Menu Menu

College of Public Health Alum Selected as Lexington's First Local Food Coordinator

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 14:05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 11, 2014) -- Ashton Potter Wright, a graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Public Health, is serving as Lexington’s first local food coordinator, a new position charged with improving connections between Central Kentucky farmers and consumers.

“The goal is to grow the local agricultural economy while improving the health of local citizens by providing better access to healthy, locally grown foods,” Mayor Jim Gray said.

Councilmember Steve Kay worked to establish the position for three years. “Ashton will fill the gap between producers and consumers, improving connections at all levels, individual and businesses,” he said. “It’s a regional position. The consumers will be concentrated in Lexington, but Ashton will work with farmers and buyers throughout Central Kentucky.”

With the hiring of Wright, Lexington becomes the second city in the state with a Local Food Coordinator. Louisville’s Farm to Table Coordinator served as a model for Lexington. Wright will be part of the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, but the pilot position is funded through a combination of agriculture development funds, private grants and $25,000 from the city.

Wright, a Lexington native, holds a doctorate in public health from the University of Kentucky. She has worked on several initiatives to improve access to healthy food at both the state and national level. She recently completed a fellowship at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, where she served as the operations manager for First Lady Michele Obama’s Let’s Move! Childcare campaign.

MEDIA CONTACT: Mallory Powell,

Auto Mechanic Turned Neurosurgeon Credits UK Professor for "Transformative Moment"

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 09:48

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 12, 2014) -- It was a Toyota Corolla that brought Geoff Manley and Shelly Steiner together.

In the early 1980's, Manley was a high school dropout working as a mechanic -- first at the Texaco station in Lexington's Gardenside neighborhood, and then on his own.  His clientele included many University of Kentucky faculty.  Microbiology professor Shelly Steiner was among them.

"Geoff would fix my car and we would chat," Steiner, a professor of microbiology, recalls. "Some kids are polite -- you know, 'yes, yes sir' -- but disengaged. Geoff was clearly intelligent and focused. You can talk to someone for just a few minutes and know right away how bright they are.  Geoff was like that."

No one else in Manley's family had been to college, so "it just wasn't on my radar screen," he says.  Steiner's suggestion that Manley complete his GED and enroll at UK was, in his words, a "transformative moment."

As a student, Manley struggled to manage his classwork and multiple odd jobs, including two stints in Steiner's lab. But with Steiner's encouragement, Manley graduated in 1988, went to Cornell for his MD-PhD, and on to California, where he is currently vice chair for the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of California-San Francisco.  Manley's earlier work with Steiner and a colleague in the lab influenced his decision to pursue a career in the neurosciences; his particular interest is in traumatic brain injury, or TBI.

While professional athletes and their concussions have become the poster children for traumatic brain injury, TBI manifests far more commonly in auto accidents or slips-and-falls. At least 1.7 million people in the US seek medical attention for TBI each year and 2 percent of the U.S.. population now lives with TBI-caused disabilities at an annual cost of about $77 billion, according to the CDC.

"I did a lot of bench work earlier in my career, but I was torn between my interest in the basic sciences and my desire to do something directly relevant for TBI patients," Manley explains. "So I began to explore a new translational research approach to TBI."

His work has caught the attention of National Institutes of Health (NIH), which has awarded him $18.8 million over five years to support worldwide research on concussion and traumatic brain injury. Dr. Manley is ground zero for one of the largest international research collaborations ever coordinated by funding agencies, which includes the NIH, the European Commission, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).

Because of its complexity, TBI has defied conventional approaches to diagnosis and therapy development.  According to Dr. Manley, the search to find broadly applicable, effective treatments for TBI has been disappointing so far.

"After three decades of failed clinical trials, a new approach is needed,” he said.  By analyzing data from enormous cohorts of TBI patients worldwide, Dr. Manley and his colleagues hope to drastically refine current TBI measures. "Here we are in the 21st Century, and we classify TBI in one of three ways: mild, moderate, or severe," he says.  "Cancer, by comparison, can be characterized in a very precise way, and treatments are customized to each patient's needs."  Dr. Manley's goal is to create a set of TBI classifications that are as detailed as those for cancer -- the term he uses is "precision medicine."

“We expect that our approach will permit researchers to characterize and stratify patients more effectively, will allow meaningful comparisons of treatments and outcomes, and will improve the next generation of clinical trials. Advancing our understanding of TBI will ultimately lead to successful, patient-specific treatments.”

Dr. Manley returned to Lexington last month as a keynote speaker for this year's KSCHIRT Symposium, hosted by the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center (SCoBIRC) at the University of Kentucky.  He shared the podium with experts representing a who's who of TBI research -- including SCoBIRC's own Kathryn Saatmann, Ph.D., who presented her findings on the therapeutic potential of insulin-like growth factor-1 in TBI. Approximately 150 scientists attended the symposium, in its 20th year, to share research data on topics like brain plasticity and the role inflammation plays in brain damage post-TBI.

SCoBIRC was established in 1999 to promote research on injuries to the spinal cord and brain that result in paralysis or other loss of neurologic function.  The center's revenues originally came from the Kentucky Spinal Cord and Head Injury Research Trust Fund (KSCHIRT), which funneled revenues from fines for seat belt and other moving violations to TBI/SCI research projects in Kentucky, although these days that amount is dwarfed by funding from other sources, such as the NIH.

According to Jim Geddes, PhD, SCoBIRC is one of the few centers in the U.S. with expertise in both spinal cord and brain injury.  Consequently, SCoBIRC has been able to attract some of the best minds in the field to Lexington, from places like the University of Pennsylvania, Ohio State University, Case Western Reserve, and the pharmaceutical industry.

"For every dollar we receive from the state through KSCHIRT, we are generating another $4.80 in extramural support," says Geddes, SCoBIRC's director. "It's been a case study in momentum: we've used KSCHIRT money to do some interesting research, which attracts more researchers, who in turn get more money.  SCoBIRC is now reaching a critical mass where we are doing some pretty great things in both the basic sciences and in translational science as it relates to brain and spinal cord injury." In fact, Geddes notes, the center is gearing up for not one, but two Phase II clinical trials, and they are an active participant in what Geddes calls an international treasure hunt for the biomarkers of brain and spinal cord injury.

