'Behind the Blue': UK Research Update With Vice President Lisa Cassis

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 6, 2021) – Research at the University of Kentucky is a $468 million enterprise that touches every part of the university community. Scientists and scholars come from around the world to teach, discover and lead in fields that cross all of UK’s colleges, programs and library system.

Lisa Cassis has served as UK's Vice President for Research since June 2015. As head of the university’s research enterprise, she oversaw creation of the $265 million Healthy Kentucky Research Building, which is home to researchers focusing on Kentucky’s most pressing health challenges: cancer, diabetes and obesity, cardiovascular diseases and substance use disorder. As a professor and researcher in the Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences in the UK College of Medicine, Cassis has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for 30 years.

She is principal investigator on several multi-million-dollar federal grants, including serving as program director of an $11.3 million NIH grant that supports the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) focusing on obesity and cardiovascular diseases. She is an expert on the renin-angiotensin system, which her research has shown to be a link between obesity and hypertension.

On this episode of "Behind the Blue," Cassis is joined by Alicia Gregory, UK’s director of research communications, for a conversation that touches on the impact of UK's Healthy Kentucky Research Building, UK's "trifecta" of NIH research designations that power our infrastructure, and UK's work to take discoveries into communities across the Commonwealth.

"Behind the Blue" is available on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher and Spotify. Become a subscriber to receive new episodes of “Behind the Blue” each week. UK’s latest medical breakthroughs, research, artists and writers will be featured, along with the most important news impacting the university.

For questions or comments about this or any other episode of "Behind the Blue," email or tweet your question with #BehindTheBlue. Transcripts for this or other episodes of Behind the Blue can be downloaded from the show’s blog page.

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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 for Kentucky.