News

3/24/2017

By Jenny Wells

A long-form essay by Jim Krupa, professor of biology in the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences, is featured in the winter issue of Minding Nature, the Center for Humans and Nature’s journal.

In the essay, Krupa explores the play between environmental issues and politics, with a focus on endangered wildlife in the southwestern U.S. and Mexico.

The essay can be read at www.humansandnature.org/geronimos-pass.

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can

3/23/2017

By Blair Hoover

Wildcat fans around the country have been rooting for the men's basketball team in the NCAA tournament. While the Wildcats are battling on the court, three University of Kentucky students are in Chicago this week to pit their brains against students from other Sweet 16 schools.

UK students Ryan Morales, Christina Zhang and Evelyn Mechas will appear on a new ESPN quiz show — "Bracket Genius." Hosted by Trey Wingo of ESPN's "SportsCenter," "Bracket Genius" aims to spotlight the academic genius of students at schools participating in March Madness. The show matches Sweet 16 schools against one another in a bracket-style competition for the chance to have their team crowned the inaugural Bracket Genius Champion and share the prize of $100,000.

​Biosystems engineering seniors Morales and Zhang and Mechas, a 

3/23/2017

By Loretta Stafford

The University of Kentucky Institute for Rural Health Policy recently published a report detailing Chellgren Student Fellow and Honors biology junior Elijah Myers's research on buprenorphine treatment availability in Kentucky.

Along with his mentor, Ty Borders, who is a professor in the UK College of Public Health, Myers co-authored 

2/14/2017

By Tiffany Molina and Gail Hairston

The connection between two neurons in the brain has been an intriguing topic to Robin Cooper, associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Kentucky. Cooper has been at UK for 21 years teaching his true passion: synaptic transmissions. Cooper said he loves it so much that he “often goes on tangents” and has to be reminded by his students to stay on track during lectures.

When he came to Kentucky, Cooper said he noticed there was a need for outreach to the younger community. He started a regional science fair program for young middle and high school students with an interest in science. The program, which has been running for 12 years, has been a success.

“Working with the teachers and students for the

2/14/2017

By Lori Minter

A record number of students made the University of Kentucky Dean's List for the fall 2016 semester. The 7,408 students were recognized for their outstanding academic performance.  That's an increase of more than 200 over the previous record reached in fall 2015 when the number of students on the UK Dean's List surpassed 7,000 for the first time.  Last semester's Dean's List includes over 700 more students than the spring 2016 semester's list.

To make a Dean’s List in one of the UK colleges, a student must earn a grade point average of 3.6 or higher and must have earned 12 credits or more in that semester, excluding credits earned in pass-fail classes.  Some UK colleges require a 3.5 GPA to make the Dean’s List.

The full Dean's List can be accessed by visiting www.uky.edu/PR/News/

1/24/2017

By Gail Hairston

Their eyes fill with commitment, their smiles reflect their joy, and Madeline Conrad and Mason Johnson nearly bounce off their chairs with excitement when they talk about the College Mentors for Kids after-school program.

Conrad and Johnson are the University of Kentucky seniors.

They say the third- through fifth-grade children at two Fayette County schools mentored by UK student volunteers “are launched into orbit” when they talk about their visits to the university campus.

Mellie: “UK Mentoring is AWESOME!” (Her capital letters, not the writer’s.) “We get to have mentors and do lots of fun activities.”

Jaxon: “The program helps us to think about what we want to be when we grow up.”

Isobel: “UK Mentoring exposes us to the campus. If we decide to go to UK, then we will already know the land.”

Nyiemah: “Being a

11/28/2016

By Amanda Fuller

The Kentucky Academy of Science (KAS) held its 2016 Annual Meeting Nov. 4‐5, at the University of Louisville. More than 700 scientists and students attended the meeting, and hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students from Kentucky and regional colleges and universities participated in the research competitions.

