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BluPass Provides Safe, Affordable and Sustainable Transportation

Wed, 11/04/2015 - 13:00

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 5, 2015) — Four months ago, University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto, along with Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and Lextran Board Chair Jeff Fugate, announced a major new partnership between UK and Lexington public transportation system, Lextran.

The partnership — dubbed BluPass — allows UK students, faculty and staff to ride any Lextran bus route free of charge simply by showing their valid Wildcard ID.

Lextran travels throughout 21 different city routes, which extend throughout and beyond the UK campus into the Lexington community. BluPass includes all Lextran routes, both on- and off-campus, allowing UK students, faculty and staff to travel to, from and around campus while also accessing the city.

A map of Lextran routes can be found here.

In its infancy, the BluPass program has already proved successful in providing safe, affordable and sustainable transportation options to all members of the UK community.

In addition to the immediate personal savings associated with reduced vehicle operating and parking costs, participation in the BluPass program also contributes to reduced road congestion and environmental impact. The BluPass program is funded by UK Parking and Transportation Services as a proactive effort to decrease single occupancy vehicle use and ultimately reduce campus parking demand.

UK senior lecturer Kim Woodrum described what she believes to be the major benefits of BluPass.

"At the end of the day when I am exhausted, someone else faces the rush hour traffic, and I just close my eyes and chill out," said Woodrum.

Vicki Knox, a lab staff member in the immunomolecular lab at UK Chandler Hospital and frequent BluPass user, also noted the positive impacts of the program.

"I arrive at work much happier. There is no stress from searching for a parking spot, or the grind of the daily commute," said Knox. "Just jump on the bus, drink your coffee, read your paper and before you know it you are at your destination."

For Knox, the physical benefits of utilizing BluPass are just as valuable as the emotional benefits.

"I was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy. The walking or bike riding to the bus stop has improved my heart function," said Knox.

Members of the campus community are encouraged to combine mass transit and biking. All Lextran buses are equipped with a bike rack.

The BluPass program is just one part of the Transportation Master Plan (TMP), which aims to improve access and mobility to, from, and around campus for all members of the UK community.

UK Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Eric Monday said BluPass represents the first of several initiatives which directly ties back to these early findings and feedback received from the community, related to the TMP.

"Investing in transportation alternatives is an important way to manage demand and allow the transportation system to work better for our entire community," Monday said.

The TMP will align with our Campus Master Plan — the blueprint for a campus transformation that‘s allowing UK to become a national model for a thriving, public residential research campus. And, it is also a time when campus engagement is crucial. Community members are encouraged to provide input and feedback on the challenges facing the university in terms of transportation, parking, and mobility, by visiting the TMP website.

Frequently asked questions about BluPass can be found here.

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

'Appalachia in the Bluegrass' Presents Concerts with Wells Family, Rich Kirby and Nate Polly

Wed, 11/04/2015 - 10:27

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 5, 2015) — The next two performances in the "Appalachia in the Bluegrass" concert series are filled with artists who are keeping the tradition in traditional music alive. On Friday, Nov. 6, Jesse and Carrie Jean Wells and Matt Carter of the Wells Family will perform. The following Friday, Nov. 13, Rich Kirby and the Nate Polly will perform. Both free public concerts will take place at noon at the Niles Gallery, located in the University of Kentucky Lucille C. Little Fine Arts Library and Learning Center

A Family Affair

Musicianship runs in the family with the Wells clan. Jesse, Carrie Jean and Matt Carter are skilled and experienced Appalachian music makers.

Jesse is an instructor and archivist at the Morehead State University’s Kentucky Center for Traditional Music. He performs regularly with the Clack Mountain String Band and Kentucky Wild Horse. He has been invited to teach workshops at the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Appalshop and the Old Town School of Folk's Music's Old-Time Festival.

Jesse Wells performs as part of the "Made to be Played" exhibit presented by the Kentucky Historical Society in 2009. 

Carrie Jean, who studied architecture at UK, is known for her work with several revitalization projects in downtown Whitesburg, Kentucky. She is passionate about art, music and Eastern Kentucky. She plays the fiddle and guitar, primarily with fiddler Sylvia Ryerson in a duo known as the SkipDippers.

Interview and performances of Carrie Jean Wells from Natalie Baxter on Vimeo.

Matt Carter, Carrie Jean's husband, is a musician and serves as the program director of Appalshop's radio station WMMT, as well as coordinator for the passing the pick and bow program.

Rich and Nate, Minus the Po' Folks  

Rich Kirby and Nate Polly are good friends who have a strong love for traditional music of east Kentucky and southwest Virginia in common.

Rich Kirby performs "Rocky Island" at  2013 Portland Oldtime Music Gathering.

Kirby and Polly started playing together in a group called Rich and the Po' Folks in 2006. The band comprises friends who were influenced by Appalachian musicians like Art Stamper, Ed Haley, Charlie Osborne, George Gibson, Addie Graham and John Morgan Salyer. Kirby and Polly are multi-instrumentalists, playing fiddle, guitar, mandolin and bass. Polly, a former railroad worker from Letcher County, Kentucky, is a talented singer and songwriter as well.

Nate Polly performs at the 2012 Morehead Old Time Festival.

The Appalachia in the Bluegrass concert series celebrates the old time roots of American folk music by featuring a diverse range of traditional musical expression. The concert series will showcase 12 different artists, duos and groups from southern Appalachia ranging from artists straight off their front porch to those who have earned international acclaim.

The John Jacob Niles Center for American Music, host of the concert series, is a collaborative research and performance center maintained by the UK College of Fine Arts, UK School of Music and UK Libraries.

