Campus News

UK Alum Must Be on Her 'Game' in Role at ESPN

Mon, 03/09/2015 - 11:41



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


LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 11, 2015) — In the months between August and March, University of Kentucky alum Megan Powell has traveled to 20 different states to help bring National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) events to television viewers across the country.


From Alabama to California to New York, the Versailles native worked behind the scenes as an associate producer for ESPN.  In this role, she helped cover Southeastern Conference (SEC) football and bowl games, Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Men's basketball and SEC Women's basketball as well as the NCAA Women's Volleyball tournament.  As March Madness begins, she'll bring the Women's NCAA and NIT tournament action to viewers and then move on to NCAA Softball and Baseball.


"In the middle of a broadcast, I am responsible for anything that a viewer would read on the screen," said Powell.  "So any graphics that you see, we do a lot of research before we get here, we follow the stats in game and I have a group of people around me that support me to make the show look good or bad as it could be."


Her goal is to paint a picture of the action happening on the field or court for those who can't be there in person.


"Whatever sport it may be I am a part of a team to tell our viewers at home who can’t come to the game what is happening," said Powell.  "Every day is different in my work but we are coming to a place where people are paying money for tickets; and we get to bring that atmosphere home to the viewers."


While this College of Communication and Information graduate loves sports, it's not all fun and games.  There is a great deal of work that has to happen in the days leading up to just one game. 


"We have to do a lot of statistical research, getting on conference calls with coaches, talking to our announcers, talking to the producer and director to see what direction we want it to take, what the storylines are for the games," said Powell.


That means being prepared for the unexpected.


"We have to be ready for almost anything could happen on the field, said Powell.  "If you lose a starting quarterback, if you lose a starting running back, if you lose a starting defensive lineman, what’s your back up to that scenario?  So we have to think about anything that could possibly happen on the field and be ready to react to that. Before the game is a lot of proactive work and then during game it's about reacting to what is happening on field."


And that means the pressure can build up during games, especially when it comes to SEC Network games.


"We are following the game, we’re following the story lines that happen in the game and of course there is pressure," said Powell.  "There is pressure in any job but our viewers are very knowledge about the SEC, they're very knowledgeable about their teams and so we have to be even more knowledgeable than they are so that when they're watching a broadcast, we are teaching them about it and giving them the story."


The colleagues making up production teams each game help alleviate some of that pressure.


"That’s where the team scenario comes into play," said Powell.   "You have a lot of people helping to make my job easier but also my job is only one part of what’s going on (during the game). We have a whole tape room that is handling replays and video packages and a producer and director are handling cameras and directing the talent of which way to go with following the story lines."


One of Powell's first SEC Network games actually took place at Commonwealth Stadium.  UK Football's home opener brought her back to the Bluegrass, and her family.


"Coming home to Kentucky is always a really exciting time," said Powell.  "It’s always a joy to come back to my alma mater."


But once she clocks in for work, her connection to UK must take a backset to doing her job.


"At work I have to set those feeling aside and very much concentrate on the game and what the stories are," said Powell.  "You know, everybody in this business, they all have an alma mater somewhere and when we walk into work, you no longer have that alma mater. You have to be very objective to the scenarios and then in the social scene, you can go back to being a fan."


So while she can't always wear her blue and white, Powell is extremely proud of the education UK provided her.


"My time at Kentucky was very valuable to me because I learned a lot about time management and organization," Powell said.


But it wasn't just lessons she learned in the classroom as an integrated strategic communications major that helps her today.


"Being involved in outside the classroom activities and doing internships that were available to me through the university were incredibly helpful to me," said Powell.  "I was very prepared to walk into this field after college and I am incredibly thankful to my alma mater for that."



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

Smith Named UK College of Pharmacy Interim Dean

Mon, 03/09/2015 - 11:32

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 10, 2015) -- Kelly M. Smith, a faculty member in the College’s Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science and associate dean of Academic and Student Affairs, has been named interim dean of the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy.


Smith takes over for former Dean Timothy S. Tracy, who was recently named provost at the University of Kentucky. She is the first woman to hold the top leadership position in the 145-year history of the UK College of Pharmacy.


“I am honored and humbled to serve in this capacity,” Smith said. “I have the utmost respect for this institution – from our students to my colleagues and, of course, our alumni. I look forward to working with each and every stakeholder to continue this college’s proud legacy of excellence in education, research and outreach.”


Smith currently serves on the board of directors for the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). She is a Fellow of ASHP and the American College of Clinical Pharmacy, and is a past Academic Leadership Fellow of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.


She has been recognized for her excellence in the practice of pharmacy here in Kentucky as well. Smith was named Pharmacist of the Year by the Kentucky Pharmacists Association in 2008 and received the same honor from the Kentucky Society of Health-System Pharmacists in 2005.


