The University of Kentucky Center for Visualization & Virtual Environments

As Cases Surge, a Professor’s Son Leads Him to Autism Research

Sen-Ching Cheung, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Kentucky, never expected to become an autism expert.

But Mr. Cheung, the father of a 5-year-old boy with autism­, has seen his career take a twist that mirrors the unpredictable nature of the disease itself: He is putting his digital-imaging skills to work on what he hopes will be a promising technological therapy for autistic children. He is one of a number of scientists seeking federal support for their approaches to autism research, which has an increasingly vocal public constituency and is nearing what could be crucial advances.

Read the rest of the article here.

“The Ascending Journey” Premieres on May 13 on KET

Click here to view the trailer.

Nancy Clauter’s world was changed forever the day she heard three little words: “You have cancer.” As a music professor at the University of Kentucky and principal oboe with the Lexington Philharmonic, the diagnosis of non-curable cancer meant not only facing mortality, but also the loss of her ability to communicate through music.

The Ascending Journey, a 30-minute documentary, follows Nancy’s journey from her diagnosis of a rare form of blood cancer called multiple myeloma, through chemotherapy and groundbreaking stem cell transplant therapy. As she battles cancer, Nancy fights to continue to play and inspire others through her strength and her song.

“The Ascending Journey” will air six times in May. It will premiere on May 13, at 4 am and 10:30 pm.
The upcoming airdates are
KET: Sunday, May 13 at 4:00 am EDT
KET: Sunday, May 13 at 10:30 pm EDT
KET2: Thursday, May 17 at 10:30 pm EDT
KET2: Monday, May 21 at midnight EDT
KETKY: Monday, May 28 at 5:00 am EDT
KETKY: Wednesday, May 30 at 9:30 pm EDT

To learn more about our Media For Research Lab please click here.

For more information contact Julie Martinez: jmartinez@engr.uky.edu

University of Kentucky Vis Center Researchers Win Award for Best Scientific Paper

Over one million children in the United States have voice disorders. These problems typically begin in childhood, and therefore can disrupt critical periods in development. Rita Patel, Ph. D., Kevin Donohue, Ph. D., and Harikrishnan Unnikrishnan study vocal fold motion in children. Vocal fold vibratory motion is needed for producing speech. They presented their paper “Analysis of high-speed digital phonoscopy pediatric images” at the XX Annual Pacific Voice conference on Optical Imaging, Therapeutics, and Advances Technology in Head and Neck Surgery and Otolaryngology held with the SPIE Photonics West Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA this January. They were presented with the Pacific Voice & Speech Foundation 2012 Award for Best Scientific Paper.

Vocal fold dysfunction limits the ability to speak and interact in society. Unfortunately, technical limitations have held back research into vocal fold motion, which is vital for measuring treatment outcomes. However, development in high-speed video systems created new research opportunities in vocal fold motion for more efficient diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Donohue pointed out that “This work is one of the first to describe and assess the processes for extracting quantitative information from high-speed video recordings of children.” They custom built a laser system to use alongside high-speed digital imaging to explore the relationship between the immature vocal system and the formation of vocal fold nodules.

Dr. Patel and Dr. Donohue hope that their research will help children suffering from vocal fold dysfunction. Dr. Patel added that “the goal or our research is to establish physiological biomarkers of unique vibratory features of vocal development with high speed digital imaging and to lay the foundation for development of biomechanical modeling and assessment tools” to detect at-risk children.

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