University of Louisville Magazine

WINTER-SPRING 2018

The University of Louisville Alumni Magazine: for alumni, faculty, staff, students and anyone that is a UofL Cardinal fan.

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14 UOFLMAGAZINE.COM T his fall, Kay Davis, a resident of the Cal- ifornia Park neighborhood, sat with pen in hand, anxiously awaiting her weekly playwriting workshop to begin. As much as she loves writing, and is brimming with stories that have emerged from her life, she's never had formal train- ing — until now. Davis is one of about a dozen residents who participated in "Telling our Tales: Plays from West Louisville," a collaborative project by Uof L's African American Theatre Program and The Kentucky Center for African Ameri- can Heritage. The project provided playwriting workshops to residents of west Louisville as W hat if you could take a container of your own blood with you on vacation to a country with an unstable blood supply? Or, what if soldiers could carry a small bag of their own blood with them to the battlefield? That's what three Uof L researchers are working on :  a process to dry blood then bring it back to life by adding water. "We feel like this is an opportunity to save lives" said Jonathan Kopechek, assistant professor of bioengineering. Kopechek, Michael Menze, associate professor of biology, and Brett Janish, doctoral student in molecular biology, said, if successful, their research could extend the shelf life of donated blood to years beyond the six weeks currently allowed by FDA rules. Menze said the process is similar to cryptobi- osis, a process kids used to make brine shrimp Sea-Monkeys come to life in water. "If animals can do it, can dry and be stored in a dried state for a couple of years then come back to life just by adding water … then it's a possibility with blood as well." Kopechek says just-add-water blood could be used on space missions, in remote health care facilities or delivered by drones. The researchers plan to test their process for rehydrating blood on rats next year with the hope of forming their own company and getting to the marketplace in a couple of years. Extending the life of our life source UofL researchers examining viability of dried blood Telling our Tales a way to explore critical issues, stimulate dis- cussion and expose others to a more nuanced view of the community. "We wanted people who have that expe- rience and love of West Louisville to be able to tell stories from their own point of view through plays," said Nefertiti Burton, former chair of the Theatre Arts Department. Kentucky author and educator Frank X Walker led the workshops, helping partic- ipants hone and craft their ideas through exercises and class discussions. "Mr. Walker is exceptional and so are my classmates," Davis said. "I've learned so much from them all." "Free Lunch," a piece written by Troy Johnson, one of the workshop participants, was presented on campus for the AATP's Martin Luther King Jr. celebration. There are plans to stage other works they created throughout the community as well. "I think it's a great thing for Uof L to do, to have a presence in communities outside of campus, especially in places like the west end," Walker said. The project received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Jennifer Lawrence Arts Fund. ONLINE: To watch a video on the researchers' work, visit: uoflnews.com. UofL's Theatre Arts helps west Louisville residents craft plays Frank X Walker leads a playwriting workshop.

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