For more information on the Appalachia in the Bluegrass concert series or the concerts featuring the Wells Family or Rich Kirby and Nate Polly, contact Ron Pen, director of the Niles Center, by email to or visit the website

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

UK Researchers Showcase Potential Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease at Michael J. Fox Foundation Conference

Tue, 11/03/2015 - 16:54

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 4, 2015) — Two University of Kentucky researchers will present evidence supporting a promising new therapy for Parkinson’s disease as part of a showcase of scientific research and innovation during the Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) Parkinson’s Disease Therapeutics Conference.

University of Kentucky College of Medicine professor Gregory Gerhardt and associate professor Richard Grondin will today present “Therapeutic Development of siRNA Targeting Alpha-Synuclein” during the MJFF Parkinson’s Disease Therapeutics Conference in New York. The research studies whether targeting the alpha-synuclein protein is a safe approach to combating Parkinson’s disease. Gerhardt and Grondin were invited to participate in the poster presentation session, which highlights academic and industry research supported by the MJFF.

Gerhardt’s research looks at the mechanisms within the neuron that cause Parkinson’s disease. For a cell to make a protein, a large molecule that performs a specific function for the cell, DNA in the cell’s genome has to be transcribed into messenger RNA (mRNA) so it can then be translated into protein. The siRNAs target mRNAs to prevent these mRNAs from being translated into protein.

Researchers have found the protein alpha-synuclein seems to be involved in Parkinson’s disease progression. Gerhardt’s group developed a siRNA designed to target alpha-synuclein mRNA so it cannot be translated into protein. The results of the study show that this siRNA can interfere with alpha-synuclein production without being toxic to the brain, which means siRNA might be a promising candidate as a future Parkinson’s disease therapy.

Gerhart, a professor of anatomy and neurobiology, neurology, psychiatry, and electrical engineering, serves as the director of the Morris K. Udall Parkinson’s Disease Research Center of Excellence. He is also a member of the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center faculty at the University of Kentucky.

The Parkinson’s Disease Therapeutics Conference is the Michael J. Fox Foundation’s annual conference and is the only conference in the world solely dedicated to the development of therapeutics for Parkinson’s disease.

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

Second Look Leads to Miraculous Turnaround for NICU Baby

Tue, 11/03/2015 - 16:41

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 4, 2015) — Presley Collins spent the first 12 hours of her life like most newborns — swaddled in blankets and fawned over by family members in a hospital room.

On the outside, Presley appeared healthy and normal. But on the inside, Presley’s small intestines, the portion of the gastrointestinal system responsible for absorbing nutrition, were cut off from blood flow and oxygen. Only a couple inches of viable tissue remained in the small intestines of the 2-day-old baby.

After Presley was born in August 2014, a pediatrician at Baptist Health in Richmond suspected a serious problem with her gastrointestinal tract. She was sent to the neonatal intensive care unit at Kentucky Children’s Hospital where pediatric surgeon Dr. Sean Skinner received the family’s permission to perform emergency surgery to diagnose the condition. The operation revealed tissue death in most of Presley’s small intestines, with only 1-centimeter sections at opposite ends of the intestinal tract viable.

Skinner diagnosed Presley with ischemic bowel, a condition in which diminished blood flow prevents oxygen from getting to the cells in the digestive system. During development in the womb, a blockage in the vessels prevented blood flow to the intestines, and the damage to the baby’s vital organ was irreversible.

“We got a call from (Dr. Skinner) pretty much saying we needed to get to UK as soon as we could because chances were slim our daughter would live,” Derrick Collins, Presley’s dad, said. “He explained what he found and told us she had a 10 percent chance of living.”

Presley would likely need a bowel transplant, but even as a full-term newborn, she was too small and vulnerable for the procedure. Skinner obtained second opinions from colleagues at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, who confirmed his conclusion that Presley was not yet a candidate for bowel transplant. He held a teleconference with the family, the KCH medical team and specialists at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. The medical teams offered two possible courses of action for Presley: take her off her breathing ventilator and go home or put her through an additional surgery to remove the dead bowel and begin the long and risky wait for a transplant. 

Neither action seemed desirable for the parents. The parents didn’t want the memory of their daughter dying at home. And removing the dead bowel was a temporary intervention to protect Presley from infection while awaiting a transplant. To receive the transplant, she needed to survive without small intestine until she gained 20 pounds and turned 1-year old.

NICU nurse Mary Smith, who was Presley’s primary nurse, gained the family’s trust and empathized with their struggle. While caring for Presley, she talked to the parents about their options. Even after receiving consultation from the pediatric palliative care team, Jessie Roney, Presley’s mom, believed her daughter was going to survive. During casual conversation in their NICU room, Collins and Raney asked Smith what she would do in their position.

“I had this gut feeling, and as a nurse you always follow your gut,” Smith said. “I just wondered if it would be different if Dr. Skinner went back in? I couldn’t live with myself wondering, ‘What if?’”

Smith’s advice encouraged the parents to allow Skinner to perform the second procedure and remove the dead bowel in preparation for transplant. The next day, Skinner took Presley into a second surgery to remove the dead bowel. When he opened Presley’s abdomen, he found only two-thirds of the original portion of dead bowel measured during the first procedure. He couldn’t explain why, but Presley’s body rejuvenated a portion of the intestines enough, Skinner determined, to salvage the entire organ.

“That was letting the body sort out what it could,” Skinner said. “Kids’ bodies are more resilient that adults.”

Skinner extracted 75 centimeters of dead bowel and left 50 centimeters of viable bowel. After two hours of surgery, Skinner reported the news of a medical  “miracle” to the family.

“I fell down and started crying like a baby,” Collins said of hearing the outcome of the surgery. “But her mom didn’t even budge — she knew the whole time her baby was going to be fine.”

The surgery signified a turnaround in Presley’s treatment. Skinner’s ability to keep several centimeters of Presley’s bowel negated a transplant, and subsequent procedures performed by Skinner enabled the baby to eventually go home with a feeding tube. Presley transitioned from breast feeding to formula within a year of her treatment at KCH, and now eats regular food. Collins said he wouldn’t have trusted anyone but Skinner to work on his daughter.

