necks, and slow motion videos showing the power of flight, viewers have surely seen pigeons in the light Stephenson was hoping for.


Comments like, "Wow! What a shot! Takes my breath away!" are common on his social media posts. One follower even said she planned to share his work with her New York City friends, "who may pass by thousands of pigeons each day and not even realize their beauty."


After realizing he could capture features of the birds unlike anyone else - using a fast shutter speed or professional lighting - he started selling some photos and creating calendars. It was a way to protect his work with his identity and eventually began paying for bags of feed and taking care of racing fees. But the attention, especially on social media, has been more than a way to make money.


"It's been a really interesting education for me because I've learned a lot about how social media works and how to get the followers, where they're coming from...and I can then use that in class to help talk about multimedia use, visuals and social media."


Based on his own experience, Stephenson often explains to students that social media posts with visuals, especially video, reach far more people than those with only text. And he teaches students how to use their mobile devices to produce multimedia pieces, just as he does for his slow motion and time-lapse videos.  


"So I do turn it around and use it in class a little bit, and it's a fun discussion to talk about the birds," he said.


His next venture, which will lend itself to some firsthand experience in business management and marketing, is starting up a company selling supplements for birds.


Photographer, adviser, teacher, pigeon fancier, business owner - David Stephenson keeps spreading his wings. 



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



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

UK Alumni Association Clubs Host Student Send-off Parties

Fri, 07/15/2016 - 14:15

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 18, 2016) — Local clubs of the UK Alumni Association are set to welcome the newest class of Wildcats with their annual Student Send-off parties, beginning today.


Student Send-offs introduce new University of Kentucky students and transfer students to other students in their area, answer any last-minute questions they may have and give them support before they head to UK. The local clubs of the UK Alumni Association host these exciting events that bring together alumni and friends with current, incoming and prospective students and their parents.


Send-off parties give incoming freshmen and transfer students a chance to gather with future classmates, while allowing alumni and friends the opportunity to offer congratulations and well wishes as newcomers get set to enroll at the University of Kentucky.


It’s also a great opportunity for prospective students and their parents to learn more about what UK has to offer.


Party dates and locations are available at


The UK Alumni Association is a membership-supported organization committed to fostering lifelong engagement among alumni, friends, the association and the university. For more information about the UK Alumni Association or to become a member, visit or call 1-800-269-2586.


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


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


UK HDI Releases Digital Interactive Kentucky Disability Resource Guide

Fri, 07/15/2016 - 13:57

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 18, 2016)  The University of Kentucky Human Development Institute has released an interactive digital version of the popular Kentucky Disability Resource Guide. This resource allows professionals, Kentuckians with disabilities and their families to find a range of resources at their fingertips within just a few clicks. 


“Searching the internet for relevant resources can be overwhelming and confusing," said HDI Disability Program Specialist Anna Bard. "We developed the Kentucky Disability Resource Guide to help families and individuals with disabilities connect to key resources across the Commonwealth easily and quickly.”


HDI Executive Director Kathy Sheppard-Jones said, "Our Kentucky Disability Resource Manual has consistently been the most popular resource on our HDI website, and this new interactive guide makes it even easier for families and individuals with disabilities to find the resources they need.


"We are exceptionally pleased that the Kentucky Division of Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities worked with us on this project. Our goal was to help families find up to date information in a way that isn't overwhelming with too much clutter. The layout of the Guide on mobile devices is sleek and uncluttered. We will use this as a great starting point with hopes to enhance it moving forward."


The resource is available at and provides a directory of local and state resources in the areas of assistive technology, finance, advocacy, community living, education, employment, health, and additional information for people with disabilities.


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


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


Eighth Summer Institute in Economic Geography Held at UK

Fri, 07/15/2016 - 12:22


LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 18, 2016) — The University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences last week hosted the Summer Institute in Economic Geography. With a 10-year history in supporting economic geography, the college and its Department of Geography welcomed young scholars from across the globe to Lexington. This is the first time the institute has returned to the U.S. since 2006 when it was hosted by the University of Wisconsin at Madison.


A group of UK geography faculty worked collaboratively to bring the institute to campus. Sue Roberts, Matt Zook, Andy Wood and Michael Samers won support from the National Science Foundation to fund the economic geography institute visit.


