Campus News

SAB Provides a Variety of Involvement Opportunities

Mon, 08/10/2015 - 17:01

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 12, 2015)  Director and committee chair applications for the Student Activities Board are now available. Applications can be printed from the SAB website or picked up in the new SAB office, located in Room 365 of Blazer Hall. Committee chair applications can be filled out and submitted through the website. Director applications can be printed from the website, but must be delivered to the SAB office. All applications are due no later than 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 1. 


The director of concerts, director of market research and director of engaging issues positions are available for application. Job descriptions and further information can be found on the applications.


Students can also apply to be a committee chair for a variety of committees, including Promotions, Market Research, Cultural Arts, Engaging Issues, Traditions, Campus Life, Concerts and Multicultural Affairs. Committee chairs work closely with a number of members of the entire board, such as the executive team, the promotions team, the director of their committee and their fellow committee chairs. Chairs will be given tasks to complete during individualized office hours that utilize their strengths and expand their knowledge of the committee in which they work.


Applicants for the director positions will go through an interview process from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 2  and from 2 to 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4.  Applicants for committee chair positions will go through an interview process from 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8 and Wednesday, Sept. 9, and from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10. 


“SAB is excited to release chair and director applications for the upcoming fall semester," said Becca Boom, vice president of internal affairs. "It is a great way to get involved and do something meaningful for your campus and community all while having fun.  We have a great list of events planned for the upcoming semester and we can’t wait to welcome new members to our board!”


Involvement is an important part of any student’s experience and growth at the University of Kentucky. The Student Activities Board provides a place for any student to become involved through a variety of positions. Committee chairs will be celebrated, utilized and challenged through their positions on the board. They will receive a hands-on experience of the diverse and engaging events the board offers.


SAB brings more than 60 entertaining, educational and enriching programs that are reflective of contemporary issues and trends to the university annually. These programs are designed to enhance the college experience for students, faculty, staff and the greater Lexington community.

Connect with SAB at, follow them on Twitter at or like them on Facebook at For more information about SAB and events, email Jazmine Byrd at



MEDIA CONTACT: Katy Bennett, 859-257-1909;; Rebecca Stratton, 859-323-2395;










Integrative Approach to Chronic Pain Management Gives New Hope for Patients

Mon, 08/10/2015 - 16:29



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. (Aug. 11, 2015) — The debilitating pain of tophaceous gout, a chronic form of arthritis, has shackled William TIncher from a decent quality of life since he was a young man.


Eager to serve his country, 18-year-old Tincher enlisted in the Marine Corps only to be sent home because of his chronic medical condition. After participating in Future Farmers of America as a teenager, Tincher bought a small farm in Carlisle, Kentucky, where he owned horses, cattle and chickens.


“I used to pick up a 100-pound sack of peas and bale of hay and off I’d go,” Tincher said.


Eventually, the excruciating pain, manifested in the form of nodules on his hands and feet, prevented him from performing regular farm duties or working any job. He once enjoyed walking down to his fence line to watch the baby calves, but even walking short distances became unbearable. Today, with massive nodules on the bottom of his feet and swelling in his legs, Tincher can’t wear shoes and rarely leaves his house.


As the pain intensified through the years, Tincher continued to receive higher doses of anti-inflammatories and opioids. Fifteen years ago, surgeons removed three-quarters of Tincher’s stomach because of an ulcer attributed to years consuming high dosages of the drug. He’s suffered from many other serious medical conditions, including blood clots, and had surgeries to replace his hip and remove cartilage in his knees.


Then, two years ago, Tincher met the “man who saved” his life. After seeing countless pain specialists through the years, Tincher was referred to Dr. Roberto Cardarelli, the chief of the Division of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Kentucky. While Cardarelli couldn’t completely erase the pain of an incurable and late-stage disease, he knew of interventions to improve Tincher’s quality of life that weren’t limited to writing a prescription.   


“He is the only one who’s ever sat down, looked me in the eye, and talked me to me and helped me,” Tincher said of Cardarelli.


Rather than examining a single organ or treating a definitive disease, Cardarelli focuses on addressing his patients’ whole being, taking into account many environmental, physical and lifestyle factors influencing wellness. This holistic approach to managing pain relies on a team of multidisciplinary health professionals and involves adjunctive therapies, such as medical massage, behavioral medicine and physical therapy. Cardarelli puts his patients in control of their wellness decisions, allowing them to take the lead during conversations regarding their care. The integrative health care team supports patients suffering from chronic pain by helping them set realistic goals and providing both pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions to optimize their function and comfort in daily life.


In addition to gout, Tincher suffered from a number of secondary health complications, including high blood pressure, kidney disease and a swelling in the legs caused by lymphedema. Cardarelli prescribed a regimen for Tincher accounting for all the complexities of his physical body, as well as mental and emotional state. He eliminated all medications for one month to delineate each of Tincher’s symptoms and the trace the cause of those symptoms. Through this holistic wellness evaluation, Cardarelli discovered Tincher’s blood pressure medication was causing inflammation exacerbating the pain from the gout. Instead of raising his dosage of opioids to fight the pain, Cardarelli included a non-opioid medication to relieve the inflammation caused by the other drug.


“Having everything balanced and controlled contributes to him and his overall wellbeing, but also helps him feel better knowing that his physical health is balanced,” Cardarelli said. “We are trying to take care of his whole being.”  


As part of his treatment philosophy, Cardarelli strives to keep care as close to home for his patients. Cardarelli and his team arranged for a local home health service to visit Tincher on a daily basis and provide physical therapy services. Cardarelli also found a health care provider locally to change bandages on Tincher’s legs. Tincher performs exercises in his home and keeps a journal of all the activities he completes during a day. Working with Cardarelli and the entire health team, Tincher has gained a renewed sense of hope.  


“I told the doc, they aren’t going to close the lid on me because of you,” Tincher said.


Cardarelli and Dr. William Elder, a faculty member and behaviorial specialist in Family and Community Medicine, have worked with colleagues around the region to develop a training program based on the pain management principles effective in helping Tincher. The Central Appalachia Inter-Professional Pain Education Collaborative (CAIPEC) provides educational resources centered on chronic pain management for heath providers in the Appalachian region. Divided into several online modules, the program addresses important pain management questions, including when to prescribe opioids, how to reduce the risk of opioid abuse, when to incorporate adjunctive therapies and more.


