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UK HealthCare Employees Gathering Supplies for Flood Victims

Tue, 07/21/2015 - 17:21

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 22, 2015) — UK HealthCare employees are collecting supplies to assist with relief efforts in Johnson County after flash floods swept through the area July 14.

On July 22 and July 23, faculty, staff and employees at UK HealthCare are encouraged to donate rescue and cleanup supplies at one of four locations on the medical campus. Donations will be transported to the Johnson County Relief Center, which is assisting members of the Flat Gap community who were affected by the flood. More than 150 homes were destroyed by the floodwaters, with hundreds more damaged by water and debris. After two people died from drowning in floodwaters, officials continue to search for several residents of Flat Gap who were reported missing during the flood.

Jessica LaRue, a native of the flood-prone city of Inez in Martin County, realized the immense devastation of the July 14 flood through photos and posts on Facebook. LaRue works in the Department of Pediatrics at UK HealthCare, and coordinated the donation drive in collaboration with the help of UK HealthCare administrative leadership.

Items requested for the relief effort include:

·      Fans and extension cords

·      Water hoses

·      Laundry detergent

·      Pillows

·      Towels

·      Washcloths

·      Blankets

·      Large trash cans

·      Heavy-duty trash bags and work gloves

·      Coolers

·      Boots

·      Large zip lock bags and paper plates

Drop off stations are located in the North Lobby of Pavilion H in the UK Chandler Hospital from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and for night shift employees at the Pavilion H Information Desk from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on July 22 and July 23. Donations will be accepted at a station in Room CC401B on the fourth floor of the Markey Cancer Center from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. UK Good Samaritan employees can drop off donations at the administrative offices on the ground floor.

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

BLOG: A Time to Celebrate Higher Education

Tue, 07/21/2015 - 16:10

Following is a blog from John Thelin, professor of educational policy studies and evaluation in the University of Kentucky College of Education and co-author with Richard W. Trollinger of the book Philanthropy and American Higher Education, published in 2014 by Palgrave Macmillan. In his own words, Thelin weighs in on the current state of American colleges.

July 22, 2015

Only in America. Higher education in the United States is an extensive, exciting venture in which going to college is indelibly linked to the American Dream of opportunity and achievement. Americans have great expectations that our colleges and universities can simultaneously promote equity and excellence. It’s a heritage worthy of our celebration – and of our continued resolution to work on this unfinished business. 

A distinctive strand in this American mixture of idealism and realism is philanthropy. We are a nation of donors and joiners. This was true in 1815 as it is in 2015. And our colleges and universities are center stage in both giving and receiving. According to the Council for Aid to Education in 2014, charitable giving to American colleges and universities reached an historic high level. Colleges raised $37.45 billion. Not only was the amount high, the trajectory showed acceleration and growth, posting just about an 11 percent% increase in giving since 2013. Harvard, as befits its stature as the oldest and wealthiest institution, led the way by raising $1.16 billion – part of its $6.5 billion fund raising campaign. Stanford already had completed its own five-year campaign to raise $6.5 billion. Looking across the landscape of American higher education and society, one finds reaffirmation of “Giving and Sharing” as an enduring – and endearing – American tradition. 

Prosperity brings problems – and responsibilities. We are left with serious questions on how and where to channel this generosity. Such questions of policies and practices intersect with national concerns over schisms in American life and education, known as the “opportunity gap.” And, ultimately this leads to such related issues as the rising costs and prices of going to college. Philanthropy and private giving, of course, are crucial in any serious consideration of student financial aid. All these deliberations lead to periodic reflection on why as Americans we emphasize going to college – and paying for college. 

