News

9/24/2020

By C. Lynn Hiler T

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 24, 2020) — The University of Kentucky Chellgren Center for Undergraduate Excellence has announced its newest class of 31 Chellgren Student Fellows.  

The Chellgren Center Student Fellows Program aligns with the university’s goal of cultivating undergraduate excellence. By providing experiences that go beyond the classroom, students become prepared for the next phase of their career, whether it be graduate school or a gap year dedicated to service. 

COVID-19 has certainly made for an unprecedented academic year. Students and professors are adhering to mask regulations in the classroom, dining halls are empty and many classes are completely online. In spite of this unexpected turn of events, Philipp Kraemer, Chellgren Chair for Undergraduate Excellence, is

9/2/2020

By Richard LeComte

Cagney Coomer has three big achievements under her belt:  She earned a doctorate in Biology from the University of Kentucky in the College of Arts & Sciences; she started a nonprofit to encourage kids to pursue science and technology; and her research unlocked the secrets of two genes in the eye – the subject of her dissertation.  

“I studied two genes that had been studied in other organs but their function in the retina was unknown,” said Coomer, who defended her work in July. “I found they’re involved in photoreceptor maintenance, survival and regeneration.”

And with that, Coomer advanced humanity’s knowledge of genes and the eye, under the guidance of her dissertation adviser, Ann C. Morris, associate professor of biology.

“It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Dr. Coomer over the past six years,” Morris said. “She has

8/20/2020

By Jacqueline J. Greene

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 18, 2020) — The University of Kentucky Society of Postdoctoral Scholars (SOPS) hosted their first Research Pitch Competition where 19 postdocs and fellows showcased their research with one-minute elevator pitches. Among the winners are Ajoy Aloysius and Kathryn Everson in Biology in the College of Arts & Sciences. 

The competition was a partnership between SOPS and the Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) with support from the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA), and sponsored by the UK International Center (UKIC) and the 

7/31/2020

By Richard LeComte

Phillip Skipwith is plumbing the depths of the evolutionary processes that create species – and his subjects have scales.

“I want to understand how you go from having a ancestral lizard skull to having a derived snake skull,” he said. “That’s a big change.”

Big changes are in store for Skipwith himself this summer as he begins work as an assistant professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Kentucky’s College of Arts & Sciences, where snakes and lizards – and evolutionary dynamics as seen through comparing the inner tissues of snakes lizards – will be his thing.

“I’m just an animal fanatic,” said Skipwith, who’s coming from a postdoctoral position at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. “What will be coming out of my lab will be mostly herpetology and molecular

6/30/2020

By Adrian Ho and Richard LeComte

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 30, 2020) — Six College of Arts & Sciences faculty members received Alternative Book Grants from the University of Kentucky Libraries.

These faculty members plan to replace

6/26/2020

On July1 , 2020, Dr. Lynda Sharrett-Field will become the new Director of Undergraduate Studies in Neuroscience, replacing Dr. Robin Cooper.

You may begin contacting Dr. Sharrett-Field with any questions beginning now, at lsharrett@uky.edu

 

Dr. Cooper will be appointed Associate Director of the major and will work closely with Director Dr. Mark Prendergast.  Dr. Sharrett-Field received her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology (Neuroscience track) in 2013 and has been a member of the Psychology Department since that time, focusing on the teaching of behavioral neuroscience.  Since 2015, Dr. Sharrett-Field has been a member of the Advisory Board of the Neuroscience B.S. Program. She looks forward to working with you all !

 

  

 

 

6/3/2020

The College of Arts and Sciences is committed to learning and working environments that are diverse, inclusive, and equitable for students, staff, and faculty.

We stand in solidarity with those working to confront systemic racial injustice in our communities and in the United States. We recognize the disproportionate burden of racism and other forms of violence on many within our A&S community during this time. We affirm our support of faculty, students, staff, and alumni in standing against all forms of racism, discrimination, and bias.

