Campus News

UK Law Showcases Scholarship at SEALS Annual Conference

Tue, 08/02/2016 - 14:21

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 3, 2016) University of Kentucky College of Law faculty and staff are sharing their expertise with legal educators across the country at the Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS) Conference this week. The conference, held in Amelia Island, Florida, runs until Aug. 9.


The annual conference provides numerous panels and discussion groups on cutting-edge topics and a breadth of legal issues important to both scholarly work and teaching. The conference also offers newer faculty the opportunity to present a work in progress and to receive feedback from assigned mentors and audience participants.


The following UK Law faculty and staff members are participating:  


· Professor Scott Bauries will present in a new law teachers workshop, a labor and employment law workshop and a workplace law discussion group.

· Dean David A. Brennen will participate in several dean panel discussions.

· Law Library Director James Donovan will speak in several legal education workshops.

· Academic Success Director Jane Grisé will speak in several legal education workshops.

· Associate Dean Nicole Huberfeld will participate in a discussion group on race and federalism, a legal education workshop and a health law workshop.

· Professor Cortney Lollar will participate in a discussion group on the advancement of remedies and a workshop on access to justice.

· Professor Kathy Moore will moderate a tax law workshop.



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



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

Pet Therapy Program Brings Man’s Best Friend to Patients at UK HealthCare

Tue, 08/02/2016 - 09:07

UPR&M Video by Jenny Wells.



LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 3, 2016) – The Pet Therapy Program run through the Volunteer Office at UK HealthCare gives volunteers the chance to let man’s best friend brighten the days of people who need it most. Developed in the past few years, the program has volunteers and pets that visit patients in the Markey Cancer Center and the Kentucky Children’s Hospital.


Kathryn Allen and Bosco, her three-year-old golden retriever, are two participants in the program. Allen and Bosco spend two hours a week visiting patients at Markey. When Allen began the program, she knew she wanted to work at the cancer center. Her own work as a physician’s assistant helped Allen see the need to cheer up patients when they are going through a stressful experience. After seeing a story on another therapy dog used in hospice care, Allen said she was “really moved by the story,” and decided to get involved in UK’s program.


For the past year, Allen and Bosco have been working with Love on a Leash to complete the certification process to participate in pet therapy. First, Allen had to decide if Bosco had the right disposition to work closely with patients who range in age and severity of health issues.


It’s important that pet therapy animals are obedient and have a gentle disposition. The certification process officially began with Bosco receiving a Good Citizen certification from the American Kennel Club. After that step was completed, a pet can begin working with Love on a Leash where they are observed for 10 visits where they serve a therapeutic role. Bosco was observed visiting nursing homes, at reading programs with children at local libraries and visiting the Veteran Affairs hospital. Pet handlers must also ensure their pet’s immunizations are up-to-date.


On Friday mornings, Allen and Bosco spend their time visiting patients at Markey and they start their day by stopping at the nurses’ station in the Ben F. Roach Building and getting the names of patients that would like a visit. Bosco spends five to 10 minutes visiting patients and comforting them by letting them pet him. Allen said she sees the change in patients’ mood immediately. “Every time they see the fluffy dog with his tail wagging they perk up,” Allen said.


During a visit to Markey, Bosco and Allen stopped to visit Judith Wilson, a patient from Russell Springs, Kentucky. Wilson has her own pet, a seven-year-old Dachshund, who she’s been missing since she’s been staying in Lexington. Wilson said when she heard the dog was coming to visit, she got excited and was looking forward to the visit. The visit was a nice change from the way days typically go for a patient staying for an extended period of time. “It helps patients, especially if they’re here for a while. It’s a nice change and it’s especially nice if you have pets of your own,” Wilson said.


While the therapy program is very rewarding Allen says potential volunteers should consider what department they’d like to work in and how their dog may function in those situations. Allen also noted that walking around and interacting with patients is very tiring for the pets, but she said Bosco loves it and it makes her feels good to see her family pet bringing joy to patients, as well as doctors and staff when she walks down the halls.


For more information on becoming involved with the Pet Therapy Program contact the volunteer office at  


MEDIA CONTACT: Olivia McCoy,, (859) 257-1076



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


Their Countries on Their Chests and Kentucky in Their Hearts

Mon, 08/01/2016 - 17:23


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


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 2, 2016)  The entire world is gearing up for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, that begin this Friday, Aug. 5. The excitement is palpable as athletes from 206 countries and two independent teams head to Rio for the Opening Ceremonies and 19 days of competition (soccer/football will begin group play on Wednesday, Aug. 3).


While fans rally around their countries and pride is abundant, it is no surprise that Big Blue Nation can be found everywhere! University of Kentucky connections can be found on numerous teams participating in the games and as part of the telecast.


For the 14th season, NBC Sports/NBCUniversal will televise the games, and a very familiar voice will be heard calling the play-by-play for track and field. UK alumnus Tom Hammond, a graduate of College of Agriculture, Food and Environment in 1966, will serve as part of the broadcast team for his 12th games. Over the years, he's also covered men's and women's basketball (Seoul 1988), diving (Barcelona 1992), gymnastics (Sydney 2000) and figure skating (Winter Games: Salt Lake City 2002, Torino 2006 and Vancouver 2010).


He's not the only Kentucky connection at this year's games. Nine current or former students/student-athletes are in Rio representing their home countries.


Greg Rummel

Sophomore, pre-biosystems engineering, Columbus, Ohio

USA Karate - demonstration

As karate makes it's case to become a part of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Rummel, a resident advisor in the Woodland Glen community, will be displaying his talent for USA Karate. Rummel was a member of the 2014 USA Karate Junior National Team. The International Olympic Committee will make their final decision on inclusion of karate in the 2020 Games on Wednesday.


Andrew Evans

UK 2014 graduate, Portage, Michigan

Team USA - Discus

Best Discus Throw: 66.37 meters

Evans is a decorated athlete; he is a two-time All-SEC and All-American selection and was the 2013 NCAA bronze medalist in discus. He qualified for Team USA at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, placing third in discus. Discus qualifying round begins at 8:30 a.m. ET Friday, Aug. 12.


Leah Nugent

UK 2015 graduate, volunteer assistant coach, Abington, Pennsylvania

Team Jamaica - 400-meter hurdles

Best time: 55.44 seconds

Nugent is a multiple-times All-American and the 2015 NCAA bronze medalist in the 400 hurdles. She qualified for the Jamaican team by finishing second in the finals with a personal-best time of 55.44 seconds. Women’s 400-meter hurdles round one begins at 7 p.m. ET Monday, Aug. 15.


Rondel Sorrillo

UK 2010 graduate, volunteer assistant coach, Vessigny, Trinidad and Tobago

Team Trinidad and Tobago - men's 4x100 meter relay, men's 200-meter and men's 100-meter

Best Time: 9.99 seconds (men's 100-meter)

Sorrillo is the first UK men's track athlete to win the NCAA Championship in the 200 meters (2010). The three-time Olympian, he is also the 2012 SEC Champion in the 200 meters, the bronze medalist in the 100 meters and the NCAA runner-up in the 100 meters in 2010. He's competed in three IAAF World Championships. At the Trinidad and Tobago Championships, he ran a personal best (9.99 seconds) to finish second in the 100-meter finals and won his fifth national title in the 200-meter. Men’s 100-meter preliminary round begins at 8 a.m. ET Saturday, Aug. 13.


Mikel Thomas

UK 2009 graduate, Brooklyn, New York

Team Trinidad and Tobago - 110-meter hurdles

Best Time: 13.57 seconds

Born in Maloney, Trinidad and Tobago, Thomas is competing in his third Olympic games. He won the national title in the 110-meter hurdles to qualify him for the Olympics. Men’s 110-meter hurdles round one begins at 7 p.m. ET Monday, Aug. 15.


Jasmine Camacho-Quinn

Freshman, North Charleston, South Carolina

Team Puerto Rico - 100-meter hurdles

Best Time: 12.78 seconds

The 2016 NCAA 100-meter hurdles champion is the first freshman to win the title. In just her first year competing for UK, she is already a three-time First Team All-American, SEC Freshman of the Year, SEC 100-meter Hurdles Champion, SEC All-Freshman Team selection and holds the UK freshman record for the 100-meter hurdles. Women’s 100-meter hurdles round one begins at 8 a.m. ET Tuesday, Aug. 16.


