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Sexual Assault Can Inhibit Student Success

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 18:19

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2014) — The reason a female student might not return to her university after her freshman year:

A.    Finances

B.    Grades

C.    Rape

Too many times ‒ more frequently than we have truly understood ‒ the answer is “C.”

The results of a study done among female freshmen at the University of Kentucky in 2011 linking sexual assault and poor academic performance are “direct and compelling,” wrote its authors, Carol Jordan, director of the UK Office for Policy Studies on Violence Against Women; Jessica Combs, a graduate student in clinical psychology; and Gregory Smith, a professor, university research professor, and director of the doctoral program in clinical psychology.

It wasn’t particularly surprising – for UK results mirror numerous national studies -- that the rate of prior sexual assault among women entering the university was more than 40 percent. Neither were the subsequent findings.  An additional 24 percent were sexually victimized during their first freshman semester. Nearly 20 percent more were raped or sexually assaulted during the second semester of their freshman year.

Jordan pointed out that a college with 10,000 female students could experience more than 350 rapes a year. Sexual assault and rape can bring on post-trauma reactions, such as eating disorders, anxiety, depression, even suicide.

As distressing as those numbers are, it appears that the burden of rape or sexual assault, whether before, or during college, has an identifiable impact on a woman’s success, particularly her academic success.

“For universities concerned about the retention of their students and improving rates of graduation,” said Jordan, “the negative impact that victimization has on academic performance and dropping out is notable.”

Compared to non-victimized women, the study found that women who were previously sexually victimized tend to enter college with lower GPA scores and continued that trend during their freshman year. The same pattern was true for women who were sexually assaulted or raped during their first semester; their grade point average (GPA) subsequently dropped. The study noted that statistically GPA did not predict being a victim.

The severity of the assault also seems to play a role. The most dramatic impact was seen for women who experience a forcible rape in their first semester of college; 14.3% of them ended the semester with a GPA below 2.5.

Much of the poor showing on individual GPAs as well was attributed to inability to concentrate, depression, disorganized thoughts, poor memory, anxiety -- symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress.

The authors concluded with their implications for practice, policy and research:

·       Study findings emphasize that clinicians, counselors and advocates working with college women who are victims of rape and sexual assault need to attend to academic performance and ensure that if class attendance, examinations, or grades are a challenge, adequate advising and other supports are available.

·       University professionals on college campuses need to include the risk of victimization among factors included in retention programming.

·       Researchers studying retention/persistence patterns in higher education settings and those studying sexual assault among college students need to ensure that the relationship between victimization and academic performance is included in research designs.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gail Hairston, 859-257-3302; gail.hairston@uky.edu 

Senior Advisor for USAID to Speak, Part of International Education Week

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 17:13

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2014) — The University of Kentucky will host Christie Vilsack, senior advisor for international education at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Thursday, Nov. 20, as part of UK's International Education Week.

Speaking at 6 p.m. in Memorial Hall, Vilsack will discuss USAID’s education strategy in her presentation titled, "Let Girls Learn: Education in Developing Countries." This event is free and open to the public.

USAID's education strategy is an initiative focused on improving children’s reading skills, strengthening workforce development and providing fair opportunities for education in areas ridden by conflict. As USAID’s senior advisor for international education, Vilsack travels the world to visit with education leaders, to learn about international programs and to share her insights about education.

As the USAID senior advisor for international education, Vilsack calls herself the storyteller for USAID education. 

"I speak externally about USAID’s education strategy on behalf of Administrator Raj Shah," Vilsack said. "I educate members of Congress, work with our counterparts in other development agencies around the world, with our UN partners, our implementing partners, private partners and look for ways to partner with other agencies of government.  One of our education goals involves higher education, so I also spend time traveling to college and university campuses to talk with students, faculty and administrators about international education.  I have also expanded my reach to Main Street audiences as well.  As a small town Midwesterner and a politician I also understand the importance of communicating with American taxpayers who support the work we do."

A full Q&A with Vilsack is available here.

This event is free and open to the public.

MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Geegan, (859) 257-535; sarah.geegan@uky.edu

Keeping the Wild, Wild Cats Safe

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 16:44

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2014) — Tonight, University of Kentucky Student Government will host it's fifth annual Campus Safety Walk. As students and administrators walk through campus this evening, they will identify areas where physical improvements can be made to enhance safety, specifically looking for walkways and areas that are unsafe for students to travel at night.

Student Government Director of Campus Safety Andrew Kirk explained the safety walk as, "a unique opportunity for students and administration to cooperatively work to create a safer campus."

As part of his outreach to the campus community, Kirk has also created a Twitter account, @UKCampusCowboy, that solely focuses on campus safety.

"A prominent roadblock was student exposure to safe practices and behavior," Kirk said when asked how the Twitter name came about. "In order to raise awareness, the idea of a 'campus cowboy' came to being."

Kirk also explained that the idea originated from his love of western films.

"Growing up, I enjoyed watching old western films with true cowboys like John Wayne and Clint Eastwood," Kirk said. "To me, a cowboy is a protector. Cowboys, in many western films, fought for what was right. In this way, I wanted the symbol for my position to let students know that Student Government cares about safety."

"Coming into my role within SGA, I knew all along that I wanted student input to be at the forefront of all I do," Kirk said. "The Twitter account serves to not only provide students with up-to-date safety information, but also provides an easy way for them to voice safety concerns and ideas."

Kirk has gathered student feedback and compiled a list of safety concerns on campus. He said that participants in the safety walk will be looking for safety concerns across campus. From this feedback, a robust list of safety concerns will be compiled.