Funded by an unrestricted educational grant from Pfizer, CAIPEC is a collaborative effort uniting the University of Kentucky and the Kentucky Ambulatory Network, West Virginia University, Kentucky All Schedule Prescriptions Electronic Reporting Agency (KASPER), West Virginia RxDataTrack Controlled Substance Automated Prescription Program (CSAPP) prescription monitoring agencies, Pikeville Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine, Kentucky and West Virginia Area Health Education Centers (AHECs), and various Kentucky and West Virigina professional organizations.


CAIPEC is offered through the University of Kentucky’s CECentral website (, which provides free continuing education for health professionals. Emphasizing the interdisciplinary team approach, the trainings are targeted to a variety of professionals including doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, behavioral scientists, massage therapists, and physical therapists. The modules address topics such as managing the risks of opioid addiction, psychosocial factors influencing chronic pain, involving the patient in care decisions, and applying the team-based approach to clinical workflow. The program highlights the benefits of non-pharmacologic adjunctive therapies, which are scientifically proven to help mitigate pain in patients.


Cardarelli has led the implementation and distribution of the toolkit, hosting live roundtable sessions and talks on chronic pain management in both Kentucky and West Virginia. Since the program launched in February, more than 350 health care providers have participated in conference trainings. The online modules are available to any health care professional around the nation.


According to the Institute of Medicine, chronic pain affects 100 million Americans and costs the U.S. government more than $635 billion annually. More Americans suffer from chronic pain than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined.


Tincher attests to the effectiveness of the integrative approach to pain management implemented by Cardarelli and his colleagues. For the first time in years, he’s regained his strength and is able to do 25 pull-ups. He said he feels like “Hulk Hogan.” He acknowledges some level of pain from his disease will always be with him, but he’s relieved it’s under control with the help of Cardarelli and his medical team.  


“I’m not healthy, but I’m in a whole lot better shape than I was,” he said.


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

Parking and Transportation Services to Offer Saturday Office Hours During August

Mon, 08/10/2015 - 16:28

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 11, 2015) — This month University of Kentucky Parking and Transportation Services will be open Saturday, Aug. 15, Saturday, Aug. 22 and Saturday, Aug. 29 to accommodate students arriving on campus who wish to obtain a bicycle permit, purchase a motor vehicle parking permit or ask questions.


The Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) office, located at 721 Press Avenue (Parking Structure #6), will be open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on the dates listed above.


For more information, call the PTS office at 859-257-5757 or email



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

UPK Book Finishes 80-year WPA Project

Mon, 08/10/2015 - 16:03

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 11, 2015) — On Aug. 29, 1935, at the height of the Great Depression, the Federal Art Project (FAP) opened its doors under the auspices of the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration (WPA). The program’s primary goals were to provide work for unemployed artists and to create narrative art for government buildings, such as post offices, courthouses, schools, libraries and hospitals. In addition, the project was charged with training new artists in surveying and recording the history of American material culture.


The research culminated in the Index of American Design, which sought to discover what was uniquely "American" in decorative arts. Thirty-seven states, including Kentucky, participated. Hundreds of artists produced illustrations of thousands of objects in museums and private collections, focusing on vernacular designs in utilitarian objects like furniture, textiles, pottery and ironwork. The index was intended for broad public distribution, but it was never published, leaving it little remembered today.


Now, 80 years after the project began, "Kentucky by Design: The Decorative Arts and American Culture," sponsored by the Frazier History Museum and published by University Press of Kentucky (UPK), has at last compiled Kentucky’s contributions to the index. Editor Andrew Kelly has gathered the contributions of experts from across the Commonwealth and around the nation, cataloging prime examples of the state’s decorative arts that were featured in the index, pairing the original FAP watercolors with contemporary photographs of the same or similar artifacts.


In "Kentucky by Design," Kelly provides information surrounding the history and current location (and often, the journey in-between) of each piece, as well as local or familial lore surrounding the object. In addition to a wealth of Shaker material, the objects featured include a number of quilts and rugs as well as a wide assortment of everyday items, from powder horns and candle lanterns to glass flasks and hand-crafted instruments. An exhibit of many of these artifacts along with the original illustrations from the Index of American Design is planned at the Frazier History Museum in 2016.


In addition to the detailed catalog, Kelly provides context for the original project. He includes interviews with Adele Brandeis, the FAP administrator for Kentucky; National FAP Director Holger Cahill; and art dealer and FAP advisor Edith Gregor Halpert, which give insight into the minds of key thinkers behind the project. Essays by scholars Erika Doss, Jerrold Hirsch and Jean M. Burks place Kentucky within the larger context of the index, address folk art in the Commonwealth, and explore the Shaker renderings in the collection. Kelly also reprints a classic essay by FAP national editor Constance Rourke which poses the question, "What is American design?" The inclusion of the "Index of American Design Manual" of 1938, provides an understanding of "the aspirations and the constraints" of the FAP, and a checklist of all the Kentucky examples in the index completes the collection.


Kelly’s work brings to fruition the final goal of the FAP, but only in part. By at last making these works available to the public, Kelly has realized an objective of the long-abandoned project — presenting prime examples of Kentucky decorative arts and documenting the Commonwealth’s contribution to an American aesthetic. The original vision, however, encompassed more than just Kentucky. With the path forged by "Kentucky by Design," other states that participated in the index now have a model to follow. Kelly has opened the door for the FAP’s original vision to finally be realized in its entirety and showcase uniquely American design to the nation.


Andrew Kelly, trained at Sotheby’s New York, is a Helena Rubinstein Fellow of the Whitney Museum of American Art and has authored and edited numerous monographs and catalogs on the fine and decorative arts. He has worked in association with many institutions, including the American Academy of Arts and Letters, McNay Art Museum, Harry Ransom Center, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Lisbon Ajuda National Palace Museum, Pilar and Joan Miró Foundation Palma de Mallorca, Russian State Museum at the Marble Palace, Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum and Tate Gallery London.


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



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


Creative Programs in Food Deserts Teach Kids Valuable Lessons

Mon, 08/10/2015 - 15:54




NEWPORT, Ky. (Aug. 12, 2015) — Traveling eight miles to the nearest grocery story doesn’t sound too bad, unless people have to make that trip without a car. Many who live in inner city areas on limited resources don’t have cars, and that makes providing a fresh, healthy meal a real challenge.


