UK Researcher Traces Molecular Pathways to Obesity and Cardiovascular

Posted: 12/22/2016 - Tags: Pharmacology, Research, Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences, BPA Exposure, CVD
An array of scientific evidence demonstrates a correlation between diets high in fat and cholesterol content and blockages in the arteries, which lead to cardiovascular disease (CVD). But a lesser-known risk factor for CVD is exposure to the chemical compound biphenyl A, or BPA, a base component of consumer plastic products such as water bottles. A fundamental and ubiquitous commodity in modern life, plastics are inexpensive to produce, with more than 300 million tons processed in 2010. The World Economic Forum warns the amount of plastic in the world’s oceans will exceed the amount of fish, in terms of weight, by 2050 at the current rate of production. As a base... FULL STORY

Al-Siraj’s Sex Chromosome Study Published in Circulation

Posted: 12/14/2016 - Tags: Research, Nutritional Science
Yasir Al-Siraj, a Ph.D. candidate in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences, is the lead author of a paper published in Circulation, a leading journal on cardiovascular medicine. The article, “Female Mice with an XY Sex Chromosome Complement Develop Severe Angiotensin II-Induced Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms,” was co-authored by UK colleagues Sean E. Thatcher, Richard Charnigo, Kuey Chen, Eric Blalock, Alan Daugherty and Lisa Cassis.Al-Siraj said about Circulation, “It is very respected in the scientific community, and this journal has only an 8 percent acceptance rate, with a bias towards clinical studies. So... FULL STORY

Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences Students

Posted: 12/6/2016
Our Graduate Students recently participated in the "Cards for Hospitalized Kids"  drive. They channeled their artistic sides and hand made close to 50 holiday cards for sick children spending the holidays in the hospital.The department is proud of its students for their time and kind efforts!From left to rigtht top row: Heather Norman, Yasir Al-Siraj, Marion Coe, David Schnell, Jared HoffmanFrom left to rignt bottom row: Kaia Hampton, Courtney Turpin, Kaiyuan Tan, Jessie Hoffman and Nika LarianMerry Christmas Everybody!

Hollie Swanson: Publishing a manuscript as a class project....

Posted: 11/18/2016
The recent publication of the manuscript entitled "Current and Emerging Uses of Statins in Clinical Therapeutics: A Review" with my co-authors (Jonathan T. Davies, Spencer F. Delfino, Chad E. Feinberg, Meghan F. Johnson, Veronica L. Nappi, Joshua T. Olinger and Anthony P. Schwab) represents a milestone of a year-long, collaborative endeavor. My journey with this group of talented and intelligent students began last fall in PHA 422 (Treatment of Human Diseases) when I assigned a case study that focused on how the recent guidelines by the American Heart Association may impact our use of statins. As I read their insightful answers to the questions that I had posed, I became... FULL STORY

Nika Larian Maps Interactions between Nutrients, Exposures & Diabetes

Posted: 10/20/2016 - Tags: Research
Nika Larian, a PhD student in Lisa Cassis's lab at the UK Superfund Research Center, is studying the aryl hydrocarbon receptor, or AHR, a transcription factor with roles in drug metabolism and detoxification. She explains that if you knock out AHR in the fat tissue of mice, you can prevent the development of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-induced diabetes. PCBs are toxins that are present in the environment and have been linked to type 2 diabetes."I'm investigating natural components of the microbiome that are influenced by a high-fat diet, and may also be altered by exposure to PCBs. The microbiome is influenced by what we eat, including the consumption of a high-fat... FULL STORY

VIDEO: What Motivates UK Vice President for Research Lisa Cassis?