"After the walk, I will be working with UK administration and the UK Police Department to find practical solutions in order to make our campus safer," Kirk said.

The campus safety walk event will begin at 7:30 p.m., with refreshments in 103 Main Building, followed by the walk across campus at 8 p.m. All students, faculty and staff are invited to attend.

Connect with Student Government on Twitter at @UKSGA and @UKCampusCowboy.

HIV/AIDS Drugs Could Be Repurposed to Treat Age-Related Macular Degeneration; Study Published Today in Science

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 15:20

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2014) – A landmark study published today in the journal Science by an international group of scientists, led by the laboratory of Dr. Jayakrishna Ambati, professor and vice chair of the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences at the University of Kentucky, reports that HIV/AIDS drugs that have been used for the last 30 years could be repurposed to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD), as well as other inflammatory disorders, because of a previously undiscovered intrinsic and inflammatory activity those drugs possess.

AMD is a progressive condition that is untreatable in up to 90 percent of patients and is a leading cause of blindness in the elderly worldwide. The two forms of AMD, wet and dry, are classified based on the presence or absence of blood vessels that have invaded the retina. A detailed understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying wet AMD has led to several robust FDA-approved therapies. In contrast, there are no approved treatments for dry AMD thus far.

Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) are the most widely used class of anti-HIV drugs. NRTIs are thought to be therapeutic in HIV/AIDS patients because they target the enzyme reverse transcriptase, which is critical for replication of HIV. Previous work from the Ambati lab found that a type of toxic molecule called Alu RNA accumulate in the retina to cause dry AMD; interestingly, Alu RNA and HIV are similar in that they both require reverse transcriptase to fulfill their life cycle. 

In their Science publication, Fowler et al. report that multiple FDA-approved NRTIs prevented retinal degeneration in a mouse model of dry AMD. Surprisingly, this effect of NRTIs in the eye was not due to the well-known function of these drugs to inhibit reverse transcriptase. Instead, NRTIs blocked an innate immune pathway called the “inflammasome”, even in experimental systems in which the NRTIs were not capable of blocking reverse transcriptase. 

In their report, they also showed that NRTIs were effective in other disease models that share common signaling pathways with the dry AMD model, including the “wet” form of AMD - a disease that when treated still does not lead to substantial vision improvement in two-thirds of patients - and graft-versus-host disease which is the major obstacle preventing successful allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. 

"Repurposing of NRTIs could be advantageous, for one, because they are very inexpensive. Moreover, through decades of clinical experience, we know that some of the drugs we tested are incredibly safe. Since these NRTIs are already FDA-approved, they could be rapidly and inexpensively translated into therapies for a variety of untreatable or poorly treatable conditions," said Benjamin Fowler, the lead author and a postdoctoral fellow in the Ambati lab. Ambati added, “We are excited at the prospect of testing whether NRTIs could be effective in halting the progression of AMD in patients.”

NRTIs were originally designed to treat cancer in the 1960s. They re-emerged in the late 1980s and became the first drugs FDA-approved to treat HIV/AIDS.

MEDIA CONTACT: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or ann.blackford@uky.edu, or Kristi Lopez at 859-806-0445. 

Community Leadership Institute of Kentucky Recognizes Inaugural Graduating Class

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 14:02

HAZARD, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2014) — Graduates of the inaugural class of the Community Leadership Institute of Kentucky (CLIK) will be recognized today at a ceremony held in conjunction with National Rural Health Day at the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health (CERH) in Hazard.

CLIK is a three-week, no-cost, intensive leadership development program designed to enhance research and capacity-building competencies in community leaders who play a key role in data-based decision making related to health and health care. Leaders from schools, health departments and organizations in rural communities were among those completing the program.

“National Rural Health Day was created by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health as a way to showcase rural America and increase awareness of rural health-related issues.  It is fitting that we are able to recognize our CLIK graduates on this important day and we applaud their commitment to improving health in their communities,” said Fran Feltner, director of the UK CERH.

Collaborations between academic centers and community leaders offer unique and potentially powerful opportunities to affect change and find solutions. 

"We look to these graduates to lead in UK’s commitment to sustainable, community-based approaches to address the most serious challenges of Kentucky – challenges that deprive individuals, families and communities of a rich quality of life," said UK President Eli Capilouto.

CLIK participants were selected through a competitive application process, with priority given to health, education, and human service leaders from Appalachian Kentucky. Through seven CLIK sessions, they received training in topics including grant development, budget management, quality improvement, human subjects protection, project evaluation, and using publically available datasets. Volunteer faculty from the University of Cincinnati, the University of Kentucky, and the Kentucky Department of Health served as instructors.

In addition to diverse skills training, each CLIK graduate’s organization will receive a $1,500 grant to support a pilot project and six months of technical assistance from the CLIK program. Participants’ projects ranged from addressing diabetes and children’s oral health to revitalizing an elementary school green house so that students can learn to grow and prepare their own food.

Stephen Richardson, CLIK graduate and school health coordinator for the Knott County School Board, plans to pilot a school-wide daily tooth brushing initiative for grades K-2.  Kentucky’s rates of childhood tooth decay are among the highest in the nation, and as an educator, Richardson frequently witnesses the consequences of poor oral health.  In addition to physical complications like dental pain or tooth loss, poor oral health can negatively affect a child's self esteem, ability to learn, and future ability to gain employment.  

“After being involved in several other leadership programs, I must say this has by far been the best one yet,” said Richardson. “The small group along with the content of the presentations has made this a worthwhile event for myself. Everything about this program will help me in my chosen field,” he said. 

