The University of Texas at Arlington College of Science 2012-13  

Faculty News

Daniel W. Armstrong, professor of chemistry, co-authored a paper which investigates whether 1,3-dimethylamylamine (DMAA) in numerous supplements came from natural or synthetic sources. Armstrong's team found that it is unlikely the DMAA in supplements comes from the geranium plant or its extracted oil, as companies have sometimes claimed. The paper, titled "1,3-Dimethylamylamine (DMAA) in supplements and geranium products: natural or synthetic?", appeared in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis. Co-authors are Ying Zhang, Zachary Breitbach and Ross M. Woods, former and current chemistry graduate students.
Daniel W. Armstrong and Kevin Schug, associate professor in chemistry, coordinated the 24th International Symposium on Chiral Description (Chirality 2012) June 10-13 at the Hilton Hotel in Fort Worth. The event is the largest and most complete meeting of the year covering all developments related to molecular chirality and its associated impact on science and technology. It featured prominent scientists from around the world.
Esther Betrán, an associate professor of biology, received a grant of nearly $670,000 from the National Institutes of Health to continue examining the genomic structure of male fruit flies for clues about the way reproductive functions evolve. Betrán has proposed a scientific model in which gene duplication rapidly changes the function and characteristics of the testes tissue of the Drosophila, or fruit fly, while leaving the genomic structure of other tissues unchanged.
Wei Chen, associate professor of physics, co-authored a paper about the creation of a hybrid nanomaterial that can be used to convert light and thermal energy into electrical current, surpassing earlier methods that used either light or thermal energy but not both. Working with Long Que of Louisiana Tech University, Chen and graduate students Santana Bala Lakshmanan and Chang Yang synthesized a combination of copper sulfide nanoparticles and single-walled carbon nanotubes. The paper, titled "Optical thermal response of single-walled carbon nanotube-copper sulfide nanoparticle hybrid nanomaterials," was published in the October edition of the journal Nanotechnology.
James Epperson, associate professor of mathematics, received the 2012 Texas Section of the Mathematical Association of America Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics Award at the MAA Texas Section 2012 Annual Meeting during the awards banquet on April 13 at El Centro College. "We congratulate Dr. Epperson on this award. It reflects his great achievements being recognized by the math community at the state level. He richly deserves the award," said Jianzhong Su, math department chair.
Robert J. Gatchel, professor of psychology, is co-authoring a new handbook series on health, disability and work, to be published in six volumes. The first is The Handbook of Occupational Health and Wellness, set to be released by the end of this year. Gatchel's co-author is Izabela Schultz, professor of Rehabilitation Psychology at the University of British Columbia.
Larry Heath, who retired from UT Arlington last year after 46 years with the Department of Mathematics, was named professor emeritus. Heath came to UT Arlington in 1965, when the University was still named Arlington State College. He served as department associate chair from 1987-2000 and was also the department's network manager and computer system administrator during those years.
William Ickes, distinguished professor of psychology, received the International Association of Relationship Researchers (IARR) Book Award for his book, Strangers in a Strange Lab. The book discusses the ways our initial impressions and ongoing relationships with people are influenced by various factors. Ickes was recognized at an awards ceremony during the 2012 IARR Conference in Chicago in July.
Theresa Jorgensen, assistant professor in mathematics, and Christopher Kribs Zaleta, professor in mathematics, received a $108,000 grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to provide professional development for teachers of mathematics in kindergarten–8th grade through the Teacher Quality program. The grant, in partnership with local school districts, supports 21 teachers to earn up to nine hours of graduate credit in the K-8 Mathematics Education program during 2012-13. The Department of Mathematics has had continuous Teacher Quality program funding since 2006.
Ali R. Koymen, professor of physics, and Samarendra Mohanty, assistant professor of physics, published a paper about a new method that uses magnetic carbon nanoparticles to target and destroy cancer cells through laser therapy - a treatment they believe could be effective in cases of skin and other cancers without damaging surrounding healthy cells. The paper, co-authored by Ling Gu and Vijayalakshmi Vardarajan, two post-doctoral researchers in Mohanty's lab, was published in the January 2012 edition of the Journal of Biomedical Optics.
Yue Liu, professor of mathematics, was awarded a $169,692, three-year grant by the National Science Foundation to study nonlinear shallow-water waves. Liu is sole principal investigator for the project, which will "study mathematical models of nonlinear shallow-water waves, particularly the Camassa-Holm equation, the Degasperis-Procesi (DP) equation, and the two-component Camassa-Holm (CH2) systems," according to the project's abstract. Shallow-water waves are defined as waves whose wavelengths are far greater than the water depth.
Ramon Lopez, a professor of physics, was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a worldwide organization and publisher of the journal Science. The AAAS citation praised Lopez for "passionate pursuit of research made exemplary through additional contributions to education and public communication, and through achievement in broadening participation of minorities in science."
Subhrangsu Mandal, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry and Samarendra Mohanty, assistant professor of physics, are co-principal investigators for a project which was awarded a $300,000 National Science Foundation grant to study a new model for how motor proteins behave in the body. The study could radically change the face of biology by explaining how proteins move and interact with other biological systems, said Jean-Pierre Bardet, dean of the UT Arlington College of Engineering. Alan Bowling, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, is the lead investigator.