It includes a voice that makes “the case against college” – again! Maybe going to college is not such a great idea. Kevin Carey of the New America Foundation has received a great deal of press coverage for his writings and talks about “The End of College.” Three years ago the entrepreneur Peter Thiel put up money that paid outstanding high school students to pursue paths and projects away from a college campus. Now, a flurry of articles report about bright, enthusiastic high school students who consciously reject going to college. A conspicuous example is Alex William’s proclamation of “Saying No to College” in the New York Times that includes a caption proclaiming that for high achievers, “College is for suckers!” This “case against college” may be heretical to our higher education orthodoxy. But it is not new. From 1870 to 1890 enrollments at most colleges declined even though the national population grew. College presidents were perplexed about the loss of appeal “going to college” held for young Americans. The School of Hard Knocks trumped the College of Liberal Arts if you were an inventor or an investor. Ambitious young Americans wanted to get on with their pursuits and profits. They saw four years of college as lost time and wasted opportunity. 

Even the learned professions of medicine and law seldom required a college education – or even a high school diploma. And, for most 18-year-olds whose parents were farmers or shop keepers, you had to stay home to help with the family business. Tuition was not an obstacle because it was incredibly cheap – seldom more than $100 per year. When college presidents made desperate offers to attract students by lowering tuition and waiving entrance examinations, there were few takers and lots of empty classroom seats. College officials failed to understand that for most American families the loss of a child’s earnings was a more important consideration than even no tuition charge in making a decisive case against college. 

But that was then and this is now. The current advocates for the case against college may be correct in pointing out that a Bill Gates or a Steve Jobs did not need a college degree to be successful. What this ignores is that the overall strength of American higher education in the 20th century has been less spectacular yet important -- namely, to educate for civil society and expertise. 

It was true not only for preparing young people for law and medicine, but also pharmacy, engineering, physics, biology, chemistry, mathematics, teaching, social work, clergy, nursing, accounting, forestry, public health and other professionals – and to help educate them to be concerned professionals and informed citizens that would lead and staff new organizations in the public and private sector. 

Let’s reconsider Steven Jobs’s memorable 2005 Stanford commencement speech as Exhibit A in the case against college. First, Jobs did not opt not to go to college. He went to Reed College and dropped out – a very different life choice than not going to college at all. Second, even after dropping out, he stayed close to the Reed College campus – its students, faculty, resources and opportunities – all to his educational and vocational gain. Third, his explanation for dropping out – disorientation and uncertainty – probably were signs that a liberal education was prompting him to consider and confront complex questions of purpose and place. Perhaps Reed College was “doing its job” for Jobs? 

Above all, doesn’t it seem strange and conveniently safe that Steven Jobs gave his inspirational talk to Stanford graduates who momentarily were about to receive their coveted Stanford degrees? I wager that most in that audience were delighted with Jobs’s message urging them to pursue their dreams – and equally delighted that they were buoyed by the experience, friendships, faculty and learning -- and degree -- on all counts that going to college had made opportune. The Steven Jobs inspirational talk would have been more daring as a “case against college” had he chosen to deliver it to 16-year-olds at, e.g., an underfunded inner city public high school where students are trying to make plans about adult life and options without a lot of advantages. But he didn’t – and for good reason. That’s because we know that going to college and earning a college degree usually enhances one’s opportunities and options – and earnings. 

Whether in 1880 or 2015, the historical message is that there are good reasons to go -- or not to go -- to college. And, given the diversity of American higher education, the choices are complicated by the options of where to go – such as two-year vocational vs. four-year liberal arts college or small campus versus large flagship state university -- land what to study – and for what end – an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, or perhaps prelude to an advanced degree or certificate. We also have in the United States a long tradition of some professions such as performing arts and major league baseball where one need not have a college education. The recent articles do not make the case against college – they make a case, or several cases, depending on an individual’s situation and goals. 

In sum, the fervent articles denigrating college unwittingly make indirect and direct cases of numerous good reasons to go to college. Why, of course, the exceptional genius does not need the delay of required courses. But even an icon such Mark Zuckerberg did gain from going to Harvard by finding the name and inspiration for “Facebook” – not from Philosophy 101 but from the booklets distributed during freshman orientation week. How to calculate the net worth of that informal collegiate experience? And for the multitude of bright, talented committed high school graduates who were not selected for Peter Thiel’s highly selective program, might not there be a thoughtful choice about college that just might provide some good learning and opportunities? 