The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment and the UK Cooperative Extension Service have been partnering with local agencies in Campbell County to find ways to help people overcome these obstacles.


The Boys & Girls Club is an after-school and summer program for children ages 5 through 18. The club emphasizes graduating from high school, getting fit for life and being ready to serve others. Cooperative Extension believes that a big part of all of these objectives is for kids to learn to grow and eat healthy fruits and vegetables.  


Recently Melissa Pilcher, nutrition education assistant in Campbell County offered a program for children in the Boys & Girls Club branch in Newport. She used UK’s Superstar Chef Goes to the Farmers Market curriculum for the six-week program.

“Kids in Newport don’t have a lot of opportunity to get fresh fruits and vegetables where they live,” she said. “There have been a lot of community garden projects going on in the city, so I wanted to incorporate the Ann Street Garden as a way of showing the kids that their food comes from the earth.”


For one of the lessons, Pilcher led the students on a walk to the Ann Street Community Garden where they were able to see 96 fruit and vegetable plots, meet one of the local gardeners and even harvest a few items.


Campbell County Extension’s horticulture program assistant Sarah Stolz talked with the students about what kinds of crops they saw, composting and harvesting food from the garden.


Stolz explained how much heirloom tomatoes sold for in the store and then compared the cost to a package of heirloom tomato seeds to show the students how much money they could save by planting their own tomatoes.


Pilcher went through the Master Gardener program before she took her current position and said she’s always had a passion for gardening. She wanted to bring that passion to the kids at the Boys & Girls Club.


“I want them to know where their food comes from and what they can do with a little bit of time and effort and just a few seeds,” she said. “I hope they learn that it’s doable; it’s affordable and it’s a healthy way to eat.”


After the garden outing, Pilcher took the students back to the Boys & Girls Club and set up a salsa bar with fresh tomatoes, corn, onions, cilantro, black beans, green chilis and even a little hot sauce and cumin. Many of the students were brave and mixed all the ingredients together, while others were a little more cautious and only tried a few things.


Pilcher was pleased at their willingness to try new things.


“It does my heart good to see kids try things for the first time and really like them. Our ultimate goal is that they develop a taste for these kinds of foods,” she said. “We’d like for them to give up prepackaged, processed foods in favor of fresh fruits and vegetables.”


For a video containing more on this story, click here




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

UK Study Will Explore Novel MRI Techniques Safe for Patients with Kidney Failure

Mon, 08/10/2015 - 15:18


Lexington, Ky.  (Aug. 11, 2015)  Moriel Vandsburger, PhD, assistant professor of physiology in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, was awarded a five-year, $1.9 million R01 grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to study new MRI techniques that don't use contrast agents and are safe for patients with kidney failure. These patients experience increased risk for heart failure, but the chemical contrast agent used in current MRI technology is unsafe for them due to their compromised kidney function.


Dr. Steve Leung, associate director of advanced cardiovascular imaging, and Dr. Hartmut Malluche, chief of the division of nephrology, bone and mineral metabolism, also serve as a co-investigators on the grant.


"This opens a new window of opportunity to understand heart failure in the setting of patients with kidney disease," Vandsburger said.


For the past two years Vandsburger has been working to develop MRI techniques that can identify scar tissue in the heart without using a chemical contrast agent. He initially developed the technique in mouse models during his postdoctoral fellowship at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.  Since joining the UK faculty in 2013, he has translated the findings into the human clinical setting with the support of the KL2 Career Development program from the Center for Clinical and Translational Science.


"In an earlier study that we finished last year, we compared our technique to the method that uses the contrast agent and we found very close agreement between our method and the standard method," Vandsburger said.


The R01 project will focus on validating the new method against the current standard of care. Vandsburger and his team will use MRI to explore and compare the morphologies of scar tissue in the hearts of two populations: patients who have had a heart attack and therefore have dense scar tissue in the heart, and patients with diabetes who are more likely to have diffuse scar tissue not caused by an acute cardiac event.


Previous research indicates that patients with kidney failure develop scar tissue in their hearts, but there has been no way to track changes in the scar tissue--and monitor risk of heart failure--because they can't be screened using standard MRIs which require a chemical contrast agent.


"The real crux will be applying this technique to study patients with renal failure," Vandsburger said. "The renal failure field has advanced so much that people on hemodialysis might not die from kidney disease, but an overwhelming number die of cardiac causes. So there's a growing recognition that we need to understand what causes heart failure in these patients. And hopefully we can look at these patients with kidney failure to see if the scar tissue is the product of hemodialysis."


The research could also potentially identify an easily measurable blood biomarker to monitor scar tissue at the point of care, without biopsy or scans, as well as a signaling pathway that could be pharmaceutically targeted to reduce death from cardiac causes.


This is Vandsburger's first R01 award. He was 32 when it was awarded (he's since turned 33), a full decade younger than the average age of first-time R01-funded investigators who have PhDs. Also remarkable is that the grant was funded on the first submission. Vandsburger points to the support of the KL2 program and UK's culture of interdisciplinary collaboration, from clinicians to basic scientists at the Center for Muscle Biology, as factors in his successful application.


"I think that's really in large part due to the constant mentorship and environment established through the K Program," he said. "It helped me get the preliminary data that I needed for this grant. I submitted nine grant proposals in the first year and a half at UK, and most of them were on this or similar subjects. I workshopped every single grant and aims page at K Club, and it was really the constant feedback of people that overtime helped me improve the quality of grant writing, improve the focus, improve the outcomes."


Collaborating with clinicians has been equally critical to the research. By working directly with Leung, Vandsburger was able to engage with and recruit patients to participate in the study. Dr. Susan Smyth, chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, served as Vandsburger's primary mentor in the KL2 Program, providing expert feedback from the perspective of a seasoned physician scientist. Vandsburger will also collaborate with Malluche to help recruit patients and understand the findings in the heart's scar tissue with respect to kidney function.


"I really benefit from that kind of culture of inclusiveness—where people at the Gill Heart Institute really want people to succeed—and I think that's part of why I got the grant funded so quickly," Vandsburger said.


While relatively young for an R01 awardee, he traces his research interests back to a childhood love for Legos and photography.


"If you put Legos and photography together, you get MRI," Vandsburger said. "Where I grew up there was nothing to do. So I got a Pentax camera and went around shooting black and white photography."


