By Jesi Jones-Bowman

UK undergraduate researchers Bridget Bolt and Gretchen Ruschman. Students are encouraged to explore undergraduate research opportunities at the Research + Creative Experience Expo.

At the University of Kentucky, undergraduates have access to outstanding research and creative work activities led by world-class faculty and staff that promote self-discovery, experiential learning and lifelong achievement.

Explore exciting undergraduate opportunities at the first annual UK Research + Creative Experience Expo 3-5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 13, around the Gatton Student Center’s Social Staircase.

“The goal of the Research + Creative Experience Expo is to introduce undergraduates to the diversity of research and creative work conducted at UK,” said Chad Risko, faculty director of the


By Jenny Wells-Hosley

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 18, 2021) — The University of Kentucky Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center hosted a symposium last week featuring its first class of African American Research Training Scholars. The five scholars each gave a presentation on their research in neurotrauma.

“This scholarship program was established by support from the Kentucky Spinal Cord and Head Injury Research Trust to provide vital research opportunities for Black undergraduate students at the University of Kentucky,” said Joe Springer, professor and interim director of the research center. “This is part of the SCoBIRC’s continued efforts to promote diversity in neuroscience, a field in which Black and African American students and faculty are underrepresented nationwide. The goal is to provide students


Starting the week of July 26, 2021, The Neuroscience B.S. Program and will celebrate Black excellence in Neuroscience-related fields. Each week, for the next four weeks, this page will include a brief biography of prominent neuroscientist who identifies as Black or African American !

As stated by Black in Neuro, 

Our mission is to diversify the neurosciences by building a community that celebrates and empowers Black scholars and professionals in neuroscience-related fields.

By Lindsey Piercy May 24, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 24, 2021) — It's a question that is critical to families and communities across the Commonwealth — how do we tackle the opioid epidemic?

The University of Kentucky is helping to organize and host the second annual Edward Kremers Seminar in the History of Pharmacy & Drugs in hopes of continuing the conversation surrounding addiction and recovery.

The 2021 “Kreminar” will feature virtual seminars about the history and contemporary status of opiates, opioids and addiction.

“The Cooperative for the Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) is pleased to co-sponsor these events because it is important to understand that


In August of 2020, the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center launched the first year of its African American Research Training Scholars. This program provides 12 months of funding for 5 undergraduate students who identify as Black or African American to conduct neuroscience research in the laboratory of UK faculty member. 

The 5 outstanding students, their research topics and mentors are listed below:

Nolan Abdelsayed  – “Neuroinflammation as a Contributor to Secondary Brain Injury Following a Mild Closed Head Injury”  (Mentor: Adam Bachstetter)   Jordan Burdette – “Cellular Regeneration in the Injured Spinal Cord”  (Mentor: Warren Alilain)   Urim Geleta – “MicroRNA Regulation of Neuroinflammation Following TBI” (Mentor: Joe Springer)   Alexa Halliburton – “Age and Social Enrichment as Determining Factors in SCI Recovery” (Mentor: John Gensel)  

By Todd Stoltzfus

The University of Kentucky has named College of Arts & Sciences junior Lauren Hudson Intern of the Year. Hudson, a neuroscience and biology dual major from Edgewood, Kentucky, was honored for her internship work with Nathan Vanderford, assistant director for research at the Markey Cancer Center and assistant professor in the College of Medicine's Department of Toxicology and Cancer Biology.

Hudson’s internship with Vanderford focused on cancer research. Since 2020, Hudson has published seven peer-reviewed journal articles, four as first author. She also co-edited a book, "The Cancer Crisis in Appalachia: Kentucky Students take ACTION" (2020), with Vanderford and has participated in several cancer research presentations. 

“I am not aware of any other undergraduate student that has had


UK Neuroscientist and Psychology Professor Dr. Michael Bardo Studies a New Medication to Treat Opioid Use Disorder

Dr. Michael Bardo and his laboratory have recently completed studies demonstrating that the stress-hormone receptor blocker “PT150”, a gift of Palisades Therapeutics in New Jersey, reduces fentanyl seeking in addicted laboratory rats following a stressful event. This research, funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, suggests that targeting stress systems may be an effective way to treat opioid relapse among those seeking treatment. A new grant application, with collaborator Dr. Craig Rush from the College of Medicine, is being prepared to test the potential efficacy of PT150 in humans.


UK professors Dr. John Littleton 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. Prendergast and Littleton have received a grant to the National Institutes of Health to extend their studies on viral proteins in the brain. Better understanding how viral proteins interact with the brain is the first


Dr. Robin Cooper is the Associate Director of the Neuroscience B.S. Program at UK and a highly-respected educator. He teaches Neuroscience and Biology students in a  laboratory-based class, BIO 446 Neurophysiology, each year and designs the student's experiments to be novel enough to publish in scientific journals. His long-standing committment to helping undergraduate students publish in scientific journal has produced many such papers. As Dr. Cooper explains,

"The class projects we use in Bio446 (neurophysiology lab) have been exciting not only for the students but also for me as an instructor as I see 1st hand the excitement of the class working together as well as the students being excited in working on novel research projects. The past students have reported back how the class projects have been conversations during their medical school and other professional school


By Jenny Wells-Hosley and Alicia Gregory


LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 7, 2021) — As a Research I institution, the University of Kentucky offers its students opportunities to engage in research across all disciplines — and those opportunities aren’t just reserved for graduate and doctoral students.

