Campus News

Seales' Research Team Reveals Biblical Text From Damaged Scroll

Sun, 07/19/2015 - 18:20

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 20, 2015) — For the first time, advanced technologies made it possible to read parts of a scroll that is at least 1,500 years old, which was excavated in 1970 but at some point earlier had been badly burned. The scroll was discovered inside the Holy Ark of the synagogue at Ein Gedi in Israel. High-resolution scanning and University of Kentucky Professor Brent Seales' revolutionary virtual unwrapping tool revealed verses from the beginning of the Book of Leviticus suddenly coming back to life.


On Monday the rare find was presented at a press conference in Jerusalem, attended by Israel's Minister of Culture and Sports, MK Miri Regev, and the director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, Israel Hasson. Seales attended via Skype.


"The text revealed today from the Ein Gedi scroll was possible only because of the collaboration of many different people and technologies," said Seales, who is professor and chair of the UK College of Engineering's Department of Computer Science. "The last step of virtual unwrapping, done at the University of Kentucky through the hard work of a team of talented students, is especially satisfying because it has produced readable, identifiable, biblical text from a scroll thought to be beyond rescue."




The parchment scroll was unearthed in 1970 in archaeological excavations in the synagogue at Ein Gedi, headed by the late Dan Barag and Sefi Porath. However, due to its charred condition, it was not possible to either preserve or decipher it.


The Lunder Family Dead Sea Scrolls Conservation Center of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), which uses state of the art and advanced technologies to preserve and document the Dead Sea scrolls, enabled the discovery of this important find. It turns out that part of this scroll is from the beginning of the Book of Leviticus, written in Hebrew, and dated by C14 analysis, a form of radiometric dating used to determine the age of organic remains in ancient objects) to the late sixth century C.E. To date, this is the most ancient scroll from the five books of the Hebrew Bible to be found since the Dead Sea scrolls, most of which are ascribed to the end of the Second Temple period (first century B.C.E.-first century C.E.).


The Israel Antiquities Authority cooperated with scientists from Israel and abroad to preserve and digitize the Dead Sea Scrolls.


The Ein Gedi scroll was scanned with a micro-computed tomography machine from Skyscan (Bruker). Data from the scan is the sole basis of Seales' software analysis. The scanning process is x-ray-based and completely non-invasive as the Ein Gedi scroll is badly damaged from fire and cannot be physically opened. The scans were done in Israel with assistance from Merkel Technologies Company, Ltd. Israel and Pnina Shor, curator and director of IAA’s Dead Sea Scrolls Projects, provided the data to Seales for analysis. Results were produced non-invasively from scan data alone – the Ein Gedi scroll itself remains intact and unopened.


"The partnership with Pnina Shor of the IAA has been particularly satisfying in the way she has enabled our team to work on data from one of the most storied and valuable collections in the world," Seales said. "I am humbled by her trust in our research team, and gratified to produce for her and the entire scholarly community these exceptional results."


The results come from research and a software prototype designed to do “virtual unwrapping” of surfaces from within volumetric scans. This unwrapping process allows the visualization of evidence of writing on a surface from within a scanned volume.  Because the surfaces of the object being scanned are not flat like a book – rather they are rolled up as a scroll – the visualization of the surface and the evidence of writing upon the surface is a complex process.


"I have been using the word 'surface' to refer to the page of biblical text we have revealed. But this is a term of geometry, not of precise position," Seales said. "The page actually comes from a layer buried deep within the many wraps of the scroll body, and is possible to view it only through the remarkable results of our software, which implements the research idea of 'virtual unwrapping.'"


Thus, the great surprise and excitement when the first eight verses of the Book of Leviticus suddenly became legible:


“The Lord summoned Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying: Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: When any of you bring an offering of livestock to the Lord, you shall bring your offering from the herd or from the flock.  If the offering is a burnt-offering from the herd, you shall offer a male without blemish; you shall bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, for acceptance in your behalf before the Lord. You shall lay your hand on the head of the burnt-offering, and it shall be acceptable in your behalf as atonement for you. The bull shall be slaughtered before the Lord; and Aaron’s sons the priests shall offer the blood, dashing the blood against all sides of the altar that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting. The burnt-offering shall be flayed and cut up into its parts. The sons of the priest Aaron shall put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. Aaron’s sons the priests shall arrange the parts, with the head and the suet, on the wood that is on the fire on the altar. (Leviticus 1:1-8).


This is the first time in any archaeological excavation that a Torah scroll was found in a synagogue, particularly inside a Holy Ark.


The research team at UK produced the flattened, readable text from the micro-computed tomography of the Ein Gedi scroll via the following successive stages:


1. Volume preparation

The data scan from the micro-CT machine is processed in order to enhance the ability to see the structures in the scan: the surface of the material, and the ink that is written on that material.

2. Surface segmentation

The data scan is carefully partitioned into the surfaces on which there is writing.  This partitioning is automatic and uses computer algorithms that are being developed through research. The result is a 3-D surface that is positioned exactly in the data volume where there is evidence of surfaces and writing.  Because the surfaces are rolled up layers within the scroll, they are shaped like tightly coiled sheets of paper.

3. User guidance

The user revises and improves the surface estimates that were made automatically by the surface segmentation step. The user is guided by views of the data scan and a draft view of how the surface appears in the scan.

4. Texture rendering

The completed surface is rendered as a high quality 3-D surface with the texture (markings, structure and ink evidence) from its precise position in the original data scan. The rendering step also produces a flattened version of the 3-D surface texture. This unwraps the potentially curvy and coiled 3-D surface so that it is a single flat page.


Each step of this pipeline requires custom software, the development of which has been the subject of active research for this Ein Gedi scroll work as well as work on material from Herculaneum. Learn more about virtual unwrapping in the short video below.





Seales credits his students, collaborators and supporters for making today's revelation possible:


The National Science Foundation under awards IIS-0535003 and IIS-1422039

  • James French, program director
  • Steve Griffin, program director



  • Steve Crossan, founder - Google Cultural Institute
  • Amit Sood, director - Google Cultural Institute


University of Kentucky – Computer Science Department, Center for Visualization, and College of Engineering

  • Seth Parker, project manager
  • Abigail Coleman, graduate research assistant
  • Chao Du, graduate research assistant
  • Nick Graczyk, undergraduate research assistant
  • Whitney Harder, information specialist
  • Sean Karlage, undergraduate research assistant
  • Stephen Parsons, undergraduate research assistant
  • David Pennington, undergraduate research assistant
  • Michael Roup, undergraduate research assistant
  • Melissa Shankle, undergraduate research assistant



  • Roger Macfarlane, Brigham Young University
  • Daniel Delattre, emeritus director of research, CNRS-IRHT
  • Chad Crouch, the Cre8tive Group


"Today we are recovering evidence of an important text — one that was thought to be beyond repair," Seales said. "But more than that, we are delivering hope for revealing other lost texts, and a systematic, scientific blueprint for how to do it."





MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 270-315-8850 or 859-323-2396,

McGladrey Wins ASA Student Forum Paper

Fri, 07/17/2015 - 16:33


LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 20, 2015) — The American Sociological Association (ASA) has named Margaret McGladrey, assistant dean for research for the University of Kentucky College of Public Health and part-time doctoral student in UK’s College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Sociology, the 2015 recipient of the Student Forum Paper Award.


Comprised of more than 13,000 members, the ASA is the largest professional organization in the discipline of sociology. The association is the publisher of nine professional journals and magazines, and hosts an annual meeting for its members.  


Every year, the Student Forum Advisory Board Paper Sessions and Roundtables sub-committee of the ASA chooses one paper from a selection of papers submitted online for the award. Each paper is peer-reviewed, with four to five papers chosen for discussion in one of two paper sessions. Awardees receive a monetary award, as well as a Student Forum Travel Award to cover travel costs to present their work at the annual meeting.