Kevin Carey’s forecasting of “The End of College” correctly identifies such recent innovations as internet courses tied to the certification of “badges” as new forms which may reduce the appeal that a traditional campus may have to a substantial number of potential students. Important to keep in mind, however, is that higher education has always coexisted with and confronted new ways of delivering instruction and awarding course and degree credit. So, my own observation is that we enter an era which is more aptly characterized as the “Change of College” rather than its evaporation or demise. 

The net result is that we do not have “The Case” against college – but the more subtle, provocative question of many cases for and against going to college as befits a complex, diverse and credentialed American society. Maybe going to college is not such a great idea. Maybe not going to college is not such a great idea. 

No matter how one answers such questions, there’s little doubt that the American tradition of philanthropy will shape our responses as we once against connect past and present as participant-observers in continually re-examining American higher education. We face what I call a “Future Tense Imperfect” in which our colleges and universities – and their supporters – are concerned and not complacent. Now that’s cause for celebration! 

*(Note: the author thanks the editors of Inside Higher Ed for granting permission to draw from materials the author wrote in his Jan. 11, 2013 article.)

Identifying Biomarkers Key to Early Intervention in Alzheimer's Disease

Tue, 07/21/2015 - 15:55

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 22, 2015) -- Although the term didn’t surface until the 1980s, the concept of biomarkers has been around for almost a century.  Today, doctors routinely test blood for signs of anemia or the antigen associated with prostate cancer.  Urine samples can hint at the presence of infection or diabetes, and EEGs diagnose electrical abnormalities in the brain.

But scientists are now advancing the concept, looking for ways to identify a host of diseases early in the process to provide opportunity for early intervention and improve the chances that treatment will be effective.

This is particularly true for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), where evidence points to the fact that the disease process begins long before someone has clinical symptoms, and the ramifications of the disease – both financial and emotional – are disastrous.

At the University of Kentucky’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, researchers are looking for biomarkers that might serve as an early warning system for AD.  The process is not without complications, but these scientists possess a collective “Rosie the Riveter” spirit. 

Mark Lovell is one of them. According to Lovell, the only definitive way to diagnose AD is through autopsy, though other options, such as PET imaging to identify the presence of AD pathology, are becoming more widely used. The challenge, explains the bioanalytical chemist and Jack and Linda Gill Professor of Chemistry, is finding a biomarker that 1) is an accepted predictor of the disease and 2) can easily be identified by a physician at the clinic level.

“Multiple studies show alterations in levels of the proteins associated with AD – tau and beta amyloid-- in cerebrospinal fluid, but a spinal tap to obtain that fluid is often a hard sell for patients”, Lovell said. “Furthermore, there appears to be variability in the data connecting the levels of these proteins in CSF and the diagnosis of AD, which has limited the use of beta amyloid and tau clinically." 

But in the spirit of Sanders-Brown’s iconic first director and Lovell’s research mentor, William Markesbery, Lovell is willing to explore unconventional ideas so  he started searching for alternative biomarkers. 

Working with Bert Lynn, director of UK’s Mass Spectrometry Center, Lovell began to sort proteins in CSF samples by weight. As the results came in, two particular proteins (transthyretin and prostaglandin-d-synthase) caught his attention.

“We were able to tease out that these two proteins, when subjected to oxidative damage, tended to stick together and fractionate at a higher molecular weight than expected,” said Lovell. 

Further study suggested that these proteins may signal dysfunction in the choroid plexus, a brain region responsible for the production and filtration of  cerebrospinal fluid.

Since, in AD, current data suggest there are changes in the transfer capacity of the choroid plexus it made sense to Lovell and Lynn that these two proteins might make a good biomarker for AD.