Many of our track and field athletes train together in Lexington; click here for a photo shoot of a recent workout including several of our Olympic athletes and Kendra Harrison, the world-record holder in the women's 100-meter.


Luis Orta

UK 2013 graduate, Caracas, Venezuela

Best Time: 2:18:53

Team Venezuela - Marathon

At UK, Orta could go the distance. He holds the UK record for the 3,000-meter steeplechase, is a four-time All-SEC selection and was named the 2012 SEC Indoor Runner of the Year. He also delivered the 2012 December Commencement address. Originally a walk on, he qualified for the Olympics by reaching the required mark at the Marathon Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The men’s marathon final begins at 8 a.m. ET Sunday, Aug. 21.


Sean Gunn

Senior, Harare, Zimbabwe

Team Zimbabwe - 100-meter freestyle swim

Best Time: 50.91 seconds

Gunn is a rising senior at UK and Zimbabwe's national record holder in many swimming strokes. He qualified for Zimbabwe's Olympic team based on International Swimming Federation FINA points — a process that is different from the United States' Olympic Trials. Gunn is the reigning national champion in all of his events. The men’s 100-meter freestyle heats begin at noon ET Tuesday, Aug. 9.


Demarcus Cousins

UK alumnus 2010, Mobile, Alabama

Team USA - Basketball

College Statistics: 15.1 points per game, 9.8 rebounds per game

Cousins was part of the beloved 2009-10 UK men's basketball team, Coach John Calipari's first at UK. The All-American left UK after one year for the NBA Draft, where he was the fifth overall pick selected by the Sacramento Kings. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2011, was a member of the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup gold medal-winning US National Team and is a two-time NBA All-Star. Men’s Olympic basketball group phase, first game: USA vs. China, begins at 6 p.m. ET Saturday, Aug. 6.



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



Media Contact: Katy Bennett or Amy Jones-Timoney,,, 859-257-1909


UK HealthCare is No. 1 in Kentucky in Latest U.S. News Best Hospitals Rankings

Mon, 08/01/2016 - 16:51


Video by Allison Perry and Kody Kiser, UKPR and Marketing. 


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 2, 2016) – UK HealthCare’s University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital is No. 1 in Kentucky in the U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals Rankings released today. It also is the only hospital in the state rated as High Performing in cancer. The complete rankings for 2016-17 are now available at


In addition to being named as top hospital in Kentucky, UK HealthCare is nationally ranked No. 45 in Geriatrics and "High Performing" in six specialty areas including: Cancer, Diabetes and Endocrinology, Nephrology, Neurology and Neurosurgery, Orthopedics and Pulmonology.


UK HealthCare also ranked as high performing – the highest rating – in eight out of nine types of Common Adult Procedures and Conditions including:  Heart Bypass Surgery, Heart Failure, Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm, Colon Cancer Surgery, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Hip Replacement, Knee Replacement and Lung Cancer.


"This acknowledges the exemplary work of our health care team in providing the highest quality patient care in the Commonwealth," said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs. "We are committed to being one of the premier academic medical centers in the country and dedicated in serving those who need complex medical care without ever having to travel far from their home."


To be recognized as a Best Hospital this year, a hospital had to have been categorized in the American Hospital Association annual survey database as a general medical-surgical hospital and had to earn either at least one national ranking in the 12 data-driven specialties or at least four ratings of "high performing" across the 12 specialty rankings and nine rated procedures and conditions.


“This honor belongs to our physicians, nurses and staff,” said Dr. Phillip K. Chang, UK HealthCare chief medical officer. “Every day and every night, they go above and beyond to make sure our patients get the best possible care.”


The U.S. News Best Hospitals analysis includes multiple clinical specialties, procedures and conditions. Scores are based on a variety of patient outcome and care-related factors, such as patient safety and nurse staffing.


In February 2016, UK HealthCare achieved Magnet Status – the highest institutional honor awarded for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center's (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program. This designation factors into the U.S. News Rankings and impacted this year’s score.


“Our entire interprofessional team is proud of our Magnet designation and its impact and significance for UK HealthCare and the patients we serve,” said Colleen Swartz, UK HealthCare chief nursing executive. “The team’s work has been exemplified in the production of superb clinical outcomes as well as excellence in patient and family centered care and are well deserving of this recognition based on their hard work, commitment and scientific approach to care across the continuum.”


UK HealthCare has seen the number of patients who are 75 or older nearly double in the past 10 years. This volume and the level of care for these patients attributed to the national ranking in geriatrics. Additionally, the University of Kentucky and UK HealthCare are home to the only National Institute on Aging (NIA) funded Alzheimer's disease center in Kentucky with the prestigious UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, and Markey Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated center in the Commonwealth.


“Our goal is to provide the safest and highest quality patient care to those who come to us from every county in Kentucky, as well as from many other states, by providing them the expertise of integrated, multidisciplinary teams working to solve the most complex health issues,” said Bo Cofield, UK HealthCare vice president and chief clinical operations officer. “I congratulate our entire UK HealthCare team on this tremendous accomplishment and commend their work and dedication to patient care in the Commonwealth.”


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


Media Contact:  Kristi Lopez,, (859) 323-6363



"see blue." #selfie: Loretta Stafford

Mon, 08/01/2016 - 14:55


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 2, 2016)  Want to get to know the people behind some of the biggest student leadership positions on campus? We did, too! That's why we've introduced "see blue." #selfie  a series on UKNow that lets student leaders from across campus tell us a little bit more about themselves and their organizations. Up this week, Loretta Stafford, a 2016-17 University of Kentucky 101 peer instructor liaison!


Loretta Stafford is one of this year's UK 101 peer instructor liaisons! Stafford, a senior integrated strategic communication major from Madisonville, Kentucky, has taken on this leadership position since her sophomore year. She enjoys Crank & Boom ice cream, being involved on campus and making sure new students are welcomed and supported throughout their freshman year.


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

Loretta Stafford: I'm going to be a senior and my major is integrated strategic communication, public relations path and I'm minoring in Arabic and Islamic studies.


UK: Where are you from?

LS: I'm from Madisonville, Kentucky.


UK: Tell me about your position as a UK 101 peer instructor liaison.

LS: There are four of us. We do a variety of different things. We revise lesson plans and we have a small group of peer instructors that we mentor, train and assist before the class starts. We facilitate a meeting two times a semester where we do a progress check and at the end we host a big celebration of all our peer instructors.


UK: How many years have you been a UK 101 peer instructor liaison?

LS: This will be my third year. I've done it since I was a sophomore.


UK: What led you to this position?

LS: So, my freshman year, I had a great UK 101 peer instructor, Kahlil Baker. I had a great experience with his class and the two peer instructors — they were awesome. They helped me a lot outside of class, too. I knew I wanted to do that the next year. The next year I taught with Annie Kelly, and then on to Lauren Goodpastor. As the years go on, I just keep getting more and more great classes. They are super helpful and I really enjoy it.


UK: How do UK 101 peer instructor liaisons play an integral role in the transition and success of our new students? 

LS: We are the ones that serve as a liaison to the peer instructors, but we too are peer instructors. We have our own classes, but we are also mentoring other peer instructors. They can bring ideas and issues to us and we can help resolve and do whatever to make them have a good experience. In return, they can help their freshman or transfer students. It's all about what's best for the students.


UK: Were you in UK 101 as a freshman?

LS: Yes.


UK: What else are you involved in? 

LS: Theta Nu Xi, I'm a publicity chair. I'm going to be the treasurer of Public Relations Student Society of America. I am a student program coordinator for The Study, I was a Chellgren Fellow and I did research with Dr. DeSantis on the rhetoric of hip-hop music. I'm also a super crew leader during K Week.


UK: Do you have any tips for students taking UK 101?

