U of L presidential search committee seeks input from community Thursday, May 12 2022 

By Joe Wilson —

On May 11, the U of L presidential search committee held a listening session to get community input on the university’s next president.

Jim Rogers and Alice Houston, two members of the search committee, hosted the event in the Chao Auditorium. They asked attendees about the traits, characteristics and skills they would hope to see in the next president.

Houston, explaining the importance of the community’s involvement in the presidential search, said: “We all know that great communities have great institutions as part of their foundations,” Houston said

Attendees said the next president should have research experience. In February 2022, U of L was named a Carnegie R1 Research Institution. Dr. Fran Hardin-Fanning, a professor at the School of Nursing, explained her wish that U of L remain distinguished in research. “I think it’s important that the person who will be overseeing all of the research activity at the University of Louisville be very much aware of the barriers that we face, as well as the facilitators that have been very successful in moving us forward,” she said.

The presidential search process began in December 2021 after President Neeli Bendapudi announced her move to Penn State University, where she currently serves as president. Since Bendapudi’s departure, Lori Gonzalez has served as U of L’s interim president.

The committee has held separate listening sessions for faculty, staff and students. They plan to use this feedback to create a leadership statement and job description for the presidency.

The committee will meet with candidates over the Summer and submit their recommendation to the Board of Trustees in the Fall. The school expects to announce the presidential appointment in November.

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U of L receives record-breaking $201.5 million for research Monday, Oct 11 2021 

By Madelin Shelton — 

The University of Louisville recently announced a record-breaking $201.5 million in research funding for the 2021 fiscal year.

Kevin Gardner, U of L’s Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation, partly credited this accomplishment to U of L’s blooming status as a research university in the last several years. “We set a record last year that was $170 million in new awards in fiscal year ’20,” he said. That means that between fiscal year 2020 and fiscal year 2021, U of L increased its research funding by $30 million.

University research includes environmental health science, engineering, climate change, liver cancer and COVID-19.

When asked if he thought any areas of U of L research were particularly notable, Gardner said there were so many that he couldn’t choose. However, he noted how U of L’s exceptional research capabilities are contributing to its strategic goals and addressing its identified grand challenges.

The three grand challenges include empowering our communities, advancing health and engineering our future economy. Gardner said U of L has research initiatives in various disciplines tackling these issues.

Gardner also discussed what the record-breaking year signifies about U of L’s role as a research university. “The thing that makes the University of Louisville unique as a research university is that we’re one of only 69 universities that are classified as Carnegie R1 and as a Carnegie Community Engaged university.”

Carnegie R1 refers to the ranking given to universities across America that are classified as having very high research activity. A Carnegie Community Engaged university is seen as contributing to its community in meaningful ways.

“What sets the University of Louisville apart is that we don’t just do research and write a paper and have it sit on the shelf or in an academic journal. We translate that research into practice,” Gardner said. “We’re committed to seeing this research get out into the world to have a positive impact.”

Photo Courtesy // U of L News 

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U of L receives a record breaking $170 million for research funding Tuesday, Nov 17 2020 

By Eli Hughes–

The University of Louisville received 170 million dollars in research funding during the 2020-2021 fiscal year. This is a record-breaking amount of research funding for the university and an increase of about 18 million dollars from the previous fiscal year.

The money that the university received is used to train students, research vaccines and develop new manufacturing technology.

“It’s super important for a lot of different reasons. It enables really important work to happen and makes discoveries that help people,” said Kevin Gardner, U of L’s executive vice president for research and innovation.

Gardner stressed the real-world impact of the research done at U of L. For example, U of L  research on how environmental pollution affects cardiac health can have life-saving effects on the community. Gardner also stressed how vital it is to the university to prioritize research for the sake of the education of the students.

“Students are learning about current knowledge that was created this year and last year. As opposed to 30 years ago,” Gardner said. “When you are a freshman maybe you should learn about that 30-year-old knowledge, but when you are a more advanced student you should be in advanced classes learning about knowledge that was generated this year and last year.

Gardner went on to explain that U of L’s record as a research institution makes it a great place to invest. He said that grant applications are not easy to write, so the fact that U of L has so many successfully funded research projects should be proof of the researcher’s skills at what they do.

“It’s a great place to invest because it’s a place where we have top-notch researchers who are nationally competitive,” Gardner said.

Gardner said that even though COVID-19 is a big research focus this year, this money largely does not include money that was received for work on COVID-19 research. This is because the fiscal year ended in June, so while many grants had been applied for not many rewards had been received. The money for that research will be included in next year’s financial data.