In her award-winning paper, "Studying Sexualities in Girls’ Social Worlds: Ethical and Effective Methodologies for Research with Preadolescent Girls," McGladrey recommends strategies for eliciting meaningful information about how preadolescent girls interpret sexualized media content. Aiming to interject young girls’ perspectives into adult assumptions about of issues of sexualization, McGladrey focused on methods for putting the girls at ease and positioning them as the experts on the topic.


McGladrey’s paper reflects her strong passion for the health and well-being of young girls and women, an interest that stems from both academic and personal experiences.


McGladrey completed her Bachelor of Arts in magazine journalism at the University of Oregon, where she led the creation of media content during her senior year as editor-in-chief of an online narrative journalism magazine. Her training as a media content producer alerted her to the ever-growing importance of media culture and its influence on girls’ development.


Following her undergraduate years, McGladrey spent three years writing proposals for federal, state and local professional services contracts as marketing coordinator for a civil engineering firm in Oregon. She then pursued her master’s degree in the UK College of Communication and Information’s Department of Communication, at which point she worked as a research assistant in the College of Public Health and applied her proposal development skills to faculty research projects.


McGladrey has moved on to the Department of Sociology as a part-time doctoral student thanks not only to her academic background but also her personal experiences with navigating media messages about femininity as a girl growing up in the United States. This personal experience has fostered her commitment to feminist ethics of community service and inspired her to volunteer as a grant-writer and evaluator for The Girl Project, an organization that strives to "empower teenage girls to challenge the misrepresentation of women and girls in contemporary American media culture" through a variety of performing arts workshops that culminate in the girls’ creation of a theatrical piece shared with the community and in-school audiences around Central Kentucky.


Claire Renzetti, chair of the Department of Sociology and the Judi Conway Patton Endowed Chair for Studies of Violence Against Women, commends McGladrey’s dedication to her work and the health and well-being of young girls and women. 


"Margaret's research reflects her commitment to the feminist principle of reciprocity; The young women she studies provide her with valuable data about their lived experiences, but she in turn uses her research and writing skills in ways that benefit them. Her passion for this work carries over to her courses, to the benefit of her peers and faculty alike."


McGladrey’s response reflects her gratitude for the opportunities that have been available to her at UK.


"I am very grateful to the University of Kentucky’s Employee Education Program, which provided me the opportunity to pursue a Ph.D. in sociology and a graduate certificate in Gender and Women’s Studies while continuing my work in the College of Public Health," McGladrey said. "Without this generous benefit and the support of my colleagues, co-workers and faculty advisors, it would be impossible for me to simultaneously advance my professional and academic career development."  



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

Get More Social Media Savvy with UK Arts Administration Workshop

Fri, 07/17/2015 - 15:47



LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 20, 2015) — The University of Kentucky Arts Administration Program will present the "Executive Workshop Series: Best Practices in Social Media" later this week. The professional development workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, July 24, in room five of UK's Main Building.  


This social media workshop is part of a series of programs for arts administrators of all levels. The workshop will offer social media strategies to further the missions of arts-based and other nonprofit organizations.


The seminar is only $55 and includes lunch. A 20 percent discount will be given to multiple participants from the same organization. Participants should register in advance at the Executive Workshop Series page at


The workshop will focus on the following topics presented by Arts Administration program faculty and alumni:

· "Trending: Meeting the Mission through Social Media";

· "Effective Communication to Recruit and Retain the Millennial Arts Audience";

· "#engage";

· "Making Social Media Work for You: Maximizing Engagement in Existing Audiences through Formatting, Promotion, and Scheduling";

· "Tumblr Blogging for Arts Organizations";

· "Pacing Those Posts"; and

· "Pin it to Win It: Photography-based Marketing on Social Media."


UK's Arts Administration Program, in the UK College of Fine Arts, is designed to prepare students for a future in the management of arts organizations. Students are provided with a strong liberal arts education, an understanding of the business world, and a comprehensive education in one of the four arts disciplines of art, music, dance and theatre.



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




For One UK Doctor, Treating Patients is a Family Affair

Fri, 07/17/2015 - 15:23

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 20, 2015) – To most people, a "family doctor" is who they visit when they aren’t feeling their best. For Dr. Ana Lia Castellanos, the term takes on a whole new meaning.


Castellanos, a nephrologist with the University of Kentucky Transplant Center, comes from a family of physicians – her father, uncle and cousin are practicing nephrologists in her home country of Honduras. With the help of her family and some of her colleagues here at UK, she's helping develop a kidney transplant program back in Honduras.


Honduras has one of the highest rates of end-stage kidney disease in Latin America, and overall kidney disease is on the rise. The country's current lack of a transplant program means there are many sick patients traveling for countless hours to undergo dialysis at the few medical centers that offer it. Castellanos' own family had tried to create a transplant program many years ago, but it eventually stalled due to several bureaucratic issues and lack of funding.


Castellanos thought it was time to try again. Shortly after she arrived at UK, Castellanos met a Honduran patient who had come to Kentucky for a kidney transplant because she could not receive it back home. The patient had insurance and the means to travel outside of her country for the procedure, but there were many others back in Honduras who did not have that luxury.


“I talked to my family about it, and I said I really wanted to help the patients with kidney disease in Honduras,” Castellanos said.


In September 2013, Castellanos traveled to Honduras with transplant surgeon Dr. Roberto Gedaly and urologist Dr. Stephen Strup. They began training a team of physicians in Honduras to complete kidney transplants on their own, allowing the program to be sustainable. During their first trip, the team performed four transplants.


According to Castellanos, the Honduran medical care system is completely different from medical care in the U.S. There is no organ donor program in Honduras, so all kidney transplants will have to be performed using living volunteer donors.


Many people living with kidney disease in Honduras die before they can get proper treatment due to lack of readily available care and high costs. A fully developed transplant program could make an enormous impact on mortality in this patient population.  


"The goal is to create a team that is self-sufficient and can do these procedures on their own," Castellanos said. "The impact of this is going to be larger than just affecting four people."


In April 2015, Castellanos, Gedaly and Strup returned to Honduras for a second round of training and performed four more transplants. So far, all patients are doing well post-op and their health is being monitored by Castellanos’ family in Honduras. 


The lives of the patients helped by the UK physicians and the team in Honduras have improved greatly following the transplants.  No longer having to undergo constant dialysis is one of the major benefits, saving the cost and time of travel.


“These are patients who really want to do well and improve their health,” Castellanos said. “One of the patients who received a transplant during our first trip was traveling to the dialysis unit two hours away from his home on a bus three times a week to receive treatment.” 


As for their next steps, Castellanos hopes to work with the team in Honduras at least one more time, by either traveling to the country again for more training, or by bringing the team here to UK to meet and work with more members of the transplant team.


One of the best parts of the experience, she said, was working with her own family to initiate such a huge, life-changing program for her home country.


“It was really rewarding to be able to give back, with my family at my side, to the country that trained me,” Castellanos said. “Seeing that the patients are so grateful and that you can really change their life is amazing.”


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

New Research Findings Reveal How Wildfires Spread

Fri, 07/17/2015 - 12:41

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 20, 2015) — Evidence presented in a recently released study, authored by a team of scientists from the USDA Forest Service, University of Maryland and University of Kentucky, reveals new findings about how wildfires actually spread and could have significant impacts on firefighter safety and fuel hazards mitigation.


Published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, the study, "Role of buoyant flame dynamics in wildfire spread," specifically reveals how flame dynamics that produce and transport convective heat effectively governs the spread of wildfire. It was previously unclear how radiation and convection heat transfer processes, which both occur in wildfires, are organized to produce wildfire spread.


A team of 10 researchers contributed to the study, coming from the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station’s Missoula Fire Sciences Lab, the University of Maryland’s Department of Fire Protection Engineering, and the University of Kentucky’s Department of Mechanical Engineering.


Kozo Saito, professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Institute of Research for Technology Development (IR4TD), and Nelson Akafuah, assistant research professor of mechanical engineering, led UK's efforts. UK graduate students Brittany Adam and Justin English also worked on the project and were listed as authors on the study.