The College of Pharmacy will soon launch a national search for a new dean. Smith has stated that she will not be a candidate for that position and will actively recruit the next dean for the UK College of Pharmacy.

Deadline Approaching for 'Teachers Who Made a Difference' Submissions

Mon, 03/09/2015 - 10:03

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 10, 2015) — Do you know an educator who deserves to be recognized for their impact? Have you been inspired and motivated to succeed by a teacher, professor, coach or principal? If so, you still have the opportunity to thank them with the University of Kentucky College of Education's Teachers Who Made a Difference program.


The program is accepting submissions until Monday, March 16.


The program does not select winners from a pool of nominees. Rather, the College of Education created the program to provide individuals a means to express thanks to educators who have impacted their lives. Honorees can be from anywhere and do not have to be affiliated with UK; however, the number of honorees to be recognized is limited. Organizers ask that each nominator limit recognitions to one educator per year.


UK women's basketball coach Matthew Mitchell is once again teaming up with the College of Education to offer this program, which has honored educators for 17 years.


“Teaching is my job, teaching is my passion. And it is something that I love and hope to do the rest of my life,” said Mitchell, the 2015 Teachers Who Made a Difference spokesperson. “It is a tremendous thing to be a teacher.”


To honor an educator, complete the online form at or download the printable form and mail in to:


Teachers Who Made a Difference

University of Kentucky

College of Education

133 Dickey Hall

Lexington, KY 40506-0017


More than 1,800 teachers have been honored since the program’s inception. The Teachers Who Made a Difference program includes a special recognition event and reception attended by both the teachers and their nominators. This year's event will be held Saturday, April 18, at the UK Student Center's Great Hall.


Nominees who are able to attend will enjoy a light continental breakfast at 9:30 a.m. and honored thereafter around 10 a.m. Those who cannot attend will receive their award by mail.


For more information, visit or contact the UK College of Education Office of Advancement by phone at 859- 257-4014. 




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

UK Scientist Awarded $3 Million NIH Grant to Study Therapy for Sepsis

Mon, 03/09/2015 - 09:38

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 10, 2015) -- Xiang-An Li, Ph.D., of the University of Kentucky Saha Cardiovascular Research Center and Department of Pediatrics, has been awarded a $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study synthetic HDL (sHDL) as a potential therapy for sepsis.


Sepsis  --  also called septicemia -- is a life-threatening condition caused by an overwhelming immune response to infection. Immune chemicals released by the body into the bloodstream to fight the infection trigger widespread inflammation that can damage multiple organ systems. In the worst cases, blood pressure drops, the heart weakens and the patient spirals toward septic shock and death.


Sepsis is a major health issue, claiming more than 215,000 lives annually in the United States alone. Anyone can develop sepsis, but it's most common and most dangerous in older adults or those with weakened immune systems. Early treatment of sepsis, usually with antibiotics and large amounts of intravenous fluids, improves chances for survival.


In previous research Li, a pioneer in studying the role of HDL and its receptor SR-BI in sepsis, demonstrated that mice deficient in HDL were highly susceptible to sepsis. In a cooperative study with Dr. Theodore Standiford, chief of the Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine of the University of Michigan, Li's lab found that HDL levels decrease by 40-70 percent in septic patients, and are associated with a poor prognosis.


Alan Daugherty, Ph.D., director of the UK Saha Cardiovascular Research Center, emphasizes the importance of Li's findings. "These studies suggest that low HDL is a risk factor for sepsis," he said. “HDL is a protective factor in cardiovascular disease and raising circulating HDL levels may provide multiple protections against sepsis.”


More than 100 clinical trials targeting inflammatory or coagulation pathways in sepsis have failed. "These failures teach us that sepsis is a complex disease and more innovative approaches targeting multiple factors are required," Li said. “HDL (high density lipoprotein) is likely a great candidate to achieve this goal."


Li will partner with  Anna Schwendeman, Ph.D., an expert in synthetic HDL from the University of Michigan, to promote HDL functions by the use of synthetic HDL as a therapy for sepsis.


"The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality lists sepsis as the most expensive condition treated in U.S. hospitals, costing more than $20 billion in 2011," said Li. “We hope that this preclinical study will provide a body of data in support of a synthetic HDL-based therapeutic approach for treatment of sepsis and position it for rapid clinical translation.”


Dr. Xiang-An Li laboratory web page:

R01GM113832, National Institute of General Medical Sciences



Student Government, UK Police Launch LiveSafe App at UK

Mon, 03/09/2015 - 09:19

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 9, 2015) — Safety is the highest priority on our campus. The University of Kentucky is a safe campus but is always exploring new ways to keep the campus community safe. Spearheaded by UK Student Government Association, in partnership with UK Police, a new tool is now available to put safety in the palm of your hand.


The university is launching LiveSafe — a revolutionary smartphone app that will notify UK Police of your exact location within seconds of activating an emergency alert.