Similarly, his current work combines disciplines and tools.


"My research brings together some of the most exciting parts of science - the physics behind MRI, the engineering of designing new methods and tools for analysis, and the biology of heart failure. It lets me have access to the best of every world," he said. 



MEDIA CONTACT: Mallory Powell,






Kentucky REC Helps Six Kentucky Health Care Organizations Receive National Recognition

Mon, 08/10/2015 - 15:01


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 11, 2015) – Kentucky Regional Extension Center (Kentucky REC), based at the University of Kentucky, has announced six Kentucky health care organizations participating in Kentucky REC’s inaugural Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Cohort, have received national recognition from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), a well-respected, non-profit organization that has been a central figure in driving improvement throughout the healthcare system. PCMH designation by NCQA is an indicator that healthcare practices and clinics are providing high-quality, patient-centered care to their clients and in their communities.


Recognized are:
UK HealthCare Family and Community Medicine – Lexington - Level 3
Georgetown Pediatrics – Georgetown - Level 3
Central Internal Medicine - Lexington – Level 3
Bluegrass Community and Family Practice – Bardstown – Level 3
Family Medicine Clinic of Danville – Danville, KY – Level 2
Primary Care Centers of Eastern Kentucky – Hazard – Level 2


The pioneer provider organizations, representing more than 75 primary care providers, joined Kentucky REC’s inaugural group of PCMH practices in early 2014 and have worked diligently to improve patient care in their practices and communities. 


"This is a major accomplishment for these practices. These six practices worked with us over 15 months, dedicating the time and resources needed to transform their practices to this patient-centered care model," said Dr. Carol Steltenkamp, executive director, Kentucky REC. "The hard work by everyone involved allowed the practices to achieve the highest levels of recognition and improve the quality of care for their patients." 


Kentucky REC provides coaching and assistance to support practices and clinics as they transform from a traditional sick care model to new models focused on comprehensive, coordinated care that keeps patients healthier and reduces complications. At the center of the PCMH model is a primary care physician office, where healthcare professionals work as a team to provide care that is individually determined to meet each patient's specific need.


This approach fosters an environment in which patients develop and maintain an ongoing relationship with their primary care physician and a healthcare team focused on enhanced care coordination and office-based disease management planning. As such, the practice becomes the patient's "home" for preventive, chronic, and ambulatory care.


The Kentucky REC PCMH Cohort focused on helping the practices demonstrate that they meet nationally recognized NCQA PCMH standards. Practices that achieved recognition worked with Kentucky REC to demonstrate the practice is able to:


·         Provide access during and after business hours and communicate effectively with patients

·         Use readily accessible, clinically useful information to assist in comprehensive care

·         Collaborate with patients and families to pursue goals for achieving optimal health

·         Improve effectiveness of care, safety, and efficiency by accessing timely information for tests and results, measuring and reporting performance, giving physicians regular feedback, and taking actions to improve, and maximizing use of electronic communications to facilitate coordination of care


Care provided by primary care physicians in a PCMH is consistently associated with better outcomes, reduced mortality, fewer preventable hospital admissions for patients with chronic diseases, lower utilization, improved patient compliance with recommended care, and lower Medicare costs.


“UK congratulates these pioneer practices for becoming nationally recognized Patient-Centered Medical Homes,” stated Trudi Matthews, managing director, Kentucky REC.  “UK and its Kentucky Regional Extension Center are pleased to provide support for innovative approaches to improving care for Kentuckians.”



Kentucky REC

Kentucky Regional Extension Center is a trusted advisor and strategic partner for healthcare providers in their efforts to improve care and patient outcomes, reduce healthcare costs and improve the overall health and well-being of the Commonwealth and beyond. The Kentucky REC offers a comprehensive set of transformation services include: Meaningful Use Assistance, EHR Implementation & Optimization, HIPAA Privacy & Security Risk Analysis, Patient-Centered Medical Home Consulting, ICD-10 Training, and Quality Improvement Support. For more information about the Kentucky REC, visit  Follow @KentuckyREC on Twitter and connect on Facebook at


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

Receiving NSF CAREER Award, Seo Will Enhance Physics Research, Education

Mon, 08/10/2015 - 10:10

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 12, 2015) — Sung S. Ambrose Seo, assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Kentucky, has received the prestigious five-year National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award totaling $672,981.


The CAREER award is given in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education, and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of the university.


Funds from the award will allow Seo to investigate iridium oxides and unveil exotic collective phenomena, such as nontrivial topological states that are latent in bulk crystals, but emerge in dimensionally confined superlattices.


"My research is like building atomic-scale LEGO blocks to study their physical properties," Seo said. "These 'atomic LEGO blocks' will be used in future electronic devices, which cannot be achieved by current semiconductor-based technology."


The outcome of his project, "Two-Dimensional Superlattices of Epitaxial Pyrochlore Iridates," will fill existing gaps between physics theories and experiments, and lead scientists to an innovative, fundamental understanding of strongly correlated, spin-orbit coupled electrons in low-dimensional materials.


Another important component of the project is its impact on UK undergraduate and graduate students.


"In the United States, we are in dire need of physicists with strong expertise in materials synthesis and characterization, for both academia and industry," Seo said.


Participating graduate students will receive training in state-of-the-art materials synthesis and characterization, as well as opportunities to collaborate with scientists at national labs.


Beyond that, Seo and his team will also improve the physics curriculum at UK by developing an applied materials physics course, available to both graduate and undergraduate students and aimed at integrating cutting-edge materials research topics with basic physics coursework. Focused on raising awareness of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers in underrepresented areas, Seo is also developing an NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program for pre-service teachers.


Since he joined UK as an assistant professor of physics in 2010, Seo has been focusing on building a state-of-the-art laboratory for epitaxial materials syntheses and characterizations. Recently, he and his team have successfully carried out challenging research of various iridium oxide thin-films by using their unique techniques of multiple in-situ characterizations.


He credits several pilot grants from the Kentucky Science and Engineering Foundation in allowing him to "tackle the more challenging, and very exciting, project of iridium oxide superlattices with this NSF CAREER grant."


Seo's long-term goal is to develop functionally integrated, rationally designed heterostructures using novel electronic materials such as complex oxides.


"This NSF CAREER grant will allow us to run a highly competitive research program on new material systems, and to advance that long-term goal," he said.




