Dr. David Westneat

by Allison Elliott-Shannon

(Nov. 26, 2013) — From humans to sparrows, individuals within a species display distinct "personalities" when it comes to their behaviors. Taking an innovative approach to understanding how various factors impact behavioral patterns, David Westneat is working with a local population of house sparrows to understand how variables including local ecology, stress and hormones come together to affect the parenting behaviors of birds and other creatures.

Westneat, professor in the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences Department of Biology, has been awarded a four-year grant from the National Science Foundation for $670,000. As a behavioral ecologist with expertise on reproductive and social behavior, Westneat will use the grant to study variation in parenting patterns.



video courtesy of UK Public Relations & Marketing

article by Jenny Wells

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 7, 2013) — In addition to research presentations, the 2014 National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) will offer numerous volunteer opportunities for the entire campus community when the University of Kentucky hosts the conference April 3-5, 2014. From helping direct traffic, to managing technology, to just helping students find where they need to go, there will be a variety of positions available to students, faculty and staff.

Students will have even more flexibility to get involved, as the University Senate has given permission for faculty to redirect their classes April 3 and 4 so students can attend conference events and presentations. 

"This is a bit unusual; it's a new

John Avise

by Allison Elliot-Shannon

(Oct. 21, 2013) — Prominent evolutionary biologist John Avise will deliver two lectures at the University of Kentucky this week, as the featured speaker for the fifth annual installment of the prestigious Thomas Hunt Morgan Speaker Series sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Biology.

Avise will offer two talks, the first a technical and scientific talk titled "Clones, Hermaphrodites, and Pregnancies." This talk will take place at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, in Room 116 of the Thomas Hunt Morgan building on Rose Street. The second talk, titled "Genetics in the Wild," will take place at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 25, in the auditorium of William T. Young Library. The second talk will be appropriate for a general audience. Both lectures are free and open to the public.

Pharmacy student Christopher Terry (left), health sciences student John Wright Polk IV and pharmacy student Brette Hogan posed with a Tsáchilas community member in Ecuador.


by Claudia Hopenhayn

(Oct. 15, 2013) — Shoulder to Shoulder Global recently led 49 University of Kentucky students, faculty, staff and community members in a multidisciplinary health brigade experience to Santo Domingo, Ecuador.

STSG is a UK-based organization that strives to improve the health and well-being of impoverished communities while offering learners the opportunity to work in a multicultural and interdisciplinary setting.

The brigade, which took place Aug. 2-11, was the culmination of months of preparation that included the credit-bearing course, "Interprofessional Teamwork in Global Health." Throughout the course, students learned about Ecuador, how to work in an interprofessional environment and how to apply basic


By Guy Spriggs

Every year talented and driven students are drawn to the University of Kentucky for its emphasis on research. This summer, biology students Taylor Shackleford and Sarah Whelan – who came to UK to pursue research – were given a unique opportunity to continue their lab work after spring classes came to a close.

Shackleford and Whelan are the first awardees of the Ribble Undergraduate Summer Research Internship, a new program for outstanding biology majors supported by the Gertrude F Ribble Fund. Both are not only excellent students, but also invaluable contributors to exciting biological research taking place here at UK.

“Taylor is intelligent and curious, which has enabled him to engage with the scientific

Professor Vincent Cassone

(Oct. 10, 2013) — When you eat could have as much impact on your health as what you eat. That's the conclusion reached by researchers in an ongoing series of papers and studies funded as part of a major grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Vincent Cassone, University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences professor and chair of the Department of Biology, has published more than 100 papers in leading academic journals on the internal timekeeping functions of the body.

"Biological rhythms are a fundamental property of all living things," said Cassone, who has extensively studied biological clocks in animal models and cites high rates of gastrointestinal illnesses and cancer that can be impacted by, among other things, eating patterns and digestion.

Cassone began working on body clocks and digestion as part of a collaboration with a gastroenterologist


By Victoria Dekle

Salamanders, one of the oldest lineages of extant animals, are beloved by biology Ph.D. student, Paul Hime. Some of Hime’s research subjects, however, may not be on the top of everyone’s cute animal list. Take, for instance, the North American hellbender salamander – an aquatic amphibian, largely unchanged since before the age of dinosaurs, that can grow over two feet long. “They’re in the water. They’re slimy. They’re big,” Hime said with a grin.