“Even though he gave us all the bad news, there was just this trust there that I felt like she was in good hands every time she went into surgery with him,” Collins said of Skinner.

The family also praised Smith for the support she provided during an uncertain time. They felt Smith was the best person to parse down complex and overwhelming medical information when they were facing decisions concerning their daughter’s fate. Smith became an advocate for their daughter’s care.

“We owe everything to Mary and the support that she gave us,” Collins said. “She treated us like we’d known each other our whole lives.”

Smith has heard of dramatic recoveries and unexplained phenomena in the NICU, but Presley was the first miracle baby under her care. She won’t ever forget the resilience of Presley, who is now a toddler and recently visited Mary in the NICU.

“She is why I love my job,” Smith said. “I’ve never felt this way about a patient — I’ve never seen a miracle like this.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

UK Theatre Continues Season With '25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee'

Tue, 11/03/2015 - 11:49

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 4, 2015) — The musical theater talents of University of Kentucky Department of Theatre and Dance will take center stage with their next production, the Tony-Award winning "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee." This musical will run Nov. 12-15, at the Guignol Theatre on the UK campus.

"The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" has something every audience member can enjoy. The journey of six whiz kids on the quest to win the Putnam County Spelling Bee has been described as charmingly quirky and surprisingly touching. Whether you identify with Olive Ostrovsky, whose best friend is a dictionary, or Marcy Park, an overachieving athlete/musician/multi-linguist, "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" will be a familiar throwback to those awkward adolescent years.

This musical contains some adult language and content.

UK Theatre's production of "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" will take the stage 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 12-14, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15, at Guignol Theatre. Tickets for the production are $15 for UK students with a valid student ID and $20 for general admission. To purchase tickets contact the Singletary Center box office at 859-257-4929, visit online at, or purchase them in person at the box office during operating hours.

The UK Department of Theatre and Dance at UK College of Fine Arts has played an active role in the performance scene in Central Kentucky for more than 100 years. Students in the program get hands-on training and one-on-one mentorship from the renowned professional theatre faculty. The liberal arts focus of their bachelor's degree program is coupled with ongoing career counseling to ensure a successful transition from campus to professional life. 

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

Behind the Scenes of Kentucky Politics

Mon, 11/02/2015 - 16:56

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 3, 2015) — Stephen Voss is a frequently quoted analyst of Kentucky politics. In recent years, the University of Kentucky associate professor of political science has been interviewed by some of the most prestigious newspapers and broadcast news organizations in the nation, as well as publishing in equally prominent professional journals.

In recent weeks, as the anticipation of today's election has grown, Voss has been a very busy man, even if you don’t count his hours in the classroom.

He describes himself as a quantitative analyst specializing in elections and voting behavior, with a focus on the U.S. South and the politics of race, ethnicity and culture.

In a recent interview with UKNow, he shared some of his insight into Election Day 2015 and the nature and history of Kentucky politics.

What sort of voter turnout do you think Kentucky will see today?

Voss: Voter turnout likely will be poor. We have no federal elections pumping money into the contest, so the voter mobilization efforts will be unimpressive. The top-ticket (gubernatorial) race looks close, which usually brings people in, but neither party's standard bearer appears to be lighting the electorate on fire. Any chance independent candidate Drew Curtis was going to be able to pull in a younger electorate may have disappeared once Curtis decided to play the campaign straight rather than serving as comic relief, and because he aimed for the nonpartisan center rather than flanking Conway, he will not be pulling in hardcore voters on the left. About the only remaining electorate he might be able to excite would be the libertarian-leaning voters preferring a candidate who is fiscally conservative but socially liberal, which some kind of formal recognition from the state's Libertarian Party might be able to generate, but even then he's not going to be pulling in huge numbers.

What is your assessment of the Democrats and Republicans active in Kentucky?

Voss: The Republican Party here is going through the same disarray as the GOP nationally. Established leaders such as Mitch McConnell and Hal Rogers are struggling to maintain party discipline despite the dissatisfaction of a party that has been shifting sharply to the right for many years. The problem for these hard-right newcomers such as Matt Bevin is that the typical rank-and-file Republican voters have not shifted with them ideologically, so we're seeing lackluster interest in Bevin from many of the voters he needs. The Democratic Party does not have the same problems nationwide, and even in Kentucky they are finding it easier to hold together, but lurking under the surface is a similar tug of war between the state's traditional Southern Democrats and the activists trying to pull the state party leftward to join that national party. 

How did Kentucky and much of the South go from solidly Democratic to solidly Republican -- at least in national elections -- within a single generation?

Voss: The Reagan presidency set off a gradual realignment of voters in the South, as older Southern white Democrats began to be replaced by a younger generation of Southern white Republicans. The shift began at the presidential level, but it has slowly been filtering down through other federal elections to state elections. Kentucky stands out because the Democratic Party has remained viable at the state level, unlike in much of the Deep South where the shift to the GOP has been even more powerful.

Is it unusual that a state votes Republican in the presidential race, but Democratic on the state ballot?

Voss: No, it's not unusual. For an entire generation, Southern whites managed to maintain a dual partisanship, in which they were Republicans in national elections and Democrats in local elections. The pattern survived longer in Kentucky than in the Deep South, but it remains a familiar pattern.

Is there evidence of the pendulum swinging back?

Voss: Party support does not exhibit a pendulum effect at the state level. Instead, what we see in Kentucky is that the party allegiances change depending on how an election is framed. If social and cultural issues dominate, as they usually do in national elections, then the state's swing voters seem to prefer Republicans. If economic issues dominate, for example because we have Democrats like Steve Beshear who take a moderate stance on social issues, then the swing voters are perfectly happy to embrace Democrats. They have never really been Republican loyalists, despite voting that way for president so overwhelmingly.

