MAVERICK SCIENCE E-News
  The University of Texas at Arlington College of Science June/July 2012  
Welcome to the June/July 2012 edition of Maverick Science E-News. This monthly e-newsletter provides information about College of Science events involving students, alumni, faculty and staff. To contribute items for inclusion, please send an email to pederson@uta.edu. If possible, please include a high-resolution headshot photo of those mentioned in your items.
Basu selected to take leadership reins of EES as new department chair in January    

For Alumni

UT Arlington Alumni
Association
Andy Baum Memorial Fund Tops $100K

Andrew Baum
A special fund has been created to honor the memory of Dr. Andrew Baum, professor of Psychology and beloved member of the UT Arlington family, who died on Nov. 22, 2010. The fund has now surpassed $100,000, including the Maverick Match portion. Donations to the fund may be mailed to: UTA College of Science/Dr. Andy Baum Memorial Fund
P.O. Box 19047
Arlington, TX 76019

Calendar of events

Thursday, August 9
Last day of classes for Summer 2012 second 5 week session and Summer 11 week session
Thursday, August 23
First day of classes for Fall 2012 semester
Welcome Back to Maverick Island
Wednesday, August 29

11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Life Sciences Building lobby
Join us as we welcome students back for the Fall 2012 semester with free snow cones
2012 Science Week
Monday, October 29– Friday, November 2

A weeklong celebration of the College of Science and the achievements of our students, alumni and faculty. More details coming soon.
November 22-23
Thanksgiving holidays
Wednesday, Dec. 5
Final day of classes for Fall 2012 semester
Dec. 6-7, 10-12
Final exams for Fall 2012 semester
Sunday, Dec. 16
3:30 p.m., College Park Center
College of Science Fall 2012 Commencement ceremony
The College of Science and College of Architecture will have a joint graduation ceremony.
Planetarium
The Planetarium at
UT Arlington

Have you been to a show at the planetarium lately? The facility, one of the finest in the nation, offers a variety of exciting shows and programs year-round and is equipped with Digistar 4, the latest in planetarium software. A new public show, Dynamic Earth, made its debut in May and is part of the Plane-tarium's Summer 2012 schedule (June 1-August 26), which you can find here.
Maverick Science
New edition of Maverick Science is now here
The Fall 2011 edition of Maverick Science Magazine is now available! The magazine has the latest College of Science news and features about faculty, students and alumni. Free print versions are available in the Dean's Office (Life Sciences Room 206) and in LS 109. You can also check out the online version here.
COS T-Shirt
College of Science
T-shirts are here