LS: Definitely, go to class — it's only half a semester and it's only one credit hour. There's not a ton of homework, but you get so much out of it. It only helps. It doesn't stress you out! They are giving you such great information. Build a good relationship with your peer instructor and class instructor as well — they are still going to be there with you when the class is over. Your instructors are more than likely a professor of some sort somewhere and they can help you find opportunities and be a resource for you.


UK: Why did you choose UK?

LS: My family is all huge UK fans. I went on a lot of campus tours and UK has such a beautiful campus and it feels like home. I didn't feel that magical feeling anywhere else. I'm not too far away from home, but I'm not too close.


UK: Where's your favorite place to eat on campus?

LS: Rising Roll. I love rising roll. I miss it.


UK: What is your dream job after graduation?

LS: Working in diplomacy, using my Arabic. I think it would be so cool to be a press secretary for the White House.


UK: What is your favorite vacation spot?

LS: I like anywhere with museums. I think the coolest I've been to is in St. Louis. I love St. Louis.  


UK: What's a favorite thing to do on weekends in Lexington?

LS: Eat. I like to go to as many local restaurants as possible — always Josie's for breakfast.


UK: What is one local place you've visited in Lexington recently?

LS: I love Crank & Boom! I love ice cream. It's a hidden gem.


UK: What's the best ice cream they serve there?

LS: Blueberry Lime Cheesecake.


UK: What's one of your favorite things at UK in the fall semester?

LS: I wish we could have another Thursday night football game. I love K Week, I'm a super crew leader and I love seeing all the new students and all the free stuff!


UK: What's the best gift you've ever received?

LS: Probably my first car when I was 16. That was pretty monumental moment. I was not a very good driver.


UK: What is your Starbucks order? 

LS: Trenta passion tea lemonade, light lemonade and lightly sweetened.


UK: If you could have dinner with one person, who would it be and why?

LS: Beyoncé, so her grace and eloquence could just rub off on me.


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

LS: Probably "can we go get something to eat?" or "do you have any snacks?"


UK: What would you tell an incoming freshman? 

LS: Try new things. If you try something and you don't like it, you don't have to stick with it, but you'd never know until you try it.


UK: You are happiest when…

LS: … my tummy is full. For sure.


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



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



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

Eric Hartman Tackling New Role as Innovation Office Director

Mon, 08/01/2016 - 14:07

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 2, 2016) Eric Hartman, a man with more than 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur himself, is now working full time to help others realize their dreams of turning innovative ideas into profitable businesses.


Hartman, who earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Kentucky College of Engineering, recently took over as director of the Lexington Office of the Kentucky Innovation Network, part of the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship within UK's Gatton College of Business and Economics. The Lexington Innovation Office is also part of a 12-office network partially funded by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, along with local strategic partners.


From 2000 to 2015, Hartman was co-founder and president of customKYnetics Inc. (cKY), a Central Kentucky medical device company which developed innovative rehabilitation products for physical therapy applications. The company was formed in 2000 based on research at UK.


Over the past year, Hartman served as director of the Kentucky Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) / Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) matching funds grant program for the Lexington-based Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC).


Warren Nash, executive director of the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship (VAC), said, "I am very excited to have Eric joining the VAC team. His background and startup experience will certainly prove to be very valuable to our clients from both UK and the regional entrepreneurial community."


Hartman, the lead inventor on eight issued U.S. patents, anticipates applying the knowledge and expertise he acquired as an innovative leader and high-tech/life sciences entrepreneur to serve clients of Lexington's Kentucky Innovation Network office.


"I am continually amazed by the passion, creativity and talent of our Central Kentucky entrepreneurial community," Hartman said. "I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to serve in the role of director of the Lexington Office of the Kentucky Innovation Network."


In addition to delivering numerous professional presentations over the past decade, Hartman continues to serve on the advisory boards of both the Scholars in Engineering and Management (SEAM) program and the F. Joseph Halcomb Department of Biomedical Engineering at UK.



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



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

Frankfort Regional Medical Center Joins UK HealthCare/Norton Healthcare Stroke Care Network

Mon, 08/01/2016 - 13:53

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 3, 2016)  — Frankfort Regional Medical Center has become the newest member of the Norton Healthcare/UK HealthCare Stroke Care Network, a community-based stroke initiative providing the highest quality clinical and educational programs to hospital staff and the community.


As part of the Norton Healthcare/UK HealthCare Stroke Care Network, Frankfort Regional Medical Center will participate in the sharing of best practices and outcomes data to promote continuous quality improvement in stroke care. Additionally, two neurologists from UK HealthCare – Dr. Danny Rose and Dr. Ayman Al-Salaimeh – have joined the medical staff at Frankfort Regional Medical Center to provide neurology coverage.


“This affiliation will enhance Frankfort Regional Medical Center’s ability to care for stroke patients and improve the quality of life in the communities we serve,” said Chip Peal, chief executive officer at Frankfort Regional Medical Center. “Through collaboration with affiliate members, we will ensure patients in our service area have access to the most advanced stroke treatment and prevention.”


According to Dr. Michael R. Dobbs, director of the Norton Healthcare/UK HealthCare Stroke Care Network and professor in the University of Kentucky's Department of Neurology, the Stroke Care Network is designed to help local hospitals and emergency services personnel follow best practices in stroke care.


“Our affiliate hospitals teach us about their communities and their patients. Meanwhile, we provide access to the resources and knowledge we have as an academic medical center so that Kentuckians can recognize the signs of stroke, understand the importance of early treatment, and be able to get that treatment as close to home as possible," Dobbs said.


As part of the network, Frankfort Regional Medical Center is pursuing designation as a Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission (TJC), the nation’s leading health care accreditation agency, which recognizes centers that follow the best practices for stroke care.


In 2014, the TJC designated UK HealthCare a Comprehensive Stroke Center – its highest honor. It is one of 96 U.S. institutions – and the only one in Lexington – with CSC-designation.


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


Media Contact:  Laura Dawahare,, (859) 257-5307

UK Researcher Leads International Epilepsy Cure Initiative

Fri, 07/29/2016 - 17:25

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 1, 2016) — University of Kentucky College of Medicine Professor Matthew Gentry will direct a team international scientists recently awarded a five-year, $8.5 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to pursue a cure for Lafora’s disease.


The International Epilepsy Cure Center based at the UK College of Medicine’s Department of Molecular Medicine and Biochemistry represents a collaborative effort to advance translational research and improve the diagnosis and treatment of Lafora’s disease, with the ultimate goal of finding a cure. An inherited neurodegenerative condition, Lafora’s disease appears in patients during adolescence and causes severe epilepsy, loss of speech and muscle control, and dementia, eventually leading to death. The center, which is funded by an NIH Program Project Grant, provides a framework for uniting multidisciplinary researchers in conducting important research exploring the molecular mechanisms that underlie Lafora’s disease.


The team comprises distinguished basic science researchers from around the world, including Gentry, a professor of molecular and cellular biochemistry at UK, Joan Guinovart in Barcelona, Spain; Berge Minassian of the Hospital for Sick Kids in Toronto, Canada; Peter Roach of Indiana University; and Jose Serratosa of Autonoma University of Madrid in Madrid, Spain.


“It is an amazing opportunity to lead this group of distinguished scientists from around the world towards such an important goal,” Gentry said. “Each of us have worked independently for more than a decade on Lafora disease and this grant now brings us together to develop the first cure for an epilepsy.”


Members of the international team have discovered mutations in two genes, which encode for the proteins laforin and malin and cause LD.  Laforin and malin are both involved in glycogen metabolism. Cells store energy as the carbohydrate glycogen and release energy as glucose when metabolic needs increase. Glycogen synthesis and degradation is regulated by a number of proteins. Mutations in the genes that encode for laforin or malin lead to aberrant glycogen inclusions called Lafora bodies (LBs). The LB inclusions are analogous to inclusions observed in Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and ALS, except the LBs are comprised of carbohydrate and the other inclusions are comprised of proteins. Thus, LD is also a member of the broader family of glycogen storage disease (GSD). 


The collaboration has already made significant progress in finding a cure. The laboratories of Guinovart, Minassian and Roach have shown that the LB inclusions cause neurodegeneration and reducing glycogen synthesis can cure LD in mouse models. At UK,

Gentry’s lab group has discovered a novel mechanism for glycogen regulation by the LD protein malin.