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

UK to Host Fulbright Pakistan Seminar on U.S. Social Justice Movements

Mon, 11/02/2015 - 15:44

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 5, 2015) — The University of Kentucky will host 140 Fulbright students from Pakistan, who recently arrived in the United States for their graduate studies, at the Fulbright Pakistan Fall Seminar Nov. 5-8, 2015. The seminar, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Educational Foundation in Pakistan, will focus on how social justice movements have shaped contemporary U.S. life and culture.

The seminar will also address how to be successful in the U.S. higher education system, and participants will have the opportunity to work with a number of returning-student mentors. The seminar will provide professional development and networking opportunities and will acquaint participants with the culture of the Upper South region of the United States. In addition, participants will visit the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

The seminar’s thematic sessions include “The Making of Modern Kentucky: Race and the Fight for Equal Rights,” “Tools of U.S. Social Justice Movements” and “U.S. Social Movements Today.” These sessions will expose students to critical issues facing U.S. society and will introduce some of the ways the U.S. responds to movements for social change. Participants will develop a greater understanding of the cultural context in which they are living.

The sessions will be led by distinguished faculty members of UK, U.S. Department of State program officers, and members of the Lexington community, including a retired Lexington Herald-Leader reporter, and local leaders of the Masjid Bilal Ibn Rabah, American Spiritual Ensemble, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and The Plantory.

Dr. Carol E. Jordan, executive director of the University of Kentucky Office for Policy Studies on Violence Against Women, will give the keynote address at 7:30 p.m. on November 5, at the Embassy Suites Lexington Hotel. Members of the media are welcome to attend and should RSVP to Andrea Gils. Interviews with Fulbright Students from Pakistan and program administrators can also be arranged by request. 

Since 1950, the U.S. and Pakistani governments have partnered to operate and manage the Fulbright Program in Pakistan with the goal to help Pakistanis learn more about the United States and to help Americans learn more about Pakistan. Close to 3,000 Pakistanis and 880 U.S. citizens have been awarded Fulbright grants to study or research in the United States and in Pakistan, respectively. There are currently 419 Pakistani students in the United States pursuing master’s and Ph.D. degrees through the Fulbright Program, making it the largest Fulbright Foreign Student program in the world.

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. Since 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 360,000 participants from more than 160 countries with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

For more information and press inquiries, please contact: ECA Press, (202) 632-6452;

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

May Lecture Series Continues With Groundbreaking Photographer of African-American Life

Mon, 11/02/2015 - 15:35

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 3, 2015)Deborah Willis, a groundbreaking photographer who is internationally recognized for her work on the visual representation of African Americans, will present the second installment of this year's Robert C. May Photography Lecture Series, organized by the University of Kentucky Art Museum. The lecture begins at 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, in the Singletary Center for the Arts Concert Hall. Both the lecture and an exhibition of Willis' work, currently on display as part of a reinstallation of UK's permanent collection through Dec. 23, are free and open to the public.

"She has been one of my heroes for a long time," said Janie Welker, UK Art Museum curator. "She is the rare scholar who delivers keen critical analysis with the ease of a storyteller, and as the MacArthur Foundation noted when they awarded her a 'genius' grant in 2000, she has pretty much single-handedly recovered the legacy of African-American photography."

Willis' early work includes monographs on J. P. Ball, a prominent 19th century daguerreotypist in Cincinnati and James Van Der Zee, who chronicled the Harlem Renaissance. Her numerous publications include: " Picturing Us: African American Identity in Photography"; " Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present"; " Michelle Obama: The First Lady in Photographs"; and " Black Venus 2010: They Called Her 'Hottentot.'"

Willis has worked as a curator at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library and at the Smithsonian Center for African American History producing exhibitions and related publications stemming from her original research. These include " Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers 1840 to Present" at the Smithsonian. Willis also co-produced the documentary " Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People." This fall, she curated a traveling exhibition " Posing Beauty in African American Culture," which was based on her recent book.

The May Lecture Series explores photography's roots in the 19th century and its reinvention in the digital world. The lecture series is made possible through the Robert C. May Photography Endowment, a museum fund established in 1994 for the support of acquisitions and programs relating to photography. Other speakers coming to town as part of the series include Paul Shambroom.

The mission of the UK Art Museum, part of the UK College of Fine Arts, is to promote the understanding and appreciation of art to enhance the quality of life for people of Kentucky through collecting, exhibiting, preserving and interpreting outstanding works of visual art from all cultures. Home to a collection of more than 4,800 objects including American and European paintings, drawings, photographs, prints and sculpture, the museum presents both special exhibitions and shows of work from its permanent collection. 

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

Breast Milk Has Evolved to Nourish and Protect Infants from Disease Causing Organisms

Mon, 11/02/2015 - 15:22

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 3, 2015) — Human and mammalian milk, a key source of early infant nourishment, has evolved as a result of 200 million plus years of Darwinian pressure on mammalian lactation to become the near perfect species specific neonatal food.

The composition of milk varies dramatically between species. For example, seal milk has evolved to contain 50 percent fat to provide high energy nourishment in an extremely cold environment for baby seals compared to 4.5 percent fat in mature human milk. Most carnivores, for example cats, produce milk containing 10 percent protein compared to 1.4 percent for human milk.

Other evolved milk components also vary greatly depending on the needs of the species. Human breast milk components, while nourishing growth of the infant, also provide a myriad of bioactive compounds that modulate the immune system, cognitive development, protection from toxins and pathogenic disease, and remarkably help establish the intestinal microbiota (gut bacteria). One of the most important short-term immunological benefits of breast feeding is the protection against infectious disease. Breast milk contains antibodies and molecules, like lactoferrin and nucleotides, to protect against pathogenic bacteria and viruses.