The next step, says Lovell, was to go “downstream” to blood or urine, for example to determine whether this same protein combination appears there as well.

“I’ve historically been skeptical that blood can be as strong a predictor of Alzheimer’s disease  as cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), but I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was a reasonable correlation in samples of CSF and blood taken from the same patients,” Lovell said.

Lovell cautions that further evaluation in larger sample populations is necessary before this can be called a definitive success, but if the hypothesis is borne out, “we will have a blood based biomarker that might be more predictive than amyloid beta peptide.”

Ultimately, Lovell thinks AD will be diagnosed by a panel of three or four biomarkers, rather than a single “up or down” test.  And that’s where Brian Gold comes in.

Gold, a cognitive neuroscientist, is fascinated by CSF protein biomarker findings of Lovell and others and is conducting his own research in the hopes of using brain imaging to find non-invasive AD biomarkers. However, up until now, Gold explains, most MRI studies of preclinical AD have been restricted to structural volumetric characteristics of the brain.

“We’ve  instead been focusing on microstructural brain changes detectable with a form of MRI called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), which assesses the diffusion of water molecules in the brain," said Gold.  "As cellular structures begin to degenerate, tissue barriers degenerate as well, allowing for increased water diffusion  DTI-based changes in the brain are thus somewhat analogous to hairline cracks in a house’s foundation that precede visible structural damage.”

Gold and his colleagues are one of just a handful of U.S. groups exploring how CSF protein biomarkers correlate with microstructural brain changes using DTI and dynamic physiological changes using functional MRI.

His work, published last year in the Neurobiology of Aging, found tantalizing correlations between reduced white matter microstructure in the brain and the presence of CSF markers of AD.

“In other words, if our findings using DTI and functional MRI are highly correlated with Lovell’s CSF  biomarkers, we have potentially uncovered a minimally invasive way to diagnose pre-clinical AD.”

While Gold and Lovell look prospectively for the Holy Grail, others at Sanders-Brown are taking a retrospective look using big data.

Dick Kryscio and Erin Abner help manage the Alzheimer's Disease Center (ADC) database, a collection of thousands of data points from more than 1300 research volunteers enrolled in the Biologically Resilient Adults in Neurological Studies cohort.  With literally thousands of blood samples, CSF samples, results from cognitive testing, medication history, physical and neurologicalexaminations, and medical history, the database size probably approaches the inventory of a mid-sized grocery store.  Abner and Kryscio troll the reams of data looking for consistencies that might constitute an early warning of disease. 

Kryscio notes that biomarkers serve two purposes -- as a predictor of disease and as a means to a diagnosis.  While most biomarkers today serve the latter function, "a marker truly earns its keep when a person is on his or her way to disease," he says.

And, while not a biomarker in the strictest sense, their most promising work in predicting disease has been in the area of self-reported memory complaints.

Both Abner and Kryscio have published studies in Neurology and Journal of Prevention demonstrating a link between self-reported memory complaints and the development of cognitive impairment later in life.

"In other words, people usually are the best judges of their own memory -- they can detect subtle problems years before there are more obvious symptoms," says Abner.  She points out that it's an enormous oversimplification. "You aren't likely to have AD just because you can't remember where you put your keys one day," she said but added it has potential as a candidate for the "panel of tests."

Abner and Kryscio's efforts have international ramifications, as they are two of the gatekeepers for the ADC biospecimens, which are shared worldwide.

"The number of data parameters, and the longitudinal nature of the data available, makes this database world-class, but there are nonetheless a finite number of studies for which we can provide specimens before the supply is exhausted," Kryscio said.  "It's a service to our research participants to help researchers with a study design that eliminates waste and maximizes the quality of the science, and we don't take that responsibility lightly."

Regardless of the path -- whether looking forward or backward -- the ability to detect AD at its earliest stages will have huge ramifications on the race to treat and eventually cure the most expensive malady currently known to man.