The institute was designed to create a space for sustained discussion about key frontiers of research in economic geography, including the ways in which new markets, products and industries emerge; the variety of finance and investment practices across the world; and how income, benefits and problems are structured throughout the global economy.


Attendees were able to observe the connections of Kentucky to the global system through a series of field-based observations in the automotive and agricultural industries of the Bluegrass. Participants also shared insights about how to craft a successful career path in the field and set research agendas for future work.


Co-organizer, geography Professor Sue Roberts said, “Ten years ago, the University of Kentucky’s College of Arts and Sciences supported a strategic cluster hire to build on existing strengths in economic geography here. It feels really great now to be among the leading (research and teaching) clusters in this field and to be able to showcase UK to this group of scholars.”


UK co-organizer, geography Professor and Fulbright Scholar Matt Zook said, “We are excited about the week’s activities, even though we know we will be exhausted at the end of it all.”  He and the faculty team agree that events such as the Summer Institute in Economic Geography at UK have had a major positive impact in human geography and has greatly enhanced the reputation of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.




UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, visit #uky4ky



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



Roberts Named Associate Provost for Internationalization

Fri, 07/15/2016 - 09:05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 15, 2016) — Sue Roberts, professor of geography, has been named associate provost for internationalization at the University of Kentucky.


Roberts will maintain her role as professor of geography, a position she has held since 1991. In her more than 15 years at UK, Roberts has served in a number of roles including director of the international studies program and associate dean for internationalization in the College of Arts and Sciences.


“Sue Roberts has a wealth of experience in shaping and leading international academic programs,” said UK Provost Tim Tracy. “In her current position, she manages a large interdisciplinary, internationally focused major and leads our largest college’s international initiatives, from education abroad to student and faculty exchanges and collaboration. She is the ideal person to lead the UK International Center and oversee its important presence on our campus.”


From 2008-2012, Roberts was chair of the department of geography at UK. Based on her performance in that role, she was selected to represent UK as a 2013-2014 SEC Academic Leadership Development Fellow.


Roberts' research emphasis lies in political and economic geography. She has authored many papers in top peer-reviewed journals, has co-edited three books and has also co-authored a textbook in economic geography. She is currently co-editor of the journal Progress in Human Geography (ranked #2 in the discipline).


Her research has led her to receive funding from the National Science Foundation and a Fulbright Fellowship at the University of Turku in Finland.


Roberts will replace Susan Carvalho, who recently assumed the position of dean of the Graduate School and associate provost at the University of Alabama. Roberts will begin her role as associate provost July 18.



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


MEDIA CONTACT: Blair Hoover, 859-257-6398;

WUKY's 'UK Perspectives' Features Student Making a Difference

Thu, 07/14/2016 - 17:53

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 15, 2016) — WUKY's "UK Perspectives" focuses on the people and programs of the University of Kentucky and is hosted by WUKY General Manager Tom Godell.  In today's program, Godell talks to UK freshman Beau Revlett and Arbor Youth Services Director Ginny Vicini.  Revlett started a project this summer raising a garden that will help feed and raise money for the homeless children of Arbor Youth, who also help tend the garden.


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


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



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


Patient Turned Advocate Inspires Fundraiser for Parkinson's Research

Thu, 07/14/2016 - 13:32

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 15, 2016) — Last week, more than 300 people gathered to honor a special person and her work.


That person is Ann Hanley. Her work: the Ann Hanley Parkinson's Research Fund, which supports research at the University of Kentucky.


Hanley was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 49. Parkinson’s is a degenerative disease that damages and eventually destroys neurons in the brain, causing muscle rigidity and tremors, difficulty moving, unstable posture and ultimately death. It is estimated about 10 million people worldwide have the disease, which has no cure.

"I pretty much lived the gamut of everything that you could possibly expect when you hear a diagnosis like this one. And it wasn't easy," Hanley said. 


But instead of letting fear get her down, she's focusing her energy on lifting other Parkinson's patients up.


Hanley shadows Dr. Craig Van Horne, a neurosurgeon with the Kentucky Neuroscience Institute at the University of Kentucky, as he sees his patients.


