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A&S faculty members named 2023-2024 University Research Professors

By Lindsay Travis 

Photo of people.

From left: Brian Murtha, Crystal Wilkinson, YuMing Zhang, Melinda Ickes, Bill Stoops, Matthew Hoch, Feng Li, Ron Zimmer, Allison Gordon, Luciana Shaddox, Ann Morris, Björn Bauer, Christopher Norris and Erin Haynes. Not pictured: Dieter Hennings Yeomans and Michael McKay.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 2, 2023) — On Friday, the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees approved 16 University Research Professors for the 2023-24 academic year. Established by the Board of Trustees in 1976, the 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.

The 2023-24 University Research Professors are:

  • 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.

This summer, the university will feature a 2023-24 University Research Professor each week on UKNow to share more about each professor’s area of research and how they are addressing scientific, social, health and economic 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 $501 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 for Kentucky.