During this time of pandemic and continued racism and violence that especially impact marginalized communities of color, we recognize the disproportionate impact on Black and African-American people. In the context of the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and here in Kentucky, Breonna Taylor and David McAtee, we affirm that

5/19/2020

            UK professors Dr. John Littleton, CEO of Naprogenix, Inc.,  and Dr. Mark Prendergast are investigating the effects of COVID-19 “spike proteins” on the brain. COVID-19 spike proteins may be toxic in the brain, particularly in an alcohol-dependent brain. Many patients with COVID-19 are reporting losses of smell and taste, indicating that the virus or proteins associated with it are entering the brain (as HIV-1 does). Because of the unique molecular structure of the virus spike proteins, they are likely to target neurochemical receptors that are "upregulated" by chronic alcohol intake. This suggests that alcohol-abusing individuals may be particularly susceptible to COVID-19- related CNS symptoms. Littleton and Prendergast have submitted a grant, which is a supplement to a National Institutes of Health award to Naprogenix, Inc., to extend their studies on viral proteins in

5/18/2020

By Whitney Hale

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 13, 2020) — The University of Kentucky Office of Nationally Competitive Awards has announced that five students and alumnae have been selected to receive government-funded National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships. In addition, six other UK students received honorable mention recognition from the foundation. Included among the recipients are College of Arts & Sciences alumni and current undergraduates. 

NSF Fellows receive a three-year annual stipend of $34,000 along with a $12,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees for a research-based master's or doctoral degree in a STEM (science, technology, engineering or mathematics) field.

5/6/2020

By Lindsey Piercy 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 6, 2020) — Five University of Kentucky alumni are putting their degrees to work by showing support for front-line workers and local restaurants. With backgrounds in business and medicine, Michael Zhu, Jodi Llanora, Kyle Luo, Logan Jones and John Stein refused to feel helpless in the fight against COVID-19. Llanora and Luo are alumni of the College of Arts & Sciences. 

“The original idea for Feed the Front Line originated in Houston and started to make its way to other cities,” Zhu said. “When our team heard about the mission of the organization, it immediately resonated. We love the double-sided impact.”

Feed the Front Line  began as a simple idea: raise money, buy local food and deliver it to health care workers.

5/4/2020

By Madison Dyment

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The University of Kentucky takes pride in providing a space for all students to succeed and feel at home. Sahana Holla, a junior biology major and College of Arts & Sciences ambassador, has contributed to providing such an environment by starting an organization that benefits a specific set of students – the Candid Colon group.

The group, partners with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, was a dream of Holla’s that arose from her own experience at UK. Coming from a small high school in Richmond, Kentucky, Holla was anxious about moving to a large school. Living with Crohn’s disease added more anxiety. 

“There were only 46 people in my graduating class so I was super nervous,” Holla said. “Especially living with Crohn’s disease, I didn’t know how many people had it like me and wasn’t sure if I would meet other people like me

4/27/2020

By Richard LeComte

The College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding TA Awards recognize excellence in undergraduate instruction by teaching assistants. Fifteen teaching assistants were recognized for the 2019-2020  academic year .

Eligible students are current A&S graduate student teaching assistants in at least their second year of graduate work and must be responsible for instruction in some or all of a course offered by the College. The TAs recognized this year taught in courses offered through A & S departments and interdisciplinary programs. 

“Graduate Teaching Assistants are fundamental to the high-quality education that the College of Arts & Sciences provides to undergraduate students,” said Sarah M. Lyon, A&S associate dean for graduate studies. “I am routinely impressed with their hard work and the contributions they make to pedagogical

3/30/2020

By Ryan Girves

Before the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 50 outstanding University of Kentucky undergraduate research students learned they were selected to present their faculty-mentored research at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research. The event was canceled, but UK's Office of Undergraduate Research is noting the achievement. Among them are more than a dozen students in the College of Arts & Sciences. 