As part of their platform statement, SGA President Jake Ingram and Vice President Mariel Jackson promised a commitment to working with UKPD and the UK administration to ensure a safe environment for students, faculty and staff both on campus and in the surrounding community.


"Our administration and UK Police are working hard to create an incredibly safe environment on our campus and the investments that have been made are helping ensure that," Jake Ingram, SGA president, said. "But last year, the number one concern I heard from students was off-campus safety. The 'blue light phones' help students feel safe on campus, but LiveSafe puts the power of a blue light tower right in their pockets. Arming students with LiveSafe on their smartphones will help everyone take responsibility for their own personal safety and the safety of the entire community."


"The UK Police Department is pleased to partner with Student Government on the LiveSafe app, which we believe will provide another layer of protection for our UK family," said UK Police Chief Joe Monroe. "The app gives users greater access to police when they need it for their immediate personal safety or if they want to anonymously report suspicious activity they might observe in the community. Our police personnel have worked with Student Government and the LiveSafe company to provide an easy-to-use app that incorporates a variety of elements to promote safety for our students, faculty and staff."


“UK’s top priority is the safety and security of our university family – their success in myriad research pursuits, academic programs and professional interests is contingent on a safe and supportive environment,” UK President Eli Capilouto said. “The new LiveSafe app – a creative solution reached with the leadership of our students in partnership with our campus police – is another component of our multi-faceted approach to safety. It builds on the millions UK has invested in technology and infrastructure on campus by extending our reach to the members of the UK family who live, work and socialize beyond the borders of the main campus.”


The mobile app company is based in Virginia and was co-founded by Virginia Tech shooting survivor Kristina Anderson. Though primarily focusing on higher education, the mobile app partners with high schools, sports arenas and military.


LiveSafe makes it easy for people to share information about potential crimes and unsafe situations with campus police using their smartphone. Through their devices, users will be able to report GPS-tagged information with added pictures, video and audio clips.


Phone calls and written reports will still be accepted and acted upon by UK Police; however, LiveSafe users can report tips in new ways and with more accurate location information.


LiveSafe allows law enforcement to push information out to its users, serving as a supplement to the UK Alert system. UK Alert will continue to expedite messages to the campus community via email, SMS messages and social media.


LiveSafe empowers both citizens and law enforcement to make their community safer. Through LiveSafe, law enforcement can better identify and assess threats, prevent crimes and save lives, thus enhancing overall safety.


As part of the campus launch, SGA hosted a contest for student organization and residence halls to download the app. Winners were Kappa Alpha Theta (Greek-letter organization), Wildcat Service Dogs (student organization) and Woodland Glen II (residence hall). Student organization winners received a $1,000 grant and the residence hall winner receives a pizza party.


UK LiveSafe is available as a free download from iTunes or Google Play for iPhone and Android devices. The UK LiveSafe mobile app can be downloaded to smartphones in just three easy steps.


1.          Open Google Play or the Apple App Store on your phone. Search for "LiveSafe" and download the option with the blue shield.

2.          Tap "Sign up." Fill in your profile information and create a password.

3.          The University of Kentucky may pop-up if you are close to campus. If so, tap "Yes." Otherwise tap "Change" to select your school.



MEDIA CONTACT: Kathy Johnson,, 859-257-3155 or Katy Bennett,, 859-257-1909

SGA CONTACT: Blair Hoover,, 270-566-3988

Human Resources to Recognize UK Student Employee of the Year

Mon, 03/09/2015 - 08:48

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 10, 2015)  The University of Kentucky Human Resources Student Employment Office is publicly recognizing outstanding contributions and achievements of UK student employees through its Eighth Annual Employee of the Year Contest. University employers are asked to nominate undergraduate student employees who have demonstrated exemplary commitment and initiative in his or her work.


The UK Human Resources Student Employee of the Year Program will select 10 finalists to compete in the contest.  Each finalist and his or her nominating supervisor will be recognized at an awards ceremony April 16.


Nomination forms for the 2014-2015 UK HR Student Employee of the Year can be found at the following link:  All employers are encouraged to nominate an outstanding student worker by Friday, March 20.   


Students must meet the following criteria in order to be nominated:

1.       Students must currently be work-study or hourly student employees at UK.

2.       Students must have completed or expect to complete at least six months of part-time or 3 months of full-time employment on or before April, 2014.

3.       Students may not be employees of the UK HR Student Employment Office.

4.       Students must be in a UK undergraduate degree program and enrolled in at least a half-time credit load for both Fall 2014 and Spring 2015.


For questions or comments contact Chuck Embs at or Zac Miller at

Shining a Light on Connections Between Worlds of Art and Science

Sun, 03/08/2015 - 11:29

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 9, 2015) — The Art Museum at the University of Kentucky is hosting "Looking for Light: Chemistry, Art, Story, and Song," the third annual event of the Math, Arts, and Sciences Coalition (M.A.S.C.). This free public event will take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 12, at the museum in the Singletary Center for the Arts, with a reception to follow.


