2023-2024 University Research Professors Reception

President Eli Capilouto and Vice President for Research Lisa Cassis recognized the 2023-2024 University Research Professors in an April 28 reception. Sixteen professors were honored during the ceremony, which was held at the Gatton Student Center. Click the photos above to see the awardees.

Photos by Jeremy Blackburn in Research Communications. To request high-resolution versions, please email rescomm@uky.edu. Watch the reception video on Microsoft Stream here.

2023-2024 University Research Professors Board of Trustees Recognition

The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees has approved 16 University Research Professorships for the 2023-24 academic year. Established by the Board of Trustees in 1976, the professorships program recognizes excellence across the full spectrum of research at UK.

“The Commonwealth and university continue to benefit from the work and expertise of these dedicated scholars and scientists,” said Lisa Cassis, UK’s vice president for research. “It is an honor to recognize this outstanding group of faculty and to support their future endeavors to improve the lives of Kentuckians as we continue to expand the depth and breadth of UK’s research enterprise.”

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 the University Research Professors Lecture Series.

2023-2024 University Research Professors

  • Feng Li: Veterinary Science; College of Agriculture, Food and Environment
  • Ann C. Morris: Biology; College of Arts and Sciences
  • Crystal Wilkinson: English; College of Arts and Sciences
  • Allison Gordon: Communication; College of Communication and Information
  • Luciana Macchion Shaddox: Periodontology; College of Dentistry
  • Michael McKay: School of Architecture; College of Design
  • Melinda J. Ickes: Kinesiology and Health Promotion; College of Education
  • YuMing Zhang: Electrical and Computer Engineering; College of Engineering
  • Dieter Hennings Yeomans: School of Music; College of Fine Arts
  • Brian Murtha: Marketing and Supply Chain; Gatton College of Business and Economics
  • Ron Zimmer: Martin School of Public Policy and Administration; Graduate School
  • Matthew Hoch: Athletic Training and Clinical Nutrition; College of Health Sciences
  • Christopher M. Norris: Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences; College of Medicine
  • William Walton Stoops: Behavioral Science; College of Medicine
  • Björn Bauer: Pharmaceutical Sciences; College of Pharmacy
  • Erin N. Haynes: Epidemiology and Environmental Health; College of Public Health

About the Program

The University Research Professorships were established by the UK Board of Trustees in 1976 to recognize outstanding research achievements. 

The University of Kentucky Strategic Plan (2015 – 2020) for Research has an overall objective to expand our scholarship, creative endeavors and research across the full range of disciplines to focus on the most important challenges of the Commonwealth.  Strategic Initiatives to achieve this overall objective include investing and recognizing areas of scholarly excellence, and recruiting and retaining outstanding faculty, staff and students. 

The University Research Professors Program recognizes excellence across the full spectrum of research, scholarship and creative endeavors at the University of Kentucky.

  • Colleges with less than 275 tenure-track faculty may nominate one University Research Professor per year; colleges with more than 275 tenure-track faculty (currently Arts and Sciences and Medicine) may nominate two per year.
  • Each college will establish (1) a process for soliciting and choosing nominations, and (2) criteria for excellence in research, scholarship and creative endeavors.  College-specific criteria will be reviewed by and kept on file within the Offices of Research.  As a minimum criteria, the nominee must have at least 30% effort in Research activities on their DOE and be performing well above benchmarks in their research, scholarship and creative activities.
  • The award amount will be $10,000 for one year, to be used to further the research, scholarship and creative endeavors of the awardee.  A faculty member may only be recognized once; those who have been named a University Research Professor under the previous program are not eligible.  Faculty receiving this award may use the title “University Research Professor” for as long as they remain faculty at the University of Kentucky.
  • Nominee(s) packets submitted to the Office of Research should contain a full updated CV and a nomination letter from either the Associate Dean for Research or a Department Chair summarizing how the qualifications of the nominee meet the college-specific criteria for excellence.
  • The Office of Research reserves the right for final approval of nominees.  It is likely, depending on the number of faculty within a unit and other factors, that some Colleges may not have a nominee who meets the criteria for excellence within a given year. 

A reception honoring award recipients will take place annually.  In addition, awardees will be announced at an annual Board of Trustees meeting.  Finally, awardees may be given the opportunity to present a short description of their research, scholarship and creative endeavors to the BOT once over the course of the award year, as well as through other vehicles intended to highlight their research accomplishments.

Contact individual college dean's office for college-level-specific program details.

Conditions of Appointment

  • The appointee must not be on leave status for the year of the award.
  • It is expected that the Research Professor will contribute to the research atmosphere on the University campus.
  • It is expected that part of the major research activity will be conducted at the University.
  • The awardee must agree to remain at the University for the year following the award.