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

UK HealthCare Participates in Readiness Plan Assessment for Serious Communicable Diseases

Mon, 07/20/2015 - 17:37
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 21, 2015) -- UK HealthCare is participating on Tuesday in a site review and readiness assessment for managing serious communicable diseases by representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Kentucky Department of Public Health.UK HealthCare is participating on Tuesday in a site review and readiness assessment for managing serious communicable diseases by representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Kentucky Department of Public Health.Ebola, one of the more well-known and deadly communicable diseases, continues to be a critical health issue across the globe. Last year's crisis prompted the need for better preparedness for serious communicable illnesses, and state and federal governments have reached out to medical facilities across the country to be classified as official Assessment Hospitals to help manage future outbreaks.

"UK Healthcare has developed a robust response plan for communicable diseases, such as Ebola," said Dr. Derek Forster, UK HealthCare enterprise medical director for infection prevention and control. "This plan includes screening and triage, patient transport, provision of care, laboratory testing and staffing of our volunteer communicable disease team."

During the site visit on July 21, a review of UK HealthCare's Serious Communicable Disease Readiness Plan will provide an opportunity to receive feedback from respected national experts, Forster said. CDC and state public health representatives will be touring clinical areas and meeting with some of the response team members."Whether it is Ebola or another communicable disease, we know that as an academic medical center we have the expertise, resources and responsibility to the region to prepare for and appropriately manage the most serious diseases or situations," said Kim Blanton, UK HealthCare enterprise director for infection prevention and control and patient safety. "Throughout our enterprise, our health care providers undergo continuous education and training and this week's assessment is another means to evaluate our strengths and areas for further training."As an assessment hospital, UK Chandler Hospital would care for a patient during the time before a confirmed diagnosis is made until the patient is transferred to one of about 55 designated Ebola treatment centers.  The site for transfer from this area will be Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Assessment hospitals are hospitals identified by state health officials, in collaboration with local health authorities and hospital administration, as the point of referral for individuals being actively monitored and who develop symptoms compatible with Ebola.  Designated Assessment Hospitals must have the capability to evaluate and care for someone who is having the first symptoms of Ebola for up to 96 hours; initiate and coordinate testing for Ebola and for other diseases alternative diagnoses; and either rule out Ebola or transfer the individual to an Ebola treatment center.Hospitals not designated as an Assessment or Treatment facility will be considered Frontline Health Care Facilities, tasked with identifying patients with relevant exposure history and Ebola‐compatible symptom, isolating patients and initiating testing if low risk.  If the patient is deemed high risk, then they would transfer for evaluation and testing to an Assessment Hospital.

Media Contact:  Kristi Lopez,

UK Scientists Helping Farmers; Bettering Child Nutrition in Ghana

Mon, 07/20/2015 - 16:51

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 21, 2015) – While the African nation of Ghana is one of the most developed on the continent, its people still suffer from poverty and hunger. A U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service grant will help University of Kentucky scientists positively impact the nation by helping Ghanaian women who farm improve their job opportunities and their children’s nutrition.

Researchers in UK's College of Agriculture, Food and Environment will find ways to help women sell their crops to schools. The goal of the project is to provide new opportunities and income for female farmers, increase sustainable agricultural practices in the country and provide Ghanaian children with much needed nutrition.

“School feeding programs are one of the best ways to fight hunger in developing countries, because they give children much needed nutrients to properly grow and learn and provide jobs in communities. Studies have shown that more children, especially girls, will attend school if there’s a meal provided,” said Janet Mullins, the grant’s principal researcher and extension professor in the college’s Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition.

According to the World Food Programme, at least 45 percent of Ghana’s population lives on less than $1.25 a day. Large income disparities exist in the country, and the divide deepens the further north a person lives in Ghana. Northern communities account for 63 percent of the Ghanaians living below the poverty line. Unlike in the U.S., schools in the country are not required to provide feeding programs to their students.

