By Lori Minter

The University of Kentucky has released its Dean's List for the spring 2017 semester.  A total of 6,412 students were recognized for their outstanding academic performance. 

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:

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


By Jenny Wells

Macrophages from an African spiny mouse promote tissue regeneration.

A team of University of Kentucky researchers has discovered that macrophages, a type of immune cell that clears debris at injury sites during normal wound healing and helps produce scar tissue, are required for complex tissue regeneration in mammals. Their findings, published today in eLife, shed light on how immune cells might be harnessed to someday help stimulate tissue regeneration in humans.

“With few examples to study, we know very little about how regeneration works in mammals; most of what we know about organ regeneration comes from studying invertebrates or from research in amphibians and fish,” said Ashley Seifert, senior author of the study and assistant professor of 

UK Board Approves 16 University Research Professorships By Jenny Wells Tuesday

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 2, 2017) The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees today approved 16 University Research Professorships for the 2017-18 year.

The purpose of the University Research Professorship program is to recognize and publicize research accomplishments of scholars across the full range of disciplines at UK. The award amount is $10,000 for one year, to be used to further the research, scholarship and creative endeavors of the awardee.  

“It is truly gratifying to recognize these distinguished experts who have made significant contributions in so many different fields of research at the University of Kentucky,” said Lisa Cassis, UK’s vice president for research


By Gail Hairston

The University of Kentucky will send 59 undergraduate student-researchers to the 31st annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) at the University of Memphis April 6-8.

The UK group joins young researchers from around the world to showcase their research findings through poster and oral presentations. Each student will be given the opportunity to discuss their display and share their research results, illuminating how their work will have an impact on future research development. UK has been an active NCUR participant since the mid ’90s.

One of the first things these young researchers learn is that most research is not conducted in the traditional laboratory with bubbling beakers and flaming Bunsen burners. But modern research spans all disciplines and majors, and includes a wide variety of activities.

By Elizabeth Adams Thursday Michael J. Wesley is a research assistant professor in the UK College of Medicine Department of Behavioral Science.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 23, 2017) — To prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt, jurors must find evidence a defendant was culpable of a criminal act. Culpability refers to a person’s awareness and mental state, and in cases of criminal conviction, the degree of culpability or “guiltiness” dictates the degree of punishment. Depending on


By Rebecca Stratton

Want to get to know the people behind some of the biggest student leadership positions on campus? We did, too! That's why we've introduced "see blue." #selfie — a series on UKNow that lets student leaders from across campus tell us a little bit more about themselves and their organizations. Up this week, College Mentors for Kids President Maddie Conrad

Meet Maddie Conrad, this year's president of the University of Kentucky's College Mentors for Kids. A senior psychology major and neuroscience minor, Conrad claims she always enjoyed working with kids but truly found her passion as she got involved with College Mentors once she got to UK. Conrad has mentored more than 100 students through this program! Learn more about Conrad in her "see blue." #selfie!

UKNow: What year are you and what


By Loretta Stafford

Over the last year, University of Kentucky neuroscience senior and Cuban native Giamnys "Gia" Valdés Lastre has worked closely with Mark Prendergast, professor of neuroscience and psychology in the UK College of Arts and Sciences, and the UK College of Pharmacy's Center for Pharmaceutical Research and Innovation on research concerning extremophile bacteria and alcohol-related brain damage.

As an undergraduate research assistant in Prendergast's lab, Valdés Lastre is part of a team that has studied a species of bacteria found at the site of the Ruth Mullins coal fire near Hazard,


UK Libraries is offering a $1000 cash award for an undergraduate whose research project makes a substantive and creative use of UK Libraries’ collections, services, and resources. Since this is the inaugural year for this award,  we are trying to spread the word far and wide in hopes of getting a good response that is representative of all of UK’s various academic programs/communities. To that end, I was wondering if you would forward the email below to any faculty or staff in the College of Arts and Sciences who you know work directly with undergraduate students on research in any capacity. In addition to marketing directly to students through the traditional channels, I am hoping that a direct appeal from an instructor or faculty advisor (if they are willing) may encourage students who might otherwise shy away from scholarship applications—since it is not always clear to the