The event explores the idea of interconnectedness between the arts and sciences and features a collaborative mixed media performance by vocalist and UK doctoral student Shareese Arnold, Lexington-based artist Marjorie Guyon, and Susan Odom, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry at UK.

Odom will elaborate on her innovative research on energy collection and storage, and how light interacts with matter to create what we perceive as different colors. She will also explain some of the science that unifies art and music. Guyon and Arnold will work together to combine visual images and operatic arias to create a palpable landscape space with emotional resonance.

Arnold is currently in her second year of doctoral work at UK Opera Theatre on full scholarship. She performed the title singing roles of Suor Angelica in "Madama Butterfly," Donna Anna in "Don Giovanni," Bess in "Porgy and Bess" and The Sorceress in "Dido and Aeneas."  

Guyon has exhibited throughout the United States, with works displayed in public and private collections including International Paper, FedEx, Brown Foreman, Pfizer, Morris Museum of Art, UK HealthCare and The Keeneland Foundation. Her background in poetry and her experience in art-making has merged into what she calls "the Bigger Room," an idea of "place-making with a benevolent goal."

Odom's work at UK Department of Chemistry focuses on utilizing synthetic organic chemistry to create materials for energy collection and storage. This research involves the synthesis of organic compounds for incorporation in electrochemical energy storage systems, either as additives for life extension and improved safety or as the energy storage materials themselves. Applications of this research include lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and redox flow batteries for storage of solar and wind power.


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



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

Gatton's 'Innovative Leadership' Opens March 19

Fri, 03/06/2015 - 10:11

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 9, 2015) — Making sense of economic data, decision making and risk management are just a few of the areas which will be explored in depth during the upcoming,10-week Innovative Leadership program being offered through the University of Kentucky's Gatton College of Business and Economics.


The Innovative Leadership series opens Thursday, March 19 and is one of the Certificate in Business Administration (CBA) offerings that Gatton provides through its Don and Cathy Jacobs Executive Education Center (EEC). The CBA is specifically designed for individuals with limited business backgrounds who want to expand their knowledge and enhance their skill set in order to meet the challenges of today's business world.


Distinguished faculty and guest speakers from the Gatton College lead the program in a lively instructional environment which is complemented by opportunities for hands-on experience. Each three-hour class, Thursdays from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. through May 21, focuses on a different vital topic.


The Boone Center, located in the heart of the UK campus in Lexington, provides an engaging venue for the Innovative Leadership series. Lighted, free parking is provided on site for program registrants. The cost is $1,020 per person for the program, with groups of three or more people from an organization eligible for a special discounted rate.


The fee also will be discounted for UK faculty, staff, and students. Interested UK personnel must contact the EEC to receive a special promo code for the UK discount before registering online.


Fees include instruction, all materials, and refreshments at each session, in addition to parking. Individuals who attend all of the sessions will earn 27.5 course hours of continuing education credit and a certificate of completion.


"The Innovative Leadership certificate program is open to all interested persons who want to energize their careers and broaden their horizons," said Joe Labianca, Gatton Endowed Chair in Management and director of the Don and Cathy Jacobs Executive Education Center and the Executive MBA Program.


Topics in this series and the schedule are as follows:

·         Making Sense of Economic Data…March 19

·         Power, Conflict and Negotiation in Organizations…March 26

·         Emotion & Emotional Intelligence…April 2

·         Decision Making…April 9

·         Risk Management & Organizational Control…April 16

·         Integrated Marketing Communications…April 23

·         The Service Focused Business…April 30

·         Personal Selling…May 7

·         The Strategic Role of Human Resources Management…May 14

·         Entrepreneurship & Writing a Business Plan…May 21


To register or for more information, go to, call 1-800-284-6407, or email Connie Blakemore at




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



WUKY's 'UK Perspectives' Takes a Closer Look at the STEAM Academy

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 15:08

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 6, 2015) — WUKY's "UK Perspectives" focuses on the people and programs of the University of Kentucky and is hosted by WUKY General Manager Tom Godell.  Today's program explores the STEAM Academy, the unique collaboration between UK and the Fayette County Public Schools.  Godell's guests are STEAM Academy Director Tina Stevenson and UK College of Education Associate Professor Justin Bathon.


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


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

UK Alumna Receives Fellowship With Civic Orchestra of Chicago

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 10:21

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 6, 2015) — University of Kentucky alumna and French horn player Melanie Erena is continuing her successful music career as the recipient of a two-year fellowship awarded by the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. As part of the fellowship program, Erena will occasionally be called upon to play in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, as well as receive mentorship from orchestra members along the way.