During the first year of the grant, Mullins and fellow UKAg professors Mark Williams and Mike Reed will collaborate with researchers at the University of Ghana and the University for Development Studies to learn how schools in Northern Ghana purchase food for their feeding programs and how many of the country’s feeding programs already rely on local sources, such as farmers and gardens, for at least part of their food purchases. Two schools in a rural area around the city of Tamale will serve as pilots for the projects. These schools will each have four female farmers and a person charged with purchasing food for the school look at ways that the farmers can begin providing traditional Ghanaian nutrient dense foods like legumes, maize and vegetables to schools.

Mullins will leverage a 10-year relationship UK has operating a kindergarten in Adjeikrom, in the country’s Eastern Region to further develop that school’s reliance on local women to supply food for its feeding program. The school will serve as a model program for the Northern Region schools.

In the second year, UK researchers will provide technical and financial assistance to women who farm in the Northern Region to sustainably produce these foods and meet the necessary packing, processing and handling requirements for school feeding programs. This includes everything from variety selection to delivery.

They will also develop a social marketing campaign to encourage the country’s school food buyers to increase their purchases of locally produced foods for their feeding programs.

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

Sounds of UK Talents Fill the Summer Air in Spain, Prague

Mon, 07/20/2015 - 16:10

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 21, 2015) — From a chorus of more than 50 voices to the baton movement on a conductor's rostrum, the talents of the students and faculty of University of Kentucky School of Music were in the spotlight this summer in cathedrals, concert halls and theatres across Spain and in Prague, even in one site that premiered a popular opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

In Spain, a little less than half of the members of UK Women's Choir had the opportunity to further their own education while enriching the lives of others through the beauty of music and cultural exchange in a tour running June 9-19. Student vocalists on the trip not only had a chance to learn about the rich, musical heritage of Spain but also were able to perform in some of the country's most historic cathedrals.

During the tour, the choir visited Madrid, Seville, Córdoba, Granada, Torremolinos and Toledo and took in such famous sites as the Cathedral of Toledo, Church of Santo Tome, Alhambra, Generalife and the Mezquita Catedral de Córdoba. Under the direction of Associate Director of the UK School of Music Lori Hetzel, the UK Women's Choir performed five concerts across the country, including an exchange concert with the University of Córdoba, a concert with the Seville Youth Orchestra, a Mass at Basilica Nuestra Señora de Las Angustias, and a concert with the children's choir of Granada.

"Paying for this trip was especially hard for me but singing with the UK Women's Choir was an experience that made my soul richer than I could've ever imagined," said music education sophomore Savannah Fallis, of Oneida, Kentucky. "I was able to explore places that many people only dream about, make music with my talented friends, and form memories that will last a lifetime."

Fellow choir member Malinda Massey, a secondary English education and English senior from Albany, Georgia, agrees the trip was a major blessing. "Being a part of the Women's Choir has always been an adventure, and going overseas with the group made me better understand the musicianship and sisterhood that we all share between one another. To hear our voices echoing in the sanctuaries of cathedrals in Madrid and Grenada was both humbling and moving...We were reaching out to people from another country in a universal language we all spoke, and the connection I felt between myself and the audiences, our choir, and our music was something truly irreplaceable. Joining the UK Women's Choir has proved to be one of the best decisions I've made since coming to college, and going on tour with them proved just that."

The UK Women’s Choir is a select ensemble composed of more than 100 of the school’s most talented female voices. The singers, ranging from freshmen to graduate students, represent a variety of musical backgrounds and academic disciplines. The choir’s challenging and diverse repertoire includes literature spanning from Gregorian chant to eight-part music of the 21st Century. With an emphasis on music by female composers, the ensemble performs works of many different languages and compositional forms.

More than 2,000 kilometers away Director of UK Orchestras John Nardolillo raised his baton on performances of Mozart's "Don Giovanni" at the Prague Estates Theatre, home to the very stage the legendary composer premiered the opera in 1787. The production was staged as part of the inaugural "Prague Summer Nights Young Artists Music Festival," presented by Classical Movements.