In collaboration with Craig Vander Kooi of the UK College of Medicine and Sylvie Garneau-Tsodikova of the UK College of Pharmacy, Gentry is establishing a personalized medicine blueprint for LD by defining the mutation-specific mechanisms of LD using biochemical tools. David Watt, a professor in the UK College of Medicine, will be leading a medicinal chemistry effort to identify small molecules to treat LD. Moving forward, each lab will focus on a different aspect of the disease, from basic science to translational science, so their discoveries can be applied in the clinical setting.


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

Super Star Chef Hooks Kentucky Kids on Healthy Habits

Fri, 07/29/2016 - 14:46

FLEMINGSBURG, Ky., (Aug. 1, 2016)  When 13-year-old Shane Turner walked into the first day of the Super Star Chef program, the instructors could tell he didn’t want to be there, but by the end of the week, everything changed.


“I’ve never really been able to cook at home; I never really wanted to,” said Turner, a soon-to-be Fleming County eighth-grader. “I’m usually playing outside or playing video games, but now I’ll try this at home.”


The spark in Turner is a big reason why the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment sends staff all over the state during the summer to conduct hands-on nutrition, healthy eating and basic cooking skills sessions for Kentucky kids.


“There is a big need for this program in Kentucky,” said Sara Talbott, UK Nutrition Education Program area extension agent. “It helps teach children the importance of nutrition, but also the safety skills that go along with being in the kitchen. Kentucky kids consistently rank low in consuming fruits and vegetables, and this program gives them an opportunity to try them in a way they haven’t in the past.”


The summer program allows the UK Nutrition Education Program to expand their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education efforts. The staff, made up of students from UK and Eastern Kentucky University, use the Super Star Chef curriculum to conduct four-day sessions in county extension offices, housing authority offices, 4-H camps and schools.


“Every week it seems like each of the team members connects with one of the kids; it may be the same one or a different one for each of us,” said Madison Meredith, a recent UK human nutrition graduate in her second summer with the program. “We always find someone who is our real success story, and this week that was Shane. I could tell the first day he didn’t want to be here, but by the last day he was really having a good time. He did a really good job and learned so much.”


This summer, the teams traveled to 32 counties impacting the lives of hundreds of limited-resource youth.


Kurt Brown was another instructor. He is a UK senior majoring in human nutrition with plans to become a physician assistant. He taught a lesson each week showing participants how much excess sugar they consume.


“It really surprised me that kids just don’t realize how much sugar they consume and they don’t realize sugar is that bad,” he said. “It really shocks them when we show them. It’s also surprising how some kids have never tried basic fruits and vegetables like strawberries and cantaloupe. But the end of the week, most of the kids are at least trying things we offer them and realizing they like it.”


That’s really what the program aims to do — change perceptions that healthy eating can be fun, taste good and improve their well-being. Participants got to take home recipes, aprons and cooking utensils to help them continue using their news skills in their own kitchen. 


“I hope that if anything, we can inspire them to carry on these lessons for the rest of their lives,” Meredith said. “We hope they will continue learning and improving their cooking skills, eating healthier and that they will encourage family, friends and other people around them to do the same thing.”


Turner said that is what he wants to do — teach his parents what he learned.



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



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


Preventive Exercises Can Reduce ACL Injuries

Fri, 07/29/2016 - 12:14

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 1, 2016)  Unfortunately, each year, about seven million sports-related injuries occur in the U.S., approximately half occur in people between the ages of five and 24 years old. Injuries, especially to the knee, remove young athletes from the playing field and can have long-term repercussions that limit mobility and lead to more severe issues.


Tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the tough band of tissue joining the thigh bone and shin bone at the knee joint, is not uncommon in “cutting” sports like soccer, volleyball, football and basketball. An ACL tear is a particularly damaging injury as it often leads to knee arthritis, and studies have reported that 50 percent of people who tear their ACL develop arthritis within 15 years of their injury. When you consider that most ACL injuries happen to those under the age of 25, this means that many patients are developing knee arthritis in their 30s or early 40s.


The ACL can be surgically reconstructed, which improves the stability of the knee. However, for young female athletes playing in cutting sports after ACL reconstruction, roughly one in three of these athletes will suffer a second ACL injury. Also, recovery after ACL reconstruction differs from patient to patient, with some taking longer to safely return to sports.


Because of the high rate of early knee arthritis and the risk of a second injury, preventing the first ACL injury is crucial. Preventative exercise programs have been shown to reduce the risk of ACL injury, and the free Get Set-Train Smarter app available on Android and iOS is a great resource for parents and athletes. This app, created by the International Olympic Committee, enables athletes to select an exercise program that is specific to the sports they play.


In addition, UK researchers are studying a number of ways to prevent a second ACL injury as well as prevent or delay the onset of knee arthritis for younger athletes that suffer an ACL injury. These include injections to lessen cartilage damage, improved surgical techniques for younger athletes and innovative rehabilitation protocols like what one’s being used with injured NFL athletes. Current research has also identified that athletes still have sizeable muscle imbalances when they return to sports, suggesting that both improved rehabilitation protocols and better testing methods be used to safely return young athletes back to their sport.


To learn more about sports medicine and orthopaedic research being conducted at UK, contact Dr. Cale Jacobs at


Dr. Cale Jacobs, Assistant Professor in UK’s Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine.


Volunteers Needed for Big Blue Move

Fri, 07/29/2016 - 11:08

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 2, 2016)  Volunteers are needed to help with Move-In 2016, a series of four days when University of Kentucky students move into on-campus residence halls. Volunteers are needed to roll out the blue carpet and welcome students by helping unload their belongings and direct them through the move-in experience on north, central and south campus.


Anyone interested in being part of this wonderful opportunity to make a great first impression for students and their families may register as a volunteer on the online form


For most of the nearly 6,000 students moving in, this will be their first time away from home and their first college experience. UK's primary goal is student success and move-in is an opportunity for faculty, staff and volunteers to help make an impact. A simple smile and "Welcome to UK!" can set the tone for a student's entire academic year.


"Offering a warm welcome to the newest members of our campus family is an important part of fostering their success," President Eli Capilouto said. "Volunteering for move-in is a wonderful way to aid in our students' transition from home to college."


This year’s move-in is scheduled over four days. Students participating in sorority recruitment, Wildcat Marching Band mebers, Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC), FastTrack STEMCats, and International Student Organization students will move into the residence halls Saturday, Aug. 13. Living Learning Program participants will move in Wednesday, Aug. 17. Freshmen students that have not previously moved-in will do so Friday, Aug. 19 and Saturday, Aug. 20. Transfer students and returning students will move in to their residence halls Saturday, Aug. 20.


Volunteers are needed for a variety of opportunities and times. A list of volunteer opportunities and the volunteer sign-up form can be found at



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



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

ALS Patient Advocate Hopes Free Screening of Documentary Will Inspire Others

Fri, 07/29/2016 - 09:34


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 1, 2016) — In August 2014, three young men living with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) inspired the world to dump buckets of ice water on their heads as a gesture of solidarity and support. While the "Ice Bucket Challenge" raised money for and awareness of the disease, many people still don't know much about ALS except that baseball great Lou Gehrig had it.


About 20,000 Americans have ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that leads to total paralysis and death within two to five years post diagnosis. It's a devastating disease that slowly robs its victims of their ability to speak, eat, move and breathe.


"The body breaks down, but the brain doesn’t necessarily," said Pam Light, whose husband, Paul, died of ALS a few months before the Ice Bucket Challenge rocked social — and mainstream — media. "It steals your sense of personal dignity.  There's a lot of loss, a lot of mourning."


And with each new chapter in Paul's decline, he chose to stay in the game of life.


He continued as a volunteer directing traffic at his church until he no longer had the strength to lift his walker high enough to clear the one-inch cracks in the sidewalk. He continued to attend his bi-monthly men's lunch group even though one of his friends had to feed him. He went to a Cincinnati Reds game with his sons and traveled to Disney World, Gatlinburg, Maryland, Indiana, and North Carolina for an anniversary celebration with Pam and visits with family and friends. 