Glen Mattioli, professor of earth and environmental sciences, was named program director for geodetic infrastructure at UNAVCO, a National Science Foundation and NASA-funded organization based in Boulder, Colo. UNAVCO is a nonprofit, university-governed consortium with more than 100 academic members committed to furthering research and education through geodesy - the branch of earth sciences of that deals with measurements and representations of the Earth. Mattioli is on a year's leave from UT Arlington while serving as UNAVCO program director.
Glen Mattioli co-authored the lead article in the Feb. 28, 2012 issue of EOS newspaper, published by the American Geophysical Union. The article, "Focused Study of Interweaving Hazards Across the Caribbean," details reasons for creation of the Continuously Operating Caribbean Observation Network (COCONet), a National Science Foundation-funded project to enhance geodetic research infrastructure in the Caribbean following the devastation wrought by Hurricane Ike in 2008 and by the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
Samarendra Mohanty, assistant professor of physics, co-authored a paper in the January 2012 issue of Nature Photonics which describes how spinning microparticles can direct the growth of nerve fiber, a discovery that could allow for directed growth of neuronal networks on a chip and improve methods for treating spinal or brain injuries. Mohanty's lab performed experiments which led to the studies reported in the paper.
Dora Musielak, adjunct professor in physics, had her book, Sophie's Diary: A Mathematical Novel, Published by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). The book is a mix of math history and fiction about the life of Sophie Germain, an important mathematician. Musielak previously published the book herself and it garnered such positive response that the MAA, which rarely accepts works of fiction, elected to publish it.
Sangwook Park, assistant professor of physics, co-authored a paper about Kepler's supernova, which suggests that the supernova explosion was more powerful and might have also occurred at a greater distance than previously thought. The paper, co-authored by three others, was published in the Sept. 1, 2012 edition of The Astrophysical Journal.
Sheng Peng, assistant research professor in earth and environmental sciences, was first author of two recent papers. The first, "Quantitative 3-D Elemental Mapping by LA-ICP-MS of a Basaltic Clast from the Hanford 300 Area, Washington, USA," was co-authored by 'Max' Qinhong Hu, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, and three others and was published in the Jan. 27, 2012 edition of Environmental Science and Technology. The second, "Diffusivity of rocks: Gas diffusion measurements and correlation to porosity and pore size distribution," was co-authored by Hu and was published in the Feb. 9, 2012 edition of Water Resources Research.
Brad Pierce, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, received a three-year, $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to unravel the mystery of how enzymes regulate the human body. Pierce is studying a new class of enzymes that are catalysts for the oxidation, or breaking down, of sulfur- bearing molecules in the body.
Andre Pires da Silva, assistant professor of biology, received a three-year, $301,447 National Science Foundation grant for research that could improve prevention of dangerous roundworm infections in animals and agriculture. Pires da Silva will explore the evolution of reproductive modes in the roundworm Rhabditis. The Rhabditis are unique because they produce male, female and hermaphrodite offspring.
Kevin Schug, associate professor of chemistry, was named Outstanding ACES Faculty Mentor during the 2012 Annual Celebration of Excellence by Students (ACES) symposium on March 22.
Eric Smith, assistant professor of biology and curator/researcher of UT Arlington's Amphibian and Reptile Diversity Research Center, received a threeyear, $725,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to look for and catalogue new species of reptiles and amphibians in Sumatra and Java, Indonesia. Smith is principal investigator for the project, and Michael Harvey, of Broward College in Florida, is co-PI. The work is being done in collaboration with researchers from universities and museums in Indonesia.
Nilakshi Veerabathina, lecturer in physics, was honored by The University of Texas System Board of Regents with its 2012 Regents Award, the board's highest teaching honor, for excellence in the classroom. In all, 65 educators from across the UT System were honored at a special ceremony on August 22 in Austin. They received certificates and medals from UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, Vice Chairman R. Steven Hicks, and Chairman of the Board of Regents Gene Powell.
Andrew White, professor of physics and co-director of the Center for High Energy Physics at UT Arlington, was named a fellow of the American Physical Society, an honor given to just one half of one percent of that group's 48,000 members. The APS citation recognizes White for "his leadership role in experimental particle physics, including invention of the DZero Experiment Intercryostat Detector, searches for new phenomena at DZero, and contributions to national and international committees."
The following COS faculty members were honored by the University during the annual Spring Meeting of the Faculty and Associates on April 24 in the E.H. Hereford University Center: Daniel W. Armstrong, Robert A. Welch Chair in Chemistry and professor of chemistry and biochemistry, Distinguished Record of Research or Creative Activity; Rasika Dias, professor and chair of chemistry and biochemistry, Academy of Distinguished Scholars; Lee Ann Frederick, lecturer in biology, President's Award for Excellence in Distance Education Teaching; Seiichiro Tanizaki, lecturer in chemistry, Provost's Award for Excellence in Teaching; James Epperson, associate professor in mathematics, Academy of Distinguished Teachers.