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

Reminder About Campus Moped, Scooter Regulations

Fri, 08/07/2015 - 16:27


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 10, 2015) — As the new academic year approaches and much of the Universty of Kentucky family returns to campus, it is important to keep in mind some basic information and regulations while traveling to and throughout campus.


While some walk, bike or drive to campus, other students and employees elect to ride motor scooters.


According to University of Kentucky Police Department Capt. Kevin Franklin, "The university has seen an increase in the inappropriate and illegal use of mopeds on campus."


There are a few important things to keep in mind if you choose to use this mode of transportation.


Scooters, mopeds and motorcycles are required to obtain a parking permit from Parking and Transportation Services and utilize motorcycle parking areas on campus. These areas are conveniently located throughout campus and are marked by the presence of signage, green lines or both. Mopeds may also park at moped-only parking racks, which are located in front of Memorial Coliseum and between Funkhouser Building and the Advanced Science and Technology Commercialization Center (ASTeCC).


Scooters, motorcycles and mopeds are not authorized to park at bicycle racks, or in any area that is not listed above. Additionally, scooters, motorcycles and mopeds are not permitted to drive or travel on sidewalks, bike paths or lawns.


Director of Parking and Transportation Services Lance Broeking said that it is important for moped and scooter users to understand why these policies exist.


"These policies are designed to encourage safe operating and parking procedures for these vehicles, as well as free up areas for bicycle-only parking." He further explained, "It is essential to remember that no matter how you choose to get to work or class, we are all members of the UK community and should be safe and respectful in traveling and parking on campus."


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

UK's Yang Receives Microsoft Award to Develop Real-time Tele-collaboration

Fri, 08/07/2015 - 15:27

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 11, 2015) — Ruigang Yang, professor of computer science at the University of Kentucky, has received a Microsoft Surface Hub for Research award totaling $25,000 to develop tele-collaboration/presence using the Surface Hub.


The Microsoft Surface Hub is a new large-screen pen and touch device designed to advance team collaboration and productivity. Microsoft is currently developing business productivity and collaboration apps, but to explore the potential of the Surface Hub in education, the company has awarded grants to 10 researchers across the world.


Funds from the award and a complimentary Surface Hub will allow Yang and a UK graduate student to develop a real-time detailed motion capture system that is able to generate complete and water-tight 3-D models of humans in motion, providing a more convincing experience for tele-conferencing.


While the primary objective of the project is to provide this experience using the Surface Hub, the underlying techniques can also be used with other visualization hardware, such as the HoloLens to provide a fully immersive 3-D tele-presence experience.


Prior methods deploy an array of cameras to first reconstruct the 3-D model of someone and then render virtual views, but these approaches require dedicated setup and careful calibration. Yang's project seeks to limit the input to a single camera so it can be integrated into the Surface Hub as a single piece of equipment, without the need for calibration and a large footprint.


Yang's research interests include computer graphics and computer vision, specifically in 3-D reconstruction and data analysis. He has published more than 100 papers, which, according to Google Scholar, has received close to 7,000 citations with an h-index of 38 (as of 2015). He has received a number of awards, including a National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award in 2004 and the Dean's Research Award in 2013. 




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

Markey's D'Orazio Receives Funding to Further Skin Cancer Research

Fri, 08/07/2015 - 13:57



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. (Aug. 10, 2015) – The University of Kentucky's Dr. John D'Orazio recently received grant funding totalling $375,000 over three years to further his research on melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.


Three organizations provided an equal share of the funding: the Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA), the largest private funder of melanoma research; the Markey Cancer Foundation; and DanceBlue, the University of Kentucky's student-run fundraiser for pediatric cancer. Additionally, much of the preliminary data used in the MRA grant application was facilitated by pilot funding from the University of Kentucky’s Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences. 


D'Orazio's research focuses on the hormonal pathways that protect the skin from sun damage and how efficiently the skin's DNA may be able to repair itself. In a previous study, D'Orazio's team discovered a genetic defect in the melanocortin1 receptor (MC1R) leads to a reduced ability to repair DNA, making people more susceptible to developing melanoma.

The new project will focus on the specific hormones that appear to "turn off" MC1R signaling, also leading to an increased likelihood of developing the cancer.


Melanoma of the skin is one of the most common cancers in the United States and among the top 10 causes of new cancer cases. In the United States each year, more than 76,000 Americans are diagnosed with melanoma, and it is one of the most common cancers for young women. While the overall five-year survival rate for people diagnosed with melanoma is high at 92 percent, the survival rate decreases dramatically once melanoma spreads to other parts of the body.


MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or


What’s Next: Fusing Interests in Undergraduate Research

Fri, 08/07/2015 - 11:43


Video produced by Vis Center media team.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 10, 2015) — Computer science and the St. Chad Gospels. Physics and Spanish. Math and international studies. The combination of these don't seem to make a lot of sense, but it is these interests that have shaped the undergraduate career of one UK senior.


Stephen Parsons, a computer science and international studies major, with minors in physics, Spanish and mathematics, has thrived in a range of studies during his time at UK.


He has also worked in research that merged the fields of computer science and humanities. Parsons, who is a Chellgren Fellow, Gaines Fellow and member of the Honors Program at UK, worked for the past year with Brent Seales, professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science, on imaging and digitally preserving the St. Chad Gospels. Doing so allows scholars across the world to easily access the eighth-century manuscript in its true form without causing damage.


"Something I've really gained out of this is that computer science is applicable to so many fields," Parsons said in the video above.


During the project, which was an international collaboration with Lichfield Cathedral in England, Parsons applied registration framework software that someone else developed to images of the St. Chad Gospels to produce results.


This fall, Parsons will step out of the lab, and out of the country, to study abroad in Cusco, Peru, applying his international studies and Spanish education to service opportunities.


"I have really enjoyed my international studies classes and while I might not pursue that as a career, it is important to me to learn about those subjects," Parsons said. "And since I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to have both majors, I figured I'd do it!"


While he will be gone for the entire fall semester, he says he certainly wouldn't rule out working with Seales again during the spring, depending on their schedules.


"Getting to know him has been very valuable," Parsons said. "It (research) fosters kind of a unique relationship between the student and the professor that I don’t get out of the classroom."


As far as his career following graduation, Parsons thinks product management at Google, where he interned this summer, could be a possibility. But if his range of experiences at UK is any indication, the possibilities could be endless.