Winners of the student competitions from the University of Kentucky included:

Eashwar Somasundaram, second place: Undergraduate Research Poster Presentation — Cellular and Molecular Biology; Eura Shin, first place: Undergraduate Research Poster Presentation — Computer and Information Sciences; Bailey Phan, ​first place: Undergraduate Research Oral Presentation — Computer and Information Sciences; LaShay Byrd, third place: Undergraduate Research Oral Presentation — Health Sciences; and
10/20/2016

By Jenny Wells

Today, members of the University of Kentucky community, the Board of Trustees, and public officials formally dedicated the new Don & Cathy Jacobs Science Building, commemorating an unprecedented partnership in higher education between the university, UK Athletics, and community donors.     The 240,000 square-foot, $112 million facility, now considered the epicenter of the university’s scientific community, was made possible with funding of $65 million from UK Athletics and $10 million from The Don Jacobs Sr. Charitable Foundation.   “With each passing day, the University of Kentucky is a campus transformed. Nowhere is that transformation – and the profound sense of partnership – more evident than in the heart of our campus where new
10/20/2016

By Jenny Wells

On Oct. 20, University of Kentucky officials formally dedicated the new Don & Cathy Jacobs Science Building, but the state-of-the-art facility has already begun making an impact on students and faculty since it opened this August.   The Jacobs Science Building (JSB) is the epicenter of the university’s scientific community, offering 21st century science education with 21st century laboratories and instrumentation. Every science student on campus, and the vast majority of all undergraduates at UK, will at one point experience the building’s active-learning laboratories and classrooms.   Allison Soult, a lecturer of chemistry in the UK College of Arts and Sciences, says the design of the classrooms makes large lecture courses much more personal.   “Having two rows of desks per tier with movable chairs makes small
10/18/2016

by Jenny Wells, Samantha Ponder

This Wednesday, Oct. 19, the University of Kentucky Department of Biology will celebrate Thomas Hunt Morgan's 150th birthday with a panel discussion titled "Frontiers in Genetics & Genomics."   The panel will explore the famous biologist's (and UK alumnus') pioneering work in genetics, his Nobel Prize, and what he might be working on if he were alive today (such as assembling genomes, gene editing and gene drives, gene therapy in medicine, bioethics and big unanswered questions).   The celebration will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., in the Farish Theater in the Lexington Public Library on the corner of Main and Limestone. The event is open to the public and admission is free.   Born in Lexington in 1866,
9/28/2016

By Caroline Kelsey

This weekend, the University of Kentucky Department of Biology is hosting a one-day open house festival called the BioBonanza. The event will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, at the new Don & Cathy Jacobs Science Building, located at 680 Rose St. This free public event will showcase interactive displays on research taking place in biology at UK.   "As soon as you walk through the doors you'll see all sorts of activities: displays of how a human heart works, butterflies and all sorts of insects, and you can even try to catch some local insects," said Jennifer Simkin, a postdoctoral student in biology who helped organize the event. "The displays will target high school and middle school students,
9/23/2016

By Jenny Wells

This weekend, the University of Kentucky Department of Biology will kick off its monthlong celebration of Thomas Hunt Morgan's 150th birthday with two screenings of "The Fly Room," a film based on Morgan's research lab. Alexis Gambis — writer, director and producer of the film — will give opening remarks.   The first screening will take place 6-8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25, at the Dr. Thomas Hunt Morgan House (210 North Broadway) and the second screening will be held from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 26, at the Kentucky Theatre (214 E. Main). The event is free and open to the public.      These two screenings are part of the monthlong celebration of UK Biology's most famous alumnus and Lexington’s sole Nobel Laureate, Thomas Hunt Morgan. Born in Lexington in 1866,
9/20/2016