Each time, says Pam, they brought all the equipment with them – motorized wheelchair, breathing machine, and a bag of all the things Paul needed to function while preserving his dignity. It wasn't an easy task, but a necessary one.


"Paul was truly amazing. He could have retreated from the world, just given up. Instead, he recognized that engaging in the world around him was more important than whether he could feed himself," Pam said. 


In spite of Paul's indomitable attitude towards life, there were moments of despair.


"I was overwhelmed, still working full-time and trying to take care of Paul too," Pam said. "One night I had an anxiety attack – I thought it was a stroke.  I looked at Paul and said, 'You have to take me to the hospital.'"


Paul, who had just recently been forced to give up driving, looked at her sadly and said just two words: "I can't."


They both started crying at the realization of their loss.


Dr. Edward Kasarskis, director of the ALS Clinic at the UK Kentucky Neuroscience Institute, said that ALS patients and their families often make the most of the time they have left, but he calls Pam and Paul's efforts inspirational.


Since Paul's death, Pam has continued to honor him by serving as a volunteer peer counselor in Dr. Kasarskis' ALS clinic.  She visits with patients and families during their appointment, helping them through the process, brainstorming for coping mechanisms, and encouraging caretakers to take care of themselves as well.


She has also embraced the role of advocate, attending the national ALS Association Advocacy conference in Washington D.C., every other summer to share her thoughts and ideas with fellow attendees and advocate for the disease on Capitol Hill.


It was there this year that she saw a screening of a movie called "Gleason."



"Gleason" tells the story of Steve Gleason, a former safety for the New Orleans Saints who was diagnosed with ALS in 2011 at just 34 years old — shortly after learning of his wife's pregnancy. The movie is a difficult, sometimes painful look at Steve's journey and the adjustments he and his family have made to live with this disease.


As an official selection for the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and numerous other film awards to its credit, the movie clearly has impact.  Its Los Angeles premiere was an emotional outpouring of support.


"My first thought when I saw "Gleason" was 'Oh my gosh, how did they find the courage to make this movie?' I was blown away by their willingness to struggle through life in full view of the world," said Pam.


"And my next thought was, 'What if this movie inspires the next wave of support and advocacy?"


Pam contacted the film's distributor and worked through all the red tape necessary to secure a private screening in Lexington the day before its local release.


"Gleason" will be at the Kentucky Theater on Main Street at 7 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 11. Tickets are free of charge; contact Brittany Ledford (859) 218-5061 or Meghann Bruno (859) 218-5064 to reserve tickets.


"I'll be honest, it's not an easy movie to watch, but it's so important. If just one person walks away committed to help further ALS advocacy for awareness, research and a cure, as Paul did, it was worth the effort."


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


Media Contact:  Laura Dawahare,, (859) 257-5307


UK Arts Students 'Promised' a 'Boss' Experience

Thu, 07/28/2016 - 16:46


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


LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 29, 2016) "Talk about a dream and try and make it real," those are the words of one of the world's most popular rock and roll icons, Bruce Springsteen.


And this summer at the University of Kentucky, those words perfectly capture the essence of what a group of students from all disciplines of the arts have been doing as they prepare to present a world premiere workshop performance of a new rock musical based on the music and lyrics of the American musician, singer and songwriter known to many as "The Boss."


"The Promised Land," by Adam Max and Alex Wyatt, charts the coming-of-age journey of two blue-collar bound high school graduates who dream of breaking the mold and finding a more meaningful purpose outside their small New Jersey town. Through roller coaster relationships, overbearing parents, impulsive decisions and heroic challenges, the young men learn more than they’d ever expected as they seek their promised land. To date "The Promised Land" has only been given a concert performance in Arkansas.


The new musical found its way to Kentucky when Max and Wyatt reached out to their friend Courtney Reed, director of Education and Community Engagement at UK Opera Theatre. "I had just moved here and had gone back home to Alabama to visit my parents and met with my dear friend Alex Wyatt, who handed me a script and said 'I want you to read this.' He told me nothing else. That was it. And so I went home that night, and I read it and I called him back the next day, and I said 'what do you want, what do you want me to do, tell me what I can do.' I flew to Arkansas to see the concert, and at that point I knew it would be great if we could workshop this," Reed said. 


But this eight-week summer course is not just about putting on a play, it is about giving UK students the opportunity to be on the ground floor of creating a new work, where they get the chance to work with the musical's creators and director in an educational setting. As part of their studies, students in this musical theatre workshop course, offered by the UK School of Music and led by Reed and workshop music director Kathrin Thawley, are gaining valuable knowledge on the myriad of steps it takes to bring a musical from the book to the stage.


"What's so fantastic about an educational setting is that we can workshop musicals like this, and we can get them to a place where they are presentable and ready to share with producers or anyone else who might be interested. So, giving the students an opportunity to be on the ground floor of a workshop of a project like this is just unbelievable. They’re actually getting experience they wouldn’t get in any other classroom setting, where they’re getting to work and rework and push the restart button over and over again until we ultimately come up with something that we think that everybody will love. It's been a great experience for them," Reed said.


The excitement around "The Promised Land" workshop began to build in the spring when Reed visited College of Fine Arts courses to share information on this new experience.


Reed's pitch intrigued arts administration junior Alexandra Burns, from Paintsville, Kentucky, who one day wants to be a tour manager in the music industry. "I love rock music and everything like that. I want to work in the music business one day so this seemed like a great opportunity to combine a theatre, nonprofit experience with rock music," Burns said.


To be part of the workshop, UK students then interviewed and/or auditioned in April for creative team and cast roles respectively, or both. Reed attracted several interested students from all areas of the college, many of whom were excited for something beyond their regular arts experiences.


"I really like doing things I’ve never tried, and I’d never even heard of a workshop before 'The Promised Land,'" said theatre junior Morgan Spaulding, from Louisville, Kentucky. "I auditioned without even really knowing what it was, and when they offered me a role in it I researched it more and just got even more excited about being a part of it and agreed to also be one of the costume designers for the show as well."


Classmate Andrew Durham, a vocal performance and arts administration senior from Paducah, Kentucky, also was excited for the new challenges offered in the workshop. "I really wanted to try out doing a few more of the administrative roles, because I've usually been the performer. And this seemed like a really cool opportunity because it was new. Plus, I just wanted to get on the ground going up." 


Those selected for the course, the first of what Reed hopes becomes an annual summer offering of new workshops, began their musical journey in early June. Since the beginning of UK's second summer session, students have been hard at work exploring the book, lyrics and music through rehearsal, staging and branding processes all the while offering tweaks to the creators on developing the best possible environment for the story to be told and the music to be heard.


In the research and development process of creating this new musical, students were responsible for character development and relationship discovery, story exposition, conflict and resolution, all while communicating these choices to the musical's creators. "It’s fun. People say that theatre is a living, breathing piece of work — but when the creators are right by your side and the composers are right there, the arrangers are right there, you have more of a say as what your character is. So my character, Wendy, is in the ensemble, I’m getting to flesh her out. I’m getting to choose her character traits, how she sings certain things. That’s very fun and it’s a very interesting experience because with most shows it’s kind of set in stone," Spaulding said.


As part of the behind-the-scenes work, the class crafted a technical and creative production strategy to employ as they built and executed plans for sets, costumes, lights, sound, a cast recording and a documentary on the experience.


During the class' exploration of the play's musical arrangements, students were charged with identifying and creating ideal transitions and instrumentations while transforming a rock score into a musical theatre orchestral score.


And last, but not least, students also had to get the word out on a relatively unknown new work by developing and executing a branding and marketing strategy for optimum

exposure of the musical and its now sold-out performance Aug. 11, at the Singletary Center for the Arts.


"First, we started out with just identifying demographics of who would be interested in this. And it's kind of interesting, because it is such a different demographic with this because you have Bruce Springsteen fans that may not necessarily be musical theatre fans and then you have musical theatre fans that may not necessarily be into Bruce. So it's kind of like bridging that gap between these two audiences, and that’s a large audience," said Burns, who is also serving as an assistant stage manager for the performance. "We started with social media first, because now everybody's on Facebook, especially the age demographic we are targeting which is kind of my parents' generation — 30s, 40s and above. And as our social media kind of panned out, we started with postcards and posters and then we moved up to the distribution of pushing those out into the community."


