U of L receives $2 million grant for minority-owned manufacturers to adopt new technology Wednesday, Nov 17 2021 

By The Louisville Cardinal Staff — 

Minority-owned manufacturing businesses will have help with cutting edge technology through a new program at U of L.  It will help them adopt additive manufacturing and 3D printing technology.

A $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) will create a Kentucky center.

“There’s huge economic potential in additive manufacturing,” said Sundar Atre, endowed chair of manufacturing and materials at U of L and a lead on the new grant. “I see the pathway to a multibillion-dollar economy built around this in Louisville — it’s not unrealistic. With this new program, we will work to make that ecosystem open to everyone.”

The new center will build on U of L’s Additive Manufacturing Institute of Science & Technology, housed in the J.B. Speed School of Engineering. It dedicates 10,000 square feet to provide minority-owned manufacturing businesses with product design and technology support.

The institute has put a strong focus on helping manufacturers adopt disruptive technologies. It trains minority-owned businesses and recently launched a new program to provide small- and medium-sized manufacturers with training, mentorship and U of L-backed research, development and consulting.

“We know Kentucky’s manufacturing industry has a rich and proud history,” said Will Metcalf, associate vice president for research development and strategic partnerships in U of L’s Office of Research and Innovation, who leads the grant with Atre. “This is a chance to leverage U of L’s research strengths to empower manufacturers within our community to use this technology and engineer a future economy that’s built around disruptive, inclusive innovation.”

Companies can learn more and get involved by visiting the Kentucky MBDA Advanced Manufacturing Center webpage.

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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IT department warns U of L community about scam emails Thursday, Oct 8 2020 

By Eli Hughes–

The University of Louisville’s Information Technology department sent out an email on Oct. 4, warning the U of L community of scam emails being sent to some U of L email addresses. The scam emails claim to provide coronavirus relief funds to those who fill out a form.

The IT department advises everyone to look out for these emails, which are being sent from multiple email addresses.

“The emails have the subject ‘Covid-19 Benefits’ or no subject and references a $920 payment and a Giveaway. These messages are fake and are part of a phishing scam,” the IT department said.

Those who receive a scam email should report it by using the “Report Message” button on Outlook. They should also make sure they don’t fill out the form or give any personal information to the scammers.

“If you have provided any personal information on this form, please monitor your related accounts, and cease any further contact,” the email said. “If you receive a phone call from the scammer, ITS asks that you contact the ITS Helpdesk and provide the phone number that the scammer is texting you from. If you provided any account information, you should change your passwords.”

File Photo//The Louisville Cardinal

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Tool that tests for E. Coli in water developed by U of L students Wednesday, Sep 30 2020 

By Madelin Shelton —

A group of U of L undergraduate students have created a new water pollution testing tool that tests for E.coli bacteria in water sources.

The testing tool was inspired by the students’ service project with the Metropolitan Sewer District, Bernheim Forest and The Nature Conservancy. Their work entailed monitoring, cleaning and restoring streams in Louisville.

Part of these tasks included testing the streams for E.coli bacteria, a type of bacteria found in biological waste that can cause disease. However, with the type of testing required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection, the students were having to travel to each of the 10 sites at least five times a month.

Sam Kessler was the leading student behind the project and is a current Grawemeyer Scholar.

“With our class schedules, going to each of those sites multiple times per month wasn’t going to work for very long,” Kessler said in a U of L News article.

In response, Kessler and his team invented a new type of water pollution test that works by being mounted to concrete in a stream. After a certain amount of time has passed, the test is taken out and sampled for E.coli bacteria.

“The number of colonies you count from that give a really good estimate of the total amount of E.coli pollution over time,” Kessler said.

The test is more time and cost efficient than other common methods.

The other standards of water testing measure E.coli levels present at the time the test is taken and does not account for potential fluctuating levels of E.coli on the days in between tests.

“You can leave it in the stream or river all month and test once instead of making at least five different trips,” Kessler told U of L News. “And, because it’s in the stream all month instead of the isolated tests we currently do, you get more insightful results from a cumulative sample.”

When asked what his future plans were in terms of promoting the invention and increasing access to it, Kessler said the device is patent-pending and the patent is co-owned by the United States Government, which will serve to increase access to the technology.

In addition, Kessler is working on a peer-reviewed publication for the invention and hopes that someone is able to take the technology to developing screening for COVID-19 in wastewater.

Photo Courtesy // U of L News

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U of L becomes first Kentucky university named Adobe Creative Campus Thursday, Sep 24 2020 

By Madelin Shelton —

The University of Louisville has partnered with Adobe to become the first Adobe Creative Campus in Kentucky, offering all students, faculty and staff complete access to Adobe’s Creative Cloud applications.

The partnership, which will last for at least three years, provides those with a U of L email address free access to Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Adobe XD and other Adobe products.

Karen Freberg, an associate professor in strategic communication at U of L, was one of the driving forces behind the partnership.

Freberg brought the program to the attention of U of L President Neeli Bendapudi last year who, along with the rest of university administration, gave support and encouragement to make the goal of Adobe Creative Campus status a reality.

“Both U of L and Adobe are extremely excited about this partnership since this will not only benefit our campus, but the community and industry as well,” Freberg said. “Our students will have the knowledge and skills in Adobe products that will make them very marketable as they apply for jobs and internships.”

In addition to full access to Adobe’s Creative Cloud, Freberg said that the partnership with U of L will include fellowships, grants, communication with Adobe contacts, trainings and additional campus-wide events.