Before arriving at the UK School of Music, Erena attended Lafayette High School and took horn lessons from Joanne Filkins, director of UK School of Music Student Affairs. Upon completion of her high school degree, the musician chose to continue her studies at UK where she studied with David Elliott, associate professor of French horn. In 2010, Erena was one of three winners of the UK Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition giving her the prestigious opportunity to perform a solo with the orchestra. She was also a recipient of the school's O. Helton Memorial Acres Scholarship, which recognizes the accomplishments of an outstanding member of the school and music body.


Erena graduated summa cum laude from UK in December 2011 with bachelor's degrees in music performance and music education and a 4.0 GPA. She then attended Northwestern University, where she received a master's degree in performance and studied with Gail Williams, a former co-principal hornist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.


As a talented musician, Erena has traveled internationally to perform in places such as Canada, Europe and China. She has also performed in many famous venues in the United States including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, the Kennedy Center and Cleveland's Severance Hall.


The Civic Orchestra is regarded as one of the most respected music training programs for emerging musicians in the United States. Through the direction of Principal Conductor Cliff Colnot, musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra Music Director Ricardo Muti and the many guest artists who perform at the Symphony Center each season, Civic has become one of Chicago's greatest cultural and educational resources.


The Civic Orchestra is well-known for serving the Chicago community by presenting free, high quality concerts at Symphony Center as well as free, interactive chamber music performances in schools and community locations throughout the city. Additionally, the Civic Orchestra is a signature program of the Negaunee Music Institute at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The institute works hard to offer pathways for both musicians and audiences to develop as citizens musicians by promoting the power of music to create connections and build community.


The UK School of Music at 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;

PTS Offers Free Spring Break Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 08:30

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 5, 2015) — With Spring Break rapidly approaching, University of Kentucky Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) is helping students with their travel arrangements by offering complimentary shuttle service from campus to Blue Grass Airport prior to the break.


The shuttle will operate Thursday, March 12 and Friday, March 13, with daily campus pick-up times of 6 a.m., 8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Students should plan to leave campus at least two hours prior to take-off.


Although the shuttle is free, reservations are required. To schedule a pick-up, students should submit a ride request through the form found here: Ride requests should be submitted at least two business days in advance.


A PTS representative will email to confirm a pick-up time and convenient location. Students are responsible for their own transportation back to campus.

UK Classes Canceled, Offices Closed Thursday, March 5

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 17:54

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 4, 2015) — University of Kentucky classes for Thursday, March 5, are canceled and only Plan B (essential) employees are required to report to work. UK HealthCare clinics and Hospitals are open.



Wednesday, March 4 classes will continue as scheduled  tonight unless notified by the instructor. More information at



OUTspoken Event Planned for Wednesday Night Is Canceled

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 17:06

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 4, 2015) — The second annual OUTspoken event planned from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, in Memorial Hall has been canceled due to anticipated inclement weather.



Holmes Award Luncheon Rescheduled for March 12

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 15:28

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 4, 2015) — Due to the impending weather forecast, the Sarah Bennett Holmes Award Luncheon, originally scheduled for Thursday, March 5, has been rescheduled for Thursday, March 12, 2015 from 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. in the Student Center Grand Ballroom


Because of the delay,  reservations have been re-opened through Monday, March 9. To make reservations, visit:


Coordinated by UK Women's Forum, the Sarah Bennett Holmes Award is granted annually to women working at UK who promote the growth and well-being of other women at the university and across the Commonwealth. Two awards are presented — one to a faculty member and one to a staff member.


The 2015 nominees are:



·         Henrietta Bada-Ellzey, Pediatrics, College of Medicine and Health Behavior, College of Public Health

·         Ruth Bryan, Special Collections Research Center, UK Libraries

·         Rebecca Collins, Pediatrics, College of Medicine

·         Beth Goldstein, Education Policy Studies, College of Education

·         Marty Henton, School of Art and Visual Studies, College of Fine Arts

·         Beverly A. Hilton, UK Libraries

·         Elizabeth Oates, Radiology, College of Medicine

·         Melynda Price, College of Law

·         Pamela Remer, Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology, College of Education

·         Susan Smyth, Internal Medicine, College of Medicine

·         Anita Superson, Philosophy, College of Arts and Sciences

·         Alice Thornton, Internal Medicine Division of Infectious Diseases, College of Medicine



·         Joanne Brown, University Health Service (student health)

·         Evie Russell, Undergraduate Research

·         Elizabeth Snider, UK HealthCare Polk Dalton Clinic

·         Gaye Whalen, UK Women's Health - Obstetrics and Gynecology

·         Shane Winstead, Pharmacy Services

UK's Vanderford featured in Nature

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 13:28

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 9, 2015) – Nathan Vanderford, assistant director for research at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center and assistant professor in the Department of Toxicology and Cancer Biology, has a featured article on graduate education in the March 5 edition of Nature. Nature is one of the most prominent and prestigious interdisciplinary scientific journals in the world.