As part of the festival, Maestro Nardolillo conducted four performances of "Don Giovanni" under the direction of famed baritone Sherrill Milnes. The 30-day Young Artist Festival, running June 7 to July 6, with 100 students featured multiple concerts and productions. Nearly 500 singers and instrumentalists auditioned to be considered for the Prague Summer Nights Festival from all over the world and finally 45 singers, including three UK Opera Theatre vocalists, and 55 musicians, including 24 members from UK Symphony Orchestra, were selected along with leading faculty from all over the world. In addition to conducting, Nardolillo served as artistic director of the music festival. 

"Classical Movements has created an extraordinary program and we believe that no other summer musical training offers young artists so many different opportunities to perform in such magnificent venues — both for opera singers and instrumentalists. We were fortunate to get such high caliber applications and to attract such superior faculty," said Neeta Helms, president of Classical Movements Inc.

Festival highlights included the Opera Gala in the Estates Theatre; a performance of work by Mozart and Maurice Duruflé with the Anchorage Concert Chorus in Smetana Hall; a production of "Suor Angelica" in the Church of St. Simon and Jude, where Joseph Haydn and Mozart performed; a performance by the orchestra at Smetana Hall; chamber music and song recitals in the salon of the Antonin Dvořák Museum in Prague; and a cabaret in one of Prague’s famous jazz clubs. 

Performers in the "Prague Summer Nights Young Artists Music Festival" hailed from the United States, England, Germany, Korea, Canada, China, Mexico, Argentina, Russia, Croatia and the Czech Republic, and are from top music conservatories and universities such as the Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, Indiana University, the University of Southern California, the Peabody Conservatory, the Eastman School of Music, the University of Kentucky, the University of Michigan, the New England Conservatory, Northwestern University, the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music in London, as well as schools in Germany and Austria.

Joining Nardolillo from UK were three opera students and 24 musicians. The opera students performing in Prague were: vocal performance senior Mary Catherine Wright, of Lexington; 2015 graduate Taeeun Moon, of Busan, South Korea; and graduate student Christopher Kenney, of Fargo, North Dakota. The 24 UK instrumentalists playing in the orchestra included: Makaila Babiarz, Alexis Corsaut, Heather Gosnell, Sarah Grindle, Chandler Martin, Isabelle Martin, Miranda Martin, Maya McCutchen, Matthew McMahon, Jessica Miskelly, Kristen Morrill, Maria Navarra, Diana Pecaro, Emily Rush, Daniel Taylor, Nathan Williams, and Jessie Zhu. In addition to performing, Miskelly, UK Symphony Orchestra's concertmaster, served as concertmaster of the orchestra for the "Prague Summer Nights Young Artists Music Festival."

Classical Movements is one of the world’s leading concert planning and music management companies. Clients include some of the world’s finest orchestras and choruses around the world. In its 22 years, Classical Movements has worked in over 140 countries on six continents. The company also commissions new music through its Eric Daniel Helms New Music Program, supporting orchestra and choral clients as well as composers, and it owns an international choral series and four annual international music festivals in Europe, South America, Africa and North America. 

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

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

Gov. Beshear Announces $500,000 for Loan Forgiveness Program for Kentucky Dental Students

Mon, 07/20/2015 - 15:01

MCKEE, Ky. (July 20, 2015) — Governor Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers joined public health and university officials today to announce a new dentist recruitment program aimed at promoting sustained oral health and well-being in eastern Kentucky.

The new loan forgiveness program is supported by $500,000 in state funds and is available for dental students who practice in the region. The dental schools at the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville will administer the program, providing two to five awardees $100,000 each for a two-year commitment.

“Reversing the oral health issues facing eastern Kentucky has been a major goal of mine throughout my administration,” Beshear said. “The vast majority of both childhood and adult dental problems could be avoided through routine dental care and other preventive efforts. This unique program and partnership will truly expand dental hygiene and help counter oral disease as a major health risk for our people.”

