Campus News

CREEEK Project Examines Risk Factors Related to Respiratory Disease in Appalachia

Fri, 06/12/2015 - 12:41

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 15, 2015) ­– Researchers in the University of Kentucky College of Public Health were recently awarded a $2.5 million grant to investigate respiratory health inequities in Appalachia from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.


During the five-year project titled “Community-Engaged Research and Action to Reduce Respiratory Disease in Appalachia,” public health researchers will work with Kentucky’s Appalachian communities to develop strategies for improving respiratory and environmental public health. The project calls for the creation of a Community Response to Environmental Exposures in Eastern Kentucky (CREEEK).


Residents of Kentucky’s central Appalachian counties experience the highest rates of serious respiratory illness and disease of any region in the nation. Adults in Appalachian Kentucky are 50 percent more likely to develop asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) than the overall U.S. population.  As many as one in five adults in the region have received a diagnosis of asthma and rates of COPD are nearly two-and-a-half fold the incidence of the disease in other parts of the country.


“Faculty and staff are intently engaged on the questions of our day – pioneering solutions in – and with – communities that help transform lives,” UK President Eli Capilouto said.  “Moving the needle in Eastern Kentucky on important health issues is part of our land grant and flagship mission.”


Studies suggest associations between respiratory health inequities and environmental contaminants. However, data on this topic has not included individual-level assessments or accounted for behavioral risk factors frequently observed in the area, such as smoking, poor diet and insufficient physical activity, or social determinants such as socioeconomic status or occupation. The CREEEK Project strives to holistically examine factors that contribute to this elevated risk.


To address the need for a reduction in respiratory health disparities, the project will involve three interrelated steps. The first step will be a community-based assessment designed to identify the relationships between indoor air pollutants, behavioral and social determinants and the effects these factors have on risk of respiratory disease.  The project will involve community members in the collection of information and contaminants.


“Respiratory diseases impact not only individuals, but their families, and affect their way of living. This project is significant because it addresses a problem that is important to our Appalachian communities and works with the communities to identify causes and find innovative solutions," UK Provost Tim Tracy said.


As a second step, the information collected from the community-based assessment will be shared with local stakeholders in an effort to increase understanding of the environmental exposures present in the region.  The dissemination of information will take place through reports, community forums and meetings of a community advisory board (CAB).


Finally, the project will implement an environmental public health action strategy (EPHAS) and will evaluate that strategy’s ability to impact short-and long-term outcomes for respiratory health. The goal of the EPHAS is to inform, consult and collaborate with the community in reaching the goal of improved respiratory health. Specific outcomes that will be measured include improvement in pulmonary function, reduction of respiratory symptoms, increased knowledge of respiratory illness and health care availability, improved quality of life, and the extent and satisfaction of community participation.


The interdisciplinary research team is led by Steven Browning, associate professor of epidemiology, and Nancy Schoenberg, Marion Pearsall Professor in the Department of Behavioral Science in the College of Medicine and associate dean for research in the College of Public Health. Other members include David Mannino, chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health; Wayne Sanderson, interim dean of the College of Public Health and professor of epidemiology; Jay Christian, assistant professor of epidemiology; and Heather Bush, associate professor of biostatistics.


The project management will be led by Beverly May, a lifelong Appalachian resident and doctoral candidate in the College of Public Health, and Nell Fields, also a lifelong Appalachian resident, who has directed two community-engaged smoking cessation projects.


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

Four Grants in Six Months for Sanders-Brown Researcher

Thu, 06/11/2015 - 15:43
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jun. 12, 2015) — A researcher from UK's Sanders-Brown Center on Aging has received four different grants in six months to explore both disease processes and potential treatments for Alzheimer's and related diseases.


Since January of 2015, Joe Abisambra, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Physiology and Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, has been awarded grants totaling more than $1.3 million from the Department of Defense, UK's Center for Clinical and Translational Science, GlaxoSmithKline, and UK's Center for Biomedical Excellence.


"The overall objective of my research program is to investigate the molecular mechanisms by which tau causes neurodegeneration in diseases of aging like Alzheimer’s, and in doing so, identify therapeutic targets," Abisambra said. "These four grants will fund continued exploration into preclinical and translational therapies for the class of diseases we call tauopathies."


Abisambra's work exemplifies the collaborative research culture at the University of Kentucky, with contributors from the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (Chris Norris, Ph.D.), the Cardiovascular Imaging Research Team (Moriel Vandsburger, Ph.D.), the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Repair Center (Kathy Saatman, Ph.D.), the Epilepsy Center (Bret Smith, Ph.D.), Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology (Brian Gold, Ph.D.), and the MRI Spectroscopy Core.


The four grants are:


·      A two-year grant from GlaxoSmithKline to study the impact of a novel compound on the treatment of Alzheimer’s tauopathy in mice.


·      A three-year grant from the Department of Defense to explore and dissociate the link between traumatic brain injury and the risk for Alzheimer’s.


·      An 18-month Innovation and High Impact Award from the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science to develop a novel and sophisticated MRI application for detection of early neuronal damage before signs of pathology in the brain. This would be crucial for preclinical signs of dementia and provide opportunity for early intervention.


·      A two-year grant from the University of Kentucky Center for Biomedical Research Excellence to characterize the role of the protein PERK immediately after brain injury in mice, providing opportunity for future therapeutic targeting.


According to Linda Van Eldik, Ph.D., director of the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, Abisambra's grant awards demonstrate the center's global excellence in all phases of the disease process for tauopathies and other age-related diseases.


"Sanders-Brown enjoys a robust research enterprise, and Joe is just one of several prolific minds at Sanders-Brown," Van Eldik said. "When you consider that Alzheimer's is considered the costliest and most difficult chronic condition to treat, the potential impact of work like Joe's is considerable."


MEDIA CONTACT: Laura Dawahare, 


UK Jazz Saxophonist Upbeat About DownBeat Award

Thu, 06/11/2015 - 14:45

Video by UK Public Relations and Marketing. View transcript here. 


LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 12, 2015) — University of Kentucky School of Music doctoral student and tenor saxophonist Carlos Espinosa Jr. is the recipient of the Outstanding Performer Award in the Blues/Pop/Rock Soloist category in DownBeat’s 38th annual student music awards featured in the magazine's June issue.


DownBeat is one of the world’s leading jazz and contemporary music publications. Students and educators can nominate themselves for the magazine's annual awards, and applicants range from junior high to graduate level individuals and ensembles. There are a variety of categories that include large jazz ensembles, jazz chamber groups, vocal ensembles and individual awards for composition, improvisation and producing.


The DownBeat award nomination process involves an online application and submission of audio recordings to be judged by professional musicians and educators from across the country. Judging criteria are based on musicianship, creativity, improvisation, technique, sound quality and balance, excitement and authority. 


The DownBeat Music Awards are considered the most prestigious awards in jazz education. More than 1,000 entries were submitted across all categories this year.


"This DownBeat award is an achievement of the highest honor," said Miles Osland, director of UK Jazz Studies and professor of saxophone. "The international competition is fierce — especially in the graduate category"


Espinosa, a third year Doctor of Musical Arts candidate in saxophone performance from Killeen, Texas, submitted a few recordings from one of his doctoral recitals, all of which were original compositions.


"I owe a debt of gratitude to the musicians that performed along with me: pianist Ben Geyer, bassist Rob Barnes, and drummer Paul Deatherage," Espinosa said. "I would not have won this award without them. As musicians, we are constantly inspiring and pushing each other to grow, so even though it is an individual award, they were the reason I was able to bring my compositions to life."


This is the third DownBeat award Espinosa has won, but his first in an individual category. The other two were in the Large Jazz Ensemble category as a member of the University of North Texas 2 O’Clock Lab Band.


Osland is far from surprised with Espinosa's recognition. "Carlos has been my doctoral teaching assistant for the past three years. In that time, he has proven to me to be the most passionate and talented performer and educator that I have had the privilege of mentoring."


There are numerous award winners in the 38-year history of DownBeat awards that have gone on to become successful professional musicians. The individual awards are especially prestigious, as the name recognition is helpful in networking with other professional musicians and educators. The awards also help bring recognition to the university and the professors who work with the up-and-coming artists. Espinosa is thrilled that UK and Professor Osland will receive well-deserved recognition for this award as well. 


During the time Osland has led UK Jazz Studies, the university's program has had eight previous award winners in the DownBeat competition. UK Mega-Sax has won three times in the Jazz Combo category, and in 2007 the UK Jazz Ensemble won in two categories (Jazz Combo and Classical Chamber Ensemble), the only time this has happened in the history of the magazine. In addition, alumni David Harper, Angela Ortega and Dieter Rice have previously won in the Classical Soloist, Jazz Vocalist and Blues/Pop/Rock Soloist categories.


"It is humbling to be acknowledged by my musical peers and heroes for my improvisation," Espinosa said. "It is a good feeling to have others recognize the hard work and dedication invested in your craft."



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


New Study Links Excessive Iron in Cells with AMD, Other Diseases

Thu, 06/11/2015 - 14:07

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 12, 2015) — In a new University of Kentucky study published yesterday in Cell Reports, a  leading scientific journal in cell biology, researchers describe a new molecular mechanism that contributes to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) due to accumulation of excessive iron within the cells of the retina.  


Cells of the body use iron in dozens of normal metabolic processes. However, excessive iron or "iron overload" can be very damaging to cells and tissues and is implicated in numerous diseases, including AMD. 


 "The reason that cells die due to iron overload is not fully understood," said Bradley Gelfand, assistant professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the UK College of Medicine and lead author on the study. "Our study found that iron overload induces retinal cell death by activating an inflammatory signaling pathway called the inflammasome. This occurs because iron specifically impairs the ability of retinal cells to process inflammatory RNAs called Alu RNAs. In the presence of iron overload, these RNAs build up and cause inflammasome-mediated cell death."


Iron overload is most commonly associated with diseases like thalassemia and hemochromatosis. The liver is the most commonly associated target of iron overload. These diseases are due to systemic (i.e. whole body) overload of iron. Other diseases such as AMD, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's are associated with 'local' iron overload in which excess iron has been measured specifically in the area of release.


Implications for the study are that treatments previously targeted specifically to prevent inflammatory processes in AMD, may also prevent toxicity due to iron overload which is also thought to contribute to disease, but was previously thought to be separate.


This study was funded by the NIH and the International Retinal Research Foundation. 


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

Cunningham to Serve as UK College of Dentistry Interim Chair of Oral Health Sciences

Thu, 06/11/2015 - 11:17

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 12, 2015) — University of Kentucky College of Dentistry Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Chief Dr. Larry Cunningham has accepted the position of UK College of Dentistry Department of Oral Health Science Interim Chair.


The chair oversees seven divisions of UK College of Dentistry, which include adult dentistry, oral and maxillofacial surgery, oral pathology, orofacial pain, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry and public health. He will continue to serve in his role as division chief. 


Cunningham began teaching at UK in July 2001. In addition to severing as the school’s oral and maxillofacial surgery post-graduate program director and division chief, he has also served as externship director. He brings a wealth of experience to the position, including a long history of resident training, involvement with program and curriculum development, an understanding of clinic flow and efficiency, as well as an understanding of the demands on clinicians who also serve as instructors or researchers.


“I am excited about the opportunity to work with our current administration as interim chair, and look forward to participating in the leadership transition as the college bids a thank you and farewell to Dean Turner and welcomes a new dean to our UK family,” Cunningham said. 


Cunningham received his medical degree from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and his dental degree at University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. He is board certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.


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


Gill Heart Institute Doctor Assesses New Cholesterol Drugs

Thu, 06/11/2015 - 11:12

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jun. 11, 2015) — On the brink of FDA approval is a new class of cholesterol-lowering drugs with the potential to change the landscape in the prevention of heart attack and stroke.


"These new drugs are a blockbuster as far as achieving the goal of getting LDL levels down markedly," Dr. Thomas Whayne, director of the Lipid Management Clinic at the Gill Heart Institute, said. "Particularly in the cases where high-risk patients cannot tolerate the current standard of care, we will have a powerful pharmaceutical alternative. It's going to be fantastic."