“Students will be able to get free access to Adobe products, allowing them to use industry level tools that will help them gain creativity and digital literacy skills, making them marketable for future positions,” Freberg said.

Graphic by Shayla Kerr // The Louisville Cardinal

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Facebook partners with U of L to launch new campus platform Friday, Sep 18 2020 

By Madelin Shelton — 

The University of Louisville has become one of 30 universities in the country to pilot the new Facebook platform, Facebook Campus.

This platform is a college-only space to help university students connect with their fellow classmates through features like a Campus-only News Feed, events, groups and group rooms.

Students will be able to access the Campus channel through their personal Facebook accounts and find other participating U of L students in a directory.

To participate in Facebook Campus, students will have to provide their graduation year and louisville.edu email address. They will then be required to design a new profile specifically for the Campus platform, where they can add information including their classes, dorm and major.

The U of L specific Facebook Campus page will include groups and events students can join to find fellow students with similar interests.

“In the early days, Facebook was a college-only network, and now we’re returning to our roots with Facebook Campus to help students make and maintain these relationships, even if they’re away from their college,” Facebook said in a story on  their Facebook Newsroom.

In a U of L news release, President Bendapudi said, “The University of Louisville is so honored that Facebook has given our students the opportunity to be among the first in the nation to use this incredible product. We know they can’t wait to explore and discover all of the ways this tool can help them communicate with their peers. Facebook Campus is the latest innovation that makes our community unique. It is a tremendous asset to Card Nation.”

U of L will be joined by the likes of universities including Duke, the University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins in the pilot program.

“U of L became one of these 30 universities because Facebook saw U of L as a great potential university partner in this initiative and has been impressed with the work we have done as a university,” Karen Freberg, an associate professor in strategic communication at U of L, said.

When asked how she thought this new feature would help U of L students struggling to make meaningful connections due to COVID-19 restrictions, Freberg said, “This new feature is exactly designed to create a sense of community during this time with COVID, but also allow students to network, connect and bring the U of L culture to the online space.”

“There will also be some potential professional opportunities for students as part of this partnership as well,” she said.

The Facebook Campus platform is available now for students to use.

Graphic by Shayla Kerr // The Louisville Cardinal

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UPS donates $100,000 to U of L in support of COVID-19 research Monday, May 11 2020 

By Eli Hughes–

UPS has pledged a $100,000 donation to the University of Louisville to fund research into a potential COVID-19 treatment.

The UPS donation will help fund the trials and pay for the test materials needed for COVID-19 research.

The funding will go to support research like Paula Bates’, which has shown promise in inhibiting COVID-19. Wanting to apply her prior research to the current COVID-19 outbreak, Bates partnered with Kenneth Palmer, the director of U of L’s Center for Predictive Medicine for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Bates’ treatment involves an aptamer, a piece of synthetic DNA, that she discovered along with John Trent and Don Miller. U of L is hoping that they will be able to fast track approval of the treatment because it has already been used in human clinical trials on cancer patients and has been shown to be safe.

“I deeply appreciate the gift from UPS that helps support my work,” Bates, a professor of medicine, said. “It is with gifts such as this that we will be able to advance our research and our ability to treat the novel coronavirus. I’m also thankful to be in such a collaborative setting with great facilities and a supportive environment for translational research. There are only a few places where we could have tested this idea so quickly.”

File Graphic//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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U of L researches treatment for COVID-19 using protein grown in tobacco Thursday, Apr 2 2020 

By Eli Hughes —

Researchers at the University of Louisville are working on a possible treatment for COVID-19 that uses a protein grown in tobacco.

This treatment is being designed as a preventative nasal spray that researchers are hoping will reach human clinical trials by the end of the year.

Kenneth Palmer, director of U of L’s Center for Predictive Medicine for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases, said that the protein active in the treatment was first studied by his team for its usefulness in preventing HIV.

“We knew that this protein had very good activity against HIV and we wondered some years ago whether it would have activity against other viruses,” Palmer said. “One group of viruses that we were interested in were SARS-Coronavirus.”

Palmer’s group found that this protein was successful in inhibiting many different strains of the coronavirus. Now, almost 15 years later, they wondered if this protein would be successful in preventing the newest strain of the coronavirus, COVID-19.

“We got the virus into our labs,” Palmer said, “And tested to see if the protein would also inhibit the new coronavirus, SARS-coronavirus II, and indeed it does.”

“So, now we are using our tobacco produced product to inhibit the new coronavirus.”

The protein works by binding to the sugar structures that many viruses have on their surfaces. This prevents the virus from replicating.

Palmer says that his team chose to use a lab rat relative of tobacco to grow this protein because tobacco produces the protein well and it is easy to extract.

Palmer has 15 years of experience working with proteins in tobacco plants. He says that Kentucky’s experience with growing tobacco and the enviroment suitable for growing the plant in Kentucky makes it a good choice.

The researchers are now applying for funding to get their treatment into a human clinical trial. Palmer says that their nasal spray could be available before a vaccine becomes available.

Even if this treatment comes out after a vaccine it could still be valuable to public health by combatting other types of the coronavirus.

“Over the last 15 years or so we’ve had three serious public health concerns from the coronavirus,” said Palmer. “And our product is active against all coronaviruses while a vaccine will tend to be more specific to a single coronavirus strain.”

Research is currently being conducted in U of L’s Regional Biocontainment Laboratory and strict safety measures are being upheld to ensure the safety of the researchers.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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