“One of the reasons why access to dental care has been traditionally low in our region is the sheer fact that we have shipped our talent out for education, with very little incentive to return home to practice dentistry,” said Rogers. “This program will help address the outmigration of our talented young Eastern Kentuckians and serves as another step to improving dental healthcare for our people.”

“The University of Kentucky is deeply invested in improving the health of eastern Kentucky – our work and strategic priorities are focused on transforming those we serve and answering Kentucky questions,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “The Appalachian Dental Loan Forgiveness Program allows Kentucky’s leading dental education programs to put more practitioners on the front lines and improve the oral health of our Appalachian region.”

“This loan repayment program fits within our mission at the University of Louisville to enhance the lives of Kentuckians,” said UofL President James Ramsey. “This program will help UofL dental graduates establish practices in underserved, rural areas to ensure ALL people of the Commonwealth have access to oral health care.”

The announcement today was made in conjunction with the Shaping Our Appalachian Region or SOAR Executive Board meeting at the Jackson Energy Cooperative in McKee. 

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), dentists completing dental school now come out with a debt of around $280,000. With that in mind, the Kentucky Department of Public Health (DPH) worked with staff at the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville colleges of dentistry to develop a loan forgiveness program as an incentive to attract more providers to eastern Kentucky.

DPH is funding the program, and the universities will offer awardees a $50,000 “up front” payment and $50,000 at the end of the first two-year award cycle.

Eastern Kentucky counties as defined by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) will be the designated location for the program. Additionally, priority will be given to dental students from eastern Kentucky wishing to return to practice in the designated geographic area.

Eligible candidates include someone who is establishing or joining a new private practice, or purchasing an existing practice in an ARC distressed county. The original intent of the program is to recruit current graduates. Recent graduates are also eligible.

“Many of our UK and UofL dental graduates from the Appalachian counties want to return home to practice – but high levels of student debt complicate their decisions about starting a practice in rural Kentucky,” said M. Raynor Mullins, associate director of the Kentucky Oral Health Research Network. “This new program will help a new cohort of dental graduates return home to serve and realize their dreams.”

“Clearly, one of the greatest obstacles that are evolving in oral health care is that the cost of education has escalated to the point that student debt in some instances is in excess of $300,000,” said John Sauk, dean of the University of Louisville School of Dentistry. “Such economic burdens are limiting many individuals in their choice of where and how to practice. Consequently, going home to serve the community in which they grew up is often not a feasible economic option. The dental loan repayment program that the governor is announcing today will significantly enhance the opportunity for our young highly trained dentists to establish or join a rural practice and ensure oral health care manpower for rural Kentucky. I personally thank Gov. Beshear for his vision and commitment to oral health within the Commonwealth.

According to the Kentucky Department for Public Health, Kentucky ranks 41st in annual dental visits; 45th in the percentage of children with untreated dental decay; and 47th in the percentage of adults 65 and older missing six or more teeth.

“Oral disease is a major health risk for Kentuckians of all ages – particularly our children,” said Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes. “These problems are even more pronounced in many of our Appalachian counties where access to care is limited,” “With this new program to recruit providers – along with other initiatives to increase access to care and provide clinical services like screenings and varnish treatments – we have reasons to be optimistic about fixing the problems plaguing Kentuckians’ health.”

As part of his statewide health initiative, kyhealthnow, Gov. Beshear identified oral health as one of the seven target areas for improvement. Specifically, the program aims to reduce the percentage of children with untreated dental decay by 25 percent and increase adult dental visits by 10 percent by the year 2019.

In fact, Beshear created the Smiling Schools initiative in 2011 to provide a protective tooth varnish treatment for elementary-age children in Appalachia during the 2011-2012 school year. The Governor is looking to provide another round of varnishing this school year, as well as expand the number of counties participating in this year’s initiative. His office hopes to make this announcement in the coming weeks. 

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;


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