Support the College of Science by wearing one of our COS T-shirts! They're short-sleeve, 100% cotton, with a small College of Science UT Arlington logo on the front and a full color logo on the back. They’re only $10 each! Available in S, M, L and XL sizes. Buy them in the Dean's Office (Life Sciences Room 206) or in Life Sciences Room 109.
Follow the COS on Facebook and Twitter
Facebook LogoKeep up with the College of Science on the popular social media sites Facebook and Twitter, and stay informed Twitter Logoabout what's going on and upcoming events in the College of Science.
Maverick Science
E-Newsletter Archives
Basu
     The College of Science Department of Earth and Environmental Science will undergo a change in leadership in January, when Asish Basu takes over as department chair from John Wickham.
     Basu, a professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y., was selected as the new chair from a field of four finalists. Wickham is stepping down after having led the department since his arrival at UT Arlington in 1992.
     “We’re very pleased to have a geoscientist as distinguished and experienced as Dr. Basu coming to head the Department of Earth and Environmental Science,” said Pamela Jansma, dean of the College of Science. “His knowledge and expertise will be invaluable in helping build a geochemistry program here and in attracting top faculty to do research and teach in this area. We had several very well-qualified candidates for this position, but we feel Dr. Basu will bring the best combination of experience and leadership to help continue to move the department forward.
     “We want to thank John Wickham for his 20-plus years of excellent leadership as chair. The department has made tremendous gains under his guidance, and his efforts to ensure that our students receive all the teaching and hands-on training they need to be successful have been tireless. His leadership has ensured that the department is in great position to continue to move forward under Dr. Basu.”
     To read more on this story, click here.
UT Arlington physicists hail announcement of discovery of possible Higgs boson particle
     Physicists searching for the elusive Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland announced July 4 that they have found a new particle, setting the stage for exploration of whether it is the Higgs predicted by the physics Stand-ard Model.
     The UT Arlington College of Science's Center of Excellence for High Energy Physics (HEP) is part of the U.S. team contributing to the experiments, both on-site in Switzerland and by utilizing UT Arlington's massive computing center. Members of the ATLAS group at UT Arlington, which is part of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) project.
     “I would classify this as one of the biggest discoveries in physics during the past 30 years,” said Kaushik De, UT Arlington professor of physics and director of the Center of Excellence. “Without the Higgs, how particles get mass was an unsolved mystery in science.”
     The findings were announced July 4 at the LHC at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. UT Arlington has been heavily involved with the project since the beginning, in-cluding building pieces of the collider. Among those who have spent time working on the project are physics faculty members De, Andrew Brandt, Amir Farbin, Chris Jackson, Andrew White and Jaehoon Yu.
     Read more on this story here. To hear a KERA 90.1 radio interview with Brandt, click here. To read a Star-Telegram story on the discovery featuring quotes by De, click here. To read the official U.S. LHC press release, click here. here.
Armstrong team's research finds sports supplement DMAA is most likely synthetic
Armstrong
     Daniel W. Armstrong, who holds the Robert A. Welch Chair in Chemistry, is adding new evidence to the debate over DMAA, a popular sports supplement that has been embroiled in controversy involving professional athletes and even the U.S. Army.
     Armstrong investigated 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.
     Armstrong is the corresponding author on a paper titled "1,3-Dimethylamylamine (DMAA) in supplements and geranium products: natural or synthetic?" It is currently online in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis. Co-authors are Ying Zhang, Zachary Breitbach and Ross M. Woods, a former and current graduate students in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
     Read more on this story here. To read the paper online, click here.
Yew wins Boeing/Flightglobal Engineering Student of the Year undergraduate award
Yew
     Yayu Monica Hew, a senior majoring in physics and aerospace engineering, was named one of two recipients of Boeing/Flightglobal's Engineering Student of the Year award during a cere-mony on July 11 in London.
     This is the first year Boeing and Flightglobal selected winning students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in the annual Engineering Student of the Year Award (ESOYA) competition. Jianying Tracy Ji, a doctoral candidate at Washington State Uni-versity, was the graduate-level winner.
     As an undergraduate research assistant, Yew has been developing, building and testing ultra-low-power wireless strain sensors for use in monitoring the integrity and health of remote structures, including airplanes and other aircraft. The sensors use small photo cells to power the strain gage and data transmission system, enabling placement anywhere on a vehicle without the need for additional wiring. As this technology matures, it will enable the installation of remote monitoring on stationary and moving structures and provide more accurate measures of structural integrity over time, leading to improved safety and life spans for various structures, the judging panel said.
     “These two individuals have demonstrated the achievements that are possible when students and professionals are committed to pursuing a career in science, technology and mathematics,” said John Tracy, Boeing chief technology officer. “They are off to a great start in making a difference through a career in engineering. In addition, they are role models for others pursuing this critically important and personally rewarding field.”
     Ultimately, Hew wants to pursue a career in space physics, working for a private spaceflight company in the U.S. or on China's space program. Her inspiration and role model, she says, is former UTA student Kalpana Chawla, the Indian-American astronaut who was one of seven crew members killed in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003.
     Read more about the award recipients here.
Alumnus Martin receives recognition for work in improving children's dental health
Dr. Dale Martin, D.D.S., receives the award for Outstanding Service to the Dental Profession from Dr. Tonya Fuqua, D.D.S., founder of the Save a Smile program
     Dr. E. Dale Martin, D.D.S., a UT Arlington Distinguished Alumnus who earned a B.S. in Chemistry in 1978 with four minors, received a special award in Recognition of Outstanding Service To The Dental Profession 2011-12 from the Fort Worth District Dental Society at their annual Spring Fling on May 22.
     Martin also received the award in 2002. He was nominated for this year’s award because of his work with the Children’s Oral Health Coalition, which works to improve the oral health of children in Tarrant County, especially underserved children.
     “Fort Worth is a shining example of a place that provides service back to the community,” Martin said. “We work with a great organization run through Cook Children’s Hospital called Save a Smile, which provides free care to kids from low-income families in Tarrant County. I’m humbled to get the award, but I’m surrounded by so many good people who are every bit as deserving of recognition.”
     To learn more about the Children’s Oral Health Coalition, click here.
Lopez helping shape new national science education standards for K-12 students
     