Previous studies focused mainly on radiant heat so little was known about the respective roles of convection and radiation on fire spread and most often the assumption was made that radiant heat was the governing factor. But scientists recently found that the net rates of heat transferred by radiation are insufficient because the fine fuel particles that constitute wildland vegetation cool efficiently by convection until contacted by flame.


As stated in the study, “if radiation itself is insufficient to account for fire spread…convection must provide the explanation.” So the team, led by Mark Finney of the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, began looking at flame dynamics.


Utilizing specialized burn chambers and wind tunnels at the Missoula Fire Sciences Lab and the University of Maryland, scientists were able to assimilate and measure flame dynamics. They found this process can correctly scale up to those found in large-scale wildfires. They also conducted outdoor experiments and prescribed fires at Camp Swift, Texas. The experiments led to the discovery of previously unrecognized flame behaviors and how those behaviors cause wildfires to spread. They also discovered that flame vorticity (circulations) and instabilities due to the buoyancy of flame gasses, cause wildfires to spread by forcing flames downward into the fuel bed and bursting forward ahead of the fire into fresh fuel (grass, brush, etc.).


"UK has made several unique contributions to this project," Saito said.


One of those being the development of scaling laws on forest fires. An expert in the area, Saito serves as the chair of the International Scale Modeling Committee and leads a scale modeling in engineering course (ME 565) at UK.


"Another unique research capability utilized at UK was the infrared thermography imaging technique," Saito said.


This technique helped identify the detailed heat transfer mechanism taking place at the condensed fuel bed, since the traditional (point-by-point) thermocouple temperature technique was not able to measure the transient temperature map.


“This study opens the door into the little known world of flame dynamics and gets us closer to understanding the complexities of radiative and convective heat and how they affect wildfire spread,” Finney said.


The information obtained through this research is significant with the potential to:


  • Improve firefighter safety by providing better training to recognize and anticipate wildfire behavior;
  • Simplify the physical principles of wildfire spread that can lead to the development of improved prediction models; and
  • Improve the ability to mitigate fuel hazards by accurately modeling and describing fuel contribution to wildfires.


The study is available for download at




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

Sundown Syndrome Can Be A Sign Of Alzheimer's Disease

Fri, 07/17/2015 - 11:22

LEXINGTON, KY. (Jul. 20, 2015) — Have you ever noticed that a family member becomes confused, irritable or restless as night falls? Or as the night progresses, they become agitated and pace throughout the house? This person could be showing signs of sundowning, a phenomenon commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.


Sundowning, or Sundown Syndrome, is the materialization of different symptoms that occur at a specific time of day. Symptoms present most commonly as the day changes from day to dusk, hence the name "sundowning." Symptoms can vary and include restlessness, irritability, becoming disoriented or confused, pacing and mood swings.


While doctors are unsure of what causes sundowning, many think that someone’s internal body clock gets altered with the progression of Alzheimer’s and dementia. In people with Alzheimer’s, doctors know that the area of the brain that controls sleep patterns (waking up, falling asleep) deteriorates. This could also explain sundowning.


Though sundowning typically occurs late in the day, other "triggers" have been shown to cause symptoms. Lots of activity or noise and even nonverbal cues from another person can cause a shift in behavior.


Although sundowning can be frustrating for everyone involved, there are many ways to cope with and reduce the gravity of the symptoms:


·      Keep the house well-lit. Shadows can cause disorientation and can be frightening.

·      Maintain a sleep schedule and try to reduce daytime napping. Keeping a daily routine will emphasize sleeping at a certain time and will make it easier for he or she to sleep at night.

·      Avoid stimulants like caffeine.

·      Avoid alcohol, which can disrupt sleep patterns.

·      At night, try to stifle any background noise or stimulation that could be upsetting.

·      Maintain a familiar environment, which can be more soothing.

·      Try to avoid over-the-counter sleep aids and other medicines, such as Benadryl or Chlor-Trimeton, which cause drowsiness.

·      Research shows that a low dose of melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone that aids in sleeping, can be helpful. However, talk to a doctor before starting a melatonin regimen.


If a loved one is presenting with symptoms of sundowning, as a caregiver it is important to remain calm and not get flustered. Nonverbal indicators of frustration can further agitate an already irritated individual. Instead, approach your loved one calmly and reassure them that everything is okay. Ask if there is anything that he or she needs to be comfortable. If he or she needs to pace, let them do so but continue to supervise them. Try to avoid arguing at all costs, which could exacerbate the situation.


If you or someone you love is showing symptoms similar to sundowning, it could be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease. Sundowning usually presents during the middle phases of Alzheimer’s disease and goes away as the disease progresses. If you are concerned, contact your family doctor or neurologist.


Ronan Murphy is an assistant professor of neurology at the University of Kentucky Sanders-Brown Center on Aging.


This column appeared in the July 19, 2015, edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader.

College of Public Health Alumnus Elected President of National Health Board

Thu, 07/16/2015 - 16:57

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 17, 2015) — University of Kentucky graduate Swannie Jett, who received his doctorate from the College of Public Health in 2012, was recently named president of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) board of directors.


Jett currently serves as Health Officer for the Florida Department of Health in Seminole County, Florida. Jett leads community initiatives in Seminole County to strengthen infrastructure and develop partnerships that improve population health outcomes.  A captain in the Air Force National Guard, Jett is passionate about addressing issues such as health equity, air pollution, environmental justice and global warming.


NACCHO is the national organization representing local health departments. Its members come from 2,800 local health departments across the country. NACCHO strives to be a leader, partner and voice for local health departments to ensure conditions that promote health, combat disease and improve quality of life. 


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

UK Cooperative Extension Aids in Flood Relief, Rescue in Eastern Kentucky

Thu, 07/16/2015 - 15:42

PAINTSVILLE, Ky., (July 17, 2015) — Brenda Cockerham said she’s lived in Johnson County for more than 27 years and she’s never seen anything like the recent floodwaters that rushed through the county streets like raging rivers. Cockerham and her colleagues at the Johnson County office of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service jumped right in to help.


"We serve on a committee of several service agencies and volunteers," said Cockerham, who serves as the county’s family and consumer sciences extension agent. "We actually established a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation after the last tornado emergency, so we were able to spring into action fairly quickly when disaster struck."


UKAg meteorologist Matt Dixon said the Kentucky Mesonet Station in Paintsville indicated the area received more than 13 inches of rain in the past 30 days.


"Looking at radar data, we can see that some areas of Johnson County received between 5 and 8 inches of rain in the past week, much of that coming July 13," Dixon said. "With the amount of recent rain in Eastern Kentucky, on already-saturated grounds, it didn’t take much for flash flooding to occur."


One of the hardest communities hit was Flat Gap, where homes were seen floating and falling apart as the floodwater carried them away. Cockerham said people can’t get in and out of that hardest hit area due to road damage.


"We have a group of Extension Homemakers in the Red Bush community who are working on the other side of the road break to help get supplies in to people there," she said. "Communication is difficult as water, electric and Internet services are down in that community, and other parts of the county as well."


As of July 16, at least three people had died and one was still missing. Johnson County extension agent for agriculture and natural resources, Brian Jeffiers, has been on the front lines overseeing operations in the search for missing persons.


"As extension agents, we know the county very well," he said. "I didn’t grow up here, but I’ve been here for about 19 years, and I know a lot about the county roads, and I know a lot of people. Most importantly, we want to find the people who are missing. We’re also focusing on the other needs of our neighbors and clients who will need our help to put their lives back together."


Johnson County 4-H youth development extension agent, Dianna Reed, has been working with a team of volunteers and Johnson Central High School. They are getting supplies like water, food and hygiene products to victims.


"Some of our 4-H’ers have already given some of their own money to help their friends and neighbors who are now flood victims," she said.


Once the waters fully recede, Cooperative Extension will still be around to help the community. Cockerham is working with the Long Term Recovery Committee. They receive funding from partner agencies to cover case managers who handle each situation.


"Eventually Red Cross, FEMA and insurance funds will taper off, and we will focus on any unmet needs in the county," she said. "We’ll meet monthly with case managers and review each recommendation they have, and when their recommendations require money, we’ll turn to the funds people have donated to help people. The damage here is already equal to the damage we had during the tornadoes a few years ago, and it may end up being worse."