Vanderford co-wrote an article titled, "Wanted: Information" with Viviane Callier from the Ronin Institute for Independent Scholarship. In the piece, Vanderford and Callier examine why recent doctoral graduates are having trouble obtaining jobs. They note that doctoral students, specifically those in the science and engineering fields, are not given enough information before obtaining a higher degree and also do not receive enough information about the job market while obtaining the degree.


According to the article, "those pursuing a Ph.D. need a more accurate picture of the academic and non-academic job markets and they need it well before they graduate."


Vanderford and Callier believe that with better information, students can better prepare to enter the job market and avoid common mistakes that leave them feeling both overqualified and unqualified for positions.


To view the full article, visit Nature online. 


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

KNI Physician Helps Patients with Parkinson's Using Newly-Approved Drug

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 12:04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 9, 2015) -- To date, a cure for Parkinson's disease remains elusive for the more than 50,000 Americans diagnosed yearly, despite decades of intensive study.  But a newly approved treatment that might help ease the symptoms of Parkinson's has shown remarkable promise.


Parkinson’s is a progressive disease caused by the death of dopamine-producing cells in the brain. While most people recognize a Parkinson's patient by their motor skill difficulties such as tremor, slowness and stiffness, the disease also gives rise to several non-motor types of symptoms such as sensory deficits, cognitive difficulties or sleep problems.


While doctors have a number of treatments available to help manage the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, the motor deficits that are the hallmarks of PD are also the nemesis of effective treatment, since the muscles that control digestion are also affected, making dosing -- both in terms of amount and timing -- challenging.


Compounding this challenge is the fact that medications lose effectiveness over time as cell death progresses. Although levodopa remains the “gold standard” to control motor deficits in the treatment of early stage PD, after four to six years of treatment with oral medications for Parkinson’s disease, about 40 percent of patients find those medications less effective overall, inconsistent in controlling muscle function, and accompanied by a bothersome side-effect called dyskinesia, or involuntary muscle movement. By nine years of treatment, about 90% will suffer these effects.


Dr. John Slevin, professor of Neurology and Vice Chair of Research at UK's Kentucky Neuroscience Institute, worked with an international team of investigators to explore the efficacy of continuous levodopa dosing using a specially developed gel called CLES (Duopa®) that is delivered directly into the small intestine by a portable infusion pump.  

"We were extremely pleased with the results," Slevin said.  “Patients with advanced PD treated via this new method demonstrated marked improvement in symptom fluctuations with reduced dyskinesia.“


According to Slevin, CLES's effectiveness is due in part to the fact that it results in more stable plasma concentrations of levodopa by delivering it directly to the small intestine, which bypasses issues of erratic gastric emptying and absorption caused by reduced muscular function inherent to PD.


"CLES has the potential to address a significant unmet need in this patient population with limited therapeutic options," Slevin added. 


The FDA approved CLES in January 2015. Because the safety and efficacy of levodopa is already established, this treatment has the potential to be fast-tracked for widespread use within the next 4-6 months.


"In fact, my first research patient is scheduled to switch to ongoing treatment with CLES this month," Slevin said. 


Results from the study were published in the current issue of the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease. The article is available at



Difficulty Swallowing? It Might Be Dysphagia

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 11:46

LEXINGTON, Ky (March 9, 2015) -- Almost everyone has at one time experienced the sensation of something stuck in his or her throat -- after swallowing a pill, perhaps, or choking on food. But recurrent swallowing difficulties could mean a diagnosis of dysphagia -- which can be serious, but is also treatable.


A typical swallow process is complex, using the senses of sight, smell and taste (which produce saliva to facilitate chewing), the tongue (pushes the food to the back of the mouth), the pharynx (prompts the action that pushes food to the esophagus), and the voice box/larynx (closes to prevent food from going down the windpipe into the lungs). Dysphagia can be caused by difficulty anywhere in this process, and increases the risk of food aspiration and aspiration pneumonia, dehydration and/or malnutrition.


Dysphagia may occur after a stroke, throat and mouth cancer, or as a symptom of several different neurological disorders or autoimmune diseases, including Parkinson's disease, Multiple Sclerosis, ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), or Scleroderma. Although the medical term is technically considered a symptom of another disease, dysphagia can be a condition in its own right. 


Look for the following symptoms as a sign that you might have dysphagia, and see an otolaryngologist (also known as an ear, nose and throat doctor) if you experience:


·      Choking when eating and/or regurgitation of food

·      Coughing or gagging when swallowing

·      Sensation of food getting stuck in the throat or chest, or behind the breastbone

·      Food or stomach acid backing up into the throat or recurrent heartburn

·      Hoarseness

·      Pain while swallowing

·      Unexplained weight loss

·      Recurrent pneumonia


While many kinds of doctors can diagnose and treat dysphagia, look for speech-language pathologists with specialty certification in swallowing. They will ask about your symptoms, how long they have been present, whether the problem is with liquids, solids or both.  You will be weighed, and asked whether the present weight is about right. A speech-language pathologist can administer swallow tests and other specialized studies to pinpoint the cause of the dysphagia.