Parsons' research is featured in the above video, produced by the Vis Center as part of its "What's Next" series. It may also be viewed at "Reveal," the official website for UK Research Media, at




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

Volunteers Needed for K Week Activities

Thu, 08/06/2015 - 16:24

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 7, 2015) — K Week, the fall welcome week for new students, is one of the most exciting weeks of the year at the University of Kentucky. It takes the entire Big Blue family to plan and execute a successful week of activities.


There are many opportunities to meet and welcome new students throughout the week. UK President Eli Capilouto recently sent a message inviting all faculty and staff to participate in K Week events. "I encourage you to participate in one or more of our welcoming events scheduled from early morning to late night," Capilouto said.


The first chance UK faculty and staff will have to welcome students will be on Move-In Day. Volunteers are needed to help students unload their belongings onto carts, answer questions, and help them successfully transition into the residence halls.


If you are interested in being a part of this opportunity to make a great first impression on students and their families, visit You can volunteer for a three-hour shift or longer if you have the time.


Another way to participate in the Move-In experience is to partner with UK Dining and assist with serving complimentary hot dogs and keeping ice bins filled with bottled water. Volunteers are needed for a 30- or 60-minute shift on Wednesday, Aug. 19, and/or Friday, Aug. 21. Service times both days are 10:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. To sign up for a service commitment, contact DeWitt King at and indicate the time, day and campus neighborhood (north, central or south) that you prefer. All who volunteer will receive information on what to expect.


An informal Parent and Families Reception, scheduled from 6-8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 21, in Starbucks at William T. Young Library, enables families of new students to meet faculty, staff, administrators, veteran UK students, and UK Parent Advisory Council members. The UK Parent and Family Association needs volunteers who can greet guests and answer any questions the families may have. To volunteer for the Parent and Families Reception, send an email with your contact information to


From 3:30-4:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22, all faculty and staff are invited to attend the New Student Induction Ceremony in Memorial Coliseum. This opening convocation closely mirrors Commencement and establishes a tone of academic excellence for our new students. If you would like to participate in the faculty procession at this event, email


One of the largest community service projects in Kentucky, UK For Unity and Service in Our Neighborhoods (UK FUSION), will take place Monday, Aug. 24. The planning committee is asking for UK faculty and staff to volunteer as site advisors for the event. The FUSION team anticipates more than 1,000 UK students serving at nearly 100 community and neighborhood organizations. Each small group is led by one or two student site leaders, and a faculty or staff site advisor. For registration information visit or email




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

UK Student Musicians Release CD 'Songs Without Words'

Thu, 08/06/2015 - 16:02



LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 7, 2015) — At the encouragement of their trombone professor, a group of four University of Kentucky School of Music students and recent graduates transcribed, performed and produced the CD “Songs Without Words,” which was released earlier this summer.


This self-directed project highlighting the sounds of the trombone was produced by arts administration senior Kristen Petty, from Sonora, Kentucky; arts administration senior Ben Southworth, from Lexington; 2015 music education graduate Tyler Simms, from Madisonville, Kentucky; and 2015 music performance graduate and cellist/pianist Jerram John, from Lexington.


The students chose to record art songs because they wanted to do something outside of the typical trombone repertoire. As Petty and Southworth developed the project they added Simms on trombone and John on piano.


The trombone is often described as an extremely vocal instrument. As such, Petty and Simms transcribed vocal art songs for the trombone with piano accompaniment.


"It is a huge accomplishment for students to produce something of this magnitude," said the students’ instructor Brad Kerns, assistant professor of trombone, who began talking to the group about producing a CD in spring 2014.


Petty, who is pursuing a minor in music performance like Southworth, said the project was something she never anticipated undertaking as an undergraduate student, yet it has been one of the most enriching experiences of her college career.


"From designing the album art to studying vocal works and recording the CD, this was truly one of the most amazing projects I have had the honor to be a part of in my college career," Petty said. "I learned more from this experience than I have from almost anything else."


Petty credits Kerns for his encouragement to make the CD. "He has always pushed us to do things outside of our comfort zone," she said. 


The CD "Songs Without Words" is available for purchase on Amazon and iTunes.


The UK School of Music at the UK College of Fine Arts has garnered a national reputation for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, composition, and theory and music history.



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

UAB Epidemiologist Donna Arnett Named Dean of the UK College of Public Health

Thu, 08/06/2015 - 13:54

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 6, 2015) — University of Kentucky Provost Tim Tracy has selected Donna Arnett, associate dean at the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) School of Public Health and former president of the American Heart Association, as the next dean of the UK College of Public Health. 


Fostering a spirit of research collaboration across schools and disciplines, Arnett has served as the chair of the UAB School of Public Health’s epidemiology department since 2004. Since her arrival, the epidemiology department has escalated to one of the top-10 research programs in the nation. Faculty members within her department serve as interdepartmental leaders and engage with faculty members in the School of Public Health.


A native of Kentucky, Arnett sees her new role as an opportunity to address health disparities relevant to the region, including cancer and drug abuse. She aims to strengthen the college’s relationships with state and regional health agencies and expand the college’s portfolio of National Institutes of Health-funded research. She will also partner with the faculty, staff, and students to develop a strategic plan for the college through 2020. Arnett believes the future of population health depends on successful interdisciplinary partnerships, and hopes to facilitate such networks to grow research opportunities and educational capacity at UK.


“A big focus of mine will be bringing public health, medicine and other health related colleges closer together in terms of building population health,” Arnett said. “We’re building health for the Commonwealth, and it fits very well with President’s Capilouto’s vision of the ‘University for Kentucky.’”


In addition to academic leadership within the epidemiology department, Arnett recently assumed the role of associate dean for academic and strategic programs in the School of Public Health. She has helped expand the UAB’s innovative four-year joint medical doctor and master’s of public health degree and developed an online master’s of public heath degree. She has been instrumental in gaining the university’s accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Council on Education for Public Health.


An NIH-funded researcher for 20 years, Arnett studies genes related to hypertensive disorders and the target organ damage from hypertension. She has published more than 450 peer-reviewed papers and two books. She currently holds three NIH grants for research on genes that determine a physiological response to a high fat diet and the cholesterol-controlling drug fenofibrate and hypertension-induced left ventricular hypertrophy.