Cockerham said the committee has already met, and they are preparing for a long challenge ahead. The committee has representatives from UK Cooperative Extension, Community Action Program, the Christian Appalachian Project and Red Cross, among others.


"We’re very proud of their commitment to their clients, who are also their neighbors."


Cockerham said they are accepting donations. Contact the Johnson County Extension office to learn about specific ways to help or donate at 606-789-8108.




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

The Books That Shaped Them

Thu, 07/16/2015 - 13:08

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 17, 2015) — Summer: a time to catch up on neglected projects, reconnect with old friends and tackle that summer reading list. Whether it's an inspiring autobiography, the latest science fiction, or re-reading the classics, many are immersing themselves in a range of literature this season. For professors at the University of Kentucky, they are not only cracking open new books, but reflecting on those that have impacted their lives and careers in surprising ways. 


Read below for the first in a series of professors reflecting on the books that shaped them. 


John Anthony

J. C. Hubbard Professor of Chemistry


Quite a few books have resonated with me over the years. The earliest would be the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy by Tolkien. Beyond the story (which was of course very appealing to a sixth grader!), I was drawn by the incredible attention to detail. The thought that an author would create new languages, a complete history and an entire theology for a fantasy novel is what pushed me to stop looking at things as they are, and instead think of what they could become.


In high school, I was a huge science fiction fan, especially the works by Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov. From Clarke, books like "A Fall of Moondust," "The Fountains of Paradise" and "Rendezvous with Rama" tell compelling stories but do not shy away from discussing the practical details behind futuristic technologies. And while Asimov has written some fantastic fiction, my favorite books are "Asimov on Physics" and "Asimov on Chemistry." I would highly recommend both of these entertaining books as primers to high school students planning to study these topics in college. They’re a great introduction to science, and give some entertaining background to where many important concepts and equations come from.


Roughly 15 years ago, I stumbled across the book "Kitchen Confidential," by Anthony Bourdain. I am amazed at the similarities between a restaurant kitchen and a research lab - many of the same antics, the strange interpersonal issues, and the very gung-ho attitude of working hard, long hours seems to permeate both cultures. For a while, it was mandatory reading for my research group. But on top of that, it also changed the way I look at food and dining, which has been very helpful in some of the more unusual countries I’ve traveled to as part of my job.


Hannah Pittard

Assistant Professor of English


Muriel Spark’s "Prime of Miss Jean Brody," Faulkner’s "The Wild Palms," Harry Crews’ "Feast of Snakes" — each of these novels taught me how to break particular rules as a writer. Or, if not break rules, they opened up a world of possibilities that I hadn’t yet considered. "Miss Brody" features one the sneakiest narrators I've ever encountered. "Wild Palms" pits two seemingly and temporally unrelated stories against one another — or, better said, Faulkner uses the differences in each to help illuminate the similarities and to fill in the ellipses. The back and forth between narratives blows my mind every time I re-read it (which is often). And, finally, "Feast of Snakes" highlights the essential differences between pornography for pornography’s sake and violence and sex for art's sake. 


DaMaris Hill

Assistant Professor of English, Creative Writing and African American and Africana Studies


I think I am influenced by every thing that I read, sometimes positively and others negatively. I observe what types of writing that I am not going to do. I have a keen interest in the work of Toni Morrison. I am drawn to her ideas about ‘rememory.’ I view ‘rememory’ as a philosophy and creative writing practice.  


In addition, I am very influenced by Lucille Clifton's writing; her poems, children’s books and prose writings, particularly her work "Generations." In this concise work she tells the history of the America incorporating genealogy and geography. Other influential books include Gayl Jones' "Corregidora" and Love's (Monifa Love-Asante's) "Freedom in the Dismal." I am also ever grateful for the gift that is Salvador Plascencia’s "The People of Paper" and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s "On Love and Other Demons." Each of these works remind me to be lush in my writing.


In my opinion, every creative writer should read Toni Morrison’s "Beloved." The work is generous. It haunts the reader and refuses to be a captive to bound pages, it frees itself. It is genius! One thing that I admire is that the book seems to be geographically set in Ohio and Kentucky; this is understatement. The book is set in the minds and memory of a community. In this way the setting (and story) becomes boundless and has permission to ignore the confines of physical space and time.


Matthew W. Wilson

Associate Professor of Geography


There are three books stacked at the edges of the bookshelves in my office, which function not only as bookends but also as texts that reflect and actively shape my thinking as a geographer. I was assigned two of these books as an undergraduate in a course titled "Geography of North America": William Least Heat-Moon’s "Blue Highways" (1982) and Annie Dillard’s "The Living" (1992). The third became ancillary reading during my graduate study: William S. Burroughs’ "The Soft Machine" (1961).


The first is a kind of autobiography of lesser-known places of which my home in Pumpkin Center, Missouri, could easily have been one. The second is a work of historical fiction, tracing the contours of nature and culture in the Pacific Northwest, my home during graduate study. The third is a novel employing the literary ‘cut-up’ technique, creating new connections through serendipitous encounters, a text that informs my reading of much recent social theory. While each documents chronologically a different stage of my education, in a more resonate way, they also operate loosely as travel writing. Writing and reading is always spaced, whether documenting places of liveliness or producing spaces of imagination and inquiry. I view this duality in texts — of documenting and imagining space anew — as part of my unique responsibility as a geographer of these times and these spaces.




Carol Mason

Professor and Chair of the Department of Gender and Women's Studies


An Americanist by training, I was taught that the problem of the 20th century, to quote W.E.B. DuBois, was the problem of the colorline. Today’s headlines suggest that racial strife continues to shape America. If I had to pick one book that helped me understand how the legacy of slavery endures in everyday lives and relationships, I would have to say "Corregidora," a novel by Kentucky author Gayl Jones. It’s one thing to understand the statistics and the history of policies that demonstrate social inequalities wrought by white supremacism. It’s another thing to recognize how those play out in individual terms on the human level. Fiction exposes the profound complexity of lived experiences, and "Corregidora" blows me away every time I read it.


Michael Bardo

Professor of Psychology, Director of the Center for Drug Abuse Research Translation


"The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich." I have always loved history, and was a double major in history and psychology as an undergraduate. Although I chose to end in the field of psychology, this book presents the backdrop for a very interesting mix of detailed history and psychological lessons. In particular, while Adolf Hitler never won an election, it is a real study of human nature about how his rise to power triggered such a human tragedy. This has been particularly meaningful to me because my ancestral heritage is both German and Polish, countries where the mass killing of Jews was most horrific. The social psychology about how this could have possibly happened because people were “following orders” is unsettling to me. However, it also presents a case history that challenges us to find ways to prevent other genocides from occurring, which is a weighty psychological question.     



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

AHEC Campers Try Out Careers in Medicine, Research at UK

Thu, 07/16/2015 - 13:08

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 17, 2015) — Positioned beside a large poster and wearing a short white lab coat, high school student Julie Volpeheim rationalized findings from a study on Kawasaki’s Disease in the UK College of Pharmacy Atrium.


Volpeheim, who spent the past two weeks immersed in scholarly research at the Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Heath Researchers Youth Academy, employed the terminology of a doctoral-level student to describe the study’s methodology and results. Showing mastery of the science with her co-presenter Hayley Anderson, Volpeheim suggested future studies should address the genetic origins of a rare disease of the pediatric coronary arteries.


When asked if she foresees subsequent research on Kawaski’s Disease in her future, Volpeheim, an incoming senior from Boone County, wouldn’t rule out the possibility. But Anderson, who is from Versailles, Kentucky, expressed ambitions in other areas of the medical field.


“I’m more of a ‘neuro’ person,” Anderson said, referring to the field of neuroscience.