Other benefits include a positive effect on improved cognitive development, measured by scoring higher on intelligence tests. One plausible explanation for this improvement includes the omega-3 fatty acids found in human milk. These fatty acids are largely absent in cow’s milk and are associated with better cognitive function and vision. Amazingly, breast milk adapts to the infant’s growth with the initial secretion of colostrum (rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, antibodies and growth factors) followed by transitional milk, and finally mature milk, which contains progressively more fats and sugars than colostrum.

Further, human milk proteins compared to cow’s milk are more easily digested and are less allergenic. Not only does breast milk provide the right composition of needed nutrients for the infant, it also provides the right nutrients to maintain a healthy gut microbiome. In addition to sugar (lactose), fat and protein, breast milk contains oligosaccharides (long complex sugar molecules), which are not digested and do not contribute to the infant’s nourishment but are important in promoting healthy gut bacteria.

There are more than 200 different oligosaccharides found in human milk making up 10 percent of the milk content with many of these complex sugars supporting the specific growth of good gut bacteria. By having these good bacteria, like Bifidobacterium infantis, present in the babies gut it may serve as a shield formed against unwanted pathogenic invaders. Not only do these complex sugars provide nourishment for the good bacteria, they also bind with the bad bacteria and move them out of the intestines into the diapers. So breast milk has evolved to nourish and to protect the infant from disease causing organisms. No other food has this amazing capability.

Geza Bruckner, Ph.D., is a professor and director of the Division of Clinical Nutrition and Health Sciences, Education, and Research at the University of Kentucky College of Health Sciences. 

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

Deputy U.S. Ag Secretary Visits UK, Talks With Students

Mon, 11/02/2015 - 14:42

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 3, 2015) — U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Krysta Harden recently told University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment students they are the next generation of agricultural decision makers and problem solvers.

Harden said one thing she loves about her job is meeting with college students.

“I encourage you to learn from history, so you don’t forget the path,” said Harden, to students gathered in the Cameron Williams lecture hall in the Plant Sciences building on the UK campus. “We need more people to be part of the future (of agriculture).”

One of Harden’s passions is working to eliminate food waste.

“We throw away a vast one-third of what we produce each year,” she said. “We buy more than we can eat. I’m guilty of it myself, but I’m trying to change that. Even though I live in a high-rise building, I still compost my food waste.”

She shared a new app the U.S. Department of Agriculture developed called FoodKeeper. Users will be able to find storage timelines, cooking tips and learn how storage methods affect the storage life of foods. They will also be able to personalize the app according to their purchases and ask questions of USDA representatives.

After her brief address, Harden took questions from students in the audience. Students posed a variety of topics for discussion including food safety, immigration and migrant workers, animal health and urban farming. Harden also encouraged students who have an interest in agriculture, but don’t have a rural or farm background, to pursue their passion.

During her visit to the UK campus last week, Harden toured The 90, an 80,000 square-foot academic-support and dining facility. There she visited with administrators of The Food Connection at UK, which serves farmers, food producers, students and consumers through creative strategies for a vibrant, healthy and sustainable food economy. 

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

Registration for Neurogastronomy Symposium Closes Tuesday

Mon, 11/02/2015 - 10:13

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 3, 2015) — A new science called neurogastronomy explores brain and behavior in the context of food, and the International Society of Neurogastronomy's inaugural symposium will bring together for the first time the "four pillars" of neurogastronomy to share their knowledge and begin a dialogue that, they hope, will ultimately lead to real changes in brain behavior as it relates to food.

Registration for the symposium which will take place this Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015, in Pavilion A of the Albert B. Chandler Hospital, will close Tuesday at 5 p.m. Instead of long lectures typical of a symposium, there are several presentations in a TED-talk style format.

Featured speakers include:

  • Next Iron Chef Runner-up Jehangir Mehta: "The Museum of Modern Protein" 
  • James Beard finalist and Mind of a Chef host Ed Lee: "Disease, Recovery, the Pleasure Principle, and a new Anti-Inflammatory Cuisine"
  • Leah Sarris, program director for the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University: "Culinary Medicine: Bridging the Gap Between Kitchen and Clinic"
  • Fred Morin of Joe Beef Montreal: "Eat!  It's Good For You!"
  • Local chef/celebrity Ouita Michel: "Food and the Cancer Patient: Psychology and Nutrition — a Chef's Perspective"
  • Bob Perry, UK professor and chef: "Yields and Flavors of Heritage Hog Breeds" 
  • Gordon Shepherd, the father of neurogastronomy: "Neurogastronomy: Expanding the Brain's World of Flavor"
  • Physiologist Tim McClintock: "Receptor Identification: The Future of Flavor Development"
  • Prize-winning experimental psychologist Charles Spence: "The Perfect Meal: On the Multisensory Science of Food and Dining"
  • UK neurologist Sid Kapoor: "The Ketogenic Diet in Epilepsy"
  • UK neuropsychologist Dan Han: "Clinical Neurogastronomy: Combating Brain Problems with Flavor"
  • UK physiologist Bret Smith: "The Brain's Control of Eating, Energy Balance, and Metabolism"

The symposium will be a true culinary experience as well, with tasting breaks to help participants grasp the fundamentals of flavor perception (sweet, salty, umami, etc.) and chef-quality breakfast and lunch breaks.

ISN co-founder Han is anxious to begin the dialogue that might ultimately provide tangible improvement to quality of life for people with neurologically-related taste impairments. 

"When the concept of neurogastronomy was introduced, people realized it was a need that had been there for a long time – ever since mammals started eating," Han said. "If we could get together and simply provide ways to help these patients enjoy a meal, break bread with family and friends and enjoy that process again, then I would be very proud of that contribution to clinical sciences."

For more information about the ISN Symposium or to register, go to

Priority Registration Now Open for Winter/Spring 2016

Fri, 10/30/2015 - 16:20

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 2, 2015)  The Winter/Spring 2016 priority registration period is now open and will remain open through Tuesday, Nov. 24.