Steiner says one of UK's strengths is its emphasis on independent research projects for students. Any UK student who wants to get a feel of what it's like to conduct big-time research in a nationally funded lab has that opportunity. SCoBIRC is an excellent example of that commitment, with dozens of undergraduates (and three high school students) working in its labs alongside SCoBIRC faculty, helping to discover and advance potential therapies for the neuroprotective or neurorestorative treatment of TBI and SCI. This relationship between faculty and student develops bonds that can inform a student's life path in profound ways, as it did with Geoff Manley and Shelly Steiner.

Manley echoes this sentiment. "Having Shelly Steiner come into my life was a transformative moment. His persistence and encouragement got me my GED, got me through UK, and got me to where I am today."

Steiner shakes his head and in a gentle, self-deprecating voice, disagrees.  "Geoff would have made it anyway -- he had the intellectual octane and the motivation.  He may think others helped him, but it really was his trip."

Media Contact:  Laura Dawahare,

Dining Partnership Will Transform Vital Service to UK Campus

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 08:56

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 10, 2014) — Saying it will "transform overnight the way we provide a vital service to our campus," University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto said Tuesday the university is moving forward with a 15-year, nearly $250 million contract with Aramark to provide dining services for UK.

"In many respects, the direction we are embarking on today is as transformative as the process we started two years ago to revitalize student housing across the campus," Capilouto said. "Both initiatives place as a priority our top goal as an institution — doing what is best for our students. We are placing students first — in how they live, how they eat, where they learn and how we prepare them through a first-class education alongside a stellar faculty and staff. Today marks another way that we are declaring that the University of Kentucky will be among the handful of top-tier residential public research campuses in America."

In the last two years, working with private developer EdR, more than $380 million has been invested in the construction of more than 5,700 high-tech residence hall beds — the largest overhaul of housing in American public higher education.

Capital investments of more than $600,000 have to be approved by the board. The board, as a result, was being asked to consider some $70 million from private funds in dining capital project investments at its Tuesday meeting, many of which if approved, would be ready for students this fall.

“Over the last three years, under the leadership of President Capilouto, our board has been focused on creating the kind of residential campus that will stand out in American higher education. That’s what Kentucky needs. It’s what our students deserve," said UK Board Chairman Britt Brockman. "This partnership represents another important step in that direction as we will be providing our students and university community with better food, healthier options, and the kind of facilities that will promote greater use and collaboration. That is all by design. Along with our housing revitalization efforts, and our initiatives to rebuild the core of campus, the University of Kentucky is, without question, leading.”

“Aramark is proud to partner with the University of Kentucky to transform their student experience and environment as part of our mission to enrich and nourish lives,” said Mark Nelson, president of Aramark’s Higher Education business. “We look forward to achieving that goal together with UK Dining’s employees and the Kentucky Proud program through local sourcing, offering nutrition and wellness initiatives, as well as introducing exciting new retail brands.”

Key provisions of the partnership with Aramark will include:

  • Prices for UK's six current student meal plans will be reduced,   with the most expensive plan falling in price by 26 percent or about $740 per semester.
  • $70 million in facilities investments, including $40 million in new facilities, subject to board approval, would be made by 2017-2018, including the new K-Lair at Haggin Hall and substantial upgrades to the Student Center Food Court, both to be ready for this fall and a newly constructed Commons for Fall 2015 that will feature Kentucky Proud products and sustainable design elements.
  • Several new food brands will be locating on campus starting this fall and next year. This fall, a new locally owned Common Grounds, Rising Roll Gourmet, Einstein Bros. Bagels and Greens to Go will open on campus.
  • In Fall 2015, the first on-campus Panera in the nation will open as part of a new, $32 million Commons that Aramark is building near the W.T. Young Library.
  • More emphasis will be placed on nutrition and wellness with a full-time dietician hired by Aramark, digital menu boards, a nutrition website and mobile apps for nutrition and fitness that will be instituted, among other innovations.
  • Aramark is providing guarantees to increase Kentucky Proud and local food purchasing, including an 11 percent increase in the first year of the contract with $2 million in guaranteed purchases. Over the life of the contract, local food and Kentucky Proud purchases are projected to grow each year and represent approximately 25 percent of total food purchases by the end of the term.
  • Significant sustainability initiatives will include LEED certification being sought on new construction, hiring of a full-time sustainability coordinator and implementation of Green Thread business practices, including waste stream management practices, minimizing food waste and supporting composting, energy audits and other energy and conservation initiatives.
  • The creation of a "Food Hub" in partnership with the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, including a $5 million guaranteed investment in an unprecedented academic partnership. More details about the food initiative will be announced later this summer. "The College of Agriculture, Food and Environment community is excited about promoting food education and outreach campus-wide, in partnership with Aramark," said Nancy Cox, dean of the college. "Soon we will begin soliciting input to plan programs that strengthen the student experience and elevate UK's prominence in the study of food systems." 
  • Current UK employees with dining — about 110 people — will have the opportunity to remain university employees with the same salary and benefits — a guarantee made by the university more than a year ago.
  • Aramark is committed to growing the number of full-time and student employees.
  • Key Performance Indicators on all major facets of the contract between UK and Aramark will be tracked and will include financial penalties if measures are not met in areas such as local food sourcing, customer satisfaction, nutrition and wellness, and employee numbers.

"Better food, more reasonably priced and healthier options along with significant investments and upgrades in the facilities where our students, faculty and staff eat — those are the kinds of guaranteed investments this partnership represents. As a result, this contract represents a game-changer for UK, for our students and for the broader community we serve," said Eric N. Monday, UK's executive vice president for finance and administration. "This initiative says to everyone that UK is an institution looking to put students at the center of what we do and, in fact, we are acting on that in creating the best possible living and learning environment."

Terms of the contract are outlined in the PDF attached below or can be accessed here.

An update on the partnership presented to the UK Board of Trustees today is in the PDF attached below or can be accessed here.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jay Blanton,, 859-699-0041

Portions of Washington Avenue, Rose Street to Close in Coming Weeks

Mon, 06/09/2014 - 22:33

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 10, 2014) — Construction is set to begin soon on a new, $100 million Academic Science Building on that will transform the way University of Kentucky students, faculty and staff learn, teach and conduct research. The building is the result of the hard work of many people, including UK's Athletics Department, which in an unprecedented partnership, is funding nearly two-thirds of this construction.

To move forward on this critical facility, demolition of Donovan Hall will begin soon. That will result in the need for the closure of portions of two streets on campus.

Utility upgrades and construction of the new Academic Science Building will require portions of Washington Avenue and Rose Street to close for an extended period of time. Construction impact will begin in mid-June and extend through the 2014-2015 academic year with impacts concluding by Fall 2015.