The 2014 CLIK graduates are:

  • Sandy Bowling, Hazard, LKLP Community Action Council - “Creating a Climate for a Healthy Lifestyle”
  • Neva Francis, Martin, Kentucky One Health, St. Joseph Martin - “St. Joseph Martin/Floyd County Health Department Diabetes Partnership”
  • Sandy Hogg, Whitesburg, Kentucky Valley Education Cooperative - “Staff Wellness and Nutrition Program"
  • Stephen Richardson, Hindman, Knott County Board of Education - “Student Oral Health”
  • Haley Siler, Bowling Green, Barren River District Health Department - “Cooking with Benefits”
  •  Kelsey Tackett, Prestonsburg, Floyd County Schools- “Successful Women and Appalachian Girls Present: Seeds of South Floyd”

"We are fortunate to have recruited a highly motivated and talented inaugural CLIK class. These are innovative thinkers and community leaders who have taken the lessons taught by our faculty and applied them to address real life problems in their local settings. We are excited to see how our CLIK participants continue developing their projects and launch new initiatives to foster positive changes in their communities," said Nancy Schoenberg, PhD,  director of fommunity engagement and research for the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science.

CLIK is made possible by a partnership between UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science (funded by National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences), the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health, and the Kentucky Office of Rural Health.

For more information about Click For details visit the Center for Clinical and Transitional Science website at  www.ccts.uky.edu/ccts/index.php or contact Beth Bowling at beth.bowling@uky.edu or 606-439-3357, ext. 83545.

MEDIA CONTACT: Mallory Powell, mallory.powell@uky.edu

UK Center of Excellence In Rural Health and Kentucky Office of Rural Health to Celebrate National Rural Health Day

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 13:07

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2014) – The University of Kentucky Center of Excellence in Rural Health (CERH) encourages rural providers and communities to join the Kentucky Office of Rural Health (KORH), the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH), and other state and national rural stakeholders to “Celebrate the Power of Rural” during the fourth annual National Rural Health Day on Thursday, Nov. 20.

NOSORH created National Rural Health Day as a way to showcase rural America,increase awareness of rural health-related issues, and promote the efforts of NOSORH, State Offices of Rural Health and others in addressing those issues.  Plans call for National Rural Health Day to become an annual celebration on the third Thursday of each November.

Events recognizing National Rural Health Day and “Celebrating the Power of Rural” are being planned throughout the nation.  In Kentucky, Gov. Steve Beshear has marked the occasion by proclaiming Nov. 20, 2014, as Kentucky Rural Health Day. The Kentucky Office of Rural Health has asked that rural providers and communities across the Commonwealth post information on local events to their Facebook page to share with others what they’re doing to “Celebrate the Power of Rural.” 

Approximately 62 million people – nearly one in five Americans – live in rural and frontier communities throughout the United States. “These small towns, farming communities and frontier areas are wonderful places to live and work; they are places where neighbors know each other and work together,” notes NOSORH Director Teryl Eisinger. “The hospitals and providers serving these rural communities not only provide quality patient care, but they also help keep good jobs in rural America.”

These communities also face unique health care needs. “Today more than ever, rural communities must tackle accessibility issues, a lack of health care providers, the needs of an aging population suffering from a greater number of chronic conditions, and larger percentages of un- and underinsured citizens,” Eisinger says. “Meanwhile, rural hospitals are threatened with declining reimbursement rates and disproportionate funding levels that makes it challenging to serve their residents.”

The UK CERH serves as the federally designated KORH. The mission of the UK CERH is to improve the health of rural Kentuckians. The UK CERH accomplishes this through education, research, service, and community engagement. The KORH mission is to support the health and well-being of Kentuckians by promoting access to rural health services.

For more information on KORH and UK CERH services and resources, please visit www.kyruralhealth.org. Additional information about National Rural Health Day can be found on the Web at www.celebratepowerofrural.org.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Beth Bowling, beth.bowling@uky.edu, 606-439-3557

Hope Koehler to Perform 'Lost Melodies' From John Jacob Niles

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 11:00

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2014) — Hope Koehler will present a recital of little known music by legendary composer and balladeer, John Jacob Niles, and other work from her latest CD at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 24, at the Niles Gallery in the University of Kentucky Lucille C. Little Fine Arts Library and Learning Center. Koehler, a UK alumna and preeminent interpreter of Niles' work, will perform various pieces from her recently released CD, "Lost Melodies." This event is free and open to the public.

"Lost Melodies" features a selection of pieces by Niles, most of which have neither been published nor recorded until now. Koehler will perform a selection of these works and Robert Schumann's "Frauenliebe und Leben," as well as songs by Fernando Obradors, Xavier Montsalvatge and Duke Ellington for the recital. She will be accompanied by James Douglass on the piano. This concert is made possible with support from an endowment, "Our American Music," a gift of Thomas M. T. Niles.

To hear Koehler perform "Go 'Way from my Window" by Niles, play the video below. 

A soprano, Koehler has appeared worldwide in recitals, concerts, operas and productions. Some of these productions include "Carmen," "Rigoletto," "The Impressario," "The Sound of Music," "Oklahoma," "Fiddler on the Roof" and "West Side Story." She is also a featured soloist with the American Spiritual Ensemble, led by UK Opera Theatre Director Everett McCorvey.

"Koehler an ideal interpreter, whose dusky timbre and voluptuous tone imbue every note with a mixture of sadness, beauty and hopeful longing," attested Opera News in a review of "Lost Melodies." "This repertoire fits her plush, rich-hued voice like a glove and she encompasses the wide vocal and emotional range of the songs with apparent ease."