Called PCSK9 inhibitors, these drugs appear to sharply reduce levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol. Clinical trials of PCSK9 inhibitor drugs developed by Amgen, Sanofi and Regeneron demonstrate LDL levels are reduced by 60 percent. By comparison, statins — the current class of drugs that are the mainstay of treatment for high LDL — generally reduce LDL levels by 30 to 50 percent.


High LDL levels are associated with increased risk for heart disease and stroke. Since nearly a third of all U.S. adults have high LDL, the market for these drugs is expansive.


Many in the medical field caution that there's no solid long-term evidence that these robust reductions in LDL levels actually translate to fewer strokes, heart attacks or other CV events, but Whayne is optimistic.


"There is data going back 40-plus years demonstrating without reservation that reducing LDL levels is of benefit in lowering cardiovascular risk," Whayne said. "While it's always prudent to have long-term safety and efficacy data, I think bringing this drug to market now makes good sense."


A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee reviewed the clinical trial data this week and recommended the FDA approve PCSK9 drugs by a 13 to three vote. A decision from the FDA whether to allow the drugs to go on the market should come by the end of July, but the agency usually follows the advice of its committees.


One drawback to the PCSK9 inhibitors is the $10,000 per year price tag. Dr. Whayne is concerned that insurers will be hesitant to approve PCSK9 inhibitors to patients when statins are far less expensive.


"Statins will still have their place in the medicine cabinet," Whayne said. "But having a whole group of other approaches for the patient who simply can't tolerate statins but is at extremely high risk...this could be very important. I can see myself doing battle with the pharmacy benefits companies to get this drug for those patients."


Whayne is a clinical cardiologist with an interest in lipid management and the reduction of cardiovascular risk. He has published numerous papers, including a recent study on the benefits of coffee and cardiovascular health.


MEDIA CONTACT: Laura Dawahare, 

Dining Locations Serve UK During Summer Session II

Wed, 06/10/2015 - 16:44

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 11, 2015)  The University of Kentucky continues to remain committed to providing high-quality, affordable dining options for students, faculty, staff and visitors during the summer.  Dining locations will continue to serve our campus community throughout the second summer session, June 11 through Aug. 6.


There are 15 dining locations to choose from during this second summer session, including five in the newly opened Bowman's Den.


Bowman's Den, UK's temporary dining facility while the Student Center is being remodeled, opened June 1.  The dining section of this facility will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Bowman's Den offers Chick-fil-a®, Greens to Go, Panda Express®, Starbucks® and Subway®.


Also, K-Lair, a UK tradition located in Haggin Hall, is now open not only during the week but on weekends from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m.  Enjoy a variety of food options from Southern biscuits, to vegetarian wraps to Wildcat Burgers at this dining location any day.


Click here for a full list of operating hours for dining locations during the second summer session.


MEDIA CONTACT: Rebecca Stratton and Blair Hoover, (859) 323-2395;,


Murtha Wins Top Award From Journal of Marketing

Wed, 06/10/2015 - 16:37

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 11, 2015) — Brian R. Murtha, assistant professor of marketing and E. Vernon and William Smith Faculty Fellow at the University of Kentucky's Gatton College of Business and Economics, was awarded the prestigious American Marketing Association’s Journal of Marketing's 2015 Harold H. Maynard Award June 8. This award honors “the article that makes the most significant contribution to marketing theory and thought within the calendar year.”


Murtha’s paper, “Marketing Doctrine: A Principles-Based Approach to Guiding Marketing Decision Making in Firms,” co-authored with Goutam Challagalla from Georgia Institute of Technology and Bernard Jaworski of Claremont Graduate University, was published in the July 2014 issue of the Journal of Marketing. It examines a relatively new marketing concept, “marketing doctrine,” that leading business firms are beginning to adopt.


According to the awards committee, out of what were four very strong finalists for the award, “this paper was the ‘best of the best.’” The paper topped finalists from leading university business colleges including Wharton (University of Pennsylvania), Temple, Texas A&M, the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, and Hebrew University, Jerusalem.


“We are very excited to see Dr. Murtha’s work recognized internationally by the top thinkers in his field, and we are very proud of him,” said David W. Blackwell, dean of UK’s Gatton College of Business and Economics. “This award speaks to the quality of the college’s faculty and the importance and relevance of their research to businesses in the Commonwealth and across the globe.”


“This is an incredible honor,” said Murtha. “We are very excited and grateful, to say the least!”


The paper demonstrates that leading edge firms such as Apple, Amgen, Cisco, and others, are developing marketing doctrine because its simple, experience-based “principles” provide consistent guidance to marketers across the firm. As firms grow and diversify, they begin to hire and/or acquire marketers with very different marketing training, experiences, and means for making marketing decisions. Consequently, firms are increasingly dealing with a “marketing inconsistency” problem.


Murtha and his co-authors show that marketing doctrine can help address this problem. “Marketing doctrine refers to a firm’s unique principles, distilled from its experiences, that provide firm-wide guidance on market-facing choices,” they write. By identifying these principles, the firm provides strategic marketing guidance to all its decision-makers, but allows them the flexibility to execute responsive solutions.


While not yet widespread, this “principle-based” approach has begun to emerge among leading marketing firms. Apple’s doctrine relies on seven principles focused on marketing issues, including “Focus on few products and models” and “Read things that are not yet on the page (i.e. discover unmet or unrecognized needs) and don’t be a slave to focus groups.” The company has been extremely successful in the marketplace, and numerous firms try to follow their model.


But as Murtha and his co-authors discovered, the key difference between marketing doctrine and other forms of organization, according to most of the executives they interviewed, is “the importance of developing firm-specific principles that uniquely reflect a firm’s strategy and context, rather than…simply emulating other firms or theory.” Murtha’s paper not only identifies and defines the “marketing doctrine” concept, it also demonstrates ways firms can develop their own doctrine, and presents a conceptual model of how these doctrines can be used in the business world.


Murtha received his Ph.D. in marketing from Georgia Tech in 2008, MBA from Georgia Tech in 2000, and B.S. in business administration from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1995. His research and teaching focuses on strategy, marketing management, and personal selling. He has published in the Journal of Marketing, Management Science, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and the Journal of Business Research.