On Monday, June 16, Washington Avenue from South Limestone to Gladstone Avenue will close. This phase is scheduled to last until Friday, July 4. During this time, the Graham and Gladstone parking areas off Washington Avenue will only be accessible via Rose Street.

On Monday, July 7, the portion of Washington Avenue from South Limestone to Gladstone Avenue will reopen, and the section of Washington Avenue from Rose Street to Gladstone Avenue will close. Impacts associated with this construction will be in effect until September 2015. Access to Graham and Gladstone Avenues during this period will only be available via South Limestone.

Additionally on Monday, July 7, Rose Street between Huguelet Drive and Funkhouser Drive will close, and the section of Rose Street from Columbia Avenue to Funkhouser Drive will be restricted to local traffic only. The impacts associated with this construction are expected to be in effect until September 2015.

A map of the affected areas can be accessed here:

More information about road closures, detours, utility work and the construction projects of the Academic Science Building, Commonwealth Stadium, Gatton College of Business and Economics Building and University Lofts Building can be found here:

If you want information about traffic impact only, please visit:

If you want regular email updates about campus construction and its impact on traffic, please visit to sign up for a listserv.

UK Budget Tops $3 Billion for First Time in History

Mon, 06/09/2014 - 17:56

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 10, 2014) — Fueled by continued growth in health care and student enrollment, the University of Kentucky's budget for 2014-2015 is expected to exceed $3 billion for the first time ever, President Eli Capilouto announced Tuesday.

At the same time, the percentage of the university's budget funded by the state will, for the first time, fall below 10 percent, to about 9.3 percent — a reflection, Capilouto said, of the growth of other revenues, even as state support has declined by about $55 million on a recurring basis since 2008.

"We are growing as an institution because the best and brightest students in the region, along with their families, see UK as the right investment for their futures," Capilouto said. "And, most significantly, we have a health-care enterprise that is the region's source for the highest-quality care in the cases where the need is most acute. With the leadership of the Board of Trustees, we are charting an aggressive path toward a bright future, but we still need the state as a partner in that journey, if we are to honor our mission as the source of answers to the Commonwealth's most intractable challenges."

“This budget reflects the fact that the institution’s resources are going directly to our top priorities — investing in the mission of the University of Kentucky to provide the best education, research, service and health care for the Commonwealth we serve,” said Britt Brockman, chair of the UK Board of Trustees. “It also reflects that through the leadership of our board and President Capilouto, and the efforts of donors, partners and alumni, we are finding innovative and creative ways to fund our future. However, we still need the partnership of the Commonwealth to continue to make progress in creating the educational and research environment necessary to achieve our ambitions and move Kentucky forward.”

Even as revenue sources have shifted in recent years, Capilouto said that state funds continue to be of vital importance to the university’s academic enterprise — representing almost 50 percent of the General Fund budget for colleges and libraries.

The consolidated budget — being considered Tuesday by the UK Board of Trustees — is expected to increase about $300 million over 2013-2014 and to have doubled since 2004-2005, university officials said. The growth from last year — and over the last decade — is largely the result of three factors, Capilouto told trustees:

  • Growth in the student population over the last decade from 26,545 to 29,385. The last three years UK has experienced record first-year classes, and this coming year the university is budgeting for a record 4,800 first-year students.
  • At the same time, the percentage of out-of-state students has increased from about 25 percent among first-year students to more than 30 percent last year.
  • A nearly $175 million increase in revenues from last year for the UK HealthCare system — from $987.8 million to more than $1.1 billion, a 17.6 percent increase. In the last 10 years, UK HealthCare revenues have grown to more than $1 billion from about $300 million as patient volumes have nearly doubled.

In fact, UK HealthCare now accounts for about 40 percent of the university's budget, up from 24 percent just a decade ago. A decade ago, tuition and fees represented about 12.5 percent of the university's budget; this coming year that figure will have increased slightly, to 14.3 percent. However, as state support has declined, the university has relied more heavily on tuition and fees, which this coming year will represent about $432 million of the institution's budget, while state support is about $280 million. Ten years ago, state support accounted for $296 million of the university's budget while tuition and fees were about $186 million.

Other key elements of the proposed budget include:

  • A capital budget of active construction projects totaling about $1.1 billion. The 27 projects include the continued fit-out of Chandler Hospital, the Gatton College of Business and Economics, Commonwealth Stadium and the new Academic Science Building, about two-thirds of which is being funded by UK Athletics.
  • Capilouto noted that even with the large amount of construction occurring, the level of debt service as a percentage of the university's budget remains small and is, in fact, declining this coming year, from 3.33 percent to 3.23 percent. "It underscores the strong financial management of the institution and the capacity to grow to meet the needs of the state, particularly by adding more research space, which we increasingly need," Capilouto said.
  • A merit salary pool of 2 percent for faculty and staff, a continuation of salary increases, which Capilouto and the Board of Trustees have indicated as a top priority in retaining top teachers, researchers and staff. This budget would mark the first time since 2007-08 that campus employees will have received merit salary increases two years in a row. Last year, the university funded a 5 percent merit pool.
  • UK will continue to hold the cost on employee premiums for health benefits.  Most health plans will increase by only 2 percent.

"We are growing even in the midst of what remain challenging times economically," Capilouto said. "That is a direct result of our people — the faculty, staff and students who are transforming UK into one of the top public residential research campuses in America. Importantly, we are funding much of that growth through our resourcefulness and the generosity of donors who know how special this place is and who know the return on investment is high.

But even our own internal capacity, as significant as it is, has limits. To take the next step, to grow the research capacity we need for both faculty and students, will require additional investment with — and partnership from — the state. We can and will be making that case strongly over the next several months. We believe — we know — we can show the investment will more than pay off for the Commonwealth we serve."

The budget presentation made to the UK Board of Trustees is attached as a PowerPoint below or available here.

UK Researchers Decode Activity of Starch Modifying Enzyme to Provide Opportunities Across Industries

Mon, 06/09/2014 - 13:22

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 11, 2014) -- Scientists at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine have gained a new understanding of an enzyme essential for breaking down plant starch, a process used in agriculture, manufacturing and biotechnology.