Accomplishing the multitude of tasks needed to bring the musical to life on stage has not been lost on the students, especially those who have only participated on one side of productions in the past.  


"I have way more appreciation for everyone behind-the-scenes now," Durham said. "It's really interesting to see just what goes into it, because you never really think they worked with this much money or they had these kind of resources. It's interesting to see how all of this comes together to create one really good performance."


Now as the class wraps, these UK students from art, arts administration, music and theatre anxiously await that one-night only performance in hopes they have found that magic of a new musical theater hit destined for the stages of Broadway and the West End — a hit that they can say they helped originate at their own alma mater. 



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



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

WalletHub Ranking of Best-run Cities Places Lexington No. 6

Thu, 07/28/2016 - 10:23

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 28, 2016) — Residents of Lexington know it's a great place to live, but now we know it's also one of the best-run cities in the country.  Home of the University of Kentucky, Lexington is ranked No. 6 in a recent ranking of 150 of the largest U.S. cities by WalletHub, a personal finance website.


The ranking measured several key indicators of how well-managed the cities are including: financial stability, education, health, safety, economy, infrastructure and pollution. According to the rankings website, "We then combined these categories to construct an “Overall City Services” ranking against which we measured the cities’ total per-capita budgets in order to reveal their budgeting efficiency."


Lexington ranks sixth overall; 27th in "Overall City Services"; and sixth in "Total Budget per Capita."  Lexington tied for first place in "Most Hospital Beds per Capita."


The only other Kentucky city ranked is Louisville at No. 26 overall.



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

E-Discovery Challenge Shaping Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

Thu, 07/28/2016 - 09:31

LEXINGTON, Ky., (July 29, 2016)  At one time, the three Rs were considered the solid foundation of any education. Now add a new letter to that list of reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic — the letter E, which represents a new curriculum-based program, E-Discovery. While the E in E-Discovery stands for entrepreneur, it also wraps encouragement and enterprise into a program for students in elementary through high school.


The University of Kentucky’s E-Discovery Challenge is designed to teach entrepreneurial skills and business development in K-12 classrooms and other settings. It has all the components of 21st-century learning skills that educators and employers believe are critically important to success.


The program originates from the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s Department of Community and Leadership Development, and is an outgrowth of the successful Kentucky Entrepreneurial Coaches Institute that was housed in the department.


Small businesses command an overwhelming share of the American economy, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, companies that employed fewer than 20 workers made up 89.8 percent of all employer firms in the country. Though some people have looked toward building a large manufacturing presence in economically hard-hit areas of the state, opportunity for more local employment and success often lies with small-business owners.


Educators who recognized the importance of introducing students to entrepreneurial opportunities early developed E-Discovery. With that in mind, program leaders are training teachers to incorporate the curriculum into their classes.


“The key to the success of E-Discovery Challenge in the classroom has been the amazing teachers we have trained to teach the curriculum alongside their content areas,” said Melony Denham, E-Discovery project manager.


In Bullitt County High School back in the spring, Marla Morris’ advanced marketing class spent nine sessions developing their own small businesses. Wrapping the E-Discovery Challenge curriculum into her lesson plans, Morris introduced her students to the creativity and business acumen needed to get a small business off the ground. Working in teams, her students developed businesses that created a variety of products, such as food products, home décor items and smart phone cases. Each team had to develop a business plan that included an executive summary, a company description, key personnel, an industry overview, a market plan, a cost analysis, a contingency plan, return on investment, vision and mission statement.


“Students are challenged, excited and motivated as they work in teams to develop their ideas,” Denham said. “Increased self-confidence, a can-do attitude, leadership skills and understanding what it takes to start a business are just a few of the many outcomes we have seen from this initiative.”


This isn’t just a homework assignment to be turned in on paper. The teams were required to find the funding, produce their products and then sell them at an arts fair in their school’s gym on a Saturday in May.


“I want them to put their money where their mouth is, because it didn’t get real until they actually had to do it,” Morris said. “I wanted it to be like the real world.”


Morris’ students learned quite a bit from the exercise, things like target markets and preparation. Jace Wilson and Stephanie Mata learned about supply and demand. The candle logs that Wilson made were turning out to be pretty popular, but they hadn’t made enough to meet demand. Wilson estimated it took between two and three hours to make each candleholder, which limited the amount they had on hand to offer customers.


This summer, 22 high school sophomores and juniors from 18 counties gathered at the Center for Rural Development in Somerset, Kentucky, for a weeklong immersion in the E-Discovery Challenge curriculum. This time it was the Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute using the E-Discovery curriculum. Led by Denham, Ann DeSpain, a retired Maysville teacher who is now an E-Discovery consultant, and Delaney Stephens, youth programs coordinator and community liaison with the center, the students arrived midday on a Monday, and by Tuesday afternoon had settled into teams and were deep into planning and establishing their businesses.


“We’re really trying to encourage them that entrepreneurship is a viable career option,” Stephens said. “This is so important. We shouldn’t have to teach our kids that they need to be doctors or lawyers and then go off to find a good job in a bigger city. We need to be teaching them how to solve problems that relate to Southern and Eastern Kentucky. The point is to get them excited about it, get them thinking about it.”


For Denham, there is another outcome from the program.


“Hope. That is the word that first comes to my mind that E-Discovery provides for students,” she said.


Funding for E-Discovery is made possible by the Appalachian Regional Commission, a federal-state partnership that works with the people of Appalachia in 13 states to create opportunities for self-sustaining economic development and improved quality of life. Financial support from the UK Department of Community and Leadership Development has allowed for program expansion, including into areas outside the Appalachian region. In addition, the department provides support for technical assistance, content, processes and evaluation.



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



MEDIA CONTACT: Carol Lea Spence, 859-257-8324,

Healthy Pregnancies and Pre-term Birth Prevention Drive Work of UK College of Nursing Researcher

Wed, 07/27/2016 - 17:05


Video produced by Alicia Gregory of REVEAL Research Media. 


LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 28, 2016) — Working as a labor and delivery nurse for a decade, Kristin Ashford was surrounded by happy beginnings. She helped women and families welcome healthy babies into the world. 


But amid those happy and healthy beginnings, Ashford also helped mothers and their families work through the stressful and heart-wrenching experience of pre-term birth. As a first-hand witness of the adverse outcomes associated with pre-term birth, Ashford was motivated to make a difference in this area of health care. She transitioned into a career researching risk factors of pre-term birth and creating strategies to prevent these negative outcomes through pregnancy interventions.


“It really got me interested in how to help these women more,” Ashford said of her nursing experience in labor and delivery. “Not only to reduce their risk, but also to help them emotionally cope with pre-term birth.”


As the assistant dean of research in the UK College of Nursing, Ashford implements multiple research projects and interventions bound by the common goal of prolonging pregnancy. Several risk factors, including smoking, substance abuse, poor socioeconomic conditions and obesity, increase a woman’s chance of experiencing pre-term birth, which is defined as delivery prior to 37 weeks gestation. Consequences of pre-term birth include respiratory illness, gastrointestinal disorders, immune deficiency, hearing, and vision problems, and a prolonged hospital stay, as well as longer-term motor, cognitive, visual, hearing, behavioral, social-emotional, health, and growth problems.


Because there are many modifiable behaviors and genetic factors associated with pre-term birth, Ashford’s research spans a spectrum of issues relevant to pre-natal care. Her interventions aim to prevent tobacco and illicit drug use, manage chronic conditions such as diabetes and obesity, and reduce emotional distress in expectant mothers. 


“I think that any time that you can prolong a pregnancy, it is a rewarding experience,” she said. “If you can prevent the child from being sick, prevent that family’s stress and prevent life-long complications associated with that risk, that's extremely rewarding.”


Ashford’s interventions are founded on the CenteringPregnancy model, which prepares women for pregnancy, labor and delivery, and motherhood through a peer support groups led by nursing and other health professionals.  Ashford has designed CenteringPregnancy interventions to help pregnant women in high-risk categories, including diabetes, tobacco use, substance abuse, or other socioeconomic or ethnic risk factors.