"Each time the patient comes into the clinic, I sit with them, I talk with them, I educate them," Hanley said. "I do whatever it takes to keep them going, one foot after the other, one day after the other to make sure they never quit, they never give up."


That includes following them into the operating room and sitting with them through Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery – a technique that can relieve Parkinson's symptoms for some patients.


"Most DBS surgeries require the patients to be awake during the procedure, which can take as many as five hours to complete. That can produce a lot of anxiety for the patient," explained Dr. Van Horne. "Having Ann there holding their hand and talking with them about their 'happy place' is extremely calming."


Ann's work was so moving that she was recently featured on WLEX-TV's "Making a Difference.


Even as Ann made a difference in the lives of literally hundreds of Parkinson's patients, she felt she could do more. So as the wife of WinStar Farm's General Manager David Hanley, she reached out to the thoroughbred community to raise money in support of Dr. Van Horne's research.


The industry enthusiastically embraced her efforts. Fasig-Tipton, Coolmore Farm and WinStar Farm teamed up to host "Night for A Cure," raising around $300,000 for Ann's fund with a dinner, entertainment and an auction which featured some unusual equine-themed items, such as a framed American Pharaoh halter and a breeding season to Mshawish (Medaglia d’Oro), a recently retired Grade I winner on dirt and turf.


“I can’t begin to thank the many wonderful people who have loved and supported me with this cause," Hanley said. “It has brought attention to our cause and allowed us to raise funds that will ultimately speed us on our way to better treatments and a possible cure for this devastating and incurable disease."


Dr. Van Horne has been exploring a novel approach to Parkinson's treatment by transplanting peripheral nerve tissue from the ankle into the brain during a regularly scheduled DBS procedure. Called "DBS+," the technique has shown remarkable results, with a vast majority of patients seeing a dramatic reduction in symptoms.


"This kind of research science can take years and lifetimes. Patients, myself included, don’t have time, the clock constantly ticks and we are very aware of it," said Hanley. 


"As a front seat spectator in this research I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude to these doctors. With this new funding we can move ahead with the next phase of our research, which will help confirm the promising results we've seen thus far."


According to Lisa Deaton Greer, UK HealthCare's Director of Philanthropy, Hanley's activism has an impact beyond dollars and cents. 


"Ann's enthusiastic efforts to raise money for Parkinson's research at UK is commendable – we couldn't achieve our research goals without the support of people like Ann.  But beyond that, Ann's leadership has ensured that hundreds of people now understand the tragedy of Parkinson's disease and are committed to share in her fight."


"That kind of organic, grass-roots advocacy makes a huge difference."


For more information about the Ann Hanley Parkinson's Research Fund, go to


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


Media Contact:  Laura Dawahare,

UK Chemistry Graduate Student Receives NASA Fellowship

Thu, 07/14/2016 - 09:28

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 15, 2016) Alexis Eugene, a University of Kentucky doctoral student in the Department of Chemistry, has been awarded the NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship. More than 700 applications were submitted for the 2016 awards, and Eugene was one of only 73 who received a fellowship in earth science.


"I am honored to receive this prestigious fellowship, and I am grateful for this opportunity to work with NASA scientists to further NASA's goals while making progress toward my degree from UK," Eugene said.


Eugene will collaborate with members of NASA's Langley Aerosol Research Group Experiment by analyzing the chemical composition of cloud water and aerosol samples collected during flights over the Atlantic Ocean. Specifically, she will study what chemicals are there and how they affect the properties of the atmosphere.


"For example, looking at how those chemicals might interact with radiation," she said.


Eugene has been working in Assistant Professor Marcelo Guzman's lab in the Department of Chemistry. During this time, she has garnered several national accomplishments, including the Graduate Student Award from the Environmental Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society, and published work in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, and the Journal of Physical Chemistry A.


The research supported by the fellowship will build on the recent work "Aqueous Photochemistry of Glyoxylic Acid," an article just published in The Journal of Physical Chemistry A by Eugene and Guzman. Eugene's research will contribute to NASA's North Atlantic Aerosols and Marine Ecosystems Study (NAAMES), which is investigating the processes controlling ocean system function, their influences on atmospheric aerosols and clouds, and their implications for climate.