Dr. Matthew Gentry and Dr. Craig Vander Kooi, associate professors of molecular and cellular biochemistry at the University of Kentucky, and graduate student David Meekins, have decoded the natural process plants use to break down starch. Their discovery will lead to more environmentally friendly and cost-efficient methods of processing starch, with significant applications for agriculture and biotechnology. Their findings were reported May 20 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

As the major energy supply in plants, starch is a central component of human and animal food. Starch is used to manufacture clothing, glue, plastics and agriculture feedstock. A growing starch demand has contributed to a drastic rise in corn prices. To be modified for industrial applications, starch requires hazardous chemicals and costly processing methods.

"Starch is a ubiquitous building block for the things in our lives," Gentry said. "The enzyme Starch Excess4 is key for starch breakdown. We envision being able to use this knowledge to make starch manipulation cheaper and more green."

Starch is comprised of long glucose, or sugar, polymers that are water-insoluble, making them ideal for storing energy but difficult to break down. The researchers decoded how a specific enzyme, Starch Excess4, controls the removal of phosphate from starch to allow efficient starch break down.

The group determined the three-dimensional structure of Starch Excess4, and this breakthrough allowed them to engineer an enzyme with novel activity. Their ability to direct the activity of the enzyme opens avenues to eliminate hazardous chemicals and costly processing methods used in the agricultural and industrial applications. The work provides a foundation for controlling starch breakdown and creating designer starches tailored to specific uses in industrial settings. 

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams;

Two UK Juniors Named Goldwater Scholars

Mon, 06/09/2014 - 12:58

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 10, 2014) — University of Kentucky juniors Matthew Fahrbach, of Louisville, Ky., and Samuel Saarinen, of Shelbyville, Ky., have been awarded the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship worth up to $7,500 per year. Fahrbach and Saarinen are among 283 students nationwide awarded the Goldwater Scholarship this year. This year's Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,166 mathematics, science and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was authorized by Congress to honor the former Arizona U.S. senator who served the nation for 30 years. The scholarship program was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. Since its first award in 1989, the foundation has bestowed more than 7,163 scholarships worth approximately 46 million dollars.

The son of Diane and Michael Fahrbach, Fahrbach is currently majoring in computer science and mathematics. The Chellgren Fellow has been active in undergraduate research at UK and other institutions, having received funding for summer research opportunities from the National Science Foundation - Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF-REU) two years in a row. This summer he will participate in an NSF-REU on mathematics at the University of Washington.

The UK junior is excited to receive the Goldwater Scholarship and believes it will open up more opportunities in research when he starts graduate school in a couple years. “The Goldwater Scholarship is a great undergraduate honor. I hope that it will make me a stronger candidate for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, so that I receive the best education that I can as a graduate student,” Fahrbach said.

Fahrbach, who credits Jerzy Jaromczyk, associate professor of computer science, and Ben Braun, associate professor of mathematics, as major influences at UK, was drawn to his studies in computer science and mathematics by his interest in algorithms. "I am fascinated with optimizing computer programs and improving their efficiency. The core of algorithm analysis is mathematics, but the physical effect of computational complexity makes algorithms tangible."

Upon completion of his undergraduate degrees, Fahrbach plans to pursue a doctoral degree in computer science to research mathematical algorithms.

The son of Anne and Tim Saarinen, Saarinen is currently pursuing computer science, mathematics and physics majors. He has been active in research since an early age working with Western Kentucky University professors Claus Ernst and Uta Ziegler on mathematics research in high school.

A member of the UK Honors Program, Saarinen is currently participating in undergraduate research with Judy Goldsmith, professor of computer science at UK College of Engineering. Saarinen considers his research supervisors as also mentors who have had a major impact on his academic and personal growth. He also credits Paul Eakin, professor of mathematics, and Jerzy Jaromczyk as great influences on his studies.

Saarinen hopes his interest in and work in these fields will help better the world. "First and foremost, I enjoy these math-heavy disciplines. But there is also the opportunity to conduct socially significant research. My dream is that the work that I am good at will someday improve the lives of those around me."

After completing his undergraduate studies at UK, the Singletary and Patterson Scholar hopes to pursue a doctoral degree in artificial intelligence and teach one day. "I think becoming a professor might be a good way to continue doing what I love."

Students interested in applying for the Goldwater Scholarship 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;

UK Researcher Prepares Paraplegic Patient to "Walk Again" during Kick Off to 2014 World Cup

Mon, 06/09/2014 - 11:06

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 10, 2014) - With an anticipated 1 billion soccer fans around the world watching, a paraplegic Brazilian will signal the start of the 2014 World Cup on June 12 with a miraculous movement.

Suited in a futuristic exoskeleton developed by researchers part of the Walk Again Project, the young man will send a message from his brain to a robotically controlled leg, driving the first kick of the world's most viewed sporting event. The paraplegic patient will also send a greater message of hope to people around the world who are limited by disabilities.

The vision of Duke University researcher and principal investigator Miguel Nicolelis, the Walk Again Project is a research initiative aimed at developing brain-machine interface technology that will give paraplegic patients a way to regain mobility. Established five years ago, the consortium involves an international team of more than 150 neuroscientists, roboticists, computer scientists and rehabilitation professionals.

One of those scientists, University of Kentucky associate professor Dr. Lumy Sawaki, will stand on the field waiting for an expression of joy on the ceremonial kicker's face. For the past two years she has served as the lead clinician for the Walk Again Project, working closely with the kicker and seven other patients who participated in intensive modulation training to prepare for this 40-second "work-up" demonstration. For Sawaki, seeing her patients react to the sensation of walking again makes the extreme demands of the Walk Again project worthwhile.

"They are my heroes," Sawaki said of the eight complete spinal cord injury patients, who will all appear on the field during the work up. Only one patient will be chosen by Dr. Sawaki and the Walk Again team on the day of the event to perform the ceremonial first kick.

Sawaki, an associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation in the UK College of Medicine, and director of physical rehabilitation research at Cardinal Hill Hospital, has traveled to Brazil on a monthly basis since September to prepare for the work up demonstration. At the beginning of her involvement, Dr. Sawaki was tasked with screening a group of paraplegic patients and narrowing the field of possible candidates for the work up to eight individuals.

In her role as the project's clinical director, Sawaki has developed and implemented clinical protocols to ensure the eight patients are psychologically and physically fit for the training. Protocol includes performing clinical evaluations, checking for signs of osteoporosis and monitoring psychological well-being through a rigorous locomotor training process. The Brazilian patients travel to the research center three times a week for training. 