MEDIA CONTACT: Kathy Johnson, 859-257-3155,; Ann Mary Quarandillo, 859-257-0750,

UK Art Students Exhibit in University Open

Wed, 06/10/2015 - 13:16

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 11, 2015) — Six University of Kentucky art studio students were selected to exhibit in the ninth annual University Open.


Sponsored by LexArts, University Open features about 50 pieces of artwork from the state's best students, including eight works from UK. The juried competition and free public exhibition between fine arts majors attending Kentucky universities opened May 8, at ArtsPlace.


This year's University Open includes artwork from 32 young artists representing 11 public and private colleges in the Commonwealth. Pieces were selected by juror Becky Alley based on technical skill in the chosen medium and the approach to conceptual and/or formal issues.


"The advanced skills these young artists employ and the engaging work they are creating is evidence of an emerging and highly creative artistic culture," Alley said.


UK students whose work was selected to be featured in the University Open are: Tom Baker, an art studio senior from Lexington; Kim Hubbard, an art studio senior from Wilmore, Kentucky; Josh Richards, an art studio senior from Midway, Kentucky; Jacob Robertson, an art studio sophomore from Lexington; Melissa Shelton, a 2015 art studio graduate from Hopkinsville, Kentucky; and Ashley Worley, an art education and art studio senior from Mount Sterling, Kentucky.


LexArts is a nonprofit community organization that works for the development of a strong and vibrant community as a means of enhancing the quality of life in Central Kentucky. LexArts provides a wide range of programs designed to integrate the arts into our daily lives. Through its annual Campaign for the Arts, LexArts has raised millions of dollars in support of local arts. In turn, LexArts underwrites the operating expenses for a variety of beneficiary organizations and offers affordable exhibition and performance space for arts organizations, as well as competitive grants for community outreach projects.


The public can view the UK students' artwork and art from the state's other featured student artists in the University Open through June 27, at Artsplace, located at 161 North Mill St. Gallery hours for viewing are from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and from noon- 5 p.m. Saturdays.


The UK School of Art and Visual Studies in the UK College of Fine Arts is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the fields of art studio, art history and visual studies, and art education.  


Spindletop Hall Celebrates Summer With Discounted Initiation Fee

Wed, 06/10/2015 - 10:35

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 11, 2015) — Jumpstart summer with The Club at University of Kentucky’s Spindletop Hall! Spindletop is currently offering 33 percent off all initiation fees through the month of June.


Spindletop members enjoy four swimming pools, 10 tennis courts, swim and dive teams, chipping and putting greens, upscale casual member dining with a scenic veranda, Tiki Bar and Cuda Cove for poolside dining, exclusive access to Lexington’s Legacy Trail, basketball and volleyball courts, expansive grounds, picnic areas, special club events and the spectacular Spindletop Hall mansion.


UK faculty, staff, and all members of the UK Alumni Association are eligible for club membership. Spindletop offers memberships for all stages of life ranging from family, single parent, couples, individuals, seniors and young alumni. Rates vary based upon membership type.


UK employees are able to deduct dues straight from their payroll. 


For more information on joining, check out Spindletop’s website here, call 859-255-2777 or email




MEDIA CONTACT: Blair Hoover and Rebecca Stratton;; (859) 323-2395

Physician Assistant Student Elected to Leadership Role in SAAAPA

Wed, 06/10/2015 - 10:33

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 11, 2015) — University of Kentucky College of Health Sciences Physician Assistant Studies student Ryan Hunton was recently elected as Southeast Regional Director for the Student Academy of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (SAAAPA). Hunton is also a member of the Assembly of Representatives, which includes a representative from each physician assistant (PA) school in the U.S.


Thanks to the support of the UK College of Health Sciences and its PAS program, Hunton was able to attend the AAPA’s national conference in San Francisco in May. He hopes more students will have the same opportunity.


“I am very fortunate that the program and the College of Health Sciences supported my trip. I would like to set a precedent for our program that will allow more of our students the opportunity to attend the national conference next year and in the years that follow,” Hunton, who is a member of the class of 2017 and is also a CHS Student Ambassador, said.

“Student attendance at the national conference is important because it gets students involved in their professional organization, increases the presence of UK on a national level, and allows students to exchange ideas and gain perspective. My experience at this year’s conference will remain with me throughout my professional life.”


SAAAPA is the national organization representing PA students from across the country. PA students can be involved by publishing articles in the quarterly newsletter or on the website, promoting their school’s service projects or fundraising events, becoming a leader within the organization, connecting with students, preceptors, or fellowships in other parts of the country, and attending the 2016 national conference in San Antonio.


As Southeast Regional Director, Hunton is charged with helping students take advantage of these opportunities. The southeast region comprises 36 PA programs within seven states (Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina).


“We encourage our students to take leadership roles both locally and nationally,” Scott M. Lephart, dean of the College of Health Sciences, said. “Ryan’s role with the AAPA will allow him to gain valuable leadership experience, as well as to represent PA students and the UK College of Health Sciences on a national level.”


Hunton graduated in 2014 from Western Kentucky University with bachelor of arts degrees in journalism, literature and philosophy, and bachelor of science degrees in chemistry and health sciences.  


The UK College of Health Sciences offers undergraduate and graduate/professional degrees in athletic training, clinical leadership and management, clinical nutrition, communication sciences and disorders, human health sciences, medical laboratory science, physical therapy, physician assistant studies and rehabilitation sciences.


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

Tinkering With Opportunity: UK Ph.D. Brings Science, Math Experiences to Students Statewide

Tue, 06/09/2015 - 16:20

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 11, 2015) — During his childhood in Burnside, Kentucky, Craig Schroeder was always taking things apart and trying to fix them — a tinkerer.


“Most of the time I was unsuccessful, but occasionally I was able to repair my remote control car or video game console,” Schroeder said. “I have an innate drive to fix things or make them work properly.”