Many undergraduates participate in research alongside UK’s world-class faculty, with the support of programs like the UK Office for Undergraduate Research, the Chellgren Student Fellows program and the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP). This high impact learning experience allows undergraduates to explore career options, develop problem-solving skills and set themselves apart for graduate or professional school or


By Elizabeth Chapin

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 27, 2021) – Each year, the University of Kentucky’s Students Participating as Ambassadors for Research in Kentucky (SPARK) gives a select group of undergraduates from diverse backgrounds a unique, hands-on research opportunity to prepare them for graduate study in health-related fields. Student recipients include two in the College of Arts & Sciences. 

While the COVID-19 pandemic provided new obstacles for SPARK’s 2020 cohort, the three students – Alexis James, Hope Makumbi and Roberto Obregon Garcia – say the challenges brought opportunities to focus on their research, particularly with communication.

SPARK, which was launched last year by UK’s Center for Health Equity Transformation (


Neuroscience and Psychology major Abigail (Abby) Wilcox is an Ambassador for Bumble's marketing campaign. Initially launched as a dating app, Bumble has become a powerful player in creating healthy relationships, friendships and business connections!  Abby is a Bumble Brand ambassador and Campus Director at UK and works hand in hand with their marketing team sharing her knowledge! Her photo was recently posted on the NASDAQ Jumbotron in Times Square New York City recognizing their success and Bumble becoming a publicly-traded company. 

The intersection of neuroscience and marketing has created a growing career path for students with training in neuroscience, with capitol investment, direct sales, and giant social media firms recruiting recent neuroscience graduates with an interest in the coporate side of human behavior. 



Dr. Alexa Irene Canady is the first African American woman in the United States to become a neurosurgeon, at the age of 31 in 1981. To read more about Dr. Canady's inspirational career, please click here

Billie Gordon, Ph.D.

Billi Gordon may just be the most unique neuroscientist on this list. After a career as an actor, television writer, and the most successful greeting card


Neuroscience major Nicole Marguerite has published a scientific paper as the lead author ! Working in the laboratory of Dr. Robin Cooper, Associate Director of the Neuroscience B.S. Program, Nicole led an effort to study the effects of temperature fluctuations on neuronal control of heart rate in insects. The full citation is below. Congratulations to Nicole and her colleagues !


Marguerite, N.T., Bernard, J., Harrison, D., Harris, D. and Cooper,
R.L. (2021). The effect temperature on heart rate for the medicinal
blow fly (Phaenicia sericata) and Drosophila melanogaster with altered
expression of TRPA1 receptors. INSECTS 12(1):38.


The Kentucky Academy of Science recently held its 2020 Student Research Competition. Two neuroscience majors were award winners. Their names and the title of their research presentation is below.

Shelby McCubbin, UK, "Conducting authentic curriculum undergraduate research experiences (ACUREs) in teaching laboratories"
Nicole Marguerite, UK,  "Effect of temperature on heart rate for Phaenicia sericata and Drosophila melanogaster with altered TRPA1 expression"


The Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center is thrilled to announce the inaugural awards of the African American Research Training Scholars (AARTS) program to the following five undergraduate students !

Their research topics and mentors are included, below. 



Nolan Abdelsayed  – “Neuroinflammation as a Contributor to Secondary Brain Injury Following a Mild Closed Head Injury”  (Mentor: Adam Bachstetter)

Jordan Burdette – “Cellular Regeneration in the Injured Spinal Cord”  (Mentor: Warren Alilain)

Urim Geleta – “MicroRNA Regulation of Neuroinflammation Following TBI” (Mentor: Joe Springer)

Alexa Halliburton – “Age and Social Enrichment as Determining Factors in SCI Recovery” (Mentor: John Gensel)

Bisimwa “Jack” Nzerhumana – “Mitochondrial Uncoupling Promotes Energy Metabolism Following TBI” (Mentor: Pat Sullivan)

Butterfield Recognized as a Leading Alzheimer’s Expert By Elizabeth Chapin Friday UK professor Allan Butterfield has been named among the world's leading Alzheimer's disease experts.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 9, 2020) — Allan Butterfield, a professor of biological chemistry in the University of Kentucky College of Arts & Sciences, has been named among the world’s leading Alzheimer’s disease experts by Expertscape, an online base of biomedical expertise.

Butterfield is among the top 0.007% of scholars worldwide based on authorship of Alzheimer’s-related publications indexed in the PubMed database for the past 10 years. He ranks tenth out of nearly 150,000 scholars worldwide and sixth in the U.S.



The UK Department of Chemistry and the UK Office for Institutional Diversity have arranged to make the film, Picture a Scientist, available for anyone in the University of Kentucky community to view.

“PICTURE A SCIENTIST chronicles the groundswell of researchers who are writing a new chapter for women scientists. Biologist Nancy Hopkins, chemist Raychelle Burks, and geologist Jane Willenbring lead viewers on a journey deep into their own experiences in the sciences, ranging from brutal harassment to years of subtle slights. Along the way, from cramped laboratories to spectacular field stations, we encounter scientific luminaries - including social scientists, neuroscientists, and psychologists - who provide new perspectives on how to make science itself more diverse, equitable, and open to all.”

Licensed viewers will be


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