The Walk Again patients, all of whom have suffered spinal cord injuries, have lost their ability to send signals from the brain to the legs. Through an innovative technique called electroencephalography, or EEG, these patients side-step this neurological function by sending brain wave signals directly to a mechanical exoskeleton. Patients first engaged in a virtual environment where they are first trained to mobilize an avatar using EEG stimulation. Now, in preparations for the work up demonstration, the patients are suiting up in the exoskeleton to take their first steps. 

"When I see a patient and the exoskeleton - and all the time that it took to be trained - and you see their faces - I have no words to describe that," Sawaki said. "I think all clinicians want to be a doctor to cure their patients. This is not a cure, but it is a big hope for them."

While the fanfare surrounding the "work up" during the opening ceremonies of the World Cup bring international attention to the work of the Walk Again Project, Sawaki said the demonstration is just a beginning - a "kick start." More work will be required to refine the robotic exoskeleton. She tells her patients that the research being conducted through the Walk Again consortium has real potential to change the lifestyle of debilitated people.

Early in her career, Dr. Sawaki was drawn to rehabilitation because she felt a passion for improving the lives of severely affected neurological patients. She believes the integration of biotechnology will be a critical component of creating new opportunities in rehabilitation. The Walk Again Project's clinical team and biomedical team collaborate constantly to ensure the safety of the patients and success of the work up demonstration.

"It's very rewarding to see this really close and tight integration between the clinical team and the engineers," Sawaki said. "Now we are family there, I feel like I have another team down there in Brazil."

A native Brazilian, Sawaki feels honored to return to her home country to show the world progress in rehabilitation technologies. She received her medical degree in Sao Paulo and a doctorate degree at Kobe University in Japan. She completed a three-year post-doctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health. Prior to joining the UK Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Cardinal Hill Hospital in 2008, Sawaki held a faculty position in the Department of Neurology at Wake Forest University. She said the University of Kentucky has supported her time commitment and frequent traveled required as part of her role as clinical director for the Walk Again Project. She believes her involvement in the project will open up future opportunities for UK to be involved with breakthrough rehabilitation research on an international scale.

The opening ceremonies of the World Cup kick off on June 12 at 3:15 p.m. in Brazil, 2:15 p.m. EST. 

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams;

UKPD Hosted Special Olympics Kentucky Torch Run

Sun, 06/08/2014 - 23:02

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 9, 2014) — University of Kentucky Police officers and other law enforcement officers from around Kentucky participated in the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) for Special Olympics Kentucky Friday, June 6.  The torch run, which raises funds for and of awareness of Special Olympics, began in Georgetown, followed by Frankfort and Lexington and ended in Richmond, where the Special Olympics Kentucky Summer Games were held over the weekend.

In the Lexington leg of the run, officers ran from UK's Main Building to the UK Wildcat Alumni Plaza on Avenue of Champions where UK President Eli Capilouto, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, UK Police Chief Joe Monroe, Lexington Public Safety Commissioner Clay Mason, Lexington Assistant Police Chief Mark Barnard and Scott Teal, special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, spoke to the runners.

"As law enforcement officials from across the Commonwealth, you protect and serve your communities every day – a debt for which countless people are deeply grateful," said Capilouto. "Just as you knit your communities together as public servants, so too does the Law Enforcement Torch Run. Representatives from Covington to Russellville, from Lexington to Louisville, and small towns in between come together to represent a single Commonwealth united for a single cause."

In addition to carrying the “Flame of Hope,” the LETR includes various fundraising activities year-round involving law enforcement officials around the state. Law Enforcement volunteers annually raise more than $160,000 to support Special Olympics programs

Chief Monroe said community service is important to the UK Police Department, and Special Olympics Kentucky has been a particularly important fundraising effort for UKPD.

"I really can't say enough about these young athletes," Monroe said.  They are great kids and an inspiration to us all."

UK's participation in the torch run was coordinated by UK Police Lt. Robert Turner.  Runners included Capt. Bill Webb, Ofc. Laura Andrews, Ofc. Mike Scott, Ofc. Zach Downing, Ofc. Jennifer Malgar, Ofc. David Duncan and Ofc. Vaun Brannock.

UK Police personnel have participated in several LETR events to support Special Olympics including most recently Tip-A-Cop, where law enforcement volunteers help serve in partner restaurants for additional "tips" that fund Special Olympic events.  Also, UK Police will be involved in Cops on Doughnut Shops this later this week, an event where law enforcement volunteers take to the roofs of Krispy Kreme Doughnut shops to raise funds.

Special Olympics Kentucky is celebrating 44 years of changing lives. The program was founded in 1970 and has held statewide competitions since 1972. Throughout that time, Special Olympics Kentucky has been a leading advocate for people with intellectual disabilities in the state. The program currently serves more than 7,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities in Kentucky and offers year-round sports training and competition in 15 sports. Special Olympics Kentucky also offers health screening opportunities and leadership training programs for athletes and early childhood development programs.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Kathy Johnson, 859-257-3155 or

Moser Awarded PCORI Grant

Fri, 06/06/2014 - 15:23

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 9, 2014)  Debra Moser, professor at the University of Kentucky College of Nursing, has been awarded a prestigious Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute Grant (PCORI) to advance her research in risk-reducing interventions for cardiovascular disease in Kentucky’s Appalachian region.

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute is authorized by Congress to conduct research to provide information about the best available evidence to help patients and their health care providers make more informed decisions. PCORI’s research is intended to give patients a better understanding of the prevention, treatment and care options available, and the science that supports those options.

The $2.1 million grant will be distributed over the next three years.

Appalachian Kentucky is in the top 1 percent of the nation in cardiovascular disease (CVD) morbidity and mortality, placing it among the worst CVD health disparity areas in the U.S. Individuals in Appalachian Kentucky have extremely high risks of multiple CVD risk factors, amplified by the distressed environment. Moser's research will focus on interventions individualized to patients' specific needs and barriers to success.

MEDIA CONTACT: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or

'Grand Night': A Tradition 22 Years in the Making

Fri, 06/06/2014 - 14:55

Ad for "It's a Grand Night for Singing!" 2014. A transcript of this video can be found here. Video courtesy of UK Opera Theatre.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 9, 2014) — Guaranteed to have you singing and dancing in your seats, University of Kentucky Opera Theatre presents the 22nd annual “It’s a Grand Night for Singing!” Executive Producer and Music Director Everett McCorvey brings together a company of more than 100 performers to present the best of Broadway, cinema and Billboard hits June 13-22, at the Singletary Center for the Arts.