This summer, 51 high school students from around Kentucky explored future careers in health research and the medical profession during the Summer Enrichment Program for incoming juniors and the Health Researchers Youth Academy for incoming seniors. The camps are designed to prepare Kentucky’s youth for careers within the health care industry and expose students to the processes involved with scientific research at an early stage of academic decision-making. The academy concluded July 10 with poster presentations of scientific studies, which were chosen by pairs of students during the camp.


Only 40 new campers were selected from 285 applicants to attend the competitive Summer Enrichment Camp. During the four-week program, students were housed on campus and attended biology, chemistry and physics classes. The students participated in clinical rotations every Wednesday and attended presentations by representatives from the six health colleges on UK’s campus.


Simultaneously, the two-week Health Researchers Youth Academy imparted the importance of medical research to students who are interested in non-clinical career paths in health care. During the camp, students attended morning physiology classes and spent time examining laboratory research. Teams of students are partnered with a current graduate student, who provides guidance for developing a final research presentation.


Twelve participants in the Health Researchers Youth Academy were graduates of the 2014 Summer Enrichment Program. Carlos Marin, assistant dean for community and cultural engagement in the UK College of Medicine/AHEC Program Director, said previous graduates of the programs have entered successful research and medical careers at UK and other academic institutions.


“Since it was start 10 years ago, this program has served as a starting point for youth who want to know about opportunities in medicine, and more specifically medical research,” Marin said. “At many points during the camp, our faculty members and graduate students create memorable experiences that will follow the students for a lifetime. These camps help them decided early on if a career in research and medicine is right for them.”


Senior Isaac Li, who is from Kenton County, presented a study from Duke University, which tested whether a virus can be used to treat a cancer of the brain and spine. During the camp, Li and his camp partner J.D. Roe gained a greater appreciation of how medical research can translate to improved treatment options for patients with cancer.


“I like how this just happened — it’s a new study,” Li, who said he might want to become a researcher one day, said. “It’s really ground-breaking.”



Roe, on the other hand, learned he’s not cut out for a career in academic research. He thinks he’ll either become a farmer or a radiologist. The study he chose for his presentation took 25 years to complete, which Roe said requires extraordinary patience and persistence.


“You have to be really dedicated,” Roe said of what he learned about careers in research.


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,


Beekeeping Interest Soars in Pulaski County

Wed, 07/15/2015 - 14:50

SOMERSET, Ky., (July 15, 2015) — The hills around Lake Cumberland are all abuzz, and it’s not with the sound of speedboats. More and more individuals in the area are coming to the county’s office of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service and Lake Cumberland Beekeeper’s Association to learn how to become apiarists.


Last winter’s beginning beekeeping school outgrew the extension office’s meeting facilities. Even with a move to the local public library that accommodated 100, individuals remained on a waiting list. This was a large increase in attendance from the previous two schools that had seen a steady stream of new participants in 2010 and 2012.


"The growth that has occurred in the school has really blown me away," said Beth Wilson, the county’s horticulture extension agent and beekeeper. "It’s even more popular than I ever dreamed it would be."


She believes the reasons beekeeping has skyrocketed in the area are multifaceted.


"There’s a lot of interest in coming back to the farm in Pulaski County from people that have either retired here or moved here," she said. "We really do see a lot of people wanting to become sustainable in their lives and on their farms, and our local beekeepers association has a large presence in the community."


David Gilbert fondly remembers his father and grandfather keeping bees in Harlan County as a child. When he retired from a career in law enforcement five years ago, he decided that’s what he wanted to do along with gardening. For the past three years, he has served as president of the Lake Cumberland Beekeeper’s Association, which has seen its membership increase during the same time.


He believes people in the area are becoming more aware of the declining pollinator populations around the world and want to do something to save the bees and ultimately the food supply, which relies heavily on pollinators for production.


"People understand that we are in a situation with our honeybees and other pollinators that requires mankind to take notice, understand the problem we are causing and find solutions to these problems," he said.


An additional benefit to beginning beekeepers is the association’s mentorship program that is offered to those who attend the school. In the program, beginning beekeepers are paired with experienced apiarists who provide advice and on-site instruction to help the new beekeepers work out problems as they establish their hives.


Stephen Shepard, who recently moved to Jabez from Colorado, was able to attend the school last winter and got involved with the mentorship program. He moved to Kentucky to get into the commercial blueberry business and plans for his hives to help with crop pollination.


"I learned quite a bit at the school," he said. "You can read so much about bees this way or that way, but the school pretty much gave me an all-round picture of the beekeeping business," he said.



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

Dive into Summer Reading with UPK's Latest Releases

Wed, 07/15/2015 - 14:00



LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 16, 2015) — Midway through summer, it’s likely you have already cracked open a book or two on your summer reading list. If you haven't, that is perfectly fine. University Press of Kentucky (UPK) has you covered with a great selection of new releases to dive into for the rest of your summer break, especially for readers interested in military history or pop culture. UPK has an award-winning tradition of being a leader in publishing books related to the military as well as the film industry.


For those who are interested in the armed forces, UPK has several new titles ranging from a biography of a Marine and a memoir of the Cold War to a book on military tactics used by President Barack Obama during his first term in office. "Fighting the Cold War: A Soldier's Memoir" and "Kentucky Maverick: The Life and Adventures of Colonel George M. Chinn" tells the stories of two highly decorated men whose service and commitment was nothing short of legendary in wars spanning the 20th century. "Obama at War: Congress and the Imperial Presidency" highlights the president's aggressive actions deployed during his first term along with the backing of Congress on these orders.


"Fighting the Cold War: A Soldier's Memoir," by retired four-star Army General John Rogers Galvin, is a personal memoir of more than 60 years of international history. During his 45 years of service, Galvin fought on the front lines of the Cold War and eventually moved all the way up to NATO Supreme Commander. He is widely respected as a soldier and scholar, and stands out as one of the most brilliant strategic thinkers of his generation. This book shares commentary not only on Galvin’s life and times, but also on timeless issues such as leadership, strategic thinking, family and relationships.


"Kentucky Maverick: The Life and Adventures of Colonel George M. Chinn," written by Carlton Jackson, details the life of a legendary and highly decorated Marine whose military career spanned both world wars, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. A native of Mercer County, Chinn was a 20th century renaissance man, along with a genius thinker. He left behind ideas for innovative weapons that are still in use today. The biography brings together tales of gunplay and politics while revealing Chinn’s sense of humor and unbending will.


"Obama at War: Congress and the Imperial Presidency," written by Ryan C. Hendrickson, examines in four major case studies President Obama’s use of militaristic force in his first term. Hendrickson demonstrates that, much like his predecessors, Obama has protected the executive branch’s right not only to command, but also to determine when and where American forces are deployed. "Obama at War" establishes that the imperial presidency poses significant foreign policy risks, and concludes with possible solutions to restore a more meaningful balance of power to the branches of government.


If you are looking for something lighter and are a fan of pop culture, UPK has several new books to give readers insight into the worlds of rock and roll, Hollywood and Broadway.


If you are a fan of rocker John Mellencamp, then you would probably enjoy "Mellencamp: American Troubadour." Author David Masciotra examines the life and career of one of America’s most important and underrated songwriters, arguing that he deserves to be celebrated alongside other highly decorated artists. This is the first major biography of the legendary musician, and it will charm fans and music enthusiasts alike who are interested in the development of roots rock and roll and Americana music.


For those who are interested in the glamourous world of Hollywood, UPK has a couple titles focusing on two the industry's most renowned screenwriters and directors. "My Life as a Mankiewicz: An Insider’s Journey through Hollywood" and "Hitchcock Lost and Found: The Forgotten Films" takes readers back to a time where some of the greatest films in history were produced.


In "My Life as a Mankiewicz: An Insider’s Journey through Hollywood," Tom Mankiewicz and Robert Crane collaborate to detail the journey of Mankiewicz through the inner world of the television and film industries. Starting with his first job as production assistant, the book follows him all the way to establishing himself as a member of the Hollywood screenplay writing elite. The duo also dives into his professional development as a writer and director, while also chronicling his friendships and romantic relationships with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.