The student conference, which would have been held this past weekend at Montana State University, is dedicated to promoting undergraduate research, scholarship and creative activity in all fields of study. It provides models of exemplary research and scholarship and strives to improve the state of undergraduate

3/25/2020
This Living Learning Program gives freshmen a mentored head start on the way to majoring in the sciences and mathematics

By Richard LeComte

Started in 2015, the STEMCats Living Learning Program has helped students majoring within the many and varied areas of the sciences or mathematics find their way to success at UK. And STEMCats peer mentors are a big part of that effort. 

“I have a group chat with my mentees about how things are going,” said Keanu Exum, a STEMCats peer mentor majoring in biology and neuroscience. “I want to make myself known to my mentees — that I am a resource for them.” 

Getting students situated in STEMCats is having a positive effect on the academic careers of the participants, says a study conducted by Carol D. Hanley of International Programs in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. STEMCats is a program

2/27/2020
A photo of Hannah Thomas between trees.

By Emily Sallee

The University of Kentucky Office of Nationally Competitive Awards has announced that biology and health, society and populations senior Hannah Thomas in the College of Arts and Sciences has been awarded a Fulbright Canada-MITACS Globalink Research Internship in the program’s first year. Through this highly competitive opportunity, students undertake advanced research projects in Canada for 10 to 12

2/25/2020

By Richard LeComte

Vincent M Cassone, professor and chair of the Department of Biology, has been named the Jack and Linda Gill Eminent Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Kentucky. UK’s Board of Trustees approved the designation, and the appointment took effect in January. 

The Gill Research Excellence Fund supports the Gill Eminent Professorships in Science and Engineering. The deans of the Colleges of Arts & Sciences and Engineering jointly administer the program. Professors are recommended by a committee based on a nomination letter.

“Throughout his time here at UK, Cassone has served as a model for research productivity,” said David Weisrock, associate professor and director of graduate studies for the Department of Biology, who nominated Cassone. “Maintaining research

2/12/2020
A portrait outdoors of Eve Schneider

By Jenny Wells-Hosley

Eve Schneider, an assistant professor in the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Biology, has been named a 2020 Sloan Research Fellow by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The award honors early-career researchers.

Schneider is one of 126 selected across the U.S. and Canada, and is first UK scholar to receive the fellowship in 25 years. She is also the first woman from UK to receive the honor. 

"I’m incredibly honored to join the ranks of all the distinguished researchers who’ve won this award. It’s a lot to live up to! This fellowship is an amazing vote of confidence that my burgeoning lab is on the right path," Schneider said.

2/7/2020

Dr. Chen joined the University of Kentucky Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center and Department of Neuroscience in early 2020. She came from the Department of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX

She is  an early stage investigator dedicated to advancing knowledge of the biology and treatment of central nervous system damage, including spinal cord injury (SCI) and ischemic stroke. Initially trained as a molecular biologist, she studied cellular stress response to proteo-toxicity with my doctoral mentor Dr. Ze’ev Ronai. Seeking to apply my knowledge in cellular stress signaling to the field of neural repair, she performed postdoctoral training with Dr. Binhai Zheng, whose lab studies axon regeneration following spinal cord injury. While identifying neuronintrinsic regulators of CNS axon plasticity (Chen et al, Sci Rep, 2016
1/16/2020
Biology professor Jim Krupa holds a butterfly.

By Jillian Gibney

Jim Krupa, a University of Kentucky professor of biology, recently was honored with the National Center for Science Education  Friend of Darwin Award.

The center promotes and defends accurate and effective science education. Staff members work with teachers, parents, scientists and concerned citizens at the local, state and national levels to ensure that topics including evolution and climate change are taught accurately, honestly and confidently.

The NCSE Friend of Darwin Award is conferred annually to outstanding educators whose efforts support NCSE and advance its goals.

“I find the National Center of Science Education’s efforts to battle science illiteracy in the U.S. truly heroic,” Krupa 

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