“Our UK program actually wants to put women together that have more in common with one another,” Ashford said. “So, in addition to being put in the group about the same time that they're pregnant, they also are put in (a group) based on their most high-risk factor for pre-term birth.”


One intervention effort led by Ashford effort seeks to inform pregnant women about the dangers of using tobacco products while pregnant and give them resources to quit. Despite the known risks of using tobacco products during pregnancy, many pregnant women in Kentucky still smoke. Ashford is troubled by the rising popularity of e-cigarettes among women of childbearing age. Her research studies indicate that women are using both e-cigarettes and traditional tobacco products during pregnancy. 


“Tobacco causes birth defects in pregnancy — that's known,” Ashford said. “And so, it's very clear that electronic cigarettes contain tobacco. Certainly, there's risks associated with electronic cigarette use in pregnancy.”


Ashford is expanding CenteringPregnancy programs to areas in Eastern and Western Kentucky. She is working with local health departments to provide a Centering support network for pregnant women in high-risk groups. She said her position in the UK College of Nursing allows her to research and disseminate interventions, teach future nurses and nursing researchers, and serve communities by improving the quality of health care.


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


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,


Coal, Camps and Railroads: Digitizing Primary Sources on Appalachian Economic Development

Wed, 07/27/2016 - 15:46

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 28, 2016) — The University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) successfully completed work on its National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) digitization grant, resulting in online access to 140 cubic feet of materials from the Bert T. Combs Appalachian Collection. The materials from the Coal, Camps and Railroads project is available to the public through the digital library ExploreUK.


The newly digitized materials at UK focus on 189 years of economic development in the Eastern Kentucky coalfield from 1788 to 1976. The 10 individual collections document:

· the search for, extraction of, and distribution of coal, oil and natural gas resources in Breathitt, Boyd, Clark, Floyd, Harlan, Lawrence, Letcher, Perry and Powell counties;

· the creation of railroads to bring these raw materials to industrial manufacturers and electrical power generators across the United States; and

· the company towns, their services and the individuals who grew up and made possible this economic development.


These collections include the Benham Coal Company recordsWheelwright collectionSherrill Martin papersLouisville and Nashville Railroad Company and Lexington and Eastern Railway Company records and the Kentucky Union Land Company records.


The Benham Coal Company records focus primarily on the early years of the company through the 1940s, including office files, Employee Benefits Association records, files on accidents and safety, and photographs. Benham was often described as a model coal camp, one with better quality housing with running water and electricity, schools, churches, a hotel, commissary, meat market, theatre, baseball diamonds, a doctor and other amenities supplied by the company.


The Harkins family papers primarily include the business papers of Walter S. Harkins and his sons, who all practiced in the family law firm. The family was involved in the development of coal and gas in Eastern Kentucky.


The Kentucky Union Land Company was a subsidiary of the Kentucky Union Railway Company and was responsible primarily for conducting surveys, purchasing lands through which the railway would run, and securing the right of way for the railway. The Kentucky Union Railway line eventually crossed over 500,000 acres of valuable coal, iron and timber lands, lying mostly in the Eastern Kentucky counties of Breathitt, Perry and Letcher. This collection consists of correspondence, financial papers, maps and legal documents, including surveys and surveyors' reports, deeds and indentures, and court records on land disputes, as well as a few miscellaneous documents relating to Three Forks City Company; St. Helen's Land, Coal and Iron Company of Frankfort; and the Kentucky Industrial Consolidation Company of Clay City.


The Sherrill Martin papers are primarily comprised of Carrs Fork Coal Company newsletters (1940-1945) containing line-drawing illustrations by Martin accompanying articles and letter-format lectures on mine safety by general superintendent P.A. Grady. Martin was a Perry County high schooler at the time of the creation of the illustrations.


Wheelwright, located in Floyd County, is another town created by the coal industry. The Wheelwright Collection contains records from three of the companies that owned Wheelwright: Inland Steel, Island Creek and Mountain Investment. Records include property reports, blueprints, accident reports, and materials documenting the coal operations. These records create a vivid picture of company town life from the company’s perspective.


The Tacony Oil Company records document the Philadelphia company’s exploration for oil in Lawrence County, Kentucky, and Burning Springs, West Virginia. The collection is mostly comprised of correspondence, much of which has been transcribed, but there are also some legal, financial, and business papers.


The Lexington and Eastern Railway Company (L&E) was initially incorporated as the Kentucky Union Railway Company in 1872 and later purchased by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company (L&N) in 1910. This collection contains case files for lawsuits filed against L&E and L&N in Eastern Kentucky in the early 20th century. Materials include correspondence, legal documents, maps, sketches, and a few newspaper clippings and photographs relating to the cases.


The Means family and Seaton family played a dominant role in the development of the iron industry in the Hanging Fork region of Southern Ohio and in Eastern Kentucky. They also played a prominent part in the development of both river and rail transportation in the area and in the formation of Ashland, Kentucky, as an industrial city. These collections include both personal and business-related correspondence, financial records, legal documents, memorabilia, newspaper clippings, journals, scrapbooks, and photographs. 


The Henry Clay McDowell papers (part of the Henry Clay Memorial Foundation records), include correspondence and legal and financial records that document McDowell’s development of Big Stone Gap, Wise County, Virginia, and the Kentucky Union Land Company, the parent company of the Kentucky Union Railroad.


UK SCRC was originally awarded the NEH's Humanities Collections and Reference Resources (HCRC) grant for the Coal, Camps and Railroads project in 2013. The HCRC program supports projects that provide an essential underpinning for scholarship, education, and public programming in the humanities. Thousands of libraries, archives, museums and historical organizations across the country maintain important collections of books and manuscripts; photographs, sound recordings and moving images; archaeological and ethnographic artifacts; art and material culture; and digital objects. Funding from this NEH program strengthens efforts to extend the life of such materials and make their intellectual content widely accessible, often through the use of digital technology.


The Combs Collection at UK SCRC, which is home to these digitized materials, includes collections of resources from several areas of Appalachian life, culture and history, including materials related to the coal industry; community; education and literacy; the lumber industry; medicine and public health; oil and iron; the railroad industry; regional and economic development; social reform; and the War on Poverty.


UK Special Collections Research Center is home to UK Libraries' collection of rare books, Kentuckiana, the Archives, the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, the King Library Press, the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center, the Combs Appalachian collection and ExploreUK. The mission of the center is to locate and preserve materials documenting the social, cultural, economic and political history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.



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



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

Sharon Burton Wins Al Smith Award for Public Service Through Community Journalism

Wed, 07/27/2016 - 14:49

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 28, 2016) — Sharon Burton, publisher of Kentucky’s statewide agricultural newspaper and a community weekly in her native Adair County, is the winner of the 2016 Al Smith Award for public service through community journalism by a Kentuckian.


Burton will receive the award Sept. 29 in Lexington, at the annual Al Smith Awards Dinner of the University of Kentucky’s Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues and the Bluegrass Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), which co-sponsor the award.


For more than 27 years, Burton has published The Farmer’s Pride, a newspaper for Kentucky farmers and other agriculture interests. For more than 14 years, she has published the Adair County Community Voice, a weekly paper that has frequently been cited on the institute’s The Rural Blog as an example of journalism that serves the public.


“Sharon is a great example of a local individual who saw a need, and through entrepreneurial hard work, created publications that serve the need of her local community but also of the agricultural community of Kentucky,” wrote Jimmy Henning, associate dean for extension in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment and director of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, in his nomination of Burton.


“Before The Farmer’s Pride, farmers had no timely place to go to stay informed on important issues,” Henning wrote. “Sharon is a tireless advocate for responsible storytelling about agriculture and the community. She is considered to be an honest and fair reporter from the continuum of agricultural entities, and her publication is the only statewide source of agricultural information in Kentucky.”


Burton was also nominated by Nick Roy, the Adair County extension agent for agriculture, who said “Sharon is recognized for her commitments to the community as both a journalist and community leader. It is individuals like Sharon Burton who make small rural communities thrive.”