These large and nearly endangered amphibians live in many of Kentucky’s cool rivers and Hime is working with his laboratory director and adviser,

Manasi Malik

by Allison Elliot-Shannon, Allison Perry

(Sept. 30, 2013) — Manasi Malik has just begun her junior year at the University of Kentucky, but the 19-year-old biology major has already been published as a lead author on a paper in a prestigious scientific journal.

A native of Massachusetts, Malik came to UK with the intention to become involved in research, and has found success working in the lab of Alzheimer's disease researcher Steve Estus of the UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging. Malik's paper, written in conjunction with Estus and other researchers, is titled "CD33 Alzheimer's Risk-Altering Polymorphism, CD33 Expression, and Exon 2 Splicing," and 

Markey Cancer Center

by Allison Elliot-Shannon, Mallory Powell, Allison Perry

(Sept. 27, 2013) -- The "Triple Crown" is a term reserved for the greatest accomplishment in thoroughbred racing -- winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. It's a feat that has been achieved only 11 times in history.

The University of Kentucky recently accomplished the equivalent of “triple crown” in the academic medical world, becoming only the 22nd medical center in the country to have a National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation (at the Markey Cancer Center), a federally funded Alzheimer's Disease Center (ADC, at the UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging), and a Clinical and Translational Science Awards grant (at the Center for Clinical and Translational Science ).

With the new NCI designation and the existing ADC and CCTS federally-funded programs, UK joins a truly


by Sarah Geegan & Grace Liddle

 The College of Arts and Sciences is offering 13 courses that begin in the middle of the fall 2013 semester. For students who may have recently dropped a class or hope to pick up some extra credit hours, these courses provide flexibility after the regular registration period.

Course topics range from the science of what we eat, archaeology and history of ancient Mexico, an introductory course on the city of Lexington, and a study on the culture and economics of local and global food systems.

The "Global Food & Local Agriculture" course explores questions associated with why people eat what they do and what that implies about society. To answer these questions, the class introduces

Paul Chellgren talks to new Fellows.

by Jenny Wells

Last week, the University of Kentucky Chellgren Center for Undergraduate Excellence honored its newest class of Chellgren Fellows.  Benefactor Paul Chellgren and his wife Deborah, along with Chellgren Endowed Chair Philipp Kraemer, UK Provost Christine Riordan, and UK President Eli Capilouto, recognized and congratulated the students on being named Fellows.

The Chellgren Fellows Program is for students with exceptional academic potential and aspirations, who are eager to participate in a special learning community designed to cultivate extraordinary achievement. Outstanding faculty members from across campus serve as individual mentors for the Fellows.

The students selected as 2013-14

Real-time sensor readings from lakes and streams are sent to laboratories at Flathead Lake Biological Station in Montana and Hancock Biological Station in Kentucky and go into a database management system.

By Alicia Gregory

In 2009, the Virtual Observatory And Ecological Informatics System (VOEIS) project was launched. Funded by an NSF EPSCoR grant, VOEIS united researchers at five universities in Kentucky and two universities in Montana to develop a cyber infrastructure system to monitor, analyze, model, and forecast the consequences of environmental changes in freshwater ecosystems.

Real-time sensor readings from lakes and streams are sent to laboratories at Flathead Lake Biological Station in Montana and Hancock Biological Station in Kentucky and go into a database management system.

Barbara Kucera, principal


By Victoria Dekle

Professor Bruce O’Hara in the Department of Biology is interested in the overall quality of your sleep. In his research laboratory in the Thomas Hunt Morgan Building, O’Hara investigates sleep patterns and circadian rhythms within the brain.

Not all of his test subjects, however, are human.

Mice are a common organism used in many experimental laboratories, but O’Hara and two University of Kentucky colleagues have developed some new methods to expedite the research process and to provide a more humane data collection process.

O’Hara, Professor Kevin Donohue in the


Dr. David Westneat has been awarded a four year grant from the National Science Foundation for $305,000. The grant, which begins August 2013, will fund his project "Parental care and the integration of personality and plasticity at multiple levels of phenotypic variance". The project will examine the constituent components of variance in parental behavior of house sparrows to determine why birds that diligently care for offspring are more flexible.  The project is being conducted in collaboration with Dr. Matthew Schofield in the Statistics Department. More information about Dr. Westneat's research can be found on his lab website.