During her 2012-2013 term as president of the America Heart Association (AHA), Arnett built relationships with business and health care leaders across the globe. Arnett was the first epidemiologist and second Ph.D. selected to serve in this esteemed role.


After obtaining her bachelor’s of science in nursing, Arnett achieved a master’s of science in public health from the University of South Florida. She received her doctorate in epidemiology at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, where she also completed an American Heart Association postdoctoral fellowship from 1992 to 1994. She was promoted to full professor of epidemiology during her tenure at the University of Minnesota.


“Dr. Arnett is a transformative leader whose core values of excellence, professionalism and innovation complement the university’s mission,” Tracy said. “With an impressive track record of gaining major national funding for research, she will encourage interdepartmental partnerships and champion studies investigating the most important health issues in the Commonwealth and beyond.”


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

Pulitizer Prize Winner to Headline Martin School Voting Rights Forum

Thu, 08/06/2015 - 10:57

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 6, 2015) — Fifty years ago today, on Aug. 6, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The landmark federal legislation, enacted at the height of the civil rights movement, prohibited racial discrimination in voting. 


President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Voting Rights Bill, 8/6/1965. Video courtesy of the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library.  

To commemorate the legislation, the University of Kentucky's renowned Martin School of Public Policy and Administration today announced that historian Jon Meacham will headline the school’s special voting rights conference on Tuesday, Oct. 13.


Meacham is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “American Lion and “Franklin and Winston," and former editor of Newsweek magazine. His book, "Thomas Jefferson: the Art of Power," was named by the New York Times as one of the best books of the year for 2012.


Meacham will present the first annual Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Lecture, honoring the late U.S. Senator and Kentucky Governor. Ford, a longtime advocate for the Martin School, was the principal sponsor of the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, sometimes called the Motor Voter Act.


Motor Voter Law Signing Ceremony. Video courtesy of C-SPAN.  

Meacham’s address will highlight the evening program in the Recital Hall of the Singletary Center for the Arts and is expected to focus on current and future developments in voting rights and elections.


The conference, titled "The Foundation of a Democracy: Voting Rights, Past, Present and Future," will feature Dorothy Butler Gilliam as keynote speaker for the afternoon session. In 1961, Gilliam became the first female African-American reporter and later columnist at The Washington Post. The much-honored journalist covered numerous developments during the civil rights movement. Gilliam, who grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, will provide a historical perspective on voting rights.  


Other confirmed participants for the conference include David Becker, director of Election Initiatives, The Pew Charitable Trusts; Secretary of State Pedro A. Cortés, of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; Ari Berman, author of the forthcoming book,"Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America," and contributing writer for The Nation magazine; representatives of the litigants in the pending North Carolina voting rights case North Carolina NAACP v. McCroryU.S. District Judge Jennifer B. Coffman (retired); Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Crit Luallen; and Josh Douglas, the Robert G. Lawson and William H. Fortune Associate Professor at UK College of Law.


UK President Eli Capilouto will give welcoming remarks at the evening session.


"This promises to be a compelling and fascinating day on our campus," said Merl Hackbart, interim director of the Martin School and a longtime professor at UK. "The theme of voting rights in the U.S. is in the news almost every day. The discussion and examination of this subject is very timely, especially with 2016 being a presidential election year."


Additional details about the program will be announced as other participants and times are confirmed.



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





Excitement Builds as New Gatton Building Progresses

Thu, 08/06/2015 - 10:43

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 7, 2015) — "The new Gatton building is among the very best business school facilities in the world."


That quote is from David W. Blackwell, dean of the University of Kentucky's Gatton College of Business and Economics, talking about the $65 million privately financed expansion and renovation of the college's home, located at the intersection of Administration Drive and South Limestone on the UK campus in Lexington.


Blackwell continued, "The additional space and modern technology not only allows us to serve more students, but also alters the fundamental interactions among our students, faculty and staff to dramatically improve our research productivity and student outcomes."


Video footage courtesy of UK Gatton College of Business and Economics. A downloadable version of this video is available here. 


Ground was broken on the project in October 2013. The challenging tasks of designing, planning and construction are about to bear their first fruit. Faculty and staff members are expected to start moving into the newly-renovated Commerce Wing, first built in the early 1960s, today. The new addition will be finished by Aug. 18, and faculty will begin to explore the classrooms and familiarize themselves with the new technology. Fall semester classes get underway Aug. 26.


"Everyone is very excited to move into the renovated and new space," said Ken Troske, senior associate dean of the Gatton College and Sturgill Endowed Professor of Economics. Troske, the college's lead liaison on the building project added, "We are looking forward to teaching in the new classrooms, occupying the new offices, meeting in the new conference rooms, and utilizing the cutting-edge technology that has been installed throughout the building."


Interior demolition work on the existing Classroom Wing, erected in 1991, will begin shortly and the renovation of this space should be completed by April 2016.


No taxpayer dollars are being used to pay for this beautiful new home for the Gatton College.


"The entire $65 million being spent on construction of the new facility will be funded through gifts from our generous alumni and friends," Blackwell said. "We currently have commitments for $58 million, so we have a way to go. It is tremendously gratifying to receive this kind of financial support. It is really amazing to realize what an impact the college has had on people's lives, and how much they care about enabling a brighter future for the Gatton College."


At the start of the project, the Gatton College was serving a total of 2,800. The plan calls for the college to serve nearly 4,000 students by the time the construction work is finished.


Among the highlights which will be part of the new facility when it is completed this spring:

· The footprint of the college will expand by 40 percent to 210,000 square feet.

· The 500-seat Kincaid Auditorium designed for special events and large lectures.

· The new Seale Finance Learning Center which includes an advanced classroom with a simulated trading environment featuring digital displays feeding real-time financial and market information.

· Twenty new classrooms, including 10 45-seat classrooms; six 85-seat classrooms; three 70-seat classrooms; and one 65-seat classroom.

· Forty-two collaborative study or breakout rooms.

· The Woodward Special Events Hall with audio-visual components to accommodate dinners and lectures seating anywhere from 75-200 people.

· The Don and Cathy Jacobs Executive Education Center which will serve as the center for the college’s outreach to the business community.

· An outdoor garden plaza which will serve as a gathering place for students, faculty and staff on nice weather days.


Faculty reaction for the new building is enthusiastic.


