News

1/9/2017

A team from the University of Kentucky has received a grant from Kentucky NSF EPSCoR (National Science Foundation Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) for Education and Outreach Activities to fund a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) conference for middle school girls at UK this spring.

The primary goal of the conference, titled “Expanding Your Horizons (EYH),” is to encourage middle school girls to consider STEM studies by providing them with memorable interactive workshop experiences, visible female role models in STEM fields and exposure to different career paths in STEM. EYH seeks to provide middle school girls and their parents an inspiring environment in order to help both groups recognize and pursue opportunities in STEM. The conference will be held April 29 in the Jacobs Science Building.

Ellen Crocker and Bradford Condon

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
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

5/11/2016

The Society of Postdoctoral Scholars at the University of Kentucky is hosting a symposium to feature the work of postdoctoral scholars in Kentucky and surrounding areas. The event will feature a keynote presentation by UK's Dr. Hollie Swanson, a professor in the College of Medicine's Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences, oral presentations by Kentucky postdocs, a poster session and a panel discussion on interviewing techniques. 

The symposium will allow for the exchange of ideas across a broad range of fields and abstract submissions are welcome from any discipline. Postdocs from Kentucky and Ohio are especially encouraged to submit abstracts and graduate students are also welcome to participate. The objective of the symposium is to share research across many different fields and talks should be general and accessible to an audience outside of the speaker's area

5/10/2016

By Ann Eads

(May 10, 2016) – The University of Kentucky Staff Senate will moderate a debate between staff representative to the Board of Trustees candidates at 2 p.m. Thursday, May 12, in the auditorium of the William T. Young Library.

Anthany Beatty, assistant vice president for public safety at UK, will moderate the debate. Staff members are encouraged to attend or view via the Staff Senate website by visiting https://connect.uky.edu/staffsenate.

The UK Staff Senate invites all university staff to participate in the campaign and election process to help determine the next staff representative to the Board of Trustees. The campaign period begins May 13, 2016. The staff trustee candidates are Mike Adams, space and

5/6/2016
Three new species of mouse lemurs — the smallest primates in the world — have been discovered by scientists at the University of Kentucky, along with collaborators at the German Primate Center and Duke Lemur Center.   "We didn't go into this work looking for a new species, but there was no real way to get around the fact that there are three new species here to describe," said Scott Hotaling, lead author on the Molecular Ecology paper and a doctoral candidate in the UK Department of Biology.   Twenty years ago, there were only two species of mouse lemurs. Today, including the newly-discovered species Microcebus ganzhorni, Microcebus manitatra and Microcebus boraha, mouse lemurs comprise 24 species, which are only found in the highly biodiverse island of Madagascar.     Microcebus ganzhorni was named after the ecologist Professor Jörg Ganzhorn from Hamburg University, who
5/5/2016

Two new trees recently planted on the Washington Avenue lawn of the Thomas Hunt Morgan Biological Sciences Building hold special meaning. The native Blue Ash, the species that defines the Bluegrass Region, are in memory of colleagues in the Department of Biology who passed away recently: graduate student Martin Striz (Aug. 17, 2014), custodial staff member Kenny Robinson (Jan. 10, 2014) and Biology Department staff member Tony Games (Oct. 19, 2015).

“Martin, Kenny and Tony represented an important part of our community and their passing still affects many of us,” said Scott Hotaling, a graduate student in the Department of Biology. “The trees are meant to serve as a memorial to all of those we have lost who were part of the departmental family.”

An informal gathering is planned at the trees Friday, May 6, at 11 a.m. to pay tribute to the significant impact of these

4/25/2016

By Whitney Harder

(April 25, 2016) — A long-standing question in biology is why humans have poor regenerative ability compared to other vertebrates? While tissue injury normally causes us to produce scar tissue, why can't we regenerate an entire digit or piece of skin? A group of University of Kentucky researchers is one step closer to answering these questions after studying a unique mammal, and its ears.

The team's new findings come on the heels of UK Assistant Professor of Biology Ashley Seifert's landmark discovery in 2012 that two species of African spiny mice found in Kenya could regenerate damaged skin. The group built on this work to show that a third species of spiny mouse, Acomys cahirinus, could completely close four

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