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On Friday, the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees approved 16 University Research Professors for the 2024-25 academic year. Established by the Board of Trustees in 1976, the professorships program recognizes excellence across the full spectrum of research at UK.

“Each year it is truly gratifying to recognize these distinguished experts who have made significant contributions across the breadth of research fields at the University of Kentucky,” said Lisa Cassis, UK’s vice president for research. “Our next cohort of University Research Professors have demonstrated excellence in work that addresses scientific, social, cultural and economic challenges in our region and around the world.”

College leadership developed criteria for excellence within their area of expertise and then nominated faculty who excelled at these criteria. Each University Research Professor receives a one-year award of $10,000 and participates in other events planned around the program.

The 2024-25 University Research Professors are:

  • David L. Harmon: Animal and Food Sciences; Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment
  • Michelle M. Martel: Psychology; College of Arts and Sciences
  • Haralambos Symeonidis: Hispanic Studies; College of Arts and Sciences
  • Carlos Lamarche: Economics; Gatton College of Business and Economics
  • Shannon M. Oltmann: School of Information Science; College of Communication and Information
  • Octavio A. González: Oral Health Practice; College of Dentistry
  • Rebekah Radtke: School of Interiors; College of Design
  • Jennifer Grisham: Early Childhood, Special Education, and Counselor Education; College of Education
  • Guoqiang Yu: Biomedical Engineering; Stanley and Karen Pigman College of Engineering
  • Olivia Swedberg Yinger: School of Music; College of Fine Arts
  • Joshua A. Douglas: Law Instruction; J. David Rosenberg College of Law
  • Gregory A. Jicha: Neurology; College of Medicine
  • Patrick Sullivan: Neuroscience; College of Medicine
  • Thomas Prisinzano: Pharmaceutical Sciences; College of Pharmacy
  • Philip M. Westgate: Biostatistics; College of Public Health
  • William Hoyt: Martin School of Public Policy and Administration; The Graduate School

Weekly throughout the summer, the university will feature a 2024-25 University Research Professor in UKNow to share more about each professor’s area of research and how they are addressing a variety of challenges in Kentucky and beyond.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University forKentucky.