The continued popularity of the annual musical revue is a bit surprising to McCorvey. "Wow, that's amazing to me. I pinch myself when I think about it. We started it 22 years ago as a way of giving our opera singers a broader perspective of the business," said McCorvey in an interview with WUKY's Josh James. The tenor and educator speaks from personal experience as he worked on Broadway, in the movies and at the Metropolitan Opera when starting out in New York City.

For 2014, stage director Peggy Stamps and choreographers Jeromy and Lyndy Franklin Smith, instructors at UK Department of Theatre, return to stage popular numbers with the 100+ cast of hits from “Singin’ in the Rain,” “The Book of Mormon,” “The Fiddler on the Roof” and Disney’s “Frozen.”

Students from UK Opera Theatre will again join forces with members of the Lexington community to perform the annual town-and-gown revue. Audience favorites returning to the stage include UK alumnus Gregory Turay, Alicia Helm McCorvey, Ron Wilbur of “Sing-Off” acoUstiKats fame, Zack Morris and Gabrielle Barker from UK's production of “Les Misérables,” and Lexington actor Robert Parks Johnson.

One special treat audiences have come to love and will enjoy again this year is when Everett joins his wife, Alicia, for a performance. "We always have fun doing duets together. She is a fantastic performer and I love performing with her," said Everett in the WUKY interview.

Showtimes for the six performances of "Grand Night" are 7:30 p.m., June 13, 14, 20 and 21, and 2 p.m., June 15 and 22.

"Grand Night" tickets are $15-$45 plus applicable fees. Each performance will also have a limited number of select seats available to UK staff for only $25. The special staff price is presented in memory of Russ Williams, the university's first representative of the staff on UK's Board of Trustees who died in 2009. Tickets are available through the Singletary Center ticket office, by phone at 859-257-4929, online at or in person at the venue.  

UK Opera Theatre is one of a select group of U.S. opera training programs recommended by the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. The Tucker Foundation is a nonprofit cultural organization dedicated to the support and advancement of the careers of talented American opera singers by bringing opera into the community and heightening appreciation for opera by supporting music education enrichment programs.

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

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

UK Trumpet Students Perform at International Trumpet Guild Conference

Fri, 06/06/2014 - 12:21

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 9, 2014) — Thirteen talented trumpet students from the University of Kentucky School of Music recently took the stage at the 39th annual Conference of the International Trumpet Guild (ITG) held in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

Out of the 13 students, 12 performed as members of the UK Trumpet Ensemble and 10 performed as members of the UK Baroque (valveless) Trumpet Ensemble, both under the direction of Jason Dovel, assistant professor of trumpet in the UK School of Music.

The UK Trumpet Ensemble performed Dovel's arrangement of Giovanni Gabrieli's “Canzona Segunda,” as well as George Gershwin's “Summertime.” The baroque ensemble performed David Buhl's “Military Fanfare,” an anonymously composed "Sonata Tedesche da Tromba," and Cesare Bendeinelli's Sonata No. 336.

UK trumpet students who performed at the ITG conference included:

· Michael Cotten, a music education junior from Harrodsburg, Ky.;

· Robbie Elliot, a music education senior from Lexington;

· Phillip Chase Hawkins, a graduate student from Moore, S.C.;

· Caden Holmes, a music performance and music education sophomore from Hanson, Ky.;

· Conner Kinmon, a music education junior from Williamstown, Ky.;

· Rui Li, a doctoral candidate from Baotou City, Inner Mongolia, China;

· Matthew McMahon, an arts administration sophomore from Fairfax, Va.;

· Sabrina Musick, a music education junior from Shelbiana, Ky.;

· Katie Safa, a music education and Spanish senior from Zionsville, Ind.;

· Tyler Simms, a music education senior from Madisonville, Ky.;

· Steve Slabaugh, a doctoral candidate from Nappanee, Ind.;

· Jared Wallis, a music performance senior from Talala, Okla.; and

· Callista Whorf, an agricultural biotechnology and psychology senior from Crestwood, Ky.

In addition to their performances with both UK trumpet ensembles, students also performed in other groups and received accolades from ITG.

Hawkins, Elliot and Safa performed in the Festival of Trumpets Concert and Safa also participated in the premiere of Eric Ewazen's “Olcott Overture.” Throughout the week Li assisted with the presentation of Bill Pfund Trumpets and at the awards banquet, Holmes received the ITG Legacy Scholarship.

Dovel also had an active role in the conference. In addition to directing the two UK trumpet ensembles, he chaired the ITG Solo Competition, conducted four of his own pieces in the Festival of Trumpets Concert, and served as an official conference reporter for the event. Dovel also performed in the conference’s closing concert with world-renowned trumpeters including Friedemann Immer, Crispian Steele-Perkins and Gabriele Cassone.

UK School of Music at the UK College of Fine Arts has achieved awards and national and international recognition for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as for music education, composition, theory and music history.

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

Body Maps Documentary Featuring UK HealthCare Patients Receives TV Industry Accolades

Fri, 06/06/2014 - 10:18

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 9, 2014) — A local documentary telling the stories of eight UK HealthCare organ donation recipients who expressed their transplant journeys through art has earned honors from the television industry.

"Body Maps: Transplantation Inside and Out," presented by the Lexington Public Library and Kentucky Organ Donation Affliliates, was recently awarded a bronze Telly Award. Telly Awards honor the year's best films and video productions as well as outstanding local, regional, and cable television commercials and programs. The documentary also received a nomination for an Ohio Valley Regional Emmy Award, which will be presented in August.  

In February 2013, eight UK HealthCare organ donation recipients participated in a body mapping workshop at the Tuska Center for Contemporary Art in the UK Fine Arts Building. Body mapping is an art therapy exercise in which participants communicate their stories through pictures, words and symbols on a life-size canvass of their bodies. Belgium artist Xavier Verhoest, who developed the body mapping workshop for people with HIV/AIDS in South Africa, led the four-day UK workshop. The workshop was organized as a joint effort by UK Arts in HealthCare, UK College of Fine Arts, UK School of Art and Visual Studies, the Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates, the Ruth Hunt Wood Foundation and the Art2Be organization.

The body maps of all eight patients were displayed at an exhibit in the UK Chandler Hospital in February 2013. After seeing the body maps at a Lexington Public Library exhibit the following April, film editor and director Thomas Southerland was inspired to create a documentary. He debuted the program in September 2013.

"It feels great — like the culmination of a lot of hard work," Southerland said of receiving national recognition for the documentary. "Most importantly, it's just shining a light on organ donation and the importance of it. If one person signs up for the organ registry because of this film, then I am happy."