John Jacob Niles was an influential voice in the American folk revival of the 1950s and 1960s. He also was an eminent collector of Appalachian ballads and African-American spirituals. The John Jacob Niles Center for American Music is named after the celebrated Kentucky composer and displays many traditional instruments he crafted. The center is a collaborative effort of UK School of Music and UK Libraries. The center is located at the Little Fine Arts Library and Learning Center.

Koehler's recital of "Lost Melodies" is presented by the Niles Center at the UK School of Music. The School of Music, part of 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; whitney.hale@uky.edu

UK Artists to Create Kroger Murals

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 10:10

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2014) — Three artists with ties to the University of Kentucky School of Architecture and UK School of Art and Visual Studies will create murals for the new Kroger being built on Euclid Avenue in Lexington. Associate Professor of Architecture Liz Swanson, 2008 UK architecture graduate Aaron Scales, and art alumnus John Lackey will create the three large-scale murals to be featured in the grocery store.

Kroger in partnership with LexArts commissioned local artists to design and create one exterior and two interior murals for the store. From the more than 50 submissions, a selection committee of local arts and community leaders and representatives from the neighborhood selected the winning artists. Joining Swanson among the winners is Scales, who will work on his piece with brother Jared Scales as part of the duo known as BroCoLoco, and Lackey, owner of Homegrown Press.

Lackey's exterior mural, which will face Marquis Avenue, has a budget of $25,000. Swanson and BroCoLoco's interior murals will be located in a seating area and the produce section of the grocery and have budgets of $10,000 each.

Stuart Horodner, director of the Art Museum at UK, was a member of the committee that selected the winning murals. Other committee members were: architect Graham Pohl; Urban County Councilmember and owner of Farmer’s Jewelry Bill Farmer; West Sixth Brewery owner Ben Self; artist and art educator Georgia Henkel; Bryan Station High School student Ella Hellmuth; and LexArts Community Arts Manager Nathan Zamarron.

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716; whitney.hale@uky.edu

PTS Offers Free Rides to Blue Grass Airport for Students

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 09:10

LEXINGTON, Ky (Nov. 20, 2014) — University of Kentucky Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) is helping students with their Thanksgiving break travel plans by offering free shuttle service from campus to Blue Grass Airport. This is the eleventh year that PTS has offered the complimentary airport service.

The shuttle will operate Monday, Nov. 24 through Wednesday, Nov. 26 with daily campus pick-up times of 6 a.m., 8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Students should plan to leave campus at least two hours prior to take-off.

Although the shuttle is free, reservations are required. To schedule a pick-up, students should submit a ride request through the form found here: www.uky.edu/pts/buses-and-shuttles_seasonal-shuttles_airport-shuttles.  Ride requests should be submitted at least two business days in advance.

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

One of UK's Earliest International Faculty Members Celebrates History

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 20:32

Video by UK Public Relations and Marketing

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 19, 2014)  As UK celebrates its sesquicentennial this year, one faculty member in particular has plenty to remember about his history with the university.

Out of 150 years, I’ve experienced 58 years of UK’s history. Technically, I’m in my 116th semester,” said Pradyumna (Paul) Karan, who is originally from India.    

In August of 1956, Martin M. White, dean of the UK College of Arts and Sciences, hired Karan to teach geography – making Karan one of the first international faculty members in UK's history.

“[Dr. White] couldn’t say my name – that’s when he asked if he could just call me Paul. It’s been my name ever since,” Karan said. 

At the time, Karan had just received his doctorate in geography from Indiana University, which was something that few Indian natives chose to do with their graduate experience. Rather, many Indian nationals opted to go to London due to the colonial ties with the United Kingdom. However, through connections he had made at a conference for American geographers, Karan chose to come the U.S. to pursue his studies and explore the American "wild west."

“When I left India, I hitchhiked all across the U.S. to the West," Karan said. "It was nothing like the old western movies that I watched in India. However, education was always a top priority. Education was important to my family; it’s the same in most Indian families.”  

At UK, Karan would experience many important changes happening at UK.  He describes 1956 as a "wake-up year" for campus. 

That year, the university had fewer than 9,000 students and about 200 faculty members, according to Karan. The UK Chandler Hospital was being built. In addition, numerous businesses were coming into Lexington, such as IBM (later the facility became Lexmark). These big changes to Lexington’s landscape also influenced the growth of the population and diversity within the city and within UK.

“A lot of people were coming from the East Coast to work with IBM, and the new medical center was also bringing in many people from around the country," said Karan. "Many Lexingtonians didn’t want outside influences in their community. The old, strictly Southern character of Lexington was definitely changing.”

When Karan was hired, there was little international activity on UK’s campus.

“UK had no department or area that focused on international matters like we have now," Karan said. "There was only one foreign student advisor who would sign student visas, etc. UK’s sixth president, John Oswald, really fostered internationalization at UK. Coming from California, Oswald created a sense of community at the university. He knew the importance of research and diversity within an academic atmosphere; he brought many Ph.D. programs and got all kinds of funding from the government. He was a very open and transparent president with boundless energy.”

Also helping to broaden UK’s horizons, Toyota opened up a facility in Lexington in 1984, not only transforming the economic growth of central Kentucky, but also generating interest in Japanese studies at UK.

“That year, Japanese was first taught at UK," said Karan, who also took an interest in Japan after meeting with Japanese researchers in the Himalayas. "Then UK received the Japanese Foundation grant, which was basically seed money to grow UK’s Japan Studies Program. It started with humble beginnings, but in the past 25 years, Japan Studies has grown into a good program." 

Taking a leave of absence from UK from 1957-59, Karan worked for the United Nations to develop an economic plan for Nepal, where he made an inventory of general land use patterns to help grow Nepal’s economy.