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


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


Electrical stimulation (ES) of the spinal cord is a promising and relatively recent breakthrough in spinal cord injury recovery. Inspiratory breathing is a crucial function often disrupted by spinal cord injury. ES has been shown to restore regular breathing function in rats (Kowalski & et. al, 2013), which we int end to replicate and further test. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to stress or injury but can cause harmful damage to tissues. Excessive inflammation can even interrupt critical bodily functions, furthering the damage. This experiment aims to uncover whether ES of the spinal cord has any effect on levels of inflammation by testing for levels of microglia activation and pro-inflammatory cytokines after subjecting Sprague-Dawley retired breeder rats to 30 minutes of ES or mock-ES at the C2 level. Then, we will perform immunohistochemistry on fixed spinal cord


My project in the Head Lab focuses on the role of inflammation in Alzheimer Disease, and how that role may differ in individuals with Down Syndrome. Because several key genes related to Alzheimer Disease are located on the 21st chromosome, Down Syndrome individuals (who have an extra copy of this chromosome) have a much higher risk of developing the disease. Many key inflammatory genes are also found on this chromosome. Using protein biomarkers found in tissue samples from autopsied brains, we hope to contribute to a better understanding of how added inflammation contributes to Alzheimer Disease in Downs Individuals, and how that may differ in sporadic cases.


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


This 3 credit hour course is designed to be an introductory course

for upper-level undergraduate students aimed at providing an overview of major principles and

techniques associated with cellular and molecular neurobiology. Subject matter is intended

to range from molecular mechanisms underlying neuronal signaling and cellular function to

how these properties are invoked across simple networks, neural systems and behavior.

MWF 11-11:50am, room/bldg. TBD


The Debski laboratory investigates questions regarding visual system development. Current work focuses on trying to determine how the damaged retina of the axolotl salamander can regenerate neurons and connect them back up in the appropriate circuits needed to restore visual function. This ability to repair retinal damage is not an ability that mammals have. The hope inherent to our work is that by learning how the axolotl achieves such a feat, we will be able to devise ways to eventually get humans to do the same. Presently we are particularly interested in the role of glial cells in neuronal generation and establishment of correct synaptic connectivity. We use immunocytochemical, anatomical, imaging, behavioral and electrophysiological techniques in our laboratory


The gonadal steroid hormone estrogen is essential for reproduction and plays a critical role in the brain and the pituitary in regulating the sequence of hormonal events that result in female reproduction. In recent years, however, we have begun to appreciate that estrogen also exerts many critical effects on non-reproductive systems as well. Estrogen enhances cognition during normal aging as well as plays a protective role against a variety of neurodegenerative conditions. As our lifespan continues to increase, women are spending a greater proportion of their lives in a hypoestrogenic state. Thus, our works aims to

by Rebecca Stratton     LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 29, 2016) — The University of Kentucky Student Government Association is now accepting applications for its Leadership Development Program (LDP), an initiative dedicated to building future leaders on campus from the freshman class.   As part of the LDP, those selected will have the opportunity to learn what it takes to be a leader on campus by networking with other student leaders and the university’s administration, learning about various student organizations on campus and exploring their own personal growth as a leader.   “The Leadership Development Program enables students to explore the different opportunities our campus provides as well as learn more about their own leadership style,” said Ben Childress, SGA student body vice president.   Last year, more than 200 applications were received. Applications are

Welcome to our returning major and minors, and to our first class of Freshman Neuroscience majors.  We have 202 Neuroscience majors and approximately 100 minors. 


Keep a look out for emails from, these come directly from the Directors and will contain important information regarding the program, as well as, information about research, conferences, seminars of interest, and the Nu Rho Psi, the National Honor Society in Neuroscience.


As a reminder, details of the program (including course options), breaking neuroscience news and faculty/student spotlights can be found at


Dr. Rittschof is interested in the evolutionary consequences and mechanistic underpinnings of behavioral plasticity, particularly in the context of social interactions. She has ddressed this topic with studies of alternative reproductive strategies and tactics in the spider Nephila clavipes, and more recently in the context of socially-induced variation in aggression in the honey bee (see a honey bee brain above). Dr. Rittschof's research combines perspectives from behavioral ecology, behavioral genomics, and neuroscience


My primary research interest is the study of mammalian circadian rhythms. These are 24-h, daily rhythms that are present at every level of biology from gene expression to complex behavior.  The integrity of circadian rhythms is important for good health. For example, shift work, which chronically disrupts circadian rhythms, is associated with increased risk of obesity, cancer, suppression of the immune system and other health problems. In my research I use rodent models to study circadian rhythms and how disrupting these rhythms leads to poor health. Specifically, I am interested in the interplay between the circadian and metabolic systems, with a focus on how circadian disruption contributes to obesity.

For more information, visit




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