File Photo//The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L researchers discover a treatment that could be useful against COVID-19 Wednesday, May 6 2020 

By Eli Hughes–

Researchers at the University of Louisville have discovered that a piece of synthetic DNA could be a useful treatment for COVID-19 patients.

This synthetic DNA, also known as an aptamer, was discovered by Paula Bates, John Trent and Don Miller. Bates was originally interested in this technology for its potential in cancer patients.

“I’m actually a cancer researcher by training, and one of the things I’ve investigated in the past is developing a drug that specifically targets cancer cells,” Bates said. “It turns out that the protein that this drug binds to is also involved with helping a lot of viruses do their thing.”

Bates said that she first had the idea in February as she was trying to think of ways that she could help combat the COVID-19 pandemic. When she realized that her drug could be effective against COVID-19, she reached out to Kenneth Palmer, director of U of L’s Center for Predictive Medicine for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Palmer tested Bates’ treatment and found out that it was able to inhibit COVID-19. The treatment will still have to go through testing and human clinical trials before it will be ready for widespread use on COVID-19 patients.

Bates is still unsure how the drug will be used if it gets approved, but thinks that it could be useful for either very sick patients or those who are just starting to experience symptoms. She said she will know more about how it can be used once they design the clinical trial.

Bates is also hoping that the testing process could be quicker than normal because the drug has already been used in clinical trials with cancer patients. She believes that this advantage will make it so this treatment could become available before a vaccine.

“We’re all hoping for a vaccine that will work and be safe and available to everyone as soon as possible but best case scenario I think that’s going to be a year at least,” Bates said. “So the goal is to have something out before then so that the more options we have to treat the coronavirus, the more we can return to some sense of normalcy.”

Graphic by Alexis Simon // The Louisville Cardinal


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U of L researchers from various departments help combat COVID-19 Friday, Apr 3 2020 

–By Eli Hughes

The University of Louisville announced April 3 the actions its researchers are taking to respond to COVID-19, which includes actions from the school of medicine, the school of public health, the school of social work and J.B. Speed School of Engineering.

These U of L departments are manufacturing kits used in COVID-19 testing, manufacturing personal protective equipment, disinfecting N-95 masks and working on ways to contact trace the spread of the virus.

“There is an incredible amount of work and I am really proud of researchers we have here who have really responded incredibly well to this crisis and the need for all of these types of activities,” said Kevin Gardner, the executive vice president of research for U of L, in the April 3 U of L trustee’s meeting, which was held virtually.

The Speed School has partnered with the School of Medicine to create and distribute swab kits. The lack of these kits is a limiting factor to widespread COVID-19 testing, so U of L hopes that this contribution can make it possible to increase the amount of testing.

Researchers at the Speed School are also manufacturing face shields, which medical professionals can use to protect themselves when they are in contact with COVID-19 patients. These masks will be distributed not only to hospitals in Kentucky but across the country to places where the virus is spreading more rapidly such as New York.

U of L has also developed a process for sanitizing N-95 masks, which are the medical-grade masks that have been valuable resources since the beginning of this outbreak. Gardner has said their facilities will be able to sanitize 10,000 N-95 masks a day.

The Schools of Public Health and Social Work are responding to the COVID-19 outbreak by helping with contact tracing. This means they are helping identify who might have come into contact with individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19.

This action can help prevent the spread of the virus by quickly isolating those who have been in contact with the virus.

More information on U of L’s research can be found on the U of L research website.

File Graphic//The Louisville Cardinal

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Research shows Hepatitis C mostly affects millennials now Friday, Oct 18 2019 

By Maggie Vancampen —

A recent press release said hepatitis C is now predominately affecting millennials according to research conducted at Norton Healthcare.

Professor of Pediatrics Dr. John Myers and his team tested over 82 thousand people for the HCV infection from 2016-2018. For research purposes, millennials are defined as anyone born between 1980 to 1995. Baby boomers were described as people born between 1945 to 1965.

The Center for Disease Control says hepatitis C is a long-term liver infection. Hepatitis A and hepatitis B have vaccines, while hepatitis C does not. It is spread through blood from an infected person going into an un-infected person.

The press release said HCV-positive millennials increased by 53 percent during the study period, while HCV-positive baby boomers decreased by 32 percent in the Appalachian region where the study happened.

Myers said, “The opioid crisis has led to a drastic demographic shift, and currently the typical HCV-infected individual is a younger male. Without interventions, this trend will continue for upwards of seven years, plateauing near the demarcation of millennials and generation Z.”

The press release said Myers originally presented the information at IDWeek 2019, a medical meeting for doctors to present information and research findings.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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