UT System research capabilities are taking a giant leap forward thanks to a $25.2 million partnership between UT Arlington and Shimadzu Scientific Instruments
UT Arlington's research profile received a huge boost on October 22 when the University of Texas System Board of Regents allocated $7.5 million from the Permanent University Fund toward the formation of the Institute for Research Technologies at UT Arlington, a $25.2 million endeavor that will transform research capabilities and STEM education throughout the UT System and Texas.
The Institute is a collaboration of The University of Texas at Arlington and Shimadzu Scientific Instruments, a world leader in the analytical instruments industry. The new Institute will include three centers: The existing Shimadzu Center for Advanced Analytical Chemistry (which opened in April), the new Center for Imaging and the new Center for Environmental, Forensic and Material Analysis.
"I am delighted that the Board of Regents is supporting this exciting partnership with one of the world's leading manufacturers of analytical scientific instrumentation and environmental monitoring equipment," UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa said. "The Institute will provide unlimited opportunities for scientific discovery for students, faculty members and private sector partners, not only at UT Arlington but also nearby UT Dallas and UT Southwestern Medical Center."
UT Arlington President James D. Spaniolo said the commitment by UT System regents and Shimadzu Scientific Instruments will dramatically enhance research opportunities and experiences for faculty and students. The new Institute also is intended to promote and advance additional collaboration between UT Arlington faculty and their UT System colleagues, who will have access to the equipment and instrumentation.
"This partnership positions UT Arlington to become a global leader in scientific discovery and will pay untold dividends in the opportunities it affords students and vital industries," Spaniolo said.
The announcement follows a philanthropic commitment from Shimadzu last spring that allowed UT Arlington to establish the Shimadzu Center for Advanced Analytical Chemistry. The center is housed in the Chemistry and Physics Building and includes state-of-the-art chromatography, mass spectrometry and spectroscopy equipment valued at more than $6 million.
The Institute for Research Technologies will offer students and faculty access to state-of-the art Shimadzu equipment and software, some of which will be available in North America exclusively at UT Arlington. The Institute will foster innovation across a variety of disciplines and also will involve research teams from the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing and the School of Social Work, among others.
The Center for Imaging will complement and strengthen UT Arlington's existing Genomic Core Facility by adding neurobiological and high-speed imaging systems and tomography platforms. It will also contain a cutting-edge brain imaging device that is currently only used in Japan.
Researchers expect The Center for Environmental, Forensic and Material Analysis will give researchers the ability to analyze particles from the nano-scale to the macro-scale. Such work could, for example, aid in the detection of environmental contaminants.
In addition to analytical equipment, UT Arlington also plans to purchase exclusive, proprietary software developed by Shimadzu that allows researchers to link remotely with analytical equipment and access and analyze data in the classroom or from other University labs.
"The integration of this wide-ranging technology throughout UT Arlington will provide our students the critical and essential skills they need to enter the workforce," said Pamela Jansma, dean of the College of Science. "It also will help our University develop a robust influx of budding researchers at all degree levels."
Carolyn Cason, UT Arlington vice president for research, said the links between UT Arlington and Shimadzu Scientific Instruments will span the globe for years to come.
"This is a great day for UT Arlington and the state of Texas," Cason said. "The Institute's facilities will be second to none and will foster intellectual exchanges that help bring life-changing technologies to North America."
The Shimadzu Center for Advanced Analytical Chemistry (SCAAC) was unveiled during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 9, 2012, when administrators and faculty got their first up-close look at the facility and the latest in analytical equipment it features. Kevin Schug, the center's director and newly named Shimadzu Distinguished Professor of Analytical Chemistry, says the center will be able to perform virtually any type of analysis.
"The center represents the largest installation of analytical instrumentation from Shimadzu in the Western Hemisphere," he said.
Schug said 10 additional pieces of equipment will be added to the SCAAC beginning in Spring 2013, and the facility will also include a teaching lab where students will have access to equipment so that they can learn how to perform analyses.
The SCAAC will allow researchers in the UT Arlington College of Science and the College of Engineering to access the enhanced capabilities for trace qualitative and quantitative analysis, Schug said. The facility also will be available for use by area businesses on a contract basis.
"When we were choosing which equipment to install here, I was like a kid in a candy store," Schug said. "It's very exciting to have all this technology available, just thinking about all the things this center is going to allow us to do."
Tentative plans call for housing the Center for Imaging in the Life Sciences Building and the Center for Environmental, Forensic and Material Analysis in the Geosciences Building.
Shimadzu Scientific Instruments (SSI) is the American subsidiary of Shimadzu Corp., headquartered in Kyoto, Japan. Founded in 1875, Shimadzu is a $3 billion multinational corporation with three major divisions: Medical Diagnostics, Aerospace/Industrial and Analytical Instruments.