Alfred Hitchcock is known for such signature works such as "Notorious" and "Vertigo," but "Hitchcock Lost and Found" goes beyond these works to explore forgotten, incomplete and lost productions from all stages of his career, including his early years in Great Britain. Authors Alain Kerzoncuf and Charles Barr highlight another perspective of the filmmaker's career and achievements, along with his short, war-effort projects during World War II.


In "Crane: Sex, Celebrity, and My Father's Unsolved Murder," UPK takes readers to a darker space behind the scenes of a brutal Hollywood crime. Robert Crane and Christopher Fryer tell the story of how Crane dealt with his celebrity father Bob Crane’s 1978 murder. In this memoir, the two discuss the unsolved murder, and Robert Crane’s subsequent career writing for Playboy and Oui magazines and serving as John Candy’s personal assistant. 


In "Hollywood Presents Jules Verne: The Father of Science Fiction on Screen," author Brian Taves investigates the huge mark that writer Jules Verne left on cinema. Verne has inspired filmmakers since the early silent period, and continues to entice audiences more than a hundred years after his works were originally published. Taves illuminates how, as these stories have been made and remade over the years, each new adaptation looks back not only to Verne’s words, but also to previous screen adaptations to make them effective. This comprehensive study will appeal not only to fans of the writer’s work, but also to readers interested in the ever-evolving relationship between literature and film.


"Ziegfeld and His Follies: A Biography of Broadway’s Greatest Producer" will take readers to New York City's famed Broadway stages. The biography, written by Cynthia Brideson and Sara Brideson, looks at Broadway show producer Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. Known for extravagant performances filled with catchy tunes, high-kicking chorus girls, striking costumes, and talented stars, Ziegfeld revolutionized performance at the turn of the 20th century. "Ziegfeld and His Follies" offers an in-depth look into the life and legacy of the producer with a well-rounded account of the man as a father, husband, son, friend, lover and an alternately ruthless and benevolent employer.


For more information about the titles previewed above or any other UPK publications, visit


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



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

UK Anthropology Student Selected for National Security Fellowship

Wed, 07/15/2015 - 11:51


LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 16, 2015) — The University of Kentucky Office of Nationally Competitive Awards has announced that anthropology doctoral candidate Lydia Shanklin Roll has been awarded the National Security Education Program (NSEP) David L. Boren Fellowship for up to $30,000 toward study of the Kurdish language and work on her dissertation research in Istanbul, Turkey. Roll is one of 101 graduate student award winners selected nationally from a pool of 385 applicants.


Boren Fellowships provide funding for study abroad in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests and are underrepresented in education abroad. The awards are funded by NSEP, which focuses on geographic areas, languages and fields of study deemed critical to national security and the stability of our nation. Fellows will study languages throughout Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America and the Middle East.


Roll, who is already skilled in the Turkish language, looks forward to her Kurdish studies as part of her Boren Fellowship and believes it will advance her work on her dissertation.


"I will be conducting research with university students who are members of the Kurdish ethnic minority in Turkey about their understandings of and narratives about individual and collective ethnic identity. I am already able to communicate with these students in Turkish, but learning Kurdish will allow me to better build rapport with my research population."


Roll will begin a year of language studies and her research program in January 2016. After returning to the states, she will complete her doctoral dissertation based on her findings in Turkey.


In exchange for funding, Boren award recipients agree to work in the federal government for at least one year.


"I hope to work for the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, helping to facilitate international educational exchanges for domestic and international students and scholars," Roll said. 


Roll is the daughter of Darla and Roger Pitman of Bloomington, Indiana, and Michael and Cheryl Roll of Marathon, Florida. She earned her bachelor's degree from Indiana University, and became interested in studying Turkish after living in the International House at the University of Chicago while she was a master’s student at Loyola University. During her doctoral studies at UK, Roll has received two Critical Language Scholarships to study the Turkish language in Turkey in 2013 and 2014.


At UK, Roll credits her advisor in anthropology, Diane E. King, with providing invaluable guidance toward her studies, including the process of narrowing her research focus.


Students interested in applying for the Boren Fellowship should contact Pat Whitlow, director of the UK Office of Nationally Competitive Awards. Part of the Academy of Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Undergraduate Education, the office assists current UK undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni in applying for external scholarships and fellowships funded by sources (such as a nongovernment foundation or government agency) outside the university. These major awards honor exceptional students across the nation. Students who are interested in these opportunities are encouraged to begin work with Whitlow well in advance of the scholarship deadline.



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


New Directors Named for Appalachian Center and Appalachian Studies Program

Wed, 07/15/2015 - 09:27

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 16, 2015) — The University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences has named Shauna Scott as the new director of its Appalachian Studies Program and Christopher Barton as the new director of the Appalachian Center.


"Chris Barton and Shaunna Scott will make a great leadership team along with the staff of the Appalachian Center," said Ann Kingsolver, former director of both the Appalachian Center and Appalachian Studies Program. "They are both experienced with university/community partnerships, and both are interested in a sustainable future for Appalachian Kentucky communities. They will represent UK well in current broader conversations in the region."


Kingsolver served a four-year term as director and will now be a professor in the UK Department of Anthropology and will continue her work on rural Kentucky’s global connections.


"I have appreciated being able to work with so many wonderful colleagues in communities across the 54 Appalachian counties of Kentucky and all the colleges of UK," she said.


One of the first Appalachian studies minors to graduate from UK, Scott earned her bachelor’s degree in 1982 with a double major in anthropology and political science. She also holds a master’s degree and doctoral degree in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley.


Scott began her professional career at UK as an assistant professor of sociology, is now an associate professor, and will continue in her current role as director of graduate studies in the Department of Sociology until Aug. 1.


The author of numerous publications on Appalachia, Scott, with co-authors Chad Berry and Phil Obermiller, recently released "Studying Appalachian Studies: Making the Path by Walking."


Scott is currently the editor of the Journal of Appalachian Studies and previously served as acting director of Appalachian Studies from 2001-2002, director of the program from 2002-2006 and president of the Appalachian Studies Association from 2007-2008.


She has also served on the steering, finance and communications committees of the Appalachian Studies Association; the editorial board of the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography; the steering committee of the International Rural Sociological Association; the awards and endowment committees of the Rural Sociological Society; and the Trail Town Task Force in Elkhorn City, Kentucky.


Scott received the UK College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Faculty Award for Community Engagement or Service in 2015.


"I am looking forward to working with the Appalachian Studies faculty, Appalachian Center staff and our new director, Chris Barton, to provide a quality education for UK students interested in the region," Scott said. "As one of the first students at UK to graduate with an Appalachian studies minor in 1982, I benefited greatly from excellent courses, active mentorship and internship opportunities. I am honored to be allowed to 'pay that forward' to a new generation of UK students."


Christopher Barton, professor of forest hydrology and watershed management, joined the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s Department of Forestry in 2003. Barton received his bachelor’s degree from Centre College. He earned his master’s in plant and soil sciences in 1997 and his doctoral degree in soil science in 1999 from UK.


Barton previously worked as a research hydrologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, stationed at the U.S. Department of Energy Savannah River Site in South Carolina from 1999-2003.


He has written and presented extensively on environmental and natural resource issues in Appalachia and is the co-team leader of the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative’s Science Team.


He founded and is the current president of the Board for Green Forests Work, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to restore forests and associated ecosystems on lands that have been impacted by coal mining in Appalachia. More than 1.6 million trees have been planted in Appalachia since 2009 through the initiative.


Barton is currently serving on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Phytoremediation and the International Journal of Mining, Reclamation and Environment.


He also serves on the steering committee for the UK Natural Resources and Environmental Science program; the Committee on Research and Policy at the Kentucky Water Resources Institute; and is a UK representative for the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrological Sciences.


Barton has received the Presidential Migratory Bird Federal Stewardship Award and the Partners in Conservation Award from the U.S. Department of Interior for his work with the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative. He received the C. Peter Magrath University Community Engagement National Outreach Scholarship Exemplary Program Award from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. Most recently, he received the Reclamation Researcher of the Year Award from the American Society of Mining and Reclamation.