Schroeder has been a STEM teacher since 2002 and will be teaching physics at Henry Clay High School in Lexington this coming fall. On summer vacation a few years ago, he picked up some Malcolm Gladwell books. Gladwell’s theories inspired the tinkerer in Schroeder.


In “Outliers,” Gladwell says innate talent is not the only key to success. For instance, what advantages took place in the childhood of a Thomas Edison or Mozart? Seemingly small things can make a big difference. 


Schroeder started tinkering with ideas about what advantages he could create for students. For instance, Bill Gates has innate talents and abilities — but he also had the good fortune of growing up near a high school where he accessed a powerful computer at age 13. 


Soon, Schroeder’s idea for See Blue STEM Camp at the University of Kentucky was born (STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics). At camp, rising fifth through eighth grade students take part in hands-on projects with real world applications, bringing STEM subjects to life. Plus, dozens of UK students help with the camp to gain teaching experience, receive mentorship from faculty, and witness the powerful impact of the camp’s unique teaching approach.


The 2015 camp is taking place on campus this week. Complete with a LEGO robotics competition, geocaching on campus, and learning the magic of materials science, designing and modeling with 3D printing pens, students will engage with engineering, mathematics, science and technology instruction.


A UK College of Education graduate himself, Schroeder's dissertation research focused on attitudes toward mathematics, knowing that middle school years are a pivotal time in developing positive attitudes toward any subject.


"Many students are turned off to mathematics and science during this time and have limited ideas of careers that are in these fields," Schroeder said.


He wanted to attack these problems, so with the help of his colleague Mark Evans and UK College of Engineering Professor Bruce Walcott, they developed a small camp at Jessie Clark Middle School. Starting with only eight students the first year, 28 students the second, and growing each year after, Schroeder realized they could reach students beyond Jessie Clark Middle School.


Working with his wife, Margaret Mohr-Schroeder, professor in the UK Department of STEM Education, and Walcott, they moved the camp to UK and opened it to any student in Kentucky. By bringing the camp onto campus, the students are able to visit professors in their labs and conduct experiments and research that could not be duplicated in another setting.


And the camp is not just for those students who are known to already excel academically. Instead, thanks to collaboration with youth service coordinators across the state, Schroeder and his team identify underrepresented students who would benefit from the camp. They target any student who may have an interest in STEM or whose teachers believe would benefit from the camp.


"This authentic experience has led to statistically significant growth in students’ interest in STEM," Schroeder said.


In the fall of 2013, the camp was awarded a National Science Foundation grant for $750,000 over the course of five years. During this time, they are tracking the students in the camp to see how they fare in terms of their interest in STEM careers.


"While this camp won’t fully solve the problem that Gladwell outlined, it does help to provide a solution," Schroeder said.


Schroeder also realized the need for a solution in his own classroom after his first year of teaching.

"I knew I wasn’t an effective teacher with all students, and I wanted to be better," he said.


So he enrolled in the UK College of Education master's program, armed with a year of experience and willingness to learn. After finishing, his mentor, Doug Jones, a former UK faculty member, convinced him to pursue his Rank I, which is 30 hours beyond the master's degree. At the end of his second year, he had only a handful of hours remaining for the Ph.D. "So I decided it was now or never," he said.


While some may have expected him to begin working as a professor or in administration after earning his doctoral degree, Schroeder returned to the classrooms of Fayette County to put his new training and skills to the test. Eight years later and he is still there.


"With my academic background and connections, I have developed a cadre of great researchers and educators that share my passion for STEM and reaching underrepresented populations," Schroeder said. "I’m able to publish and share innovative instruction with others across the nation." 


Schroeder says his ambition to go above and beyond as a STEM educator comes from his parents.


"Both grew up in poor families in rural communities, but they didn’t let that set them back," he said. "They instilled in me a drive to do the best I can."


And he continues that today, not only with his family, but with his students.

"I’m recently a father and I want every opportunity for my children as well," he said. "I think it has driven me even more in my professional work. I don’t want any parent to have the perception I am not fully extending myself to help a student."


For more information on the See Blue STEM Camp, visit Tentative dates for 2016 are June 13-17, 2016. Registration for the 2016 camp opens on March 1, 2016.




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

Markey Patient Going the Distance to Raise Awareness, Money for Cancer Care

Tue, 06/09/2015 - 16:19

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 10, 2015) – Erica Radhakrishnan has always been an athlete. The 41-year-old Lexington resident has been active all her life, playing sports as a teenager before moving on to train for more challenging endeavors, including half-marathons and Olympic-distance triathlons.


When she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 34, Radhakrishnan's training was put on hold, though she says remaining active was extremely important to her overall well-being.


"Throughout the entire experience, I did try to stay physically active and physically fit," Radhakrishnan said. "Even though you feel like you can't do it, remarkably, it makes your body feel better... and exercise is a good way to purge the mind of negative thoughts and feelings. So I did try, even though some days it was physically challenging just to walk to the front door."


After a round of surgery and chemotherapy, Radhakrishnan was in the clear, but temporarily – less than three years later, she was diagnosed with a local recurrence of breast cancer. Local recurrence, or the return of a cancer to its original location, is a relatively uncommon circumstance. But most of the time, a local recurrence will happen within the first five years following diagnosis.


Luckily, the second cancer was detected early. At the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, Radhakrishnan underwent more surgery and chemotherapy. She also received radiation, where she was treated by Markey radiation oncologist – and accomplished triathlete – Dr. Jonathan Feddock.


"When I initially met him, I pegged him for a triathlete as soon as he walked in," Radhakrishnan said.


The two bonded over their mutual interest in competing, and Radhakrishnan names Feddock as a driving force in helping her get back to fighting form. Just one year after finishing her last radiation treatment, she completed her first post-treatment half-marathon.


"The next time I saw him, he said, 'I'm so proud of you,'" Radhakrishnan said. "It was such a motivator for me, to realize that what I was doing was pretty amazing... to have that support has spurred in me the desire to continue to be fit and to share that information with others patients out there."


One way Radhakrishnan is helping to share that message is by competing in this weekend's Survive the Night Team Triathlon. The triathlon is the main event of the Healthiest Weekend in Lexington, a fundraiser developed by Feddock himself. Participants will swim, bike and run for a combined 140.7 miles — nearly the same distance as Feddock's Ironman race last summer, where he fundraised and brought in more than $150,000 for the Markey Cancer Foundation.