By Gail Hairston

The University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences will hold its Hall of Fame Ceremony Oct. 7 to induct four new members — Karl “Kip” Cornett, a 1977 alumnus and founder of Cornett; Sally Mason, a 1972 alumna and former president of the University of Iowa; Robert Ireland, an emeriti faculty of history; and Judith Lesnaw, an emeriti faculty of biology.   The college’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony and reception will be held at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7, in the UK Academic Science Building, located at 680 Rose St.   Cornett was born in Hazard, Kentucky, and graduated from UK in 1977. Seven years later, he founded Cornett, an advertising firm that has become one of the leading agencies in the region.   During his years at the university, Cornett was president of Theta Chi Fraternity, vice president of the Student Center Board, vice president of the
9/15/2016
On October 1, 2016, the University of Kentucky Department of Biology is hosting BioBonanza, a one-day open house festival.   BioBonanza will be held at the new Academic Science Building at 680 Rose Street on Saturday, October 1 from noon to 4 pm. Free parking is available in the parking garage on Hilltop Avenue, next to the Academic Science Building.   This free event will showcase interactive displays on research taking place in biology at UK. “As soon as you walk through the doors you’ll see all sorts of activities: displays of how a human heart works, butterflies and all sorts of insects, and you can even try to catch some local insects,” said Jennifer Simkin, a postdoc in biology who helped organize the event. “The displays will target high school and middle school students, but we’re going to have activities for people of all ages, so we welcome families. Students can
9/8/2016
It’s been 21 years since Robin Cooper started working in the department of biology in the University of Kentucky College of Arts & sciences. It’s been 130 years since Thomas Hunt Morgan, Kentucky’s first Nobel Laureate, graduated from what is now called UK. What do they have in common? They used the same research organisms: fruit flies and crayfish.   “Thomas Hunt Morgan went on for graduate work and he was awarded the Nobel Prize, working with Drosophila [fruit flies] as a model organism. A lot of people don’t realize though, some of his first work was actually on regeneration in crustaceans,” Cooper said. “The power of genetics allows us to work with the Drosophila and do things really you can’t do with any other organism. Because of rapid development, you can manipulate genes really quickly and test out many different aspects from behavior to how the neuro circuits are
9/6/2016

By Whitney Harder

University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto announced today a $10 million gift from The Don Jacobs Sr. Charitable Foundation to further invest in undergraduate science education.   The majority of the gift — $8 million — will go toward the new academic science building that now takes the name Don & Cathy Jacobs Science Building. Another $2 million will fund future academic and research investments yet to be determined.   The legacy of Lexington businessman and philanthropist Don Jacobs and his wife Cathy already lives on across the UK campus — from business education to health care. And now, that same legacy will impact thousands of UK students, who are projected to use the new science building annually.   Don and Cathy Jacobs have now donated funds in excess of $20 million to UK in areas ranging from science and health to the Gatton
8/8/2016

By Whitney Harder

The circadian rhythm, or circadian clock, is an internal mechanism that drives the 24-hour cycles that tell our bodies when to sleep, wake and eat — and now, new research has found that bacteria living within the gut also have a clock.   "We are the directors of that clock, much like the sun directs our own circadian rhythms!" said Jiffin Paulose, UK post-doctoral scholar and co-author of the study in PLOS ONE.   Paulose and Professor and Chair of the Department of Biology Vincent Cassone found that a certain class of bacteria found in the human gut, Enterobacter aerogenes, expresses circadian patterns because of its sensitivity to melatonin, the hormone produced at night and
8/8/2016

By Samantha Ponder

University of Kentucky doctoral student Paul Hime has been awarded the Blue Waters Graduate Fellowship from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). Hime, a graduate student in Associate Professor David Weisrock's lab in the Department of Biology, is one of only 10 students across the country who has been selected for the program.   The NCSA's Blue Waters Fellowship will give Hime access to one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world — the Blue Waters supercomputer. He will also receive a $38,000 stipend, up to $12,000 in tuition allowance, an allocation of up to 50,000 node-hours on the computing system, and funds for travel to a Blue Waters-sponsored symposium to present research progress
7/14/2016

By Whitney Harder

University of Kentucky Assistant Professor of Biology Jakub Famulski has been awarded a Career Starter Grant by the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, a charity sponsored by the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar.   The $65,000 grant will support Famulski's research on coloboma, a leading cause of blindness in children. The eye abnormality occurs before birth and involves missing tissue in or around the eye.   Famulski and his collaborators recently discovered a new type of coloboma, superior coloboma, which occurs in the top of the eye. But the underlying cause of most coloboma cases remains unknown.   To better understand the disorder, Famulski and UK graduate students Kristyn Van Der Meulen and Nicholas Carrara will use zebrafish as a model to study how
7/7/2016

By Mallory Powell

Growing up in Hazard, Kentucky, Brittany Martin was familiar with diabetes. Many of her older relatives had been diagnosed with the chronic condition, and her younger family members were starting to develop it as well. In a state with one of the highest rates of diabetes — 11.3 percent of adults had a diagnosis in 2014 —Martin’s family wasn’t out of the ordinary, but she found the status quo unacceptable.

Since she graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2014 with a dual degree in biology and sociology, Martin’s family history and her interest in health have converged in her current role as coordinator of the Big Sandy Diabetes Coalition (BSDC), where she serves as an AmeriCorps Vista volunteer. The coalition, based at Big Sandy

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