Lopez
Ramon Lopez, professor of physics, has been honored nationally for his role in elevating science education. So, it's a natural that he would be involved in the Next Generation Science Standards, an ongoing effort to create a new set of standards for science education for the United States.
     In 2010, Lopez was asked to serve on the leadership team that would guide the work of a 41-member writing team composed of educators from numerous states. The process began with the development of "A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas," a document that was produced by a committee of the National Research Council, the operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences. The writing team's first public draft of the Standards based on the Framework was released in late May. They will receive all comments about the first draft and make a second draft.
     To read a Q&A about Lopez’s involvement in the Next Generation Science Standards effort, click here.
Mohanty, Mandal part of team receiving NSF grant to study behavior of motor proteins
Mandal Mohanty
     UT Arlington researchers have been awarded a $300,000 National Science Foundation grant to study a new model for how motor proteins behave in the body.
     Their 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.
"If proven, their study could radically change the face of engineering and science at the nano scale and our understanding of the dynamics and movement of very small objects in a fluid environment," Bardet said.
     Alan Bowling, an assistant professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, is the lead investigator. Samarendra Mohanty, assistant professor of physics, and Subhrangsu Mandal, an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, are co-principal investigators in the project.
     The NSF award is funded through the Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research, or EAGER program. The grants are used to support exploratory work in its early stages on untested, but potentially transformative, research ideas or approaches.
     To read more on this story, click here.
Mattioli taking leave to serve as director for geodetic infrastructure program at UNAVCO
Mattioli
Mattioli
     Glen Mattioli, a UT Arlington professor of earth and environmental sciences, will spend the next year as 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.
     Among the consortium's numerous projects are the Plate Boundary Observatory, which has given scientists vast information about plate boundary deformation in the Western U.S., and a new endeavor called COCONet, which will increase GPS monitoring of earthquake and hurricane activity in Haiti and surrounding countries.
     To read more on this story, click here.
Gatchel co-authoring six-volume handbook
series on occupational health and wellness
Gatchel
Gatchel

     Dr. Robert J. Gatchel, holder of the Nancy P. & John G. Penson Endowed Professorship in Clinical Health Psychology and department chair, is co-author of 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 is co-authoring the series with Dr. Izabela Schultz, a professor of Rehabilitation Psychology at the University of British Columbia.
     The first handbook analyzes and synthesizes the current research base in its theoretical, empirical, and practical dimensions. This first handbook begins with an insightful overview of the field and conceptual models shaping current research and practice, then moves on to major symptoms and disorders in the workplace (e.g., pain syndromes, cancer) and risk factors for illness and injury. Chapters examine, in depth, epidemiology and assessment issues, gender and cultural considerations, health promotion, and illness prevention, and feature an evolving study of academic nursing program directors as they address occupational health challenges. Best-practice guidelines for preventing and intervening with workplace health and mental health problems are included as well.
     To learn more about the book and to purchase it online, click here.