This weekend, 22 teams and one solo participant will compete in Survive the Night, beginning their long journey at 7 p.m. Friday night and finishing up sometime Saturday morning at The Club at Spindletop Hall. Radhakrishnan's team is composed of mothers and their children — including three of her own daughters.


"Each person on my team has been affected by a cancer diagnosis, whether it be a parent, grandparent, cousin, aunt or uncle," she said. "Each child has had to live through what it's like to have a cancer diagnosis. I'm very proud of the fact that they feel this desire to do something more — they can't work in a lab right now, but they can run, they can swim, and they can bike. And they're willing to do that in the hopes of raising money and awareness for Ironcology and for Markey."



Video 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.


The triathletes competing this weekend aren't the only ones helping raise money to support cancer research and patient care. On Saturday morning, the Healthiest Weekend event will host a Something for Every Body Exercise Event and Expo, also at Spindletop Hall next to the finish line.


Numerous local fitness centers have volunteered their time and expertise to create a choose-your-own-exercise format, where attendees can participate in a variety of small group fitness classes throughout the morning including yoga, TRX, Silver Sneakers, water aerobics, boxing, barre, body rolling and more.


Each fitness class will be available for a $5 donation, with proceeds going to the Markey Cancer Foundation.


"I had the idea to create an event where anyone could participate and feel like they were able to contribute something to improve cancer care, while also promoting a healthy lifestyle," Feddock said. "Not everyone can, or wants to, compete in a long triathlon – but maybe you'd be willing to try out a class you've never done before and donate to a great cause at the same time."


For more information on the Healthiest Weekend in Lexington event including a schedule of classes, visit If you are unable to attend the event but would like to make a donation toward improving cancer research and care at Markey, visit



The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Foundation’s mission is to reduce cancer mortality in Kentucky and beyond by supporting innovative cancer research and treatments, education and community engagement, state-of-the-art facilities, and compassionate patient care at the UK Markey Cancer Center.



Ironcology is an exercise-based fundraising effort started by UK Markey Cancer Center radiation oncologist Dr. Jonathan Feddock in 2014. Feddock, a long-distance triathlete, originally set out to raise $200,000 through crowdfunding pledges for his efforts in the 2014 Ironman Louisville to put a downpayment on a new, state-of-the-art radiation implant suite at the Markey Cancer Center. With that goal now attained, Feddock is expanding Ironcology to the masses to engage others to participate in pledge-based competition and events to raise money on behalf of the UK Markey Cancer Foundation. 


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

NSF CAREER Award Recipient Beth Guiton on Twofold Mission

Tue, 06/09/2015 - 15:13



(Adapted from ACS Nano, 2014, 8 (6), pp 5441–5448)


LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 12, 2015) — The drive for miniaturization of devices is clear, as each new version of the iPhone, cameras, GPS systems, computers and so on becomes smaller and more powerful. Such miniaturization is possible thanks to advances in the microelectronics industry, yet this field could be revolutionized by moving from the micro to the “nano” scale by finding a way to use nanoparticles — particles between 1 and 100 nanometers in size.


To put that in perspective, consider that a nanometer is one millionth of a millimeter and approximately 100,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair.


This is the scale of work for Beth Guiton, assistant professor in the University of Kentucky Department of Chemistry. Guiton specifically investigates nanowires; how they grow and why they grow, which is not always well-understood. She recently received a $625,000 National Science Foundation CAREER Award for her efforts in the field. The CAREER Award is given in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and their integration.


"We are working to invent a new way of designing nanomaterials," Guiton said. "We want to control the way that little metal droplets behave so we can use them to grow something useful."


Nanomaterials have the potential for great impact in electronics, medicine, the environment and even apparel. But Guiton notes there has been little progress made in "putting these components where you want them," as they grow spontaneously.


Guiton and her team will combine a traditional growth mechanism, the vapor–liquid–solid method (VLS), with the reverse of that method, sold-liquid-vapor (SLV), enabling unprecedented control of a nanowire-template interface.


"We could grow materials used for any number of applications," she said.


Inspired by her undergraduate research experience at the University of Cambridge, where she earned her bachelor's degree in physical natural sciences, Guiton has also implemented an undergraduate education and research component in her NSF CAREER project.


"Undergraduate research experiences can have a really profound effect on future career decisions," Guiton said. "If you're not imagining yourself in a certain type of role, you won’t necessarily think to go for it. Typical courses don’t provide this — but undergraduate research helps to make that shift."


Calling it her "mission," Guiton aims to increase the number of undergraduates taking part in research experiences at UK, especially those who aren't yet sure about their interests. She recently won the UK College of Arts and Sciences' inaugural “Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award” for her activities in this area.


Guiton's joint faculty appointment at Oak Ridge National Laboratory allows her to connect UK students and faculty to the largest U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory. And for those students who are still deciding what path to travel, she teaches a course on crystals, or "the beginning of materials science," in A&S Wired, a Living Learning Program for freshmen.


Guiton also works to get students engaged in research projects early and often, before ever stepping foot on campus. Currently, she is collaborating with the UK College of Education to help middle school science teachers implement project-based learning in the classroom.


"As a leader in research and the flagship university of the Commonwealth, it's really important that the students who come here take advantage of the opportunities that present," she said.    


Watch the video above from Guiton's lab to see a nanowire dissolve into nanoparticles and evaporate. 




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

Entrepreneur Pitch Competition Comes to Lexington

Tue, 06/09/2015 - 14:28

FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 10, 2015)  Aspiring entrepreneurs in Lexington will have the opportunity to make their dreams of starting a business come true later today, Wednesday, June 10.


Entrepreneurs will participate in the Kentucky Innovation Network’s entrepreneur pitch competition in Lexington. Similar to the hit TV show “Shark Tank,” participants will have 10 minutes to present their business idea to a group of potential angel investors, individuals who provide capital for startup companies. Winners will receive cash prizes and the opportunity to present their plans to the entire Kentucky Angel Investors Network (Kentucky Angels) in Frankfort.