"I am thrilled that Alexis was selected for this very competitive fellowship," Guzman said. "It is such a great honor, especially considering that many of the previous recipients of this fellowship have emerged as scientific leaders in their fields. She is an incredibly talented young chemist, who will continue her training at the University of Kentucky while contributing to achieve NASA's scientific goals."



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




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

Williams to Join Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Expert Panel

Thu, 07/14/2016 - 08:31

Lexington, Ky. (July 15, 2016) — Dr. Mark Williams, director of the Center for Health Services Research and chief in the Division of Hospital Medicine at UK HealthCare, has been selected to be part of an expert panel for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Strategic Innovation Engine. Williams will begin participating on the panel mid-July.


The Strategic Innovation Engine, the latest addition to CMS’ Quality Improvement Organization efforts, is working to identify, evaluate and spread high impact, high value quality improvement practices. They are seeking innovative ideas from throughout the health care delivery system that will further CMS’ three part aim of better care, healthier people/communities and smarter spending.


Williams, along with other panel members, will review submissions received in response to a health care community-wide call for innovative practices. They will be tasked with evaluating innovative quality improvement practices submitted by organizations.


When he became director at UK in 2014, Williams had a clear vision for the center of applying research to optimize care. As a member of this expert panel, he will work toward accomplishing that goal on a national scale. 


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


Media Contact: Olivia McCoy,, 859-257-1076

UK Researcher Receives Grant, Uses Zebrafish to Study Eye Disorder

Wed, 07/13/2016 - 15:07

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 14, 2016) University of Kentucky Assistant Professor of Biology Jakub Famulski has been awarded a Career Starter Grant by the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, a charity sponsored by the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar.


The $65,000 grant will support Famulski's research on coloboma, a leading cause of blindness in children. The eye abnormality occurs before birth and involves missing tissue in or around the eye.


Famulski and his collaborators recently discovered a new type of coloboma, superior coloboma, which occurs in the top of the eye. But the underlying cause of most coloboma cases remains unknown.


To better understand the disorder, Famulski and UK graduate students Kristyn Van Der Meulen and Nicholas Carrara will use zebrafish as a model to study how coloboma occurs in the eye's early development. With zebrafish, the team can easily and efficiently observe, regulate and modify cells in the laboratory.


"For a junior faculty member like myself, this grant is not only great financial help, but also confirmation that scientists in the community value this work, which I hope will help patients suffering from this disorder," Famulski said.


The Knights Templar Eye Foundation, incorporated in 1956, works to improve vision through research, education and supporting access to care. Since its inception, the foundation has awarded more than $23 million in grants to pediatric ophthalmology research.



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



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

Markey's Miller Receives NCI Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Award

Wed, 07/13/2016 - 14:54

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 14, 2016) – University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center's Dr. Rachel Miller is one of 13 recipients of this year's National Cancer Institute Cancer Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Award.


These awards recognize and support outstanding mid-career clinical investigators at NCI-designated cancer centers who are working to improve the lives of people with cancer through extensive involvement in NCI-funded collaborative clinical trials and whose leadership, participation and activities promote clinical trials and research.


Miller, part of Markey's gynecologic cancer team, was nominated for the award by Markey Director Dr. Mark Evers. She was officially recognized as a recipient yesterday at the NCI's Clinical Trials and Translational Research Advisory Committee meeting. 


Media Contact: Allison Perry,

UK Surgeon-Researcher Works to Extend Cochlear Implant Program to Appalachia

Wed, 07/13/2016 - 13:39

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 14, 2016) – The first time Dr. Matthew Bush observed a cochlear implant surgery, he was a young medical student from West Virginia visiting the University of Kentucky. He describes that experience as eye opening for him and ear opening for the patient.


To witness function restored to an ear that was otherwise lost, sparked not only an intense interest in hearing health care, but also the desire to offer people with profound hearing loss their best hope of re-entering a hearing world and a better quality of life through cochlear implantation.  


Hearing loss affects about 48 million people in the United States. More than 694,000 of those people live in Kentucky. In older Americans, hearing loss is the third most common chronic public health problem after heart disease and arthritis.