University of Kentucky Wildcats from all eight of UK’s spring sports teams combined to earn a total of 71 spots on the Southeastern Conference Spring Sports Academic Honor Roll, Commissioner Mike Slive announced this week.

By Jacob Most

University of Kentucky Wildcats from all eight of UK’s spring sports teams combined to earn a total of 71 spots on the Southeastern Conference Spring Sports Academic Honor Roll, Commissioner Mike Slive announced this week.

UK’s honorees included 16 women’s track and field team members, 14 from baseball, nine from softball, seven women’s tennis players, eight men’s track and field team members, six each from men’s golf and men’s tennis and five women’s golfers.

A total of 1,247 student-athletes from around the league earned spots on the honor roll, which is based on grades from the 2012 summer, 2012 fall and 2013 spring terms.  In order to make the SEC Academic Honor Roll, a student-athlete must have a 3.0 grade-point average for the preceding academic year or his/her entire collegiate career, be at least a sophomore in academic standing,


by Whitney Hale

Fifteen graduates of the University of Kentucky will head back to the classroom this fall as part of a new class of corps members in Teach for America. The UK group is among thousands of new teachers chosen this year for the national program, which is known for selecting outstanding college graduates to commit to teach for two years in disadvantaged urban and rural public schools.

Teach for America places its recruits in the nation's highest-need elementary and secondary schools in many of the country's lowest income communities, both rural and urban, in an effort to close the achievement gap between economically advantaged and disadvantaged children.

Currently, around 10,400 first- and second-year corps members instruct more than 750,000 pre-K through 12th


By Ellyce Loveless

Few students have the kind of passion for world news that recently-graduated International Studies major MeNore Lake has. Two years ago she sought to fulfill a need at the University of Kentucky through this passion. She wanted to create an online news publication that would publish monthly articles written by students about international politics, economies, science, sports, and culture, and thus The World Report was born.

Lake comes from a family that values the knowledge of international affairs, where discussing the culture of other countries is customary dinner conversation, and traveling out of the country is always an exciting yet familiar adventure. When she came to UK, she noticed a void in student interest concerning international issues.


University of Kentucky student Brooke Stewart has been selected to participate in an inaugural leadership program for GEAR UP alumni in Washington, D.C. in June.

By Sarah Geegan

University of Kentucky student Brooke Stewart has been selected to participate in an inaugural leadership program for GEAR UP alumni in Washington, D.C. in June. The Covington, Kentucky native and Holmes High school graduate is among 30 former GEAR UP students selected from across the nation.

GEAR UP, or Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, is a federally funded college access and readiness program.

Stewart was actively involved with GEAR UP while she attended Holmes High School. She attended a three-week GEAR UP Summer Academy at Eastern Kentucky University in 2009, was heavily involved in GEAR UP Students Give Back community service projects, and was a recipient of the GEAR UP Drive

Audra Stacy, left, and Kyeong Ran (Rachel) Jang won prestigious American Physiological Society (APS) Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowships. Photos by Dana Rogers, College of Arts and Sciences.

By Sarah Geegan

How do young college-age scientists spend their summer?  They do research, of course.  And two University of Kentucky undergraduate students have received prestigious American Physiological Society (APS) Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowships to conduct their work this summer.  Only 24 undergraduates nationwide were selected to work in laboratories of established APS investigators.

Kyeong Ran (Rachel) Jang, a biology major from Louisville who just finished her freshman year, and Audra Stacy, a senior biology major from Elkhorn City, Ky., received $4,000 each to conduct their research over a 10-week period this summer.  Each of them also received $1,300 to travel to the APS annual Experimental Biology meeting, a broad-based scientific

Oswald was named 2013 SEC H. Boyd McWhorter Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipient earlier this season. The McWhorter Award goes to the conference’s top scholar-athlete across all sports.

By Jake Most

The University of Kentucky's Chelsea Oswald has added to her already impressive collection of awards both on and off the track, as she has been named Southeastern Conference Track and Field Women’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Oswald was named 2013 SEC H. Boyd McWhorter Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipient earlier this season. The McWhorter Award goes to the conference’s top scholar-athlete across all sports.

Oswald was also named First Team All-SEC, having won two conference championships – at 5,000 and 10,000 meters – last weekend at the SEC Meet.

She set the SEC 10K record, and was fewer than two seconds off the conference 5K record.


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