Throughout the past few weeks, communication to students has been underway announcing priority registration. E-mails, posters and social media among other efforts have announced the kick-off to Winter/Spring 2016 registration. Also, for the second year, University of Kentucky stickers will be given to each student after they have been advised and cleared for registration.  The stickers provide the dates of registration, the myUK link and the registration help line phone number.

Priority registration is dependent upon how many credit hours a student has earned by the end of the fall 2015 semester.

"With the improvements that have been made to the registration process, students will find that registration and planning is a powerful tool to aid in their academic career," said Don Witt, associate provost for enrollment management and director of undergraduate admissions and university registrar. "I’m very excited about the enhanced communication and efforts to incentivize students to plan and register as early as possible. This effort helps maximize a student's chance at registering for the classes they need in order to graduate on time."

Prior to registering, an undergraduate student must meet with an advisor and complete a registration worksheet. After these steps are completed, the undergraduate student will have their advisor hold lifted, allowing them to register for classes during their registration window. For instructions, they should contact the dean's office in their college. Students who are undeclared are advised in Undergraduate Studies located on the first floor of Miller Hall.

Once a student's registration window opens, it will not close until Nov. 24.  These windows will continue to open on a staggered schedule which is determined upon the number of credit hours a student has earned and the student's classification.

When priority registration concludes, eligible students will be able to register and add/drop courses from Nov. 30 through  Dec. 21 and again Jan. 4 through 20. The first day of the spring 2015 semester is Wednesday, Jan. 13.

"Additionally, follow-up communications will take place after the registration windows to those students who have not yet registered," said Witt. "These efforts, along with outreach from faculty, staff, advisors and peers, help contribute to overall university retention efforts."

For a list of all Spring 2016 registration windows, click here.

To view the Spring 2016 schedule of classes, visit, click on the "Student Services" tab, then the "Plan and register for Courses" link followed by "Search Course Catalog."

Students who have failed to pay citations before their class registration window opens may be unable to register for classes due to an administrative hold. Students can pay citations online at

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

UK Alumna Named State World Language Teacher of Year

Fri, 10/30/2015 - 16:12

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 2, 2015) — Laura Roché Youngworth, University of Kentucky alumna, was named the 2015 Kentucky World Language Teacher of the Year by the Kentucky World Language Association (KWLA). The KWLA's Outstanding Teacher Award recognizes an achieving individual in the language teaching profession who engages students to learn inside and outside of the classroom, meets the goals of the National Standards for Foreign Language Learners, and advocates for his or her community.

The UK alumna received her bachelor's degree in French, English, and Secondary Education, a MATWL (Master of Teaching World Languages) in French and her master’s degree and Rank I in Curriculum and Instruction. She is in her sixth year of teaching French language at Beaumont Middle School, after teaching at Scott High School in Kenton County and Anderson County High School. Youngworth is president of the Kentucky chapter of the American Asssocation of Teachers of French.

"Dr. Youngworth has a passion for French language and culture which, through hard work, she has effectively combined with her knowledge and skills as a professional educator. The combination has made her an exceptional teacher and has benefitted the students of Kentucky tremendously," said Nels Jeff Rogers, associate professor of German studies in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures and Cultures (MCL). "The faculty in French and MCL are proud of Dr. Youngworth's accomplishments. We have no doubt that in the years to come she will continue to be an educational leader in the state and nationally."

Youngworth will represent KWLA in the Regional Teacher of the Year award pool at SCOLT (Southern Conference on Language Teaching) scheduled for February in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

The KWLA is a "network of individuals" dedicated to educating and learning a wide variety of world languages and cultures. In addition to the Outstanding Teacher Award, the KWLA also has awards for Outstanding New Teacher, Outstanding Post-Secondary Teacher, Outstanding Administrator, Lifetime Achievement and Amici Linguarum, meaning "friend of languages."

UK's Coldstream Research Campus is Thriving

Fri, 10/30/2015 - 15:07

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 2, 2015) — Over the years, skeptics have at times been publicly critical of what they perceived as a lack of activity on the University of Kentucky's Coldstream Research Campus. These days, there is plenty going on at Coldstream.

Carl Nathe of UK Public Relations and Marketing recently sat down with the executive director of Coldstream, George Ward, for a conversation on 'UK at the Half,' a feature about people and programs at the university, which airs at halftime of every live radio broadcast of Wildcat football and basketball on the UK Sports Network.

To listen to the show, visit: ukath-2015-16-7_mixdown.mp3

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

WUKY Offers Preview of UK Symphony Orchestra's Free Concert

Thu, 10/29/2015 - 23:26

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 30, 2015) — The Univesity of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra will present a free Breeders' Cup Concert tonight with Berlin Philharmonic clarinetist Walter Seyfarth.  WUKY is offering a preview of tonight's concert that begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Singletary Center for the Arts.

The interview with orchestra director John Nardolillo and the in-depth preview of the concert can be heard here:

In tonight's event, the UK Symphony Orchestra will join Seyfarth for the Breeders’ Cup Concert, which will feature Mozart’s Overture to "The Magic Flute," Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto and Jean Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2.

BBDP Hosts Fifth Annual Global Entrepreneurship Week

Thu, 10/29/2015 - 16:14

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 30, 2015) — Lexington's fifth annual Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) will take place from Nov. 16-22. This week of exciting events, is organized and hosted by the Bluegrass Business Development Partnership (BBDP), which is comprised of the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship and the Lexington Office of the Kentucky Innovation Network within the University of Kentucky's   Gatton College of Business and Economics, the Bluegrass Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and Commerce Lexington.

Global Entrepreneurship Week is an international initiative that celebrates today's innovators and creative thinkers, who bring ideas to life and foster economic growth and human development. During the week the BBDP will host informational panels, networking events, workshops, competitions and other events that focus on the entrepreneurial community of Lexington.