Posted: 10/14/2016 - Tags: Research
When Lisa Cassis isn’t in her cardiovascular research lab, you’ll find her leading the research enterprise at the University of Kentucky. How does the UK researcher balance her time in the lab and in the office? What motivates her each morning? Watch the video below to find out what keeps Cassis motivated and why a special talent is her favorite way to relax after a long day of work.About Lisa CassisLisa Cassis earned a bachelor's degree in pharmacy and a doctoral degree in pharmacology from West Virginia University, followed by postdoctoral positions as an Alexander Von Humboldt Fellow in Pharmacology at Wurzburg, West Germany, and within the... FULL STORY

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY from The Center For Biomedical Research Excellence on

Posted: 9/30/2016 - Tags: Grant Proposals
The NIH Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) on Obesity and Cardiovascular Diseases (see supports research focused on mechanisms linking obesity to cardiovascular diseases, as well as other obesity-related conditions (e.g., diabetes, cancer).  The program supports research of junior faculty with the intent of strengthening the UK research infrastructure in obesity and associated diseases.  Junior faculty supported through the program receive (a) financial support for specific projects that are approved by the NIH, (b) mentoring from experts in the field, and (c) access to research cores. COBRE also supports pilot... FULL STORY

Robin Shoemaker-Council on Hypertension Awardee

Posted: 9/22/2016
Robin Shoemaker-Council on Hypertension Awardee. The American Heart Association held its annual Council on Hypertension session September 14-17th in Orlando, Florida. Our congratulations to Dr. Robin Shoemaker for winning an award in the Postdoctoral category entitled “Mas Receptor Deficiency Promotes Hypertension in Obese Female Mice and Cardiac Dysfunction in Obese Male Mice”. The Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences was well represented as Drs. Lisa Cassis, Analia Loria and Frederique Yiannikouris were present as well and selected for podium presentations. Obesity-related hypertension is a significant problem, particularly in Kentucky, and a major risk... FULL STORY

F. Despa, L. Cassis, J. Luo - New Funding for Pharmacology and Nutritional

Posted: 9/15/2016
Congratulations to Dr. Florin Despa and colleagues for receiving TWO new grants to study the pathology of amylin dysregulation in neurodegenerative and/or vascular disease. His new NIH R01 is entitled “Role of Systemic Amylin Dyshomeostasis in Alzheimer’s Disease” and his AHA award is entitled “Amylin Vasculopathy, A Therapeutic Target to Reduce Stroke”.Congratulations to Dr. Lisa Cassis and her colleagues for the successful renewal of her NIH R01 award entitled “Sex Differences in Angiotensin-Induced Vascular Diseases”. Her laboratory’s ongoing studies in this area have shed light on the significant differences in the risk for aneurysms among the sexes.Congratulations... FULL STORY

Summer Undergraduate Researchers in the Department

Posted: 8/12/2016
Congratulations to all undergraduate student researchers and their mentors:Miriam Hill (Xavier University, Louisianna) - Dr. Hollie Swanson Amanda Hoskins (University of Kentucky) - Drs.Sanda and Florin Despa Sydney Lammers (University of Kentucky) - Dr. Changcheng Zhou John Pina  (University of Kentucky) - Dr. Olivier ThibaultMeghan Turner  (University of Kentucky) - Dr. Elizabeth Headupon completion of their projects and participating in the ASPET SURF program hosted by Dr. Hollie Swanson and the Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences. Dr. Donna Weber also kindly coordinated aspects of the program.Joseph... FULL STORY

UK Scientist Profiles Get 324,000 Views on LabTV

Posted: 1/27/2016 - Tags: Research
Over the last six months, videos of 22 biomedical researchers from the University of Kentucky, featured on the national website LabTV, have garnered 324,000 views. features thousands of researchers working at dozens of leading universities, corporations, and the National Institutes of Health. In these videos medical researchers tell where they came from, how they chose their career, what they do each day in the lab, and why they love it. Jay Walker of TEDMED, in partnership with the National Institutes of Health, started the site because if high school students or college undergrads can personally identify with a young medical researcher, they are far... FULL STORY

Nutritional Scientist Explains Cancer-Fight Potential of Flavonoids in New

Posted: 11/23/2015 - Tags: Nutritional Science, Faculty, Awards and Recognition
Plants put up a natural defense system against bacteria and disease through bioactive chemical constituents called flavonoids. While humans have turned to plants and herbs for medicinal purposes throughout history, researchers are now learning how to harness the chemopreventive properties of flavonoids to prevent human disease. Medical research suggests flavonoids can prevent the development of steroid-responsive cancers, but not all flavonoids serve the same beneficial function. In her new book, “Flavonoids, Inflammation and Cancer,” Hollie Swanson, a University of Kentucky researcher in the Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences, describes how... FULL STORY