To watch the documentary, check airing times on the channel 20 television schedule at KET will also air the program starting in August with specific times to be announced. 

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams;

WUKY Partners With BOB to Bring Bluegrass Music to the Masses in Lexington

Thu, 06/05/2014 - 22:20

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 6, 2014)WUKY, the University of Kentucky's NPR station, will help usher in Best of Bluegrass, also commonly referred to as BOB, Monday, June 9 through Saturday, June 14.  As a prelude to the Festival of the Bluegrass, BOB  features several bluegrass music artists performing at various downtown Lexington venues as well as the Kentucky Horse Park. WUKY and other public broadcasters will broadcast and live-stream several of their performances.

Best of Bluegrass began last year as a way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Festival of the Bluegrass, the oldest bluegrass music festival in Kentucky, taking place at the Kentucky Horse Park June 12-15.  Developed initially by the Lexington Area Music Alliance (LAMA), BOB will also bring numerous street performers during selected hours to the downtown area. LAMA and BOB committee member Tom Martin also lauded the on-going level of volunteer and city cooperation.

“This is a great example of how like-minded people, local businesses and the local government can work together to create something special,” Martin said.

The Best of Bluegrass line-up and the events featured on WUKY:

Monday, June 9

·         Special Consensus on WoodSongs Old Time Radio Hour

7 p.m., The Lyric Theater — ticketed: $10 admission, WoodSongs Partners admitted free

·         Town Mountain & Lonesome River Band

8 p.m., Natasha’s — Free

WUKY live streams on

Tuesday, June 10

·         Newtown

7 p.m., Southland Jamboree, Southland Drive — Free

·         The Roys

8 p.m., Willie’s Locally Known — Free

·         Blind Corn Liquor Pickers & Blind Ricky

8 p.m., Al’s Bar — Free

Wednesday, June 11

·         The Misty Mountain String Band

6 p.m., Red Barn Radio, ArtsPlace — Free

·         Larry Cordle

8 p.m., Parlay Social — Free

WUKY live streams (if have wired broadband, not Wi-Fi) on

·         Local Honeys & Steep Canyon Rangers

9 p.m., Paulie’s Toasted Barrel — Free

Thursday, June 12

·         Dale Ann Bradley

5:30, Thursday Night Live at Fifth Third Bank Pavilion at Cheapside Park— Free

·         Stone Cold Grass

8 p.m., Parlay Social — Free

WUKY live streams (if have wired broadband, not Wi-Fi) on

·         The Bartley Brothers

8 p.m., Redmon’s — Free

For more information about BOB, visit or  For more information on the Festival of the Bluegrass at the Kentucky Horse Park, visit:

MEDIA CONTACT:  Gail Bennett, WUKY, 859-257-7049 or

WUKY's 'UK Perspectives' Examines How Athletes Balance Academics and Athletics

Thu, 06/05/2014 - 20:57
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 6, 2014) — WUKY's "UK Perspectives" focuses on the people and programs of the University of Kentucky and is hosted by WUKY General Manager Tom Godell.  Filling in for Godell this week is WUKY News Director Alan Lytle. He and guest Bria Goss, communications major and junior guard with the UK Women's Basketball Team, talk about how athletes balance athletics with academics. All UK athletes posted a 3.218 cumulative grade point average for the recently concluded spring semester — the best showing since 2003. 

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

"UK Perspectives" airs at 8:35 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. each Friday on WUKY 91.3, UK's NPR station.

Fine Arts Institute Offers Community Art Classes at UK

Thu, 06/05/2014 - 16:46

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 6, 2014) — The University of Kentucky Fine Arts Institute returns again this summer to offer noncredit classes and workshops for adults in the community who wish to further their artistic talents. Designed to fit into most people's working schedules, these noncredit art courses are meant to explore different aspects of creativity and span many different disciplines.

Courses range from four to nine weeks and individual class sessions last around three hours per meeting. The Fine Arts Institute also offers a handful of one-day workshops throughout the summer for those who cannot fit a weekly course into their schedules.

The earliest courses begin the week of June 8, with other classes beginning and ending throughout the summer. The entire summer program will be completed Aug. 27.

The weekly classes being offered this summer include:

· "Beginning to Draw" with Christine Kuhn, 6-9 p.m. Mondays, beginning June 9, $180;

· "Ceramics" with Jill Stofer, 6-9 p.m. Tuesdays, beginning June 10, $250;

· "Beginning to Paint" with Kuhn, 6-9 p.m. Tuesdays, beginning June 10, $180;

· "Mold Making and Metal Casting" with Jeremy Colbert, 6-9 p.m. Tuesdays, beginning July 8, $200;

· "Continuing to Paint" with Kuhn, 6-9 p.m. Wednesdays, beginning June 11, $180;

· "3-D Design and Digital Fabrication" with Derek Eggers, 6-9 p.m. Wednesdays, beginning June 11, $360;

· "Beginning Photoshop" with Lennon Michalski, 6-9 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, starting July 8, $140; and

· "Beginning Metal Working" with Colbert, 6-9 p.m. Thursdays, beginning June 12, $250

For those interested in a one-day workshop, the summer 2014 workshops are:

· "Digital Photography Composition and Creativity" with Michalski, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday, June 28; or Saturday, July 19; or Saturday, Aug. 2, $80;

· "Advanced Digital Photography and Studio Lighting" with Michalski and Shelly Petty, 3-8 p.m. Friday, June 27; or 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, July 26; or 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 5, $100; and  

· "Advanced Digital Photography and Outdoor Portraits" with Michalski and Petty, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, July 27.

The Fine Arts Institute is an outreach program at the UK School of Art and Visual Studies in the UK College of Fine Arts. It demonstrates all the resources and classrooms that the school has to offer through noncredit art classes. All courses and workshops are open to the public and not restricted to students of the university. 

For more information, visit

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

UK Advising Network's Day of Service Targets the Environment

Thu, 06/05/2014 - 16:01

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 9, 2014) — The University of Kentucky Advising Network recently hosted its fifth annual Day of Service May 16th. Each year the network selects a local organization to give back to in the Lexington community.

This year, 48 members of the UK Advising Network volunteered to serve Bluegrass Greensource, a nonprofit organization that provides education and resources on how we affect our environment. Since 2001, the nonprofit has provided outreach to schools, community groups, businesses, local government and citizens throughout Central Kentucky.