"Working in a building like this should inspire you every time you walk through the door," said Dan Brass, chair of the Department of Management and J. Henning Hilliard Endowed Chair in Management.


The new main entrance to the Gatton College building will serve as a "front door" to the central part of UK's campus. 


"The building's entryway will now face toward the Main Building and Patterson Office Tower instead of toward Limestone," Troske said.


"We hope that everyone on campus will come and spend some time in our new facility," added Blackwell.


For more about the new Gatton College building, visit




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

Statistics Graduate Earns Postdoc Fellowship in the 'Other' UK

Thu, 08/06/2015 - 10:14

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 11, 2015) — From Hawaii to Arizona, from Arizona to Kentucky, from Kentucky to Bristol, England — fellow statisticians might consider their colleague Grady Weyenberg’s past and future moves a product of what they call random variation, but they are the steps he’s taken toward his career as a statistician.


Weyenberg recently received his doctorate from the Department of Statistics at UK, just weeks before he and his wife Hillary make the move from Lexington to Bristol where Weyenberg will begin a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Bristol.


In the midst of preparing for the doctoral defense, Weyenberg and his wife were working on selling cars, getting visas, and getting rid of all electronic devices that can’t be used with the English 230 voltage system (goodbye, hairdryer!).


At the University of Bristol, Weyenberg will join the Medical Research Council Integrated Epidemiology Unit (IEU). According to the IEU website, the unit is “leading the development of causal analysis methods for application in population-based and clinical health sciences.”


The IEU’s medical research was what attracted Weyenberg to the position. One of his options for the future is working in the pharmaceutical industry. He said the postdoc will give him valuable experience because it is more medicine based as opposed to his dissertation research, which focused on plants. 


His dissertation was on developing statistical methods for analyzing sets of phylogenetic trees, which are diagrams that show the genetic variations of a species (microorganisms related to plant-pathology, in this case). "What we’re trying to do is look through the genomes to identify genes that are different from the other ones. There are a number of ways that that might come about,” Weyenberg said.


While his research at UK concerned plants, the IEU research team studies people. “The project that I’ll be working on is a longitudinal birth cohort study of people born in 1982 in and around the Bristol area.” The study examines the health and health risks among the specific population.


As a postdoctoral fellow, Weyenberg will analyze data and develop computer programs for the research team. He recalls the job advertisement saying, “They wanted a statistician who was trained in data analysis and also a programmer. That’s a good combination of skills to have.” Like many statisticians, Weyenberg learned programming along the way. “It’s not really something you can be taught,” he noted,” you have to just do it.”


The location was another factor that interested Weyenberg in the postdoc. Bristol has a lot to offer — history, public art, outdoor activities, scenery, great food, etc. Until Weyenberg and his wife leave, their goal will be to make sure everything is “ship shape and Bristol fashion” (as the Brits say) for the big move.




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

Takenaka's First Book Reflects Controversies in Historical and Modern Japan

Thu, 08/06/2015 - 10:07


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 10, 2015) — The painful memories of World War II continue to adversely impact the political climate of Asia, especially between Japan and China and South Korea. In fact, many scholars still refer to the worldwide conflict as the Asia-Pacific War. Generations later, as the 70th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in 1945 approaches, Japan and its Prime Minister Shinzo Abe still struggle with what The Japan Times recently called "war apology issues."


Into this charged international political atmosphere, University of Kentucky Associate Professor of History Akiko Takenaka’s first book, "Yasukuni Shrine: History, Memory, and Japan’s Unending Postwar," has struck a sensitive nerve but with glowing accolades. "Yasukuni Shrine" explores the controversial shrine’s role in waging war, promoting peace, honoring the dead and building Japan’s modern national identity.


Published by University of Hawaii Press, "Yasukuni Shrine" was recently included in Columbia University’s Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute book series. In its introduction of Takenaka’s book, the institute describes it as the "first extensive English-language study of Yasukuni Shrine as a war memorial, tracing its history from the final years of imperialism to the present."


The historical controversies in "Yasukuni Shrine" focus on the shrine’s role in terms of national identity and war memory and the dilemma of how to remember those who died in Japan’s attempt to subjugate Asia.


In an interview with the Columbia University Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Takenaka said, "Yasukuni Shrine is one of the main focal points in the international debates on how Japan remembers its wartime past. It is deeply intertwined with Japan’s domestic politics in the postwar decades as a result of the strong ties that the Liberal Democratic Party has forged with the shrine and all its meanings.


"But most writings on Yasukuni Shrine treat it as a political problem rather than a war memorial and an actual space, an actual shrine, with a long history," she continued. "I wanted to examine its history as well as the spatial practices that took place within the shrine grounds as a way to think about how it became such a complex political issue. I was also interested in the ways the shrine contributed to the making, strengthening, and transforming of Japan’s national identity."


Her book relies on publications by and about the shrine, photo albums produced for bereaved families, newspaper and magazine articles, and memoirs, including interviews with the shrine’s staff. She visited the shrine grounds and the Yūshūkan museum numerous times for fieldwork.


"I think that a key contribution that my book can make," Takenaka said, "is its coverage of the entire history of Yasukuni Shrine from its pre-Meiji conceptualizations to the present. I attempted to undertake the history in a way that would highlight the varying roles and meanings the shrine has had for different people, and how the meanings have transformed over time. My goal here was to demonstrate why Yasukuni Shrine became, and still is, such a political problem, rather than to offer critique or a solution.


"I took this approach because I believe that a resolution to such a complicated and contentious issue must involve an understanding of beliefs of the other side. I hope that this approach will also be useful in thinking about other pressing matters that Japan faces."


In a Japan Times commentary, Takenaka  comments on the "dilemma of how to remember those who died in Japan’s attempt to subjugate Asia" and calls for an apology "for the violence inflicted on others and … the wrongs of the past." She goes on to advocate for the "inclusion of peace education in the school curriculum" in a time when some accuse the government of "white-washing textbooks and promoting patriotic education."



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


New UK VP for Research is Guest on WUKY's 'UK Perspectives'

Wed, 08/05/2015 - 19:00

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 7, 2015) — WUKY's "UK Perspectives" focuses on the people and programs of the University of Kentucky and is hosted by WUKY General Manager Tom Godell.  Today's program features Lisa Cassis, UK’s new vice president for research, who gives an overview of research at UK and shares her vision for the future. 


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.