“Lexington’s Global Entrepreneurship Week events provide both the university and community innovators and entrepreneurs a wonderful opportunity to come together to network and celebrate an ever growing and flourishing Bluegrass entrepreneurial community,” said Warren Nash, director of the Lexington Office of the Kentucky Innovation Network

GEW will kick off with the annual celebration of the region's entrepreneurs and the recipients of the 2015 Venture Club eAchievers awards. The celebration will be held on Monday, Nov. 16 from 5-7 p.m. at Manchester Music Hall, located at 899 Manchester Street. The cost to attend is $35 per person. Those who wish to attend need to register here.

On Tuesday, Nov. 17, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., the Bluegrass Biotech Regulatory Summit will be held at the Commerce Lexington Building located at 330 E. Main St. The summit will focus on regulatory issues for pharmaceutical and medical device companies. Speakers will include Elaine Duncan, president of Paladin Medical and Aimee Cousoilis of GxP Pinch Hitting. Also, biotech start-ups from across the Commonwealth will be discussing their experiences with FDA regulatory issues during the summit’s luncheon. While this is a free event, those interested in attending are requested to register here.

The Launchpad Lex Competition will give 12 companies the chance to compete to win a professionally produced 30-second commercial to be distributed on Red Oak Digital Network's 10 Shell gas stations for three months. Co-sponsored by the BBDP and the Red Oak Group, the free pitch event is from 1-4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, at Commerce Lexington Building located at 330 E. Main St. The competition guidelines and applications can be found at The deadline to apply to pitch is Nov. 9. Those interested in attending the presentations need to register here.

Twelve teams will be selected to pitch their company to a panel of business leaders at the Standup for your Start-Up Pitch Competition, which will take place from 2-5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20. at Commerce Lexington. One of the judges for this competition  will be Marc Nager, chief community officer of Techstars and CEO of Startup Weekend.  The top prize, titled The Furst Award, will be $1,000 and second place will be awarded $500. Companies chosen to compete will also have a chance to showcase their product prior to the pitches. Competition guidelines and the application can be found here. The deadline to apply to pitch is Friday, Nov. 13. Those interested in attending and viewing pitches need to register here.

Other Lexington GEW events include, a Prototyping 101 Workshop hosted by the BBDP and Kre8Now; an Open Coffee at Boom Wagon, 800 N. Limestone featuring local companies who have run successful Kickstarter Campaigns and a Game Demo Day in the new UK Venture Studio. GEW wraps up with Lexington Startup Weekend. Nov. 20-22. Information on these and other GEW events can be found here.

Shirie Hawkins, director of the Bluegrass SBDC at the University of Kentucky, gets to the heart of GEW: Participating in Global Entrepreneurship Week activities not only highlights and encourages the many opportunities that are available to start or expand a business but also celebrates the entrepreneurial energy in Lexington.” 

MEDIA CONTACT: Tiera Carlock,, 615-275-6025; Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200.

Ambati Lab Receives $2.4 Million Grant to Study Newly Discovered Source of DNA

Thu, 10/29/2015 - 15:23

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 30, 2015) – The John Templeton Foundation, a philanthropic organization devoted to rigorous scientific research and scholarship, has awarded a three-year, $2.4 million grant to Dr. Jayakrishna Ambati and his research team at the University of Kentucky Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences to study the genetics of a new source of DNA they discovered.

The human body is made up of trillions of cells, with their own complete set of genetic instructions. This set of instructions is known as our genome and is made up of DNA. Within this DNA is a unique chemical code that guides human growth, development and health.

The Ambati lab discovered a new ecosystem of genetic information that is separate from the traditional, well-known DNA in our genome. They plan to study the function and heritability of these newly discovered DNA molecules in this project.

"We are hopeful that these studies will shed new light both on organismal development and diseases of aging, such as Alzheimer’s disease and macular degeneration," Ambati said.

Research in genetics was a long-standing interest of Sir John Templeton, the organization's founder. Templeton saw the extraordinary potential for explaining the deepest principles of life's evolution and for providing large-scale, transformative breakthroughs in fields like medicine and agriculture. He was particularly interested in how major advances in genetics might serve to empower individuals, leading to spiritually beneficial social and cultural changes.

Media Contact: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442

UK School of Journalism and Telecommunications to Host 2015 James C. Bowling Lecture

Thu, 10/29/2015 - 15:13

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 2, 2015) — Deborah Radman, a 40-year veteran of the public relations business and Fellow of the Public Relations Society of America, will deliver the 2015 James C. Bowling Executive-in-Residence lecture at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12, at the University of Kentucky Singletary Center Recital Hall. This is the 16th year for the program.

Radman will speak on “Aspire Higher,” offering her view on ethical leadership in public relations.  The program, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications Alumni Association.

Over the past 20 years, Radman has led award-winning PR programs and provided vital outsourced staff services to several organizations. Most recently, she ran Radman Communications, her consulting practice, which led to her full time employment at History Colorado after she returned to Denver from the East Coast. Before that, she worked in New York City as a special consultant to Ketchum PR leading the IBM Centennial Celebration which garnered six Silver Anvil Awards, the industry’s equivalent of an Oscar.

Prior to that Radman headed Chicago-based Cramer‐Krasselt Public Relations. CKPR’s professional practice spanned four offices and was part of the Cramer‐Krasselt ad agency, one of the largest, independent 360 marketing communications firms in the U.S. with nearly $1 billion in revenue. Prior to joining CKPR, Radman opened and built the New York office of Stanton Communications. Before that, she served as Managing Partner of Corporate and Marketing Communications at KCSA Public Relations Worldwide.

Radman has counseled clients primarily in the fields of corporate communications, crisis management, public affairs and both consumer and business‐to‐business marketing.

She became a public relations practitioner in Denver, where she grew up, attended college and worked for several firms before founding Brown Radman Wolper in 1992. With her partners she grew the business quickly, gaining many national accounts and opening local offices in New York City, Detroit and San Francisco.