"My goal as director is to maintain strengths that the center currently possesses, but add focus to the environmental and natural resource issues that largely define the Appalachian region and are intertwined in the culture of its people," Barton said. "This would bolster the center’s participation in science-related research and outreach and advance communication and conversations on emerging topics that will have major ramifications on the land and livelihood of those who live there. Those topics are certain to include climate change, alternative energy, rural health, land rehabilitation and species conservation. I am very excited about this opportunity and look forward to working with our community partners and the faculty, staff and students at UK."




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

UK Professor Discovers Key to Successful Marriage

Tue, 07/14/2015 - 16:38


LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 15, 2015) — Multiple factors and behaviors contribute to a healthy, successful marriage. Some of the most commonly known behaviors are disclosure, trust and relational maintenance. However, beyond these pivotal behaviors, University of Kentucky College of Communication and Information professor, Brandi Frisby, may have found the remedy to maintaining a thriving marriage.


"My interest in this topic started off as a personal interest," Frisby said. "I come from a family that is still intact, and I believe that I've benefited from having parents who are in a strong marriage. Although the divorce rate has plateaued, it is still high in the U.S. and I've often wondered what differentiates long lasting marriages, like my parents, from those that end in divorce. As a result, I decided to study flirting as a positive interaction in marriage as a possible strategy that contributes to a happy union."


Research suggests that health declines have been made due to the negative outcomes of not being in healthy, partnered relationships. Flirting to spark a marital relationship has been proven through extensive experimentation to lead longer, healthier lives of the individuals within the companionship.


During an experiment conducted by Frisby and colleagues, participants were shown a picture, then proceeded to flirt with the person the photo featured, then met the person. Results portrayed that after this process, attraction levels increased. Different types of flirting, as well as perception of attraction changed during the experiment, increasing physical and social attraction.


Although flirting is thought to be a more light-hearted aspect of a relationship among younger affairs, Frisby believed flirtation also added a certain sense of satisfaction and commitment to a marital relationship.


Frisby found that flirting within a marriage creates a sense of a private world, as though the two are the only ones in the room. Research provided that this leads to a sense of faithfulness between spouses.


"It seems like couples are always looking for ways to strengthen their marriage," Frisby said. "According to the results of our study, flirting with your spouse has the potential to positively influence marital commitment and satisfaction. Given this positive influence, flirting would be an easy, and free, way to engage in communication for a healthier, happier, stronger marriage."


Frisby joined the College of Communication and Information five years ago. After receiving her undergraduate degree in speech communication at Northern Kentucky University in 2004, she then went on to receive her master’s degree in communication studies at Ball State University in 2007 and her doctoral degree in communication studies at West Virginia University in 2010. She now serves as an associate professor for the School of Information Science and an associate graduate faculty member within the College of Communication and Information.



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

Cassis Named UK Vice President for Research

Mon, 07/13/2015 - 17:27

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 13, 2015) — University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto Monday announced that he has named Lisa Cassis vice president for research at UK.


Cassis has served as interim vice president for research since June 2, 2014. She is a longtime UK professor and chair of the UK Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences and widely considered one of the university's top researchers.


As a direct report to Capilouto, Cassis will oversee a nearly $285 million research enterprise that has an annual economic impact on the state of more than $500 million.


"Dr. Cassis is the model scholar researcher," Capilouto said. "She has spent her career as a leading researcher into some of Kentucky's most significant health issues and for the past year has provided outstanding leadership for our growing research enterprise as we formulate a strategic plan and continue to navigate a challenging federal funding climate."


"I am excited to continue our efforts, working with UK's outstanding research community, as we grapple with the challenges — from health to energy, and education to economic development — that are most significant to our state and larger world," Cassis said. "UK is uniquely positioned in the Commonwealth to address these fundamental challenges with the talent and, increasingly, the infrastructure necessary to find discoveries that make a difference for individuals and communities."


Capilouto announced the search for a permanent vice president for research in late May after spending two months engaging with more than 50 members of the university community about the current state of UK's enterprise and its future needs.


A broad-based search committee of leading faculty and deans was formed; and unanimously recommended Cassis for the permanent role.


In addition to her work on the strategic plan, Capilouto said Cassis over the past year provided leadership, along with UK's Government Relations and Finance and Administration teams, for the university's efforts to successfully secure $132.5 million in state support for a new research building. Construction on the $265 million building will begin in the next few months.


Among her many duties, Cassis is also a faculty member of the UK Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, the Saha Cardiovascular Research Center, the Barnstable Brown Diabetes and Obesity Center and the College of Pharmacy.


She is currently principal investigator on several, multi-million dollar federal grants including serving as program director of an $11.3 million National Institutes of Health grant that supports the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) focusing on obesity and cardiovascular diseases. She has published more than 130 scholarly articles, is the recipient of several national research awards, and takes pride in having trained many future generation biomedical researchers.


Cassis earned a Bachelor of Science in pharmacy and Ph.D. in pharmacology from West Virginia University and held postdoctoral positions at the University of Wurzburg in Wurzburg, Germany, and the University of Virginia. 

2015 Keeneland Concours d’Elegance Celebrates Maserati, Supports KCH

Mon, 07/13/2015 - 17:07

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 14, 2015) – The 12th annual Keeneland Concours d'Elegance at Keeneland Race Course on July 18 will showcase a diverse array of exciting classic cars while raising funds to benefit Kentucky Children’s Hospital.


Celebrating the 100th anniversary of famed Italian automaker Maserati, the featured marque for 2015, the event will display two classes of historic and modern Maserati automobiles on the field. The show runs 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, July 18, at the Keeneland Race Course, 4201 Versailles Road, in Lexington. Tickets are $20 at the gate and $15 in advance online.


Classics scheduled for the Saturday show range from cars of the early 20th century such as Dodge, Marmon and Ford, to later beauties such as Auburn, Packard and Pierce Arrow as well as coach-built rarities such as Bugatti and Stutz. Other classes include European sports cars such as Jaguar and Porsche, American performance cars, and pick up trucks. Racecars on display range from a 1914 Duesenberg to a 2001 Audi LeMans racer. A class of rare micro cars from the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, joins the lineup this year.


Saturday’s event includes a silent auction, an exhibition of world-class automotive artists, a Porsche raffle, the Wells Fargo stagecoach and a number of other attractions throughout the day. Food and beverages will be available for purchase on the grounds.


As part of a campaign to introduce children to classic cars, free automotive coloring books will be handed out to young attendees.  Additionally, car owners who are willing to talk with children and their parents about their cars will be wearing a “Kid-Friendly Car” sticker.   Since many Concours automobiles are priceless and irreplaceable, each car owner will decide the degree of interaction children can have with their cars.


“We hope this program will help the children develop an appreciation for classic cars and continue the hobby when they get older,” Tom Jones, Concours co-chair, said.


Tickets are still available for the Hangar Bash on Friday, July 17 at the door or visiting the website  The bash is held at the Aviation Museum of Kentucky at Bluegrass Airport.  The event includes music and heavy hors d’oeuvres, and vintage airplanes, including a PT-19, PT-22, and AT-6 warbirds, along with a selection of classic cars, will be parked in the hangar for the evening.  Tickets are $75.  


The Concours weekend also includes the Bourbon Tour on Thursday, July 16, and the Tour d'Elegance on Sunday, July 19. Tickets for all events are available on the website.


The event is ranked as a Top 20 Event by the Southeast Tourism Society as well as a Top 10 Festival by the Kentucky Travel Industry Association. The Concours was featured on a recent episode of My Classic Car with Dennis Gage.


Since the first event in 2004, the Keeneland Concours d’Elegance has showcased the finest in automobiles and the attractions of central Kentucky on the lush grounds of the Keeneland Race Course. Proceeds benefit Kentucky Children’s Hospital to help bring better health care to the children of Kentucky. For more information, visit


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

Another WUKY Phoenix Friday Coming on July 17

Mon, 07/13/2015 - 16:02

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 14, 2015) — If you are looking for a place to hear some great live music for free, WUKY has just the venue for you.