Bush, now associate professor of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at UK, has come full circle to lead the cochlear implant program at the very place he received his first exposure to the miracle of what cochlear implants can do for people whose hearing has declined to the point that even the most sophisticated of hearing aids can't help.


As a physician, surgeon, teacher and researcher, he knows his mission is much more encompassing than treating the people who come to him. "There are people who don't even realize they have hearing loss and parents who don't realize that their children have hearing loss, putting them at great risk for developmental delays, which can have negative consequences that will impact the rest of their lives," Bush said.


There are people who have never heard about cochlear implants, and something even more concerning to Bush, there are people, particularly in rural Appalachia where he was born and raised, who don't have the resources or ability to travel long distances to receive the help they desperately need in order to hear.


Bush's rigorous research agenda at UK includes multiple on-going studies, all with the main goal of developing methods to provide Kentuckians of all ages with a timely diagnosis and access to hearing health care. His most current study targets health disparities that exist between people in Appalachian areas and those in urban areas. Previous studies demonstrate that not only is hearing loss more prevalent in rural regions, but the time an individual becomes aware of hearing loss to actually receiving care, is double that of their urban counterparts. Many people with profound hearing loss are likely candidates for cochlear implants but the utilization of them is quite low.


Bush hypothesizes that an innovative and effective way to reach rural Kentuckians from UK is through the use of telemedicine, videoconference technology that connects health care providers in one location to the patient in another. They can see and hear each other, just as if they were in the same room. Kentucky TeleCare, the telehealth initiative at UK, began in 1995 with Rob Sprang as director. Sprang said he has seen the program grow exponentially, especially in the last couple of years and he expects that growth to continue. 


"We have done satisfaction surveys which were very positive, but I think the most important measurement is that people vote with their feet and we are doing more telehealth than ever," Sprang said.


In his current study, Bush proposes to evaluate the hearing of patients from rural areas at the UK ENT Morehead location through the use of telemedicine to determine cochlear implant candidacy. The patient will sit in front of a specially designed computerized remote hearing cart with a computer screen where the patient will see and interact with UK audiologist Meg Adkins, who is working with Bush on this project. Adkins will perform the hearing evaluation from her office in Lexington.


The patient hears the test through calibrated headphones or a calibrated speaker connected to the audiometer. The audiometer is controlled remotely by Adkins. Patients will hear Adkins either through the headphones or a separate speaker attached to the cart designed for consultation.  They see each other by using video conferencing technology.  


For purposes of the study, Bush and a team of multidisciplinary providers will compare remote hearing evaluations with in-person evaluations to assess the practicality and cost assessing cochlear implant candidacy through this method. The success of his research will potentially impact existing health disparities by extending UK's reach into Appalachian areas and expanding access to care for people who might not otherwise have the ability, or the resources, to travel a long distance to UK's medical campus.


“Our primary goal is that we can achieve diagnostic assessment via telemedicine that is identical in accuracy to those obtained in the clinic so the patient has no concerns about the quality of their service," Adkins said. "But our telemedicine team has also worked very hard to ensure we can produce such a high quality audio and video interaction, that patients feel just as comfortable with their remote appointment as they would have felt with an in-person session.  We hope to demonstrate that cochlear implant assessment via telemedicine can be perceived as warm and interesting, as opposed to cool and clinical. If we achieve that, we then have the basis for building rapport and trusting relationships with our distance patients.”


Since the time he first observed a cochlear implant surgery, Bush has immersed himself into the study of a how one tiny electronic device implanted behind the ear and just under the skin, will allow a nearly deaf individual to hear and interpret sounds and speech. Restored hearing can potentially impact every aspect of a person's life, both physically and emotionally. For a child living in a world of near silence, the impact is even more striking.


"My first cochlear implant patient here at UK was a child who had suddenly lost their hearing as a complication of meningitis. That child was unable to interact or communicate with family and there was a definite sense of urgency that I shared with the family and our cochlear implant team," Bush said. After a successful operation and the programming of the device, that child was brought back into the world of listening without skipping a beat.


"The joy of seeing that child regain function and quality of life further reinforced my desire to improve hearing and provide hearing health care for other patients in similar situations," Bush said. 


This current work in telemedicine demonstrates that commitment to transform delivery of hearing health care, he said. Access to hearing specialists through telemedicine could influence patients’ readiness to seek further treatment for their hearing loss.