Alyssa Eckman, chair of the Department of Integrated Strategic Communication, said Radman’s presentation is relevant to all aspects of the industry.

“Ethics is at the core of all that we do in ISC,” Eckman said. “These principles apply to public relations, advertising, direct marketing, persuasive communications and branding. With her breadth of experience, Deborah Radman will offer multiple perspectives on the importance of ethical practices.”

Marc C. Whitt, director of development communications in the UK Office of Development, is the 2015 Excellence in Public Relations award recipient from the UK Department of Integrated Strategic Communication. He will be honored at a reception Nov. 12 preceding the annual James C. Bowling Executive-in-Residence lecture.

Whitt has led a distinguished career of more than 30 years in higher education and nonprofit public relations and marketing, and has long been an active advocate for education, economic development and the performing arts.

Whitt was recognized as the 2015 Eastern Kentucky University Department of Communication Distinguished Alumnus. He served 12 years as EKU’s Associate Vice President of Public Relations and Chief Communications Officer, where he developed and led a nationally award-winning program. Throughout his tenure as EKU’s spokesperson, Whitt was instrumental in enhancing relations between the university and national, regional and local media; civic leaders from across EKU’s service region; and with several national and international higher education and economic development associations. For eight of his last 12 years at EKU, Whitt taught Public Relations and Communication Studies in the Department of Communication, which earned him student nominations for the 2015 EKU Golden Apple Award, an award that recognizes instructors for their “excellence in teaching and encouragement of student success,” and the 2011‐12 Critical Thinking Teacher of the Year Award.

On the national front, Whitt is the Public Relations and Marketing Columnist for University Business magazine, one of the most regularly read publications for higher education leaders in the United States. He is also a frequent presenter, having addressed organizations such as the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, International Town & Gown Association, Council for Advancement & Support of Education, and in 2010 led a workshop at the International Higher Education Marketing Institute in the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte.

Whitt's work has achieved measurable results garnering more than 40 national, regional and state honors, including the prestigious Beth K. Fields Service Award presented by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education-Kentucky for his lifetime service of excellence to the higher education advancement profession and the Kentucky Music Educators Association District 11 Friends of Music Award.  Recently, Onalytica, a London, England-based social media network analysis agency, named Whitt among the "Top 100 Public Relations Influencers on Twitter." He was ranked 21st.

In August 2015, Whitt joined the Office of Development at the University of Kentucky where he serves as the director of development communications. He is responsible for promotional messaging of UK's philanthropic programs, including campaign communications, strategic development messaging, publications, website, social media, and other external and internal communications and outreach.

A native of Paintsville, Kentucky, Whitt and his wife, Jennifer, make their home in Richmond and are the parents of three children: Emily (married to Mark Wayne Fields), Elizabeth and Jacob.

The Bowling Executive-in-Residence Program began in 2000 and brings to UK nationally known public relations practitioners to not only deliver an address, but also meet with students interested in public relations careers. The program includes the executive-in-residence visit, the excellence award and a scholarship for a senior integrated strategic communication major with an emphasis in public relations. The 2015 scholarship recipient will be announced at the lecture.

The series honors James C. Bowling, the late retired assistant chairman of Philip Morris Companies Inc. He attended UK and later served the university as a member of the UK Development Council. In addition to serving on several national boards, Bowling also worked with the UK College of Agriculture, UK Gatton College of Business and Economics, and the UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging.

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

'History of History' is Topic of WUKY's 'UK Perspectives'

Thu, 10/29/2015 - 13:36

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 30, 2015) — WUKY's "UK Perspectives" focuses on the people and programs of the University of Kentucky and is hosted by WUKY General Manager Tom Godell.  This week guest host, UK News Director Alan Lytle interviews doctoral students Dara Vance and Cody Foster about the UK Department of History's new podcast series, " Long Story Short - A Brief History of History .

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

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

UK Election Law Society, Expert to Live-Blog Election Issues

Thu, 10/29/2015 - 12:47

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 2, 2015) — The University of Kentucky Election Law Society and election law expert Josh Douglas will provide live analyses on legal issues surrounding the Kentucky general election Tuesday, Nov. 3, on their blog at

As results come in, Douglas, the Robert G. Lawson and William H. Fortune Associate Professor of Law, and the Election Law Society, a student organization at the UK College of Law, will provide easy-to-understand legal explanations and answer questions from the public and media on their blog from 5-10 p.m. Tuesday. 

The analyses will cover the Kentucky gubernatorial race as well as the secretary of state, attorney general, state auditor, state treasurer and agriculture commissioner races.

"Any number of issues could arise on Election Day that will require attention from a legal perspective," Douglas said. "In particular we'll be watching to see if any of the races are close as the votes are tallied, and the potential for recounts or post-election contests increases."

Jack Conway, Democratic gubernatorial candidate, has held a narrow lead over Republican Matt Bevin throughout the election. The latest Bluegrass Poll released Wednesday, Oct. 28, shows Conway with a 5 percentage point lead over Bevin. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points and 10 percent of voters polled said they have yet to decide between the candidates.

Students and Douglas will also be covering issues in the voting process, such as polls opening late or absentee ballot problems. A post about Kentucky's voter ID law and what voters need to take to the polls is already on the blog at   

"The live blog is a great resource for the general public to understand the myriad election law issues that occur," Douglas said.

And it serves as an opportunity for UK law students to examine and write pieces on an important and quickly growing area of the law.

"For those students who have a strong interest in politics but cannot fit Professor Douglas' election law class into their schedules, the ELS (Election Law Society) and live blog provides another vehicle for students to explore this fascinating branch of the law," said Christopher Stewart, a third year law student and president of the UK Election Law Society.

Last year, the blog received traffic from 45 of the 50 states and visitors from at least four foreign countries including Japan and Australia. In a five-day period, more than 3,000 visitors landed on the blog.

Visit the blog at

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


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