Roy said the Community Voice “was quickly recognized as a credible source of information with coverage providing openness and transparency of local government” after its founding as a monthly in 2002.


“Its popularity grew and soon became a bi-monthly publication in 2005, and then a weekly newspaper in May 2007. While the Community Voice has grown and made minor changes through its development, its commitment to the betterment of the Adair County community has remained.”


One recent example of Burton’s commitment to public service through good journalism was her coverage of the March referendum in Adair County that legalized the sale of alcoholic beverages, one of the most controversial issues that a rural community can address. The Community Voice covered it thoroughly, offering insightful commentary without taking sides, including a front-page essay by Burton that began with reliving her experience of buying liquor from a bootlegger on her senior prom night and went on to the current experiences of students at the local, Methodist-sponsored Lindsey Wilson College and federal survey data on local drinkers.


Burton wrote that the county has "already said yes to alcohol. But we've said yes in a way where we don’t have to take responsibility. We allow alcohol to be sold in the shadows, treating it like a heroin den; people can get their fix, but we don’t have to look at it.”


The year before, Burton played an unusual — and probably for most journalists, controversial — role in her community by serving on the board of the local hospital, which had been driven into bankruptcy by mismanagement. When the new county judge-executive asked her to serve, she had many reservations because journalists are supposed to cover news, not make it. But she agreed "because I could not think of anything more important to do as someone who loves this community and the people who made it great," she wrote, adding that she felt she could make sure the board was more transparent than it had been. She recused herself from reporting or editing any hospital stories, and had an outside professional edit them for publication.


“Sharon’s deep commitment to public service drove her to make a decision that most academically trained journalists like her wouldn’t make,” said Al Cross, director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues and associate professor in the UK School of Journalism and Media, where he teaches community journalism. “Public service ought to be the primary thing that drives journalists, and there are times when your role as a member of the community can conflict with your role as a journalist. Sharon did an exemplary job of managing those conflicts, which is a key to success in community journalism.”


Burton grew up on a beef-cattle and tobacco farm in the Southwestern Adair County community of Sparksville. She earned a journalism degree from Western Kentucky University in 1983 and started The Farmer’s Pride in 1989. It and the Community Voice have won many journalism and public service awards. She is also a director of the Kentucky Press Association.


The Al Smith Award is named for Albert P. Smith Jr., who published newspapers in rural Kentucky and Tennessee, was founding producer and host of KET’s “Comment on Kentucky” and federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission. He was the driving force for creation of the institute, and headed its national advisory board for many years. He remains active as chairman emeritus.


The Al Smith Awards Dinner is an annual fundraiser for the institute and the SPJ chapter, which conceived the Smith Award. But it is also “a grand gathering of people who believe in journalism as an essential element of our democratic processes and want it to observe high standards; who recognize the importance of rural America to the rest of the country; and who agree with us that rural Kentucky and rural America deserve good journalism just as much as the rest of the state and nation, to help our democracy work,” Cross said.


For information on the dinner, to be held at the Marriott Griffin Gate Resort and Spa, contact Al Cross at 859-257-3744 or; or SPJ Bluegrass Chapter Treasurer Patti Cross at 502-223-8525 or Details will appear soon on the institute website,



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



MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder,

Haneberg Selected as New State Geologist, Kentucky Geological Survey Director

Wed, 07/27/2016 - 12:23

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 27, 2016) — William C. Haneberg will become Kentucky’s 13th state geologist Sept. 1, 2016. An engineering geologist with a wide range of research, academic and applied experience, he will also serve as the director of the Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS), leading KGS into the future of its mission to investigate Kentucky’s energy, mineral and water resources, and geologic hazards. Haneberg will hold a parallel appointment as a research professor in the University of Kentucky Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.


Haneberg, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, has more than 25 years of experience as a university geology teacher, researcher and administrator in the office of the state geologist in New Mexico, and consultant. Since October 2011, he has worked in Houston for an American subsidiary of the Dutch geoscience and engineering firm Fugro N.V., where he is a senior consultant and quantitative geohazards group leader.


“I’m honored and excited to take on the challenge of leading an organization with such a distinguished history of service to the Commonwealth, and look forward to exploring new ways to partner with government agencies, universities, public interest groups and industry as we all work to continue making Kentucky a great place to live and work,” said Haneberg.


Haneberg earned a doctorate in geology from the University of Cincinnati in 1989. His expertise includes geologic hazard and risk assessment, geomechanics, structural geology, hydrogeology and the use of geologic information to support planning and policy decision-making. He is author or co-author of more than 160 technical abstracts and papers on topics ranging from deep-sea landslides to Himalayan glaciation. Haneberg received the 2006 Claire P. Holdredge Award from the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists for his 2004 book, “Computational Geosciences with Mathematica.” He was the 2011 Richard H. Jahns Distinguished Lecturer in Engineering Geology and is an elected Fellow of the Geological Society of America.


Haneberg fills a position vacated by former State Geologist and KGS Director Jim Cobb, who retired in July 2014, after serving in that capacity for 14 years. Cobb had been with KGS since 1980, when he joined the Coal Section to focus on Kentucky’s coal resources at a time when its importance was growing.


As a research institute of UK, KGS works to increase the understanding of the state’s geology and disseminate its research results to the citizens, communities, state agencies, businesses, and industries of Kentucky. The 178-year-old state survey employs 45 staff in sections focusing on energy and minerals, water resources, geologic hazards, mapping and geoscience information. Its main office is located on the UK campus, with a well sample and core library in Lexington and a satellite office at Henderson, in Western Kentucky.


“We are excited about the future of KGS under the capable leadership of Dr. Haneberg.  His experience and research capabilities will serve this important statewide Center and their mission well as they move forward as an invaluable asset of the UK Research Enterprise” said Lisa Cassis, UK's vice president for research.



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



MEDIA CONTACT: Mike Lynch, KGS, 859-323-0561,; or Gail Hairston, UKPR&M, 859-257-3302

UK's Murdock Honored by Nation's Ag Extension Agents

Wed, 07/27/2016 - 11:47

PRINCETON, Ky., (July 28, 2016) — Over the past four decades, Lloyd Murdock, University of Kentucky extension soils specialist, has helped farmers across the state and region improve their operations. His efforts have not gone unnoticed.


Murdock recently received the Service to American/World Agriculture Award from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents during their annual conference in Little Rock, Arkansas. It is the highest award given by the organization and recognizes the winner’s major contributions to agriculture.


Murdock was nominated by Curt Judy and Darrell Simpson, agents with the UK Cooperative Extension Service.


“Lloyd is a wonderful specialist, and he continues to do very practical work that’s at the heart of what farmers need,” Judy said. “He is, and has always been, a farmer’s scientist.”


“I remember being a young agent working with Dr. Murdock on a poultry litter study here in Muhlenberg County and learning so many things from him,” Simpson said. “He truly impacted my life, just as he has done for so many agents and farmers alike in Western Kentucky.”


Murdock’s research findings serve as a foundation for many agronomic practices farmers currently use.


Early in his career with the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Murdock was part of a team of specialists who worked to understand the cause of grass tetany in beef cattle and discovered a way to prevent it. Their recommendation of feeding magnesium to cows on pasture resulted in an immediate 90 percent reduction in the disorder and is a practice cattle producers continue to use today.


Since the 1980s, Murdock has worked to make no-till wheat a viable option for farmers in the state through his role in UK’s Wheat Science Group. His research on nitrogen fertilization of no-till corn made applying nitrogen more cost effective and environmentally friendly for farmers in the South and Midwest.


Other notable accomplishments include conducting supporting research behind the development of the most common penetrometer farmers use to measure soil compaction and developing an algorithm for making variable rate nitrogen applications. Most recently, he is part of a team working on a solution to break down the fragipan layer found in many Kentucky soils. This hard layer is one of the biggest limitations to yields in the state.


“I have always tried to go above and beyond agents’ and farmers’ expectations to give them the information they need in a timely manner,” Murdock said. “Serving people and doing practical research that made a difference in people’s lives has always been important to me.”



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



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


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