Although Karan is passionate about documenting geographical matters worldwide (specifically within Southeast Asia), he has developed a love for his home in the Bluegrass state.

“It wasn’t hard for me to consider going back to Kentucky; there was good climate – not too hot, not too cold – plus there were nice people,” Karan said. “I knew, though, that I wanted to do work eventually with Japan. I thought Japanese landscape was amazing, and I appreciated everything about Japanese society and industry.”

In 1980, Karan would be a visiting professor in Japan for one year – by 2000, Karan would be a visiting professor three more times.

From experiencing different geographies as he worked abroad to seeing the landscape of UK grow, Karan has also seen changes within his students.

“In my early years at UK, my overall impression was that it was a party school," Karan said. "There were serious students, but UK had many students who didn’t really care about their academics. Now, the quality of students has improved; they are overall more responsible and care about their classes."

Karan is still passionate about teaching at UK; 1956 may have been a critical year for the development of the university, however that year was also instrumental because UK was able to obtain a faculty member who has helped educate thousands of students on geography and international matters. 

“I look at college as a time in life to build character and personality," said Karan. "I try to teach my students to be good members of the community."

And Karan, who is now in his mid-80s, has no immediate plan to retire.

"I plan to continue teaching and traveling as long as my health is good. I could have retired 20 years ago, but I like listening to students. I still get excited going into class.”

MEDIA CONTACT:  Jenny Wells, 859-257-5363; jenny.wells@uky.edu

Biology Professor Helps Bring New York-based Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Therapeutics Company to Lexington

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 17:29

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 19, 2014) — Gismo Therapeutics Inc., a New York-based biotech startup, has recently relocated its company to the University of Kentucky Advanced Science and Technology Commercialization Center (ASTeCC), a business incubator housing new and emerging technology-based companies on UK’s campus. The company is a recipient of a 2014 SBIR Matching Funds grant from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and the Bluegrass Business Development Partnership (BBDP) — comprising business development specialists from UK, Commerce Lexington and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government — celebrated Gismo Therapeutics' and three other out-of-state companies' moves to Lexington Monday to kick-off Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW).

In addition to Gismo Therapeutics, Multi Scale Solutions Inc., Patent Rank and nanoRANCH Environmental Systems LLC are relocating to Lexington. Combined, they will create 17 new jobs in the Commonwealth with average wages over $80,000. The companies specialize in lifesciences, IT/software and environmental technology.

Gismo Therapeutics Inc. utilizes the cutting-edge technology Glycosaminoglycan (GAG) Interacting Small Molecules (GISMO) that its founder, Paul Gregor, invented, to develop oral therapeutics for the treatment of both Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

The company’s connection to UK began with Bruce O’Hara, a biology professor within the College of Arts and Sciences. O’Hara initially had a small role in the company, serving on its Scientific Advisory Board and providing consulting, but is now the director of research operations.

O’Hara not only connected Gismo Therapeutics to ASTeCC, but also to the UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging. The company is collaborating with Michael P. Murphy, associate professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry and Sanders-Brown Center on Aging. Murphy conducts Alzheimer’s research, specifically concentrating on the molecular pathways that it shares with other disorders.

The announcement of the relocation comes after the company announced another significant development in October. Gismo Therapeutics received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institutes of Health, and a SBIR Matching Funds grant from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, administered by the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC) in Lexington. The funding will go toward investigating therapeutics directed against a newly identified disease pathway in Alzheimer’s disease, according to a company news release.

“By leveraging the state’s matching program and the intellectual assets of UK’s faculty and research facilities, the BBDP partnership has hit another home run with the addition of these companies to the growing entrepreneurial landscape of Lexington,” said David W. Blackwell, dean of UK’s Gatton College of Business and Economics and Commerce Lexington board member.

O’Hara expects Gismo Therapeutics' move to help the startup and its research expand in Kentucky, adding to the employment and entrepreneurial spirit in the region, and benefit UK students as well.

“I believe having Gismo on campus provides great opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students (and faculty and staff) in our biology department to see how startup companies can translate advances in basic research to preclinical and clinical studies,” O’Hara said.

The opportunities have already begun for one recent UK biology graduate. Elliott Campbell now works full time in the company’s ASTeCC lab before attending medical school next year. During his time as an undergraduate, Campbell received training in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) from Department of Biology Chair Vincent Cassone’s lab.

This is the second company O’Hara has united with ASTeCC. Signal Solutions LLC, co-founded by O’Hara and Kevin Donohue, UK Data Beam Professor of electrical and computer engineering, was formed in 2009. The company sells products and conducts research associated with their sleep-wake tracking system for mice.

Lexington is fast becoming a leading location for high-tech information jobs, a key factor in economic growth. The Atlantic City Lab ranked Lexington 17th in America’s Top 25 High-Tech Hotspots. Lexington grew 14.2 percent in high-tech information jobs from 2007–2012.

O’Hara says there is an “excellent environment here for startups, including lots of assistance from Commerce Lexington, KSTC, ASTeCC, the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship, the Kentucky Innovation Network, and much more, all of which benefit UK, Lexington, and Kentucky as a whole.” 

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396, whitney.harder@uky.edu or Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200, carl.nathe@uky.edu 

'Much Ado' at UK Theatre

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 15:43

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 19, 2014) — The University of Kentucky Department of Theatre and Dance continues its season with a production of William Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing.” Performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20-22, and at 2 p.m.  Nov. 22 and 23, in the Guignol Theatre in the Fine Arts Building.

"Much Ado About Nothing” is widely considered one of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies for its combination of hilarious banter and slapstick with thoughtful commentary on public affairs of the day. At the center of the play are two dissimilar couples, Benedick and Beatrice and Claudio and Hero. Benedick and Beatrice, an opposing pair equally matched in wits, are tricked into confessing their love for one another. Claudio easily wins Hero’s heart, but their happiness is threatened when Don John plots to destroy the wedding. Deception and rumor drive the action in this wickedly charming tale.

"Our production is very accessible — full of comedy, tragedy, dancing, dirty jokes; it's weird, it's lyrical, it's tone runs the gamut of theatrical endeavor...it's Shakespeare,” said Matthew Johnson, director of the production and adjunct instructor at UK Theatre. Johnson is the former associate artistic director of the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company.

Tickets for "Much Ado About Nothing" are $10 for students and $15 for general admission. Tickets can be purchased by calling 859-257-4929, by visiting scfatickets.com, or in person at the ticket office.

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 a 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; whitney.hale@uky.edu

Multicultural, International Students Invited to UK Thanksgiving Dinner

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 15:20

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2014) — The University of Kentucky Alumni Association, the UK Student Government Association and the UK International Center are hosting the 9th Annual Multicultural Student Thanksgiving Dinner from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 25, in the Student Center Grand Ballroom.

All multicultural and international students are invited to this free event. Several student performances are also planned for the evening.

Traditional Thanksgiving foods, including vegetarian options, will be on the menu, as well as dessert. There will be a drawing for door prizes at the end of the event. Space is limited, and students can RSVP by clicking on the blue “Registration” button at www.ukalumni.net/thanksgiving2014.  

For questions or more information, contact Meg Phillips at meg.phillips@uky.edu or 859-275-3569.

The UK Alumni Association is a membership supported organization committed to fostering lifelong engagement among alumni, friends, the association and the university. For more information about the UK Alumni Association or to become a member, visit www.ukalumni.net or call 1-800-269-2586.

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396, whitney.harder@uky.edu

Employees Can Sponsor Children in Need During Annual Circle of Love

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 15:09
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 18, 2014) — UK HealthCare employees, volunteers and departmental groups can brighten the holidays for families in need by fulfilling a child's wish list through the Circle of Love program.

Starting Nov. 19, UK HealthCare volunteers will distribute names and wish lists of individual children or entire families to UK HealthCare employees and departments. Using the wish list as their guide, individual sponsors will purchase two to four gifts for a child. UK HealthCare departments or groups supporting entire families are asked to purchase gifts for every child younger than 18.

Organized by the UK HealthCare Volunteer Office, Circle of Love will support 800 children from eight Central Kentucky counties and two Fayette County schools this year. The program also fulfills wish lists for children of families staying at Kentucky Children's Hospital through the holidays.

UK HealthCare employees and departmental groups interested in sponsoring a child or a family should stop at an information table at one of several UK HealthCare locations:

·         Kentucky Clinic near the Wildcat Café

·         Good Samaritan Hospital at the cafeteria entrance

·         UK Chandler Hospital Pavilion H near the gift shop

·         Fountain Court facility

·         Sterlington Road facility

Volunteers will be distributing wish lists at information tables from Nov. 19 to Nov. 21, Nov. 24 to 26 and Dec. 1 to 5. Gifts for families will be collected on Dec. 8 and 9, with the drop-off location at Pavilion H North Lobby in the UK Chandler Hospital. All gifts will be loaded onto school buses at the entrance of Pavilion A at 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 12.

Monetary donations are also accepted through the UK HealthCare Volunteer Office. For more information, contact Sara Miller at (859) 323-4117.

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, elizabethadams@uky.edu

Money Management Matters Site to Aid Students, Topic: Credit

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 14:26

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 19, 2014) — What might your degree be worth?

The University of Kentucky Graduate School is prepared to aid students in developing the personal financial knowledge to answer this question and others related to financial literacy.

The UK Graduate School has created a personal financial education webpage titled "Money Management Matters," (MMM) built upon six salient personal financial topics that pertain directly to students and graduates:

1.         Student loans

2.         Employment

3.         Health care

4.         Credit

5.         Saving and investing

6.         Money management

Click here to view a video about "Money Management Matters."

This week, UKNow will highlight the fourth topic: credit

Building a strong credit history is a vital component in the quest to obtain good personal financial standing. The MMM web page provides a comprehensive collection of resources that are specifically designed to ensure that students have the information they require to make informed and responsible decisions when it comes to credit management.  Topics include: obtaining a FICO score; developing a credit card repayment strategy; and researching strategies to protect against identity theft.

Students are encouraged to visit the Credit tab on the Money Management Matters website to learn exactly how a FICO score is calculated. This information can help in developing a solid credit profile, which could lead to lowering costs of borrowing for large purchases in the future.

The UK Graduate School is one of 15 universities, in partnership with the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) and the investment firm TIAA-CREF, introducing a personal financial literacy initiative aimed at educating students and graduates.

Last fall the 15 university partners distributed surveys to their graduate student populations concerning a variety of personal financial questions, to understand their “baseline” of personal financial knowledge. Using this information, the CGS developed GradSense.org as a personal financial education platform designed to help students and graduates enhance their personal financial knowledge.

The UK Graduate School has created the "Money Management Matters" website to strengthen this initiative at UK. 

“We hope the information provided within GradSense.org and MMM will aid students and graduates in establishing a strong foundation of personal financial knowledge that they can build upon in order to make sound decisions across all stages of their personal financial life cycle,” said Chris Riley, project manager of the Enhancing Student Financial Education Grant and graduate student at the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration.

MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Geegan, (859) 257-5365; sarah.geegan@uky.edu

Four UK Entities to Benefit from GoodGiving Guide Challenge

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 12:01

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 19, 2014) — The GoodGiving Guide Challenge, a campaign started nearly four years ago by Smiley Pete Publishing and the Blue Grass Community Foundation, is looking to raise $2 million this year to support 155 nonprofit organizations in the Bluegrass. Just last year, the GoodGiving Guide Challenge raised $1,671,958 for 107 nonprofit organizations. As part of the fundraising drive, four University of Kentucky organizations will be recipients of the Commonwealth's generosity.

Founded on the ideas of informing the community of the work local nonprofit organizations do, the fundraising program's goal is "to partner with individuals, businesses and nonprofits to grow charitable giving that makes our community a better place to live, learn, work and play," said Lisa Adkins, CEO and president of Blue Grass Community Foundation

Participating for its fourth year in the fundraising event is the Art Museum at UK. Part of the UK College of Fine Arts, the museum strives to promote understanding and appreciation of art to enhance quality of life for the people of Kentucky through collecting, exhibiting, preserving and interpreting outstanding works of visual art from all cultures. The museum, located in the Singletary Center for the Arts, at the corner of Rose Street and Euclid Avenue, is home to a collection of more than 4,500 objects, including American and European paintings, drawings, photographs, prints and sculpture. The Art Museum at UK presents both special exhibitions and shows of work from their permanent collection.

The UK Markey Cancer Foundation has returned to the drive for its second time. The mission of the foundation is to reduce cancer mortality in Kentucky and beyond by supporting innovative cancer research and treatments, education, community engagement, state-of-the-art facilities and compassionate patient care at the Markey Cancer Center. In its 35-year history, the UK Markey Cancer Foundation has raised more than $75 million to improve cancer care in the Bluegrass region and beyond.

WUKY, UK's public radio station, has returned for its second year as part of the fundraising event as well. The station is Central Kentucky’s source for in-depth news and new music. Operating the largest radio newsroom in Lexington, WUKY has won many Associated Press Kentucky awards, two Edward R. Murrow awards and an award from the Society for Professional Journalists. 

Joining the drive for their first time is the Child Development Center of the Bluegrass (CDCB). The organization was one of the organizations to win the Quick Start Endowment Challenge, which awards the first 10 organizations that earn $7,500 with a $75,000 endowment grant. CDCB is dedicated to ensuring that children with special needs reach their full potential. Their preschools and child care programs cater to the needs of both children with special needs and those without.

In addition to the UK organizations listed above, several university affiliated organizations like OperaLex, Shoulder to Shoulder Global and The Makenna Foundation are participating this year. OperaLex, formerly known as the Lexington Opera Society, is an organization that is dedicated to promoting UK Opera Theatre. Shoulder to Shoulder Global, an organization that seeks to help improve the health and well-being of impoverished communities globally, works with the Provost Office and the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Dentistry, Health Sciences, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy and Public Health. The Makenna Foundation partners with the Kentucky Children's Hospital to help children with life-threatening trauma and illness. They have also created the Makenna Davis Pediatric Emergency Center, which is one of the only dedicated 24-hour children's emergency rooms.

Donating to the GoodGiving Guide Challenge can earn givers some prizes based on the amount that they give. Donors giving $50-$2,500 donations will get to choose prizes from barrel of options.

The GoodGiving Guide Challenge will take donations through Dec. 12. For additional information and a list of all of the participating organizations, visit www.bggives.org

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716; whitney.hale@uky.edu

UK Operating on Regular Schedule Tuesday, Nov. 18

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 05:41

The University of Kentucky will operate on a regular schedule Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014.  Offices will be open and classes will take place at their scheduled times. UK HealthCare clinics are operating on a regular schedule.

UKAg Celebrates Land-grant Research

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 22:46

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 18, 2014) — Current issues in land-grant research and recognition of award-winning researchers in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment took center stage at the 2014 Celebration of Land-Grant Research.

Hosted by its research office, the college welcomed keynote speaker Will Carpenter, retired vice president and general manager of the New Products Division at Monsanto Company, to give his perspective on the land-grant system.

Carpenter retired from Monsanto in 1992 after 34 years with the company, where he was involved in the development and commercialization of herbicides like Lasso and Roundup. Since retiring, he has served as chairman of the board of directors of Agridyne Technologies Inc., executive-in-residence at Mississippi State University, board member of Aetos Technologies Inc. and adviser to numerous chemical companies.

Asked to represent the chemical industry as an adviser on chemical disarmament, he was instrumental in both the ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the creation of the Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013. Carpenter’s recently published biography, "will d…a life in science," provides an intimate look at his life and career. Carpenter also met with UKAg students prior to the celebration to answer questions.

After Carpenter’s keynote, the winners of the 2014 Bobby Pass Excellence in Grantsmanship Award, Research/Extension Impact Award and the Prestigious Research Paper Award were announced.

The Bobby Pass Excellence in Grantsmanship Award is annually given in memory of former UK Department of Entomology chair Bobby Pass. The 2014 recipient is Udeni Balasuriya, Veterinary Sciences, for leading a grant-funded project titled Identification of Genetic Factors Responsible for Establishment of Equine Arteritis Virus Carrier State in Stallions, which received $2.9 million over five years from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

The Research/Extension Impact Award is annually given to faculty in the college whose research program has resulted in a fully developed Cooperative Extension program. The 2014 recipient is Daniel A. Potter, Department of Entomology, for his outstanding research and outreach program in turf and landscape entomology.

His nominator’s said, although Potter has no formal extension appointment, he has served as a critical resource for practitioners and extension educators as a turf and landscape entomologist for more than 35 years. He has been recognized for excellence in research in the biology and responsible management of insect pests in the urban and suburban environments. Potter regularly coauthors extension publications with UK extension colleagues, and extends his research through dozens of service presentations at extension conferences and workshops each year. He annually provides more than 500 service consultations about urban landscape insect pests. Those activities reach thousands of end-users and support Best Management Practices for turf and landscape insect pests throughout the United States.

The Prestigious Research Paper Award is annually given to college faculty based on research papers published between 2008 and 2014. The 2014 recipient is Pradeep Kachroo, Department of Plant Pathology, for a paper coauthored with department researchers Bidisha Chanda, Ye Xia, Mihir Kumar Mandal, Keshun Yu, Ken-Taro Sekine, Qing-ming Gao, Devarshi Selote and Aardra Kachroo. Additional coauthors include Yanling Hu and Arnold Stromberg, from the UK Department of Statistics and Duroy Navarre with the USDA in Prosser, Washington. Titled Glycerol-3-Phosphate, a Critical Mobile Inducer of Systemic Immunity in Plants, the paper was published in Nature Genetics.

For four decades the phenomenon of systemically acquired resistance (SAR) in plants has been central to the study of plant resistance to diseases, with such studies consistently indicating that an unknown SAR signal, a hormone, must be transmitted throughout the plant to provide that disease resistance. Discovery of that molecular signal would fill a key gap in understanding plant disease resistance. Kachroo and his group identified glycerol-3-phosphate as that signal, a landmark discovery in the field of plant pathology. This paper was highlighted by The Faculty of 1000 Biology and has been cited 48 times by outside groups since its publication in May 2011. Pradeep Kachroo is the corresponding author of the paper, and as such he was responsible for conceptualizing the study, obtaining funding from the National Science Foundation, and guiding others in the group in their conduct of the experiments.

The recipient of each category received $1,000.

Education Abroad at UK Hosts Open House

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 15:38

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 18, 2014) Students interested in education abroad programs can find all the information they need for their international adventures at the Education Abroad Open House.

This free event takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 18, on the third floor of Bradley Hall, where students can learn about education abroad programs and scholarship opportunities — and enjoy some free snacks.

“The open house really provides a plethora of information to students wanting to learn about our different program offerings, from our partner programs to our faculty-sponsored programs,” said Sarah Moore, an Education Abroad Peer Ambassador.

Education Abroad Peer Ambassadors will be available at the event to share information about the different program types and to answer specific questions about education abroad.

Students can also find “MAPs,” or major advising pages, which are major-specific recommendations for various types of education abroad programs. General information will also be provided for students hoping to take the first step toward education abroad.

“The open house is a great opportunity for students who haven’t done a lot of investigating on education abroad,” said Sally Evans, an Education Abroad Peer Ambassador. “It’s a great introduction to the different types of programs and scholarships. Plus it’s a really relaxed atmosphere.”

Those interested in education abroad can also find helpful information about different scholarship, financial aid and fundraising opportunities.

Among these scholarships is the Diversity Abroad Scholarship, a brand new scholarship that provides money to students of diverse backgrounds interested in education abroad. This scholarship is unique, because winners of the scholarship have up to two years to use the scholarship.

The Education Abroad Peer Ambassadors work within the Resource Center inside Bradley Hall, which is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students interested in study abroad can stop by any time to ask questions and to get information about international opportunities.

The Peer Ambassadors also host “First Step” sessions at 4 p.m. Monday and Tuesday and at 3 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, where students looking for a place to start with their education abroad journey can learn more information.

The Education Abroad Open House is part of International Education Week, a celebration of the benefits of international education held each year by the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Education.

College campuses across the U.S. celebrate International Education Week with various activities to learn more about subjects like global design and about the benefits of international education. 

Click here to view a full schedule of International Education Week events.

MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Geegan, (859) 257-5365; sarah.geegan@uky.edu

This Week is International Education Week at UK

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 09:25

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 17, 2014) The University of Kentucky will celebrate International Education Week, this week, November 17-21.

International Education Week is a joint, annual initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education, to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States.

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

"International Education Week is a national week to make sure that everyone thinks about how and whether their education is global enough for the 21st century," said Susan Carvalho, UK associate provost for internationalization. "We are very proud to participate in that national initiative by bringing very visible speakers to campus and by honoring the contributions of our faculty and staff who have contributed in so many ways to globalizing UK's curriculum and to highlight particular initiatives or programs related to students going out or students coming in."

The following events will take place on UK's campus, and are free and open to the public.

Weeklong

The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
W.T. Young Library
A weeklong event
The winner will be announced  Nov. 24

Monday, Nov. 17
Bridge the Differences: A Dialogue
3:30–5 p.m.
Niles Gallery in the Fine Arts Library
Food and drink will be provided

Tuesday, Nov. 18
Education Abroad Open House
10 a.m.– 2 p.m.
Third floor of Bradley Hall
Food and drink will be provided

Wednesday, Nov. 19
International Game Day
1– 4:30 p.m.
Room B-108C in the W.T. Young Library

Global Design
Phil Duncan, Global Design Officer for The Procter & Gamble Company
3:30–5 p.m.
UKAA Auditorium in the W.T. Young Library
There will be a reception following talk

Thursday, Nov. 20
International Education Week Keynote Speaker Christie Vilsack, senior advisor for international education at USAID
6–7 p.m.
Memorial Hall
A reception will follow the talk in the Lexmark Room

MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Geegan, (859) 257-53675; sarah.geegan@uky.edu

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