UK Advising Network volunteers worked in several areas of environment conservancy.

The first two groups assigned to the Clays Mill neighborhood and Southland Park or the Meadows neighborhood and Castlewood Park distributed door hangers with information about the safe disposal of fat, oil and grease and also gave out FOG lids. These lids can be used to cover a can containing those products until it can cool and thicken where it can be thrown in the trash.

"This is much better for the environment than pouring it down a drain where it would clog city sewers," says Ryan Sallee, advisor for Undergraduate Studies. "Once all the door hangers and lids were distributed, the group picked up litter in their respective areas."

The third group went to the main office of Bluegrass Greensource and performed a number of tasks to assist with their educational outreach programming, which included cleaning and checking a variety of equipment used in programs aimed at teaching children to be friends of the environment.

After the community service was completed, the groups returned to campus and had lunch at E.S. Good Barn, where they listened to a presentation given by Brian Lee, from the Department of Landscape Architecture, on the UK Rain Garden, located behind the Gluck Equine Research Center. The garden is designed to manage rainwater runoff in an environmentally responsible manner, and was designed and constructed by UK faculty and students.  

Members of the UK Advising Network generally cannot participate in the university's annual FUSION day of service due to advising responsibilities during K Week, so the network came up with the idea of doing their own service day following the end of every school year.

The UK Advising Network is an affiliate of the National Academic Advising Association and is part of the UK Division of Undergraduate Education.

For more information about Bluegrass Greensource, visit

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

UK Employee Hosts Triathlon, Raises Awareness of Human Trafficking

Thu, 06/05/2014 - 15:17
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 6, 2014) — She started out pushing her body to the limit for a good cause -- today, University of Kentucky employee Paula Heron is once again hosting the 27-Hour Triathlon to raise awareness of modern-day slavery.  

This year's event marks the 4th annual triathlon, sponsored by Clark Forklifts. The event began at 6 a.m. Friday at Spindletop Hall, and athletes are swimming for 2.5 hours, biking for 12.5 hours and then running overnight for 12 hours, finishing at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning.

Heron is the founder of the non-profit organization Tri 4 Freedom and a full time UK employee. Her triathlon is 27 hours long to honor the 27 million human beings that are enslaved today around the world.

A Fair Trade Festival is also part of this event for the fourth year in a row.  This evening, 6 to 10 p.m., visitors are invited to shop and enjoy themselves while supporting their triathletes. 

“We welcome supporters to come out to Spindletop to do some fair trade shopping, have a local West 6th craft beer, and cheer for the athletes," Heron said.

There will be food for sale, a cash bar and DJ Stizz mixing up the music.  Vendors selling fair trade goods include Lucia’s World Friendly Boutique, Valley Park Crochet Kitchen and LexSews.

The 27-Hour Triathlon began in 2011 as a solo effort and has grown to more than 130 participants this year, including more than 30 UK employees. UK teams include physiology, CBlueTri and Smiley’s Garage.

Earlier this year, Tri 4 Freedom, in partnership with Lamar Advertising, designed a billboard to give victims of human trafficking a chance to reach assistance. The billboard is located on Paris Pike just south of the I-64 exit. 

For more information on the event, contact Paula Herron at

Media contact:  Allison Perry,

Wright Receives Retinal Research Foundation Award

Thu, 06/05/2014 - 12:28

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 6, 2014) -  Charles Wright, postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, has received The Loris and David Rich Postdoctoral Scholar Award from the International Retina Research Foundation (IRRF).

The Loris and David Rich Postdoctoral Scholar Award is one of three IRRF Scholar Awards that have been designated in honor of individuals who played a critical role in the development of the International Retinal Research Foundation and are meant to serve as a memorial to their efforts. Additionally, the awards were established to provide salary and research support in the amount of $35,000 per year for a postdoctoral scholar nearing the end of his/her training. 

Wright studies age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in the laboratories of Dr. Jayakrishna Ambati and Dr. Bradley Gelfand. Under the direction of both Ambati and Gelfand, Wright will study how aberrant blood vessels invade the eye during neovascular (or “wet”) AMD. It is not currently understood how the more common non-neovascular (or “dry”) AMD progresses to the more devastating neovascular AMD, but Wright hopes this award will help in the investigation of that process.

The mission of the Retina Research Foundation is to reduce retinal blindness worldwide by funding programs in research and education.  As a public charity, RRF raises funds from the private sector and the investment of its endowment funds.

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

'BBNunited' Campaign Garners CASE Circle of Excellence Award

Thu, 06/05/2014 - 10:03

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 9, 2014) — The University of Kentucky's " BBNunited" campaign not only garnered support from the state legislature for self-financing three facilities projects on campus, but has gained national recognition from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). "BBNunited" was awarded the Silver Award in the advocacy campaigns category of CASE's Circle of Excellence program.

"BBNunited" was launched as a campaign to gain support from the state legislature and the Big Blue Nation to self-finance renovation and expansion of the Gatton College of Business and Economics Building and Commonwealth Stadium and the E.J. Nutter Training Facility, and construction of a new academic science building.

The campaign involves a website dedicated to the initiative,, which allows visitors to voice their support, stay informed, and learn facts from fiction, plans for the new facilities, and updates on those efforts. The campaign also utilizes social media outlets, and @BBNunited on Twitter.

The campaign also recently won a public affairs award from the Bluegrass chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

In January of 2013, Gov. Steve Beshear and more than 30 legislators announced their support for UK’s self-financed projects and in February of the same year, legislation was filed to authorize UK to move forward with self-financing of $275 million in those three facilities.

Based on its success reaching and motivating the state legislature and other external constituencies, "BBNunited" won the Silver Award in the advocacy category of CASE's Circle of Excellence awards program. Advocacy campaigns were judged on:

· solid objectives and how they support the institution's mission;

· effective planning;

· need for the campaign/project;

· understanding of the target audiences(s);

· innovative and creative ideas;

· use of available resources; and

· results and impact of the project on the institution.

Circle of Excellence awards acknowledge superior accomplishments that have lasting impact, demonstrate the highest level of professionalism and deliver exceptional results, according to CASE's website.

CASE, an international membership association, advances and supports educational institutions by providing knowledge, standards, advocacy and training designed to strengthen the combined efforts of alumni relations, communications, fundraising, marketing and allied professionals.


Text Only Options

Top of page

Text Only Options

Open the original version of this page.

Usablenet Assistive is a UsableNet product. Usablenet Assistive Main Page.