Dysphagia and other voice and airway disorders including hoarseness, shortness of breath, and speech disorders can be improved though work with a speech and language pathologist. The patient will learn new ways of swallowing properly and may be given exercises to improve the response of swallow muscles.


A nutritionist will help you find foods and liquids (or combinations of them) that are easier to swallow without sacrificing a well-balanced diet.  And, if you are at risk of malnutrition or dehydration, you might need a nasal tube (nasogastric tube) or PEG (percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy) for feeding.


While it's easy to dismiss the occasional choking, gagging, or sensation of food stuck in the throat as "no big deal," it can be a dangerous situation.  Reviewing your symptoms with an otolaryngologist and a speech-language pathologist with specialty training in swallowing are the best first steps to identify and alleviate dysphagia.



Debra M. Suiter, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, BCS-S is director, University of Kentucky Voice & Swallow Clinic


This column appeared in the March 8, 2015 edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader.

UK Big Blue Family VIDEO: Elodie and Samy-Claude Elayi Hope to Impact Their Adopted Home

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 09:59



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


LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 9, 2015) — A trip to the school library in Paris, France set the foundation for a love story that spans nearly 30 years and two continents.


Elodie Elayi, and her husband, Samy-Claude Elayi were born, raised and educated in France.  


Today Elodie serves as the research development director at the Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) and coordinator of the CCTS Pilot Funding Program.  She works to help researchers across campus complete translational research, often called the “bench to bedside” process. 


Samy-Claude is an associate professor of medicine and a cardiologist specializing in   electrophysiology at the Gill Heart Institute.  He cares for patients who face electrical issues with their hearts. 


The Elayi’s now feel that Kentucky is “home” as they raise their two daughters in Lexington.  Watch the video above to hear how they fell in love, had children and moved across the Atlantic twice before settling in the Bluegrass in hopes of making an impact on the health of their fellow Kentuckians.   


This video feature is part of a special series produced by UKNow focusing on families who help make up the University of Kentucky community.  There are many couples, brothers and sisters, mothers and sons and fathers and daughters who serve at UK in various fields.   The idea is to show how UK is part of so many families’ lives and how so many families are focused on helping the university succeed each and everyday. 


Since the "Big Blue Family" series is now a monthly feature on UKNow, we invite you to submit future ideas.  If you know of a family who you think should be featured, please email us.  Who knows?  We might just choose your suggestion for our next feature!




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

UK College of Law Tax Clinic Prepares Tax Returns for Free

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 09:33

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 9, 2015) — Tax season, dubbed a “necessary evil” by some, has arrived and may be causing more confusion than usual this year with changes in the tax code, such as those relating to the Affordable Care Act. Easing taxpayers’ concerns, however, is the University of Kentucky College of Law Tax Clinic, which can save individuals time, money and headaches. The clinic, a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, will be open through April 15, excluding Spring Break (March 16-20). 


A free tax preparation clinic for the UK and Lexington communities, the clinic will file taxes for individuals or assist anyone with questions when filing their own. The tax clinic can assist those whose income comes from: wages, scholarships, interest, dividends, simple self-employment, simple pensions, unemployment insurance, social security or small miscellaneous items. Although the clinic does not have a specific income limit set for those it serves, it is limited to simple returns and assists mostly low income individuals.


In addition to providing a valuable community service free of charge, the clinic is a rewarding learning experience for UK College of Law and Gatton College of Business and Economics students. Each year, students volunteer their time to file hundreds of tax returns. All student volunteers complete a series of in-class or online trainings, and afterward, pass multiple Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tests to receive certification.


"The VITA program makes a strong impact not only in the Lexington community, but also on College of Law and Gatton College of Business students who participate in the program,” said College of Law Dean David A. Brennen. “Each year hundreds of low income individuals benefit from the free tax preparation services our students provide, but our students also receive hands on, practical experience working one-on-one with clients.”


In 2014, 46 volunteers prepared and filed 587 tax returns, saving clients an estimated $114,465 in preparation fees, and resulting in $579,000 in federal refunds and $110,000 in state refunds.


“To say the program is mutually beneficial is an understatement. Our students walk away fulfilled, knowing they have helped people through a sometimes confusing process while saving them the cost of preparation fees — money that can then be used to meet their household needs,” Brennen said.


The UK College of Law VITA site is one of 19 in Central Kentucky operating with the help of the United Way of the Bluegrass. College of Law Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Douglas Michael leads the clinic with the help of Jennifer Bird-Pollan, James and Mary Lassiter Associate Professor of Law.