“The success of last year’s pitch competitions exceeded our expectations, and we anticipate even bigger things this year,” said Mandy Lambert, commissioner of business development at the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. “Small businesses are job creators and the backbone of Kentucky’s economy. This is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to network with potential investors and get their businesses off the ground. We want to expose more people to investment opportunities right here in the Commonwealth.”


The competition is 5:30-7:00 p.m. Wednesday, June 10, at Commerce Lexington, located in Suite 100 at 330 East Main Street in Lexington. The event is free and open to the public.


The event is the second of 11 statewide pitch competitions hosted by the cabinet, the Kentucky Innovation Network and Kentucky Angels. Covington hosted the first competition and Morehead, Louisville, Ashland, London, Pikeville, Richmond, Elizabethtown, Murray and Paducah will host events throughout the summer.


"The Lexington Office of the Kentucky Innovation Network is very pleased to be hosting this exciting pitch event and working with each of these companies who are developing some very interesting products and software programs,” said Warren Nash, director of the Kentucky Innovation Network Office in Lexington. “Attendees of this event will have an opportunity to learn about some very innovative, novel and unique technologies."


If you are interested in attending the event, you can get more information at or register here.


Kentucky Angels brings new ventures and accredited investors together via monthly online meetings, providing investors access to form deals and partnerships with entrepreneurs statewide. Membership is open to those accredited investors in and outside the state who are passionate about investing in Kentucky companies. To learn more about Kentucky Angels, visit


Consisting of 13 offices throughout the state, the Kentucky Innovation Network offers extensive resources for small and new businesses. Assistance can range from funding initiatives, marketing and sales assistance, small business advocacy and resource referrals, along with a variety of financial and incentive programs to encourage investment and job growth. All services are provided free of charge. The Lexington Office of the Kentucky Innovation Network is part of the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship, within the University of Kentucky's Gatton College of Business and Economics.


The Kentucky Innovation Network is an initiative of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development’s Office of Entrepreneurship. The goals of the Office of Entrepreneurship are to develop an entrepreneurial climate in Kentucky, provide guidance and support to startups and assist existing small businesses with growth opportunities. To learn how the Kentucky Innovation Network is helping create and grow Kentucky’s small businesses, visit




MEDIA CONTACT: Joe Lilly, 502-564-4886.




K-Lair Now Open on Weekends

Tue, 06/09/2015 - 13:05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 11, 2015)  K-Lair is now open for business on the weekends through the remainder of the summer!


K-Lair, located in Haggin Hall on the corner of University Drive and Hilltop Avenue, will operate on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m.  The restaurant is also open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.


K-Lair is a University of Kentucky tradition. Kentucky Proud is a key element of the menu with local, Kentucky Proud beef, fresh-baked breads and other wholesome, seasonal ingredients.


For breakfast, customers can enjoy a Southern biscuit or honey wheat wrap with a variety of toppings. A favorite is the Vegetarian Breakfast Wrap with arugula, tomato, scrambled egg, onion, avocado, garlic aioli, and provolone. K-Lair offers a variety of food options for lunch and dinner such as the K-Lair Burger, house-made Spicy Black Bean Burger, Big Pulled Pork Sandwich, chicken tenders, crisp garden salads, fresh-cut fries and other special signature items. And weekly dinner specials like fajitas, smoked turkey and mac and cheese keep diners returning.


For more information about K-Lair visit




MEDIA CONTACT: Rebecca Stratton and Blair Hoover, (859) 323-2395;,

Sociology Junior Represents ONE Campaign at G7 Summit

Tue, 06/09/2015 - 12:03

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 10, 2015) — Ryan McElhose, a University of Kentucky sociology junior, with minors in philosophy and neuroscience, recently represented the ONE Campaign, an international advocacy organization, at this year’s G7 summit in Germany.


G7, or the Group of Seven, comprises the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom and meets annually to discuss issues such as global economic governance, international security and energy policy.


McElhose joined more than 250 young campaigners representing 10 countries this past weekend, June 5-7, to call on leaders to pledge at least 50 percent of overseas aid to the least-developed countries, put girls and women at the heart of global development and make sure this G7 summit focused on the world’s poorest countries. 


The youth activists represented every G7 country — United States, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy and the United Kingdom — in addition to Belgium, Ireland and The Netherlands. During the summit, they were also trained in how to organize effective campaigns and influence policy.


“These young adults will be reminding the G7 leaders of their commitments to help the world’s poorest people,” said Tom Hart, U.S. executive director of The ONE Campaign, before the summit. “This summit is an important opportunity in the fight against extreme poverty, particularly as it relates to women and girls.”


McElhose, from Hinton, Iowa, joined the UK chapter of the ONE Campaign last year and has since been exposed to a multi-faceted way of advocacy. He experienced lobbying on Capitol Hill in February and carried out an array of advocacy activities in Munich.


"ONE offers productive and effective solutions to eradicate poverty around the world," McElhose said. "I like how it is an advocacy organization. We do not ask for your dollars but rather your pen or your voice."


A sociology major, McElhose's involvement with ONE stems from his studies. He says it provides macro-level solutions to global epidemics, something he has often discussed in his sociology courses.


"I am adamant that changing social structures, and persistence, is a way to address poverty, rather than quick, easy Band-Aid solutions," he said. 




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

'Grand Night' Still Going Strong at 23

Mon, 06/08/2015 - 13:39


"It's a Grand Night for Singing!" promo video courtesy of UK Opera Theatre. 



LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 9, 2015) — Guaranteed to have you singing and dancing in your seats, University of Kentucky Opera Theatre presents the 23rd annual production of “It’s a Grand Night for Singing!” Executive Producer Everett McCorvey brings together a company of more than 100 performers to stage the best from Billboard to Broadway June 12-21, at the Singletary Center for the Arts. And in recognition of their service, "Grand Night" will offer a new discount this year to members of the military and their families.


Students from UK Opera Theatre join forces again with members of the Lexington community to open the summer arts season with this popular annual town-and-gown revue. Among this year's hits will be music from such icons as Bob Marley, Cyndi Lauper and Carol King, as well as showstoppers from musicals like "A Chorus Line," "Pippin" and "Cabaret."


