Michelle Martel: 2024-25 University Research Professor Q&A

Michelle Martel, Ph.D.
Michelle Martel, Ph.D., has been honored as a 2024-25 University Research Professor. Jeremy Blackburn | UK Research Communications

UKNow is highlighting the University of Kentucky’s 2024-25 University Research Professors.Established by the Board of Trustees in 1976, the professorship program recognizes excellence across the full spectrum of research at UK and is sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research.  

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 4, 2024) — Michelle Martel, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Psychology in the UK College of Arts and Sciences, has been honored as a 2024-25 University Research Professor.

Her research examines hormonal effects on disorders related to impulse control such as ADHD and binge drinking in females. Martel’s research on ADHD and transdiagnostic externalizing problems, including substance use and conduct disorders, is supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Her innovative work on hormonal effects on impulsivity is leading to cutting-edge advances in personalized assessment and treatment. She joined UK in 2012.

Martel spoke with UKNow about her latest honor as a University Research Professor in this Q&A.

UKNow: What does it mean to you to be recognized as a University Research Professor?

Martel:  I am honored that the impactful nature of my research program is being recognized by the university and thrilled to be joining esteemed colleagues whose impact has been so honored. I have worked for a long time to advance our understanding of sex differences and women’s health across the lifespan, and it is very rewarding to now see that being recognized.

UKNow: How will the professorships program advance your research?

Martel: This award will allow me to extend my work to evaluate its implications on treatment outcomes such as whether medication for ADHD needs to be titrated across the menstrual cycle in women. In addition, this program will allow me to collect pilot data on other developmental periods such as adolescence and the postpartum period.

UKNow: How does your research address challenges facing Kentucky?

Martel: This research will clarify the role of hormones in impulsivity-related disorders such as substance use and ADHD in a chronically understudied population, women. Hopefully, this work will lead to more personalized treatments across the lifespan for women dealing with these conditions in Kentucky and beyond.

UKNow: What impact will your research have on Kentucky?

Martel: This work will draw more attention to understudied factors affecting women's health and hopefully lead to individualized treatment of ADHD and substance use for women in Kentucky. Such work may have direct clinical implications that can help our local communities through our clinical training program and other community outreach opportunities. 

About the University Research Professors
Each year, the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees approves a cohort of faculty as University Research Professors. The distinction recognizes excellence in work that addresses scientific, social, cultural and economic challenges in Kentucky and 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.

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.