The third in a series of free outdoor concerts sponsored by WUKY Radio will take place this Friday, July 17, in downtown Lexington.


Gates open at 5 p.m. for this latest edition of WUKY's Phoenix Fridays 2015, with music from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. in Phoenix Park at the corner of Main and Limestone. Again this month, the evening's opening act features one of this area's best bands, The Wags. A national act, J.D. Ghent, will follow and then headliner Kopecky performs.


In all, the concert is expected to last four hours and features food from Lexington's best food trucks, beverages from Kentucky Eagle Inc., and production provided by the Downtown Lexington Corporation.


There will be one more show in the 2015 WUKY Phoenix Fridays series on Aug. 21.


For more information, visit; or contact WUKY’s Mike Graves at or 859-396-4137.




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


UK Faculty and Staff Football Tickets - Season Opens Sept. 5

Mon, 07/13/2015 - 14:52
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 15, 2015) — In just seven weeks from this Saturday, the University of Kentucky Wildcats will play their first football game in The New CWS. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m., Sept. 5, against the visiting Ragin' Cajuns from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL Lafayette). UK Athletics is energized like never before for the opening of the new stadium after a $120-million reinvention.Season tickets for the 2015 season are still available and full-time faculty and staff have a chance to purchase tickets at a discounted rate. Regular full-time faculty and staff can receive a 20 percent discount on the cost of tickets (up to two seats), including a 50 percent discount on the K Fund donation (up to two seats), if selecting seats at the $525 donation level or below. The 50 percent K Fund discount does not apply to premium seating areas, including suites, loge and club seating.


With UK playing an additional eighth home game this fall, all season tickets are regularly priced at $320 each, in addition to the annual K Fund donation. To provide a variety of affordable ticket options, approximately 25,000 seats were priced at the current $100 K Fund donation level or lower, plus ticket cost. Faculty/staff are encouraged to visit and use the virtual venue to view available seats, but should call the UK Ticket Office at 800-928-2287 to receive the discounted price on tickets, rather than buying the tickets online. Fans are also encouraged to take advantage of the summer payment plan option, which allows fans to sign up at no additional cost to pay for season tickets in installments through July, August and September.


Single-game tickets for all eight home games in 2015 go on sale July 27 at 9 a.m. ET via or by calling the UK Ticket Office at 800-928-2287. Single-game tickets are $45 for the grand opening vs. UL Lafayette beginning 7 p.m. ET Saturday, Sept. 5, as well as Homecoming weekend vs. EKU (Eastern Kentucky University) on Saturday, Oct. 3, and Heroes Day vs. University of North Carolina at Charlotte on Saturday, Nov. 21.


Single-game tickets are $60 for UK’s Southeastern Conference home opener vs. Florida beginning 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday, Sept. 19, as well as vs. Missouri on Saturday, Sept. 26.

Tickets are $75 for the Auburn (Thursday, Oct. 15), Tennessee (Saturday, Oct. 31) and Louisville (Saturday, Nov. 28) games.


Additionally, three-game mini-packs, starting at $100, will also be available on July 27.


Additional promotions will be announced throughout the season. For more information, contact the UK Ticket Office and ask to receive special offers through email. Again, the toll-free telephone number is 800-928-2287. The local number is 859-257-1818. 



MEDIA CONTACTS:  Evan Crane, 859-257-3838; Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200.

UK Research: Bed Bugs 'Bite' the Wallet of Hotel Owners

Mon, 07/13/2015 - 14:34

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 14, 2015) — While finding a bed bug at home can be unnerving, discovering one in a hotel room can be nightmarish for guests and hotel managers alike. Now, new research from the University of Kentucky's College of Agriculture, Food and Environment has revealed findings about the financial impact bed bugs can have on the travel and hospitality industry.


UK entomologist Michael Potter, a Provost’s Distinguished Service Professor, teamed with Agricultural Economics Professor Wuyang Hu, and doctoral student Jerrod Penn, in the Department of Agricultural Economics, to conduct this research. Very little was known about the economic impact of bed bugs prior to the study.


Potter has been working on the front lines of the bed bug resurgence for several years. "While bed bugs are not known to transmit diseases, the bites are often unsightly and itchy," Potter said. "It’s hard to understand how upsetting an infestation can be unless you’ve experienced one yourself. Unlike ticks and mosquitoes, bed bugs live indoors and breed in our beds.” 


"The goal of the research was to understand consumer preferences when choosing a hotel for business or leisure travel, and how the risk of bed bugs influences their decision," said Penn, the lead author of the study which was funded through a grant from Protect-A-Bed®, a global producer of protective bedding products.


The survey was conducted in May via online market research firm Qualtrics. Respondents included almost 2,100 people representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia ― 1,298 who travel mainly for leisure and 790 who do so largely for business.


The researchers put some hard numbers to the economic impact of online reports of bed bugs in hotels, as well as the value of protective services. Results show that on average, a single report of bed bugs in recent traveler reviews lowers the value of a hotel room by $38 and $23 per room per night for business and leisure travelers respectively.


"The higher loss of hotel room values for business travelers is not surprising given that they tend to stay in pricier rooms," Hu said.


In absolute terms, compared to other hotel aspects, the monetary value for travelers' concern about bed bugs makes it one of the more important considerations when selecting or grading a hotel. A second mention of bed bugs in recent traveler reviews further decreases the value of a hotel room, but proportionately to a lesser extent than the first alleged report of the pests.


When presented with various problematic issues encountered in hotel rooms, finding signs of bed bugs had the largest proportion of respondents choosing to switch hotels. Reactions to other concerns (smoke odor, unclean bathroom, dirty sheets, etc.) mostly involved reporting the concern to the front desk and requesting another room.


On the bright side, information about some protective services with regard to bed bugs received positive reaction from travelers. Both business and leisure travelers placed the greatest economic value on protective mattress encasements as a form of protection, followed by periodic (e.g., semiannual) room inspections by professional pest control firms. "But travelers placed a relatively small dollar value on regular inspections by housekeeping staff," Penn said.


"We also asked people about likely reactions specific to bed bugs," Penn said. "Survey respondents were asked how they would respond to reading an online review that reported bed bugs while looking to book a room for an upcoming trip. A majority of business and leisure travelers said they would not select that particular hotel."  


In a second scenario where travelers were asked how they would react to finding a live bed bug while staying in their hotel room, "The three most likely responses among business and leisure travelers were to switch rooms with added compensation, leave the particular hotel, and to report finding bed bugs on social media," said Hu, who serves as Penn's major professor in ag economics. "Considering how popular social media has become, it’s important that hotels recognize the potential spread of negative information, regardless of whether the online report of bed bugs is accurate."


Travelers reading about or finding bed bugs in a hotel were more inclined to hold the particular establishment responsible than blame the entire brand name or hospitality industry as a whole.   


Four out of five travelers felt hotels should be required to inform guests if their assigned room had a previous bed bug problem. Half of all leisure travelers indicated they would want to know of any problems occurring in the past year, and one-third wanted to know if there had been bed bugs ever. Business travelers were somewhat more lenient, with half wanting to know of incidents extending back six months.


"If hotels are required to disclose previous problems with bed bugs ― as landlords in some cities must do for prospective tenants ― the implications could be far reaching," Potter said. "Such disclosure could necessitate taking rooms out of service for prolonged periods even after the risk of bed bugs has diminished."


Other noteworthy findings from the study: More than two-thirds of travelers were unable to distinguish a bed bug from other household insects. More than half said they never worry about bed bugs while traveling ― although about one in three business travelers and one in five leisure travelers either know someone who has gotten bed bugs or had them themselves. Business travelers are better at correctly identifying bed bugs, have more personal experience with the pests, and have reported them in online reviews much more often than leisure travelers.  


When it comes to bed bugs, the hospitality industry is often caught between a "rock and a hard place," Potter said. "With high turnover of guests, occasional bed bug incidents in hotels are understandable, as in similar types of locations. Many hotel chains already take bed bugs seriously in terms of prevention and early detection. The current study further underscores the importance of being hyper-vigilant."




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