“I am particularly impressed by the dozens of law and accounting students who each year volunteer to spend the equivalent of two or three working days training and testing in order to qualify to prepare returns, and then six weeks in clinic helping taxpayers save money and comply with the law — all for the sole satisfaction of a job well done, and only to assist those less fortunate or who do not and do not want to understand taxes.


"The students also take away valuable experience in developing their law and accounting skills, and I hope they take away a good sense of the value of community service. And they receive taxpayer smiles, hugs, and kind words which are truly invaluable. It is a chance to be someone’s hero," said Michael.


The tax clinic is located in the basement of the College of Law, Room 47, at 620 South Limestone. To schedule an appointment, visit


Individuals planning to take advantage of the clinic must bring:

·         Photo ID

·         Social Security Card or ITIN for taxpayer, spouse and dependents

·         All forms you have received, including W-2, 1099, 1098, or 1042-S

·         Documentation of other income

·         Copy of last year's return, if available


For more information about the UK College of Law Tax Clinic, visit




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

New UK Research Facility Gets Green Light From State Legislature

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 23:13

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 4, 2015) — University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto believes it is time "to make death a beggar in Kentucky.”


It’s the idea that through world-class research across an array of disciplines, and a commitment to working as partners with communities across the state, some of the most stubborn health challenges and statistics that plague Kentucky can be successfully attacked.


On Tuesday, the state General Assembly and Gov. Steve Beshear demonstrated their unwavering commitment to that vision of addressing Kentucky’s most stubborn health disparities by endorsing funding for construction of a $265 million, multidisciplinary research building at UK. 


The Senate voted 36-1 Tuesday in support of funding  $132.5 million of the cost of constructing the $265 million facility. UK will fund the other half through research contracts and private fundraising. Earlier this month, the House also strongly endorsed the proposal, which has also had Beshear’s strong support throughout the legislative process.


"Kentuckians have suffered from poor health and early deaths for decades, and sadly, many of these diseases are preventable or manageable with proper health care.  Combating these entrenched health problems requires big changes and big investments,” Beshear said of the research facility. "I’m heartened by the legislature’s support of a major investment in UK’s planned medical research facility, which will focus its work on reducing Kentucky's unacceptably high rates of preventable diseases and deaths.  The facility will complement the lifesaving efforts at Markey Cancer Center and the National Cancer Institute. Finally, this medical research facility will attract world-class researchers to target rapid improvements in Kentucky's collective health.  These are worthy goals with statewide benefits.”


Support for — and momentum behind — the facility grew in January when Senate President Robert Stivers endorsed the proposal.


“I believe that this facility will kind of be at the forefront of making a healthier population, a more educated population and a population, which will be able to go into the workforce,” Stivers said.


Capilouto said the overwhelming support from Gov. Beshear and legislators also underscored the faith state policymakers have in the university to transform the Commonwealth for the better. 


"This is a clear and resounding endorsement of this institution and of our faculty and staff,” Capilouto said. "This facility — envisioned by our Board of Trustees at their October 2014 Retreat — will bring together researchers and others across our campus, from a host of disciplines, working side-by-side on the issues that most challenge our state. In particular, we will focus together on dangerously stubborn health disparities — the hundreds of preventable deaths that occur each year from diseases such as stroke, diabetes and cancer. Gov. Beshear and our legislators, through their vision and far-sightedness, have decided that an investment today in UK and its world-class faculty and staff will pay off for our state for generations to come."


View more of Capilouto's comments about today's historic vote and what it means for UK and the Commonwealth:


The building, which would be located near UK's bio-pharm and biological biomedical research buildings, would put together researchers across disciplines, working in teams, to address some of the state’s most intractable issues. If approved by Gov. Beshear, UK will work to begin construction by the end of the year.


The health challenges the facility and researchers will address include the hundreds of deaths that occur in Kentucky each year due to cancer, heart and pulmonary disease, stroke and other preventable illnesses.


Those health maladies are particularly acute in Eastern Kentucky, which is served by UK HealthCare through a number of partnerships with local and regional hospitals and health providers. Capilouto has said that targeted combination of leading research and outstanding clinical care, in partnership with communities, can lead to better health outcomes.


During earlier testimony before a key House committee, Capilouto and UK Interim Vice President for Research Lisa Cassis told lawmakers that UK has some 330 individual research projects — totaling some $350 million — currently investigating those challenges and others. 


Moreover, the economic impact of research is significant as well, Capilouto said, pointing to a recent UK study that concluded that the annual direct and indirect economic impact of UK’s sponsored research across the campus was $581 million in fiscal year 2013, with more than 8,000 jobs created and $21.3 million generated annually in local and state taxes.


A link to a presentation about the proposed facility can be viewed here: