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UK Rural Health Expert Named to National Advisory Committee

Wed, 05/27/2015 - 11:51

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 28, 2015) — University of Kentucky College of Public Health professor Ty Borders, Ph.D, was recently appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services.

Borders is the chair of the Department of Health Services Management and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky Endowed Chair in Rural Health Policy. He also serves as a founding co-director of the University of Kentucky Institute for Rural Health Policy. Borders is the editor of the Journal of Rural Health, an academic publication devoted to rural health research. His term on the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services began in the spring and will continue until April 2019.

The committee, a part of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), is a 21-member panel of nationally recognized experts in the area of rural health. The group provides recommendations to the U.S. Secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services on issues of particular interest and impact in rural health. The committee was created in 1987 with the charge to advise the Secretary of Health and Human Services on solutions to key health care problems in rural America. 

“This appointment is an honor not only for Dr. Borders and his family, but also for Kentucky,” Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., said.  “Dr. Borders possesses a broad and deep understanding of the health care challenges facing rural Kentucky and America. His unique insight about evidence-based strategies that could improve rural health and health care delivery will greatly benefit the committee.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Noble, sarah.noble@uky.edu

Prehistoric Greenup Mound to be Studied by UK Faculty and Students

Tue, 05/26/2015 - 16:19

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 28, 2015) — University of Kentucky anthropology doctoral students and professors played an instrumental role in the donation of a prehistoric Native American mound in Greenup County to the Archaeological Conservancy, a national nonprofit dedicated to acquiring and protecting endangered archaeological sites.

Five acres of land — located within a rural subdivision in Greenup County and encompassing the mound plus two additional parcels — were donated by the owners, Town Square Bank. Representatives of the bank and conservancy witnessed the transfer of the land deed at a ceremony May 12, during National Historic Preservation Month. The earthwork was named the Town Square Mound, in honor of the bank’s contribution.

The mound was initially reported to the Kentucky Heritage Council (KHC)/State Historic Preservation Office in Frankfort by the original landowner. Because the UK Office of State Archaeology did not have an Indian mound identified at that location, Kary Stackelbeck, site protection administrator at KHC; George Crothers, Kentucky's state archaeologist, associate professor of anthropology at UK and director of the William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology; and UK doctoral student Stuart Nealis visited the site to determine if the mound was prehistoric. Their investigation indicated the mound was not a recent feature and at least one other smaller mound was located nearby.

The elliptical mound measures approximately 20 feet high by 80 feet long. UK doctoral students Nealis and Barry Kidder examined sediment cores from the mound in UK anthropology professor Christopher Pool’s geoarchaeology class using geochemical, magnetic susceptibility and x-ray fluorescence techniques to study the construction history. Nealis and Kidder presented the results of their work at the Society for American Archaeology meetings last year in Austin, Texas.

Preliminary results indicate the mound was last occupied 600 years ago, but may have been built as early as 2,000-2,500 years ago. Additional radiocarbon dating is planned to determine a more exact date for its initial construction. The Office of State Archaeology and UK students will continue their work this summer.

“This mound is very intact, which is unusual, so there is a great deal it might be able to tell us about early Native American culture,” said Josh McConaughy, associate director of the conservancy’s Midwest regional office.

“Any type of research we might allow going forward would not be invasive, but we would be open to further studies by professional archaeologists that could consist of core samples, ground penetrating radar, or other technology that would help us learn more fully what this site was used for.

“We hope that others might recognize a similar feature on their own property and take action to protect it,” said McConaughy.

Crothers said, “More than 27,000 archaeological sites are recorded in the state, but that represents only 5 percent of the potential sites that exist. We work with landowners to identify and preserve American Indian and early historic sites on their property whenever possible. Students are an integral part in helping to document and study these sites as part of their education.”

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

UK Gill Heart Institute Announces New Director of Women’s Heart Health

Tue, 05/26/2015 - 15:37

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 27, 2015) - UK HealthCare's Gill Heart Institute has named Dr. Gretchen Wells as its new director of Women’s Heart Health.

Wells comes from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she was most recently medical director of the Cardiac Care Unit and Inpatient Cardiology Services and directed the outpatient women’s cardiac program.

She received her medical degree from the University of Alabama School of Medicine, where she also completed a Ph.D. in medical genetics.  Wells completed her residency and a clinical fellowship in cardiology at Wake Forest.

Her interests include heart failure mechanisms in women, neurocardiology and noninvasive cardiology.

As director of Women's Heart Health at the Gill, Dr. Wells looks to combine her knowledge of cardiovascular disease with continued research on conditions that affect both pregnant and post-menopausal women, particularly in the area of gender differences in the presentation of heart disease. 

MEDIA CONTACT: Laura Dawahare, Laura.Dawahare@uky.edu, (859) 257-5307

Interest in Canola Increasing in Kentucky

Tue, 05/26/2015 - 15:17

Austin, Ky. (May 28, 2015) — With the state’s first canola crushing facility coming online this past December, interest in canola is running high among farmers, and some Kentucky fields are starting to get a splash of yellow during the spring. A specialist with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment is working with farmers and consultants to make sure Kentucky farmers ramp up production in a way that’s agronomical and economically beneficial for them.

“Canola is a really good option for a producer to diversify their operation in terms of economics, and there are some known agronomic benefits to growing canola,” said Carrie Knott, UK grain crops extension specialist. “Several years ago, research in Kentucky showed yields of double crop soybeans increase when they follow canola compared to following wheat.”

Knott is working with area farmers and Brian Caldbeck, a consultant agronomist with Caldbeck Consulting, on this new crop opportunity. The Hart AgStrong canola crushing facility in Trenton plans to eventually receive between 35,000 and 70,000 acres of canola when it reaches full capacity. In its first year, it has contracts for 24,000 acres. Kentucky farmers account for between 10,000 and 11,000 of that acreage.

Caldbeck has worked on winter canola research since 2004, when he was working at Miles Farm Supply in Owensboro. There he found a variety that yielded well, and farmers could successfully follow it with double crop soybeans. Since then, he’s been helping interested farmers expand into canola production. This includes establishing Rubisco Seeds, a Kentucky-based hybrid canola seed company with his wife, Claire.

One farmer he has worked with is Terry Warkentin, who runs a diversified operation in the Austin community of Barren County. Warkentin had basic knowledge of the crop from watching his father produce it while he was growing up in Manitoba, Canada, a major canola production area. He is excited about the higher yield potential Kentucky has compared to Canada and the ability to sell his crop locally to the crushing facility.

Having previous knowledge of growing canola like Warkentin has is rare among Kentucky grain farmers, who usually have crop rotations of corn, soybeans and wheat. Knott and Caldbeck said it’s important for interested producers to do their homework before jumping into canola production. Canola requires more management than winter wheat. It is planted and harvested earlier than winter wheat, and once a field is used to grow canola, producers can’t grow it in the same field for three or four years.

Due to its small seed size, canola is typically planted using conventional tillage methods. Warkentin is one of the few farmers in the state who have been able to adapt the crop to a complete no-till system. Knott is beginning research on how more farmers can adapt canola to their no-till or minimal tillage system.

“It has such a small seed that it gets placed much better in a conventional tillage system, she said. “That’s how it’s planted throughout much of the country, but since Kentucky is a no-till state, I’m working very hard to see how we can use science to make growing no-till canola a possibility for more of the state’s producers.”

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

UK Veterinary Diagnostic Lab Part of Animal Health Monitoring Network

Tue, 05/26/2015 - 15:03

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 27, 2015) — With recent outbreaks of poultry and canine influenza, the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s Veterinary Diagnostic Lab has been on heightened alert. But the lab is always in the know on animal disease situations throughout the state and the country.

The UK VDL is part of a larger network — the National Animal Health Laboratory Network — that tracks the progress of diseases and performs diagnostic tests on thousands of samples each year. The network is a cooperative effort between two federal agencies within the U.S. Department of Agriculture — the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture — and the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians.

“The NAHLN is a strategic partnership of veterinary labs around the country,” said Craig Carter, director of the UK VDL. “The network enables labs to test for diseases that pose serious threats to animal health such as the recent avian influenza epidemics as well as foot-and-mouth disease, classical swine fever, mad cow disease and many others.”

Carter said the network is a vital early warning system for emerging disease and foreign animal disease, diseases that can be accidentally or deliberately introduced to the United States from abroad. Without an early warning system, foot-and-mouth disease could easily cost U.S. agriculture more than $125 billion in decreased revenues for corn and soybeans and more than 150,000 lost jobs over the course of an outbreak.

“Being able to quickly identify disease, warn of its presence and stop the spread is a very important part of ensuring a safe, stable and nutritious food supply in the United States,” Carter said. “As part of the larger network, we’ve helped establish a framework for animal health monitoring that provides critical information sharing and an emergency response system that can protect animal agriculture.”

The early detection of animal diseases can also help protect human health. For example, avian influenza virus has the potential for mutating into a strain that can infect people.

“By keeping a watchful eye on animal disease in Kentucky and elsewhere in the United States, we can also increase consumer confidence in animal agriculture and ensure positive relationships with our global trading partners,” Carter said.

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

College of Health Sciences Offers First Undergraduate Certificate in Research at UK

Tue, 05/26/2015 - 14:39

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 27, 2015) -- The University of Kentucky College of Health Sciences recently launched the undergraduate Certificate in Research in Human Health Sciences – the first of its kind on campus. The new certificate provides eligible UK undergraduate students with the opportunity to gain advanced knowledge in interdisciplinary clinical and translational research in the human health sciences fields.

The certificate, which was approved by the University Senate in February, is a product of the thriving Undergraduate Research Program at the College of Health Sciences (CHS).

“Our undergraduate researchers were the motivation for proposing the certificate,” said Gilson Capilouto, director of undergraduate research at CHS and professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders. “We have students who become so engaged in the research they are conducting and so choose to stay with their mentors for multiple semesters. The certificate is a way to recognize their commitment to research and maximize the benefit of the experience for students.”

The Certificate in Research in Human Health Sciences may benefit students in multiple ways, during their undergraduate years and beyond. Benefits include:

•        Increased creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills

•        Enhanced ability to apply classroom knowledge

•        Broader understanding of academic and career interests

•        Higher retention and graduation rates

•        Higher acceptance and enrollment rates for graduate and professional schools

“Working in undergraduate research at CHS helped me tremendously in all aspects – academically, professionally, and personally,” said Sami Michaelis, a 2014 UK biology graduate, who is now employed as a laboratory technician at CHS. “Some of the tasks I carried out in the lab were methods being used in the laboratory portions of my classes. So I had a head start on my peers in that aspect. Professionally, it gave me experience with basic laboratory methods and, ultimately, led to a full-time job opportunity after graduation. My mentors in the lab have taught me so much and have been patient with me as I learn new protocols and become more independent in my work.”  

For students interested in entering the health care professions, undergraduate research experiences offer a unique long-term benefit. It helps students become better clinicians and better consumers of research literature by providing a firsthand framework for understanding research that they would not have had otherwise.

“Research is an essential component for undergraduate students planning to pursue a degree in the health professions,” said Scott M. Lephart, dean of the College of Health Sciences. “It is an extraordinary opportunity to gain first-hand experience in the very research that might be applied later as clinicians.”

CHS is comprised of nine health profession disciplines, allowing for a variety of interdisciplinary collaborations. Students pursuing the certificate will be matched with a research mentor from CHS or other participating UK colleges. Students will have opportunities to be involved in ongoing CHS research projects focused primarily on frailty and disability prevention; rehabilitation; voice and language disorders; musculoskeletal health; and sport and military injury prevention.

“As the gateway to health sciences academic and professional programs, CHS offers students an important advantage. The core of our college is interdisciplinary, and health care is increasingly based on interdisciplinary models,” Lephart said. “We are excited to provide this opportunity to undergraduate students across campus. The time to start is now, and the place is the College of Health Sciences.”

Undergraduate students must be at least a second-semester freshman with a 3.0 GPA to be eligible. A total of 12 to 15 credit hours are required for completion of the certificate. Complete admission criteria, a list of required coursework, and the online application are available at http://bit.ly/CHS_UGR_Cert.

Undergraduate students are encouraged to review the admission criteria and apply, even if a student is not sure that research is a viable option.  

“Initially, as an undergraduate, I couldn’t see myself in research,” said Michaelis. “But the professors at CHS have been great in teaching me, mentoring me, and showing me the positive aspects of research, including that there are always discoveries to be made. The new certificate seems like a great way for undergraduates to really dive into research and understand the entire process from hypothesis to statistical analysis.”

The growth of the CHS Undergraduate Research Program and the launch of the new certificate demonstrate just one facet of the momentum of research efforts at the College of Health Sciences. 

“This certificate program will both challenge and reward those students interested in becoming truly engaged in research,” said Charlotte Peterson, associate dean for research at CHS. “It is made possible by the strong commitment of CHS to research and the wide range of research opportunities available in the college.”

As the CHS Undergraduate Research Program continues to grow, more research mentors are needed to keep up with the demand. Capilouto encourages faculty from across campus to consider becoming mentors and to contact her to discuss opportunities.

“It’s a win-win. Faculty are able to achieve goals they might not otherwise achieve, and students gain exceptional experience in research,” said Capilouto.

The UK College of Health Sciences offers undergraduate and graduate/professional degrees in: Athletic Training, Clinical Leadership and Management, Clinical Nutrition, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Human Health Sciences, Medical Laboratory Science, Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant Studies, and Rehabilitation Sciences.

Media Contact:  Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or ann.blackford@uky.edu

From UK to the UK With Fulbright

Tue, 05/26/2015 - 11:44

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 27, 2015) — Interiors junior Jessica Moore, a native of Bowling Green, Kentucky, has received a place with a Fulbright Summer Institute to study at Nottingham Trent University in one of the most prestigious and selective summer scholarship programs operating worldwide.

The US-UK Fulbright Commission is the only bi-lateral, transatlantic scholarship program, offering awards and summer programs for study or research in any field, at any accredited U.S. or U.K. university. The commission is part of the Fulbright program conceived by U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright in the aftermath of World War II to promote leadership, learning and empathy between nations through educational exchange. Award recipients and summer program participants are expected to be future leaders and support the “special relationship” between the U.S. and the U.K.

As a participant, Moore has been selected from a strong applicant pool to experience the United Kingdom at a four-week summer program at Nottingham Trent University, in Nottingham, England. The theme of the institute is creativity, culture, history and heritage, with an emphasis on space, place and time. Students will follow a course that combines architecture, fine art and museum studies. At the end of the program, the students will create an exhibition to present their experience in a creative way, showcasing what they gained from the program.

"I am very excited to have been selected for this program and the opportunity it will give me to experience the United Kingdom through history, architecture and art. I have always wanted to visit the United Kingdom, and this program will allow me to do so while also studying areas that I am interested in and passionate about," said Moore, a member of the UK Honors Program.  

"A period of study abroad is a great way to broaden your horizons and make you stand out from the crowd," said Penny Egan, executive director of US-UK Fulbright Commission. "This is a wonderful opportunity to get a taste of British higher education, and as part of a high achieving cohort, this small group of students will gain immensely from the experience."

The commission selects participants through a rigorous application and interview process. In making these awards, the commission looks not only for academic excellence but a focused application, a range of extracurricular and community activities, demonstrated ambassadorial skills, a desire to further the Fulbright Program and a plan to give back to the recipient’s home country upon returning.

Fulbright Summer Programs cover all participant costs. In addition, Fulbright summer institute participants receive a distinctive support and cultural education program including: visa processing, a comprehensive pre-departure orientation, enrichment opportunities in country, a re-entry session and opportunity to join the programs' alumni networks.

Created by treaty on Sept. 22, 1948, the US-UK Fulbright Commission fosters mutual cultural understanding through educational exchange between the U.S. and the U.K. The program achieves this through its awards program for U.S. and U.K. citizens and through its Advisory Service. The commission offers grants at postgraduate and postdoctoral level for study in any discipline and at any accredited institution in the U.S. and U.K., as well as a number of special exchange programs for shorter projects for younger scholars. It is funded by a range of partners including leading U.S. and U.K. universities, charities and both governments. For more information, visit www.fulbright.org.uk.

Each year, the commission supports around 60 U.K. and U.S. undergraduate students to undertake demanding academic and cultural summer programs at leading institutions in the U.S. and U.K. respectively. This year, the commission is hosting nine Summer Institute programs at host institutions across the U.K.: AIFS Summer Institute at Shakespeare's Globe; Durham University Summer Institute; King's College London Summer Institute; Nottingham Trent University Summer Institute; Queen's University Belfast Summer Institute; Scotland Summer Institute (at the University of Dundee and the University of Strathclyde); University of Bristol Summer Institute; University of Exeter Summer Institute; and Wales Summer Institute (at Cardiff University, Bangor University and Aberystwyth University). For more information, visit www.fulbright.org.uk/fulbright-awards/exchanges-to-the-uk/undergraduates.

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

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

UK Students Recognized at Kentucky Associated Press Broadcasters Awards Ceremony

Tue, 05/26/2015 - 10:52

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 27, 2015) — The University of Kentucky’s broadcast journalism program had an outstanding showing at the 2015 Kentucky Associated Press Broadcasters Awards ceremony. UK students won an impressive 11 awards overall, including two first place wins.

In the radio category UK students Andrea Richard and Jacqueline Nie won first place for Best News Story. The two also won third place for Best College Radio Reporter as well as third place in Best Public Affairs.

UK's success continued in the college television competition. UK students won eight awards in this category. UK’s Sabirah Rayford won first place in Best Feature Story.

Other UK award winners in the college television competition include:

·         Lillie Ruschell, second place, Best College Newscast

·         Isabel Rosales, second place, Best College Television Reporter

·         Isabel Rosales, second place, Best Public Affairs

·         Lyndsey Gough, second place, Best Sports Coverage

·         Lindsay Travis and Isabel Rosales, third place, Best College Newscast

·         Cameron Griffin, third place, Best News Story

·         Isabel Rosales, third place, Best Public Affairs

While the number of awards was impressive, the students viewed them as a direct reflection of their experience studying broadcast journalism at UK.

"When I found out I won the AP award, I felt so accomplished and confidient in myself that I was ready to go out into the world and work in journalism," award winner Jacqueline Nie said. "It was the perfect way to end my last semester at UK. It really helped solidify my confidience in myself as a journalist, not just as a student. It made me feel so excited to move forward with my career."

Founded in 1914, the UK journalism program is accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. The broadcast journalism track prepares students for leadership roles in a variety of careers that communicate effectively with a mass audience.

MEDIA CONTACT: Blair Hoover and Rebecca Stratton; (859) 323-2395; blair.hoover@uky.edu, rebecca.stratton@uky.edu

Temporary UK Bookstore Opens on Lexington Avenue

Mon, 05/25/2015 - 22:04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 26, 2015) — The temporary University of Kentucky Bookstore is officially open and ready to serve the UK community.

During the new Student Center construction from May 16, 2015 until early 2018, Barnes & Noble will operate the university's bookstore in a temporary UK Bookstore location, located behind the Joe Craft Center, on Lexington Avenue. The facility, originally slated to open on June 1, was completed ahead of schedule and is ready to open its doors early.

This temporary bookstore location will offer new and used rental books, digital books, used textbooks and new textbooks, as well as a wide selection of UK clothing and merchandise. It will also offer year-round book buy-back and special order services. 

Because the UK Bookstore's services are in high demand during the first few weeks of the fall semester, the university is providing three options for students to receive their textbooks.

1.    Students can take advantage of a free UPS delivery service, the most highly encouraged option for pre-orders. More details about the delivery service will be available over the coming summer months.

Students can also choose between two pick-up locations:

2.    The temporary bookstore behind the Joe Craft Center on Lexington Avenue, or

3.    A tent near "the 90," located on Hilltop Avenue, which will serve as a satellite store for move-in week and the first week of classes and feature UK clothing, residence hall supplies and school supplies. 

“Our partnership with Barnes and Noble is another example of putting students first in everything that we do,” said Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Eric Monday. “The temporary bookstore will serve our community well as we begin work on our state-of-the-art permanent facility in the UK Student Center.”

When construction of the Student Center is completed in early 2018, UK will have a state-of-the-art 30,000 sq. ft. academic superstore that reflects the school’s Wildcat brand, offering approximately 50,000 volumes of general reading and exceptional customer service. When completed, the new three-story bookstore will also offer a full-service coffee shop with indoor and outdoor seating. 

“As we continue to move forward, we always want to hear feedback from the community,” Monday said.

As a reminder, members of the UK community can visit this page to view where the various vital services currently housed in the Student Center will move.

Additional information about new campus recreation options for north campus will also be available in the coming weeks.

Join the conversation about the Student Center and the UK Bookstore. You can also stay updated by visiting the Student Center renovation website.

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

UK Hosts Eminent Dutch Scientist at Regional Chronobiology Conference

Mon, 05/25/2015 - 12:26

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 26, 2015) — The University of Kentucky Department of Biology welcomed researchers from Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky, as well as renowned Dutch scientist Serge Daan, as it hosted the 4th Biennial Conference of Rhythms in the Southeast Region (RISER) this past weekend.

At the UK/Lexmark Center for Innovation in Math and Science Education on Saturday, May 23, researchers presented their work in oral and poster presentations throughout the day. Daan, the Niko Tinbergen Distinguished Honorary Professor in Behavioural Biology at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, delivered a keynote speech on the history of the chronobiology. 

Chronobiology is the study of biological rhythms as they relate to time. Daan was trained as a postdoctoral scholar by the two founders of modern chronobiology, Jürgen Aschoff and Colin Pittendrigh, and is today known for his significant contributions to the field.

Daan has discovered the basic properties of circadian rhythm and its role in behavior expression and physiological phenomena. He was also one of the first researchers to focus on the ecological significance of annual cycles and related circadian rhythms from the viewpoint of ecological energetics. The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, who awarded Daan the International Prize in 2006, credits him with laying the foundations of chronobiology.

His research has been reported in approximately 250 publications, which were together cited more than 9,000 times.

Additional presentation topics included sleep deprivation in aplysia; a noninvasive alternative to EEG/EMG measurements for finer discrimination of sleep in mice; using optogenetics to shift the circadian clock; and more.

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

Clay County Students Join UK Researchers to Study Weight, Circadian Rhythms in Children

Fri, 05/22/2015 - 14:45

LEXINGTON, Ky . (May 26, 2015) — Sydney Sester, a fifth grade student at Manchester Elementary School in Clay County, Ky., didn't expect to be a scientific researcher at the age of 10. But she's one of more than 100 elementary students in the county who have been working with University of Kentucky researchers to answer questions about weight and body clocks, or circadian rhythms, in children.

"I'm just glad they picked us to do it, because I never thought I would do this. I'm glad I did, too," she said.

The project,  "Circadian Rhythm Parameters and Metabolic Syndrome Associated Factors in Young Children", also known as the Clay County Clock Study, is led by co-principle investigators Dr. Jody Clasey, associate professor of kinesiology and health promotion, and Dr. Karyn Esser, professor of physiology. The research team hopes to learn about the relationship between circadian rhythms, eating, and activity behaviors and the incidence of overweight and obesity in children.

Funded by a pilot grant from the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science, the project was designed as a community-engaged partnership from the beginning. It draws on the diverse expertise of UK researchers from public health, kinesiology, and physiology in close collaboration with the students and staff of Clay County public schools. Together, the UK and Clay County faculty and staff planned every detail of the project so that it would not only generate the necessary data but also supplement the curriculum of the students and not disrupt their school time. Two Clay County elementary schools, Manchester and Oneida, participated.

"UK didn’t go down to Clay County and do a study," said Clasey. "We met in the middle and we each have contributions that make the sum of our contributions worth more than independent efforts… It’s not only about promoting the science and discovery but establishing long-term relationships with the community."

She was particularly encouraged by the response of one student who was asked to share the study devices with a friend who wasn’t participating in the study.

"I was so pleased to hear that one of the children, when asked to give up part of the device by another child, said, 'I can’t. I am a university of Kentucky researcher,'" recalled Clasey.

Esser agrees that "the key to all of this was our community connection with Clay County Schools." In fact, the study would have been impossible without the fourth and fifth graders in Clay County, who gained first-hand experience in research and data collection. For one week, the students wore FitBits and a new, noninvasive skin temperature monitoring system, about the size of a watch battery, to gather physiological data. The students also recorded their sleep and eating activities each day. 

For Clay County administrators and teachers, the collaborative project was immediately appealing because it actively engaged students in applied sciences while promoting healthy behaviors. Deann Allen, the instructional supervisor, district assessment coordinator, and district health coordinator for Clay County public schools, saw the project as a unique opportunity for students gain hands-on experience conducting research.

"With the introduction of the next generation science standards, we're moving away from learning science in a book. But instead, we want kids to learn how to do science, be a part of science, and what better way than to be a researcher in your own science project," she said. "This is a chance for our students to interact with real researchers. And we want to make sure that every child, whether in the city limits or on the banks of the Kentucky River, has the same opportunities."

Sester, a Clay County fifth grader, says that in addition to learning more about science and helping others by contributing to research, participating in the study showed her the importance of maintaining a healthy weight and eating well.

"It made me want to be more responsible with food and be patient with what I eat and only eat when I'm hungry," she said.

Kentucky has elevated rates of childhood obesity and overweight, but the incidence is particularly high in rural Appalachian areas. Previous studies have demonstrated that circadian rhythm disruption is associated with increased risk for metabolic disease in adults, but similar research with children has been limited.

"What the circadian field has taught us is that there are associations between disruptions and circadian health and development of chronic disease, in particular metabolic disease and cardiovascular disease," said Esser, who brings more than decade of circadian rhythm expertise to the project. "And, in particular, Clay County and many of the counties in Appalachia have a much higher rate of these chronic diseases."

While we've known that light exposure affects the body clock, recent findings indicate that the time of physical activity and time of eating (even beyond what you eat) contribute to circadian health.  There is reason to believe that these lifestyle factors contribute to metabolic health in children, but very little is known is known to date.  The research team hopes that the study will lead to better understanding of how and when in incorporate meals and physical activity into children's -- and families' -- lives to prevent chronic disease.

"It could not only influence an individual, but school start times, activity intervention, just so many different areas from personal practice or behavioral choices to public policy, all for the metabolic or physiological good of the individual or collective body," said Clasey.

Esser similarly sees the need to cultivate individual behaviors and understanding about how and why to keep our body clocks working for optimal health.

"We would have to be working with the parents and the families to limit late night eating, and [promote] getting out and getting sunlight and physical activity during the day," she said. "There are reasons for trying to get them to think about these things -- that if they're watching the moon rise or set or the sun rise or set, that that’s related in many ways to what’s going on in your body."

For Allen and the staff of Clay County schools, the research findings could also inform how children spend their time at school.

"We're hoping that this will give us information to better structure our school day so that it to matches students' circadian rhythms and they can get the most out of their educational experiences," said Allen.

The project builds upon a partnership that was originally initiated by Dr. Jill Day, a Clay County native turned UK faculty member, who partnered with the Clay County school system to study the relationships between physical activity, body composition, and academic achievement in rural children for her doctor of education (Ed.D) dissertation at UK. Clasey served as Day's dissertation advisor.

Allen describes Day as a local hero who is inspiring a generation in Clay County.

"She has a servant's heart and she wants to give back to her community, and what better way than to influence the next generation of scientist," Allen said of Day.

As a reward for participating in the research project, the Clay County students took a field trip to UK's campus in April, touring the campus, visiting science labs, eating in the dining hall, and even meeting UK President Eli Capilouto.  Day knows that for some of the students, the trip to UK was their first outside of Eastern Kentucky.

"For some of them, it will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they've never had -- to come here to UK and see that there's more than that what's in their hometown, and get them excited about science and research and their own health," she said.

The project has had a personal impact on members of the research team, too.

"I have to say this project has touched me in all kinds of ways. I love the science -- that is the kind of thing that has driven me my whole career -- but yes, having an impact on the kids at a time that can impact their health for the rest of their life was very humbling to me," said Esser.

In June we will continue with part two of this story, highlighting the educational impact of the project and the students' field trip to UK.

This story is part of a going series exploring how UK is working with communities in Appalachia. Read more at Rooted in Our Communities: The University of Kentucky

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

UK College of Law Launches New Website

Fri, 05/22/2015 - 14:08

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 26, 2015) — The University of Kentucky College of Law has launched a new website that improves access to important information for students, prospective students, alumni and others.

"We are excited about the launch of our new website and the role it plays in the College of Law producing the next great generation of leaders and legal practitioners," said David A. Brennen, dean of the UK College of Law. "The website highlights the many ways in which UK Law services the Commonwealth and the impact of the work of its faculty and graduates on society." 

Located at http://law.uky.edu/, the website displays the new feature, "UK Law by the Numbers," highlighting the college's successes. The UK College of Law was ranked the third Best Value Law School by National Jurist Magazine in 2014 and as high as 12th in the country in full-time, long-term, bar passage required JD non-school funded jobs for the class of 2014. It also achieved a 90.2 percent bar passage rate for Kentucky first-time bar examination test takers in 2013 and offers four dual degree programs. Another website section displays a faculty spotlight, which highlights a different law faculty member each time the website is viewed.

"It also aids in advancing the functional roles of attracting prospective students, engaging our alumni, and informing all about the accomplishments of our students, faculty and alumni," Brennen said.  The website includes college news and upcoming events, as well as information on admissions, diversity and inclusion and a career portal for current students, alumni, employers and prospective students.

"We hope that everyone finds the new website visually appealing and user-friendly," Brennen said. "As we continue to educate the public on the strength and value of the legal education we provide, the website is central to this mission."

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

UK Forestry Hosting International Conference in July

Fri, 05/22/2015 - 09:24

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 26, 2015) — The Council on Forest Engineering will be holding its 38th annual meeting in the Hilton Hotel Downtown in Lexington, July 19-22. It is the first time the University of Kentucky   Department of Forestry, part of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, has hosted the conference. The theme for the meeting is “Engineering Solutions for Nonindustrial Private Forest Operations.”

The council, an international organization of forest professionals seeks and promotes the best methods of forest operations and management through fostering forest engineering in industry, government and universities.

Marco Contreras, UK assistant professor of forest management, and Jeffrey Stringer, UK professor of hardwood silviculture and forest operations, are co-chairs of the event.

Registration will take place from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. EDT July 19, with a welcome reception from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Sessions will begin the next morning, following a continental breakfast from 7:30 to 8:15 a.m. Topics will include:

·         Productivity of logging operations

·         Regional logging industry assessments

·         Transition to mechanized operations in hardwood forests

·         Logging operations and site disturbances

·         Biomass processing and feedstock transportation

·         Economic analysis of timber valuation

·         Spatial analysis applications in forest operations

·         Small-scale operations and ergonomics

Organizers have also planned a one-day field tour to Eastern Kentucky. Tentatively, meeting attendees will visit a ground-based logging site on steep terrain and a surface mine reclamation site.

Meeting registration fees before June 1 are $200 for students and $350 for academics, industry and government agencies. After June 1, registration fees are $275 and $450 respectively. A block of rooms at the Hilton Hotel Downtown has been reserved for July 19-22 at $114 per night. The special room rate will be available until July 3 or until the entire block is sold, whichever comes first.

For more information or to register for the event, visit the meeting website at https://cofe.ca.uky.edu/home.

MEDIA CONTACT: Carol Lea Spence, 859-257-8324.

VADs Prolong Life of Those with Heart Failure

Fri, 05/22/2015 - 08:58

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 26, 2015) -- Heart failure is a serious health problem in this country, affecting more than 5 million Americans. Many heart problems, including coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, and valvular defects can ultimately lead to heart failure. 

A heart failure diagnosis usually means the heart's pumping power is weaker than normal. Patients with heart failure generally suffer from symptoms like fatigue, breathlessness, and swollen ankles, legs and/or abdomen.

If left untreated, heart function worsens. Fluid builds up in the body, filling the lungs and making it difficult to breathe. The kidneys can shut down and other organs may deteriorate.

Medicines can be an effective option for heart failure patients. But if the heart is very weak, a ventricular assist device (VAD) can be a lifesaver. A VAD is a mechanical device that helps a weakened heart pump blood throughout the body.

VADs have a mechanical pump that is surgically implanted into the heart and is connected to a control unit and battery pack outside of the body. They are different than artificial hearts, which are designed to run all cardiac function and often require the complete removal of the patient's heart. A VAD, as the name implies, assists the patient's own heart.

This technology is very new ­– the newest pumps were approved less than a decade ago. Because modern VADs have a continuous flow of blood, patients with VADs do not have a pulse – which surprisingly does not affect any major activities. Kidneys and liver often improve on VAD support, and fluid retention in the lungs and the rest of the body dramatically decreases.

These devices are usually installed on the left ventricle, which pumps blood to the entire body, whereas the right ventricle only pumps to the lungs.

VADs may be used for short-term or long-term use. Patients sometimes have a VAD temporarily until the heart can recover and pump enough blood on its own, but such cases are uncommon. For patients who need a heart transplant, a VAD may be used as a "bridge to transplant," supporting the cardiovascular system while they wait for a donor heart to become available. VADs also help these patients improve their overall health and strength before transplant, which increases the likelihood of a successful procedure.

However, not all patients with heart failure can be treated with a transplant. Donor hearts are rare. VADs, to the contrary, are readily available. For most patients a VAD is a good treatment option that can prolong life by years, improve its quality, and allow them to return to many of their daily activities.

My patients drive and repair cars, paint houses, fish and hunt, run businesses, play golf, and travel across the country and overseas. Most of them would not be alive today without VADs.

Dr. Maya Guglin is the medical director of the UK Mechanical Assisted Circulation Program. 

This column appeared in the May 24, 2015 edition of the Lexington Hera;d-Leader.

UK Athletics Tops 3.0 GPA for Sixth Straight Semester

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 14:36

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 22, 2015) — The goals of the 15 by 15 by 15 Plan might have already been met, but the Wildcats aren’t slowing down in the classroom.

For the sixth semester in a row and seventh time in eight semesters, University of Kentucky athletes have combined to achieve a 3.0 department-wide GPA.

Scholarship Wildcats had a cumulative GPA of 3.075 for the spring semester of 2015.

“Success in the classroom remains an important part of our mission to develop our students in all facets of life,” UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “I want to congratulate our students for their work in the classroom this semester and for the way they manage the demanding schedules that come with competing at the highest level of collegiate athletics.”

Fifteen of UK’s 20 teams reached the 3.0 threshold set as part of both the 15 by 15 by 15 Plan and the new 1-3-5 initiative unveiled at the CATSPY Awards in April. The women’s tennis team, which reached the NCAA Tournament this month, led all teams with a 3.591 GPA and was closely followed by volleyball (3.563), women’s swimming and diving (3.516), and women’s cross country (3.509). Men’s soccer led all men’s teams with a 3.371 GPA.

Of the 14 teams that completed the championship portions of their schedules during the spring semester, 11 posted GPAs of 3.0 or better. Additionally, 61 current and former Wildcats graduated as part of UK’s spring commencement.

“From coaches to our students to our staff, everyone has embraced our commitment to academics,” Barnhart said. “I also want to say a special thank you to our CATS (Center for Academic and Tutorial Services) counselors and tutors for the amazing work they do in giving our student-athletes the tools they need to succeed.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Guy Ramsey, guy.ramsey@uky.edu; 859-257-3838.  

Hildebrandt Named Division Chief of Markey Hematology

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 14:20

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 22, 2015) -- Dr. Gerhard Hildebrandt has been named the Division Chief of Hematology and Blood and Marrow Transplantation at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center.

Hildebrandt's clinical focus is cancers of the blood and lymph system. He sees patients before and after blood or marrow stem cell transplantation and treats patients suffering from acute and chronic graft-versus-host disease. He also serves as a professor of medicine in the UK College of Medicine.

Hildebrandt received his medical degree from the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz Medical School, Germany, in 1997. Upon completing his doctoral research thesis, he was awarded the "doctor medicinae" with magna cum laude.

He then completed a residency in Internal Medicine and a Hematology and Oncology fellowship at the University of Regensburg, Germany and became Bone Marrow Transplant and Hematologic Malignancies Attending at the University of Regensburg. In 2009 he was awarded the "Habilitation," the highest academic qualification a scholar can achieve by own pursuit in Germany.

After moving to the United States in 2009, Hildebrandt was a faculty member at Louisiana State University in Shreveport and served as director of their bone marrow transplant program. He later moved to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City to become director of the Utah Blood and Marrow Transplant program at the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

Hildebrandt is a member of the American Society of Hematology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation and the American Association for Cancer Research. He has authored more than 40 articles, books and book chapters, and is strongly involved in clinical trials.

UKnowledge Research Downloads Pass 2 Million Mark

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 13:27

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 26, 2015) — Research items available from UKnowledge have been downloaded more than 2 million times around the world. Since its establishment in late 2010 as University of Kentucky’s institutional repository, UKnowledge has enabled timely discovery of and unfettered access to a variety of scholarly contents generated at or sponsored by UK.  

As a reflection of the excellence in graduate research at UK, theses and dissertations have commanded the major portion of the 2 million-plus downloads. Meanwhile, open access journals housed in UKnowledge have also drawn much attention and their articles have been accessed numerous times. To see an up-to-date list of the 10 most downloaded items, visit this page

The featured collections page now offers a window into some of the remarkable collections on UKnowledge. Currently highlighted there are three singular publications and an image gallery:

Holding more than 11,300 items, UKnowledge aims to share UK community’s research and scholarship with learners and researchers everywhere.

UK faculty and students interested in using the resources and services made available by UKnowledge may contact Adrian Ho, director of Digital Scholarship at UK Libraries, at adrian.ho@uky.edu for information and assistance.  

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

WUKY Survey Underway

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 11:40

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 22, 2015)WUKY, the University of Kentucky's NPR station, is seeking information from radio listeners and the general public. You are invited to participate in an online survey explaining how you use radio, along with social media, smartphones, tablets, streaming and the Web to stay connected to news, entertainment and updates from WUKY and other sources.

Responses will be confidential, no personal information will be shared with other organizations. Information will only be used to enhance WUKY's service to its listeners and the community.

The survey may take as long as 15-20 minutes to complete, but participants can stop, save their work and resume at any time. The survey can be accessed here: http://surveys.nuvoodoo.com/prts7/station/wuky/.   

The survey closes May 28.

UPK Biography of Alvin York Wins Third Award

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 11:38

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 22, 2015) — University Press of Kentucky (UPK) author Douglas V. Mastriano has been named the recipient of the 2014 Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Award for Biography for his book "Alvin York: A New Biography of the Hero of the Argonne." The foundation recognizes six books and three articles in various categories each year as outstanding achievements in writing on U.S. Army history.

Mastriano's award was presented by retired Army General William Hartzog at the Army Historical Foundation’s 18th Annual Members’ Meeting held May 18, at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia. As a book award winner, Mastriano received a plaque and a $1,000 cash award.

The Army Historical Foundation, a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, is dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of the American soldier. Its goal is to promote greater public appreciation for the contributions that America’s Army — active, reserve and National Guard — has made to the nation in 238 years of service. The foundation is the principal fundraiser to build the National Museum of the United States Army, which will be located at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

In "Alvin York," Mastriano sorts fact from myth in the first full-length biography of York in decades. He meticulously examines York’s youth in the hills of east Tennessee, his service in the Great War, and his return to a quiet civilian life dedicated to charity. As a devout Christian, conscientious objector and reluctant hero of World War I, Alvin York is known as one of America’s most famous and celebrated soldiers.

York’s capture of 132 German soldiers earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor, and continues to spark controversy among historians who think York has received more recognition than he deserves. By reviewing artifacts recovered from the battlefield using military terrain analysis, forensic study, and research in both German and American archives, Mastriano reconstructs the events of Oct. 8, 1918, and corroborates the recorded accounts.

"Alvin York" was also awarded the 2015 William E. Colby Award and the 2015 Crader Family Book Prize in American Values. The Colby Award honors a first work of fiction or non-fiction that has made a significant contribution to the public’s understanding of intelligence operations, military history or international affairs. The Crader Family Book Prize recognizes a first book that best exemplifies the values of the Crader Family Endowment for American Values: individual liberty, constitutional principles and civic virtue.

Mastriano is a colonel in the U.S. Army.

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

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

From Ancient Scrolls to Microsoft, UK Grad Finds Success

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 10:00

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 26, 2015) — In July, Nick Graczyk will head off to Redmond, Washington, the “Bicycle Capital of the Northwest,” and also home to Microsoft, where he will claim the title of software engineer. Graczyk’s most recent titles include “ancient scroll software extraordinaire” and University of Kentucky graduate.

Walking across the stage at Rupp Arena as recently as May 9, Graczyk earned his bachelor’s degree in computer science. Two days later, he flew to Paris, France, with the UK College of Engineering team he has been working with all semester.

Led by Brent Seales, professor and chair of the College of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science, the team, including several other students, is working to digitally unroll ancient scrolls using CT scans and a first-of-its-kind software tool built by the team. Currently, they are focused on a Herculaneum scroll, carbonized by the 79 A.D. eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Italy.

During his time working on the ancient scrolls project, Graczyk, of Lexington, has focused on the software pipeline.

Because the data the team receives from scans are only image files, they must complete multiple computations on those files to get the information needed to create particle simulations. The team then uses those simulations to segment different layers of the scroll.

“It’s a very complex process so if we don’t take good notes and we aren’t keeping track of what we’re doing along each step of the way, it can become very difficult to reproduce our results,” Graczyk said.

For Gracyzk, who has worked on the ancient scroll project since August 2014, the project has not only honed his computer science skills, but has also given him insight into a forgotten world.

“We’ve learned a lot about ancient history and Herculaneum scrolls, which was definitely something I didn’t really know much of anything about,” he said.

On his trip to Paris, where the Herculaneum scrolls are housed, Graczyk and his team members presented this semester’s work at Google, which is supporting the team's project. As they each explained what they worked on throughout the past few months in their own “Google Tech Talk,” Graczyk says he realized how great of an honor it was.

“Clearly, Google could fund thousands of research projects, but ... they chose to sponsor this one," Graczyk said.  

Don’t let his humble demeanor fool you though; Graczyk is already quite accustomed to working in the big leagues of software engineering.

At Intel, he worked with the Apple Enabling team on a number of tasks. At Hewlett-Packard, Graczyk interned as a core developer, working on HP Exstream. And in between those positions, he led a lab section of CS 221, the computer science course at UK for non-majors.

Even with his commitment to internships and positions in the Department of Computer Science, Graczyk became involved in the UK chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the world’s largest professional association for the advancement of technology, and Alpha Phi Omega, a national service organization.

Graczyk’s interest in the computer science field has also played out in regional, national and international competitions during his time at UK. He was named a semifinalist at PennApps Winter 2015 (a college hackathon), achieved the status of top 10 percent worldwide in the IEEE Xtreme Coding Competition, and received first place in the IEEE Region 3 Technical Paper Competition.

“I’ve done a lot of interesting things and projects while I’ve been here at UK,” he said. “And I think it’s definitely prepared me for a big company, software engineering job.”

With millions of people relying on Microsoft software every day, Graczyk says that he is most excited about getting to work on more projects that have a massive reach.

“Plus, I’m looking forward to seeing other UK grads join me at Microsoft someday,” he said. 

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

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