In its campaign to help UT Arlington attain Tier I research university status, attracting and retaining top-level faculty is one of the College of Science's top priorities. The College has hired seven new faculty members for Fall 2012, with three more set to join the ranks in Spring 2013.
The new faculty members bring with them a wealth of expertise and experience in research and teaching, including serving as principal or co-investigators on research grants and authoring or co-authoring papers published in various top professional journals.
"These newest members of our College of Science faculty are extremely impressive and accomplished in their fields and bring with them an abundance of energy and good ideas," said Pamela Jansma, dean of the College of Science. "We couldn't be happier to welcome them all to UT Arlington, and I know everyone joins me in looking forward to getting to know them and, in many cases, collaborating with them on important research."
New faculty members include:
Dr. Alejandro Bugarin, assistant professor of chemistry/biochemistry. His research interests are in the development of new organic and organometallic reactions, or more specifically, the efficient construction of carbon-nitrogen bonds, redox economy, synergistic catalysis, and their application in total synthesis, materials, and bioactive molecules.
For the past year, Bugarin has worked as a postdoctoral associate in chemistry at the University of California at Santa Barbara, working on the mild aerobic oxidation of hydroxylamines and hydrazines. He earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Texas A&M University in 2011, an M.S. in Chemistry from the University of Texas at El Paso in 2005 and a B.S. in Chemistry, Pharmacy and Biology at the Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas in Mexico in 2003. His doctoral training focused on asymmetric catalysis, including ligand, catalyst, and reaction design.
He has 10 years of experience as a teaching assistant and research assistant. At UT Arlington, Bugarin plans to establish a highly active research program focused on new synthetic strategies and their applications.
Dr. Todd Castoe, assistant professor of biology. Castoe's research interests are driven by his interest in understanding how genomic changes result in the extraordinary biological diversity of vertebrates, and in leveraging evolutionary variation to better understand the relationships between an organism's ecology, phenotype, and genotype.
"My research uses an array of integrative approaches to understand evolutionary mechanisms underlying organismal adaptations at both macroevolutionary and microevolutionary scales, and includes questions applicable to both NIH and NSF funding," he said. "My research interests also effectively bridge the fiends of field biology, ecology, evolutionary biology, and genomics."
Castoe has worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Colorado School of Medicine since 2007. He is associate director of the school's Consortium for Comparative Genomics as well as a lecturer and lab instructor. He earned a Ph.D. in Biomolecular Science from the University of Central Florida in 2007, an M.S. in Biology from UT Arlington in 2001 under advisor Paul Chippindale, and a B.S. in Environmental and Forest Biology from State University of New York in 1999.
Since earning his master's from UT Arlington, Castoe has maintained close ties to the biology department. He has collaborated extensively with faculty members Eric Smith, Jonathan Campbell, and Cedric Feschotte.
Dr. Saiful Chowdhury, assistant professor in chemistry/biochemistry. Chowdhury is a bio-analytical chemist and his research focuses in the area of mass spectrometry-based proteomics. He develops mass spectrometry-based quantitative and chemical proteomics methods and probes for large-scale identification of protein-protein interactions and protein posttranslational modifications.
Since 2009, Chowdhury has worked as a research fellow at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) at NIH in North Carolina. In NIEHS, he has done extensive research in the area of lipid rafts proteome and signaling cascade of Toll-like receptors utilizing chemical cross-linking, quantitative proteomics and mass spectrometry. From 2006-09, he worked as a postdoctoral research associate at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington, where he developed several cutting-edge proteomics tools for global and targeted discovery of protein interactions using tandem affinity tag, chemical cross-linking approaches and mass spectrometry. In PNNL, he developed a click-chemistry based protein cross-linking and enrichment strategy and also contributed in the development of a software tool to analyze mass spectrometry data of cross-linked peptides.
Chwdhury earned a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from Washington State University in 2006, an M.S. in Organic Chemistry from Florida International University in 2001, an M.Sc. in Applied Chemistry and Chemical Technology from the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh and a B.Sc. (Honors) in Applied Chemistry and Chemical Technology from the University of Dhaka.
Dr. Matthew Fujita, assistant professor of biology. Fujita's research interests are in molecular evolution, evolutionary genomics, systematics and herpetology.
"My research goals and interests focus on understanding the evolutionary genetic and genomic processes affecting diversification in reptiles and amphibians by harnessing emerging phylogenetic, population genetic, and coalescent-based methods to analyze data collected using contemporary genome technologies and resources," he said. "I endeavor to integrate field work, computational genomics, and local as well as international collaborations. Every aspect of my research has benefitted from several grants and fellowships, including five from the National Science Foundation. Looking into the future, my research program will apply tools from functional genomics and rapidly expanding sequencing technologies to address the mechanisms driving the evolution of biological diversity in natural populations."
Fujita has worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard University and Oxford University since 2009. He earned a Ph.D. in Integrative Biology from the University of California at Berkeley in 2009 and a B.S. in Cell Biology from the University of California at Davis in 2001.
Dr. Joseph Ngai, assistant professor of physics. Ngai has been pursuing fundamental and applied research on complex oxide thin films, grown using molecular beam epitaxy (MBE).
"Complex oxides exhibit a wide range of material behaviors including superconductivity, ferromagnetism, ferroelectricity and ionic conductivity," he said. "The epitaxial growth of complex oxide thin films and heterostructures provides a pathway to utilize these materials in energy and information technologies.
"I am now aiming to build a research program that pursues fundamental and applied research of artificial oxide heterostructures and superlattices."
Ngai has worked as a postdoctoral fellow and associate at Yale University since 2008. He earned a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Toronto in 2007, an M.S. in Physics from the University of Toronto in 2002 and a B.S. in Physics from the University of Alberta in 2001.
Dr. Matthew Walsh, assistant professor of biology. Walsh is an evolutionary