Showtimes for the six performances of "Grand Night" are 7:30 p.m., June 12, 13, 19 and 20, and 2 p.m., June 14 and 21.


"Grand Night" tickets are $45 for general admission, $40 for seniors and $15 for students with valid student IDs. A special 40 percent discount has been added this year for members of the military and their families with a valid military ID.


In addition, each performance will also have a limited number of select seats available to UK staff for only $25. The special staff price is presented in memory of Russ Williams, the university's first representative of the staff on UK's Board of Trustees who died in 2009. 


Tickets for "Grand Night" are available through the Singletary Center ticket office, by phone at 859-257-4929, online at or in person at the venue. Military and staff tickets must be purchased by phone or in person. All applicable fees will be added to tickets upon purchase transaction.


UK Opera Theatre is one of a select group of U.S. opera training programs recommended by the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. The Tucker Foundation is a nonprofit cultural organization dedicated to the support and advancement of the careers of talented American opera singers by bringing opera into the community and heightening appreciation for opera by supporting music education enrichment programs.


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;

Neuroscience Expo Will Feature Interactive Learning

Mon, 06/08/2015 - 13:22

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 9, 2015) – The University of Kentucky's Kentucky Neuroscience Institute, Office of Clinical Simulation and the UK HealthCare/Norton Healthcare Stroke Care Network have joined forces to offer a new kind of symposium for neuroscience and stroke care.


The Clinical & Translational Neuroscience Exposition on June 26 will be an informative, interactive event exploring the latest advancements in the neurosciences and stroke care. The Expo replaces the Clinical Neuroscience Winter Expo, which was cancelled in March due to weather. 


"We wanted this to be very different from traditional symposia, so the Expo is designed to be highly interactive," Dr. Michael Dobbs, interim chair for the University of Kentucky's Department of Neurology and director of UK HealthCare's Stroke Network, said. "Through the use of interactive learning methods and patient simulation equipment, our goal is to help attendees learn by doing and translate this new-found experience to current treatment practices."


Speakers from multiple specialties have been chosen to be able to cover a broad range of neuroscience topics in this one-day event.


The keynote speaker will be Dr. Avindra Nath, clinical director of NINDS, the director of the Translational Neuroscience Center and the chief of the Section of Infections of the Nervous Systems at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, who will present "Cracking the Code of Neuroinflammatory Disorders."


Pointing to the fact that the human and economic impact of neurological disorders is exacerbated by a prevailing shortage of neuroscience specialists and the burgeoning aging population, Dobbs emphasized augmenting multi-specialty provider groups’ neuroscience awareness and knowledge base is key to improving equitable access and patient outcomes.


"Our goal with this event is to provide that guidance in a new and interesting way, to the ultimate benefit of patients."


Attendees can register online or in person the day of the event at 7:00 a.m. in Pavilion A of the Albert B. Chandler Medical Center. 


Registration fees range from $12-$50, a reduction from the registration fees for the Winter Expo. Anyone who registered for the Winter Expo qualifies for a full refund and can re-register online or in person.


For more information about the Expo or to register, go to:

Geological Survey Preparing Two New Networks to Monitor Small Earthquakes and Groundwater Levels

Fri, 06/05/2015 - 16:42

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 8, 2015) — The Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS) at the University of Kentucky is working to install two new networks across the state to gather important data on low-level seismicity and the state’s groundwater levels.


KGS Geologic Hazards Section staff have installed the first two of at least 15 highly sensitive seismic stations in eastern Kentucky. Both of these new stations, one in Boyd County and one in Lawrence County, were installed on private property in relatively remote and quiet locations. These new instruments, along with others in the network, will help monitor the background level of natural earthquakes too small for current instruments in the existing KGS seismic network to detect. Seismologist Seth Carpenter, who leads the project, says he hopes to determine if current oil and gas activities in the region might also cause such microseismicity.


No earthquake activity related to oil and gas development is known to have happened in Kentucky, but hydraulic fracturing (also called fracking) and deep wastewater injection related to oil and gas development in several other central U.S. states have been linked to cases of induced seismicity. The development of eastern Kentucky deep shale gas plays, such as the Rogersville Shale, is expected to increase fracking and water disposal activities.


The UK Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences is collaborating with KGS on the study, and instrument manufacturer Nanometrics Inc. has agreed to match the number of stations that KGS purchased, increasing the overall sensitivity of the temporary network. Carpenter says another industry partner will soon join the project, which will allow more instruments to be added to the network.


In addition, the KGS Water Resources Section is presently evaluating existing water wells located in different parts of the state to use in a new groundwater observation network. Kentucky does not currently have a network of wells that can be used to track seasonal and longer-term changes in groundwater levels and groundwater quality. Section Head Chuck Taylor says there are several reasons to create one. He points out that the state’s growing population and expanding agricultural and industrial operations are increasing the needs for water. For example, in much of western Kentucky, corn and grain farmers are increasingly turning to groundwater for irrigation. Many of the irrigation systems being installed require wells capable of supplying a minimum of several hundreds of gallons of water per day to work efficiently and economically.


Taylor says he hopes to establish at least 14 long-term groundwater observation wells across a broad swath of the state over the next year. Each of the wells will be selected to monitor naturally occurring changes in groundwater conditions that are representative of the major aquifer present in a particular region. Water Resources staff have begun testing wells that may be suitable for the network, including an unused irrigation well at a Murray State University agricultural station, previously monitored wells at Mammoth Cave National Park, and wells at the Kentucky Horse Park presently being used in a KGS study of groundwater quality in a karst region.


All of the wells eventually selected for inclusion in the observation network will be equipped with pressure transducers and data loggers capable of recording changes in groundwater levels at 15- to 30-minute increments. Approximately seven of the wells will also be equipped with a telemetry system that will automatically transmit recorded groundwater-level data to the KGS each day, enabling more rapid tracking and evaluation of current groundwater conditions. All groundwater data collected from the network’s wells will be posted to the KGS website and available for the public’s use.




MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396,, or Mike Lynch, 859-323-0561,