MacDonnell team presents research on anti-cancer compounds at Fort Worth conference
MacDonnell

     A UT Arlington team researching ruthenium compounds as possible anti-
cancer drugs has discovered a way to make their complexes more effective against cancer cells and less toxic to healthy cells in lab tests.
     Frederick MacDonnell, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, presented his work this month at the 24th International Symposium on Chiral Discrimination in Fort Worth. His presentation was called: "In vitro and in vivo responses to the chirality of ruthenium-based anti-cancer drugs."
     Platinum-based drugs are currently the first line of treatment for many cancer patients. Scientists working with similar elements, such as ruthenium, hope to develop effective, less toxic alternative chemotherapy drugs.
     To read more on this story, click here.

Mydlarz presents research on effects of ocean temps on coral reefs at conference
Mydlarz
Mydlarz

     Laura Mydlarz, assistant professor of biology, who is working with colleagues in Puerto Rico to assess the effects of warming ocean temperatures on coral reefs will present her research at the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium in Australia in July.
     Mydlarz organized and is co-chairing a series of talks on “Immune defenses of coral reef organisms” at this summer’s conference. Coral reefs worldwide are threatened by pollution, over-fishing and climate change.
     Mydlarz has found that different species of Caribbean coral respond differently to environmental stressors, like warming waters and disease. Some, such as the Porites astreoides or “mustard hill coral,” have more successful, robust immune responses than others. These coral species may survive while other susceptible species perish, changing the reef landscape forever.
     “Coral reefs are among the most biologically diverse places in the world, with thousands of fish species alone calling them home,” said Mydlarz. “The documented decline of coral cover is a serious threat not only to this diversity, but the livelihoods of communities living on the coast. Knowing more about their susceptibility to disease will help us predict future changes and challenges.”
     To read more on this story, click here.

New physics grad Villalobos receives $4,000 SPIE Scholarship in Optics and Photogenics

     Alex Villalobos, who graduated with a B.S. degree in Physics in May with Magna Cum Laude honors, has been awarded a highly-competitive SPIE Scholarship in Optics and Photonics in the amount of $4,000.
     Villalobos is an All-Texas Academic Team scholar whose interest in medicine and research has led him to contribute to communities across South, Central and North America, and also to discover new ways to use optics in biophysical research and to inspire young audiences to admire science.
     “As an aspiring medical researcher, I hope my community and research work at various prestigious institutions across the country will continue to contribute to a new generation of better appreciation, admiration and applications of photonics methods,” Villalobos said.
     In 2011-12, Villalobos received several travel grants to attend SPIE and other national and international conferences. He is a student researcher in the lab of Samar Mohanty, assistant professor of physics. He has conducted extensive research with 3D molecular imaging software to find ways to develop 3D models for data acquired in Mohanty’s Biophysics and Physiology Group.
     In April, Villalobos was invited to join the Pi Kappa Phi Honors Society.

Jansma talks about recent minor quakes in Johnson County on KTVT Channel 11 report
Jansma
Jansma

     Pamela Jansma, dean of the College of Science, was interviewed for a KTVT/CBS 11 news story June 26 about a recent rash of small earthquakes in Johnson County.
     Jansma says experts are researching area natural gas drilling, including the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as a reason for the earthquakes. Waste water reinjection could also be a reason, but as of now, there’s no definitive connection.
     “Whether or not anything happening now is associated with water injection, we just have no idea,” Jansma said.
     To watch the report, click here.

Department of Mathematics hosts NSF-CBMS conference on computed tomography

Attendees of the NSF-CBMS Computed Tomography conference in front of Pickard Hall.

     Mathematics faculty members Tuncay Aktosun, Gaik Ambartsoumian and Julianne Chung organized a National Science Foundation-Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences (CBMS) Conference on Mathematical Methods of Computed Tomography in Pickard