"Connecting cochlear implant specialists with patients with hearing loss in remote locations for the delivery of education regarding hearing loss treatments, diagnostic testing, and counseling regarding cochlear implantation represents an important step to deliver the most advanced medicine to patients."


UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, visit #uky4ky #seeblue



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



UK Football Poster Honors Four Players Who Integrated SEC

Tue, 07/12/2016 - 16:15

LEXINGTON, Ky.  (July 13, 2016) — The 2016 Kentucky football poster was unveiled to members of the team at a special meeting last week. The design of the poster is modeled after a statue honoring the four UK players who integrated Southeastern Conference football in the late 1960s – Nate Northington, Greg Page, Wilbur Hackett and Houston Hogg.


Northington and Hackett were in attendance as the poster was unveiled at a team meeting following early-morning workouts on Thursday, getting a standing ovation from the team when they were introduced. Both groundbreaking former Wildcats addressed the team and shared their perspective as two of the first African-American SEC football players.


“When you watch the game today and you come here and look and see the diversity, I never would have thought this would happen at UK or much less the SEC,” Northington told the team. “We’re very, very proud we were able to do that for the state, for ourselves, for our family. We’re very proud of you all, very proud of this university because you are part of history. You are part of the university that made a stand and made a difference in the culture of the state, the South and the country.”


Northington was referencing the theme of the poster, which he and Hackett also saw for the first time along with the team. The message struck him as appropriate given what he and his three teammates did five decades ago.


“We just believed it was time that Kentucky made a stand,” Northington said. “So ‘Make a Stand’ is very, very unique and correct because we did make a stand. We felt like it was the right thing to do. The time was right.”


Hackett encouraged the current UK team to carry on that legacy.


“You have an opportunity change history, to make history, change what Kentucky is doing in football,” said Hackett, the first African-American team captain in any SEC sport. “I’m so glad, I’m so proud to be a part of this. Fifty years ago we came here. And this year I want to see you guys make a difference. Make that commitment to change what is happening. Make this team be the team that changed the course of Kentucky football.”


The poster honoring Northington, Page, Hackett and Hogg – which will be available to the public on Saturday, July 16 – features four players from this year’s team in poses modeled after the statue currently being sculpted. The poster is meant to pay tribute to the way the four trailblazers paved the way for what Kentucky football is today. The 2016 season marks 50 years since Northington and Page enrolled at UK in 1966.


The statue will be located in front of the new UK football practice facility currently under construction. It will be unveiled at a special event Thursday, Sept. 22. Fittingly, UK will host South Carolina in its first SEC game two days later and celebrate Northington becoming the first African American to play in an SEC game on Sept. 30, 1967.


The poster will be available for free through UK Athletics’ partner Kroger in stores while supplies last, including locations throughout the state of Kentucky. Limited quantities are available in each store, so fans are recommended to pick up their posters as early as possible after they become available on July 16. The poster will also be available in the Joe Craft Welcome Center starting Monday, July 18.


Kentucky will open the 2016 season at 7:30 p.m .Saturday, Sept. 3, in Commonwealth Stadium against Southern Miss. Season, single-game and mini-pack tickets are available now at




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



MEDIA CONTACT: Guy Ramsey (, (859) 257-3838.

UK in Top 100 Universities Worldwide Granted US Patents for 2015

Tue, 07/12/2016 - 16:10

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 13, 2016) — The University of Kentucky ranks in the top 100 universities worldwide granted U.S. utility patents for 2015.


UK ranked 91st, in a five-way tie, in the top 100 ranking. In fiscal year 2015, UK was issued 31 new patents and had 298 total active patents.


“We congratulate our investigators for their innovation, and we are dedicated to helping them grow their ideas — the driving force of university research,” said Vice President for Research Lisa Cassis.


This ranking is based on a report published by the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) and Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) utilizing data from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to highlight the important role patents play in university research and innovation.


The NAI and IPO have published the report annually since 2013. The rankings are compiled by calculating the number of utility patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that list a university as the first assignee on the printed patent.


To see the full report of the Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted Patents in 2015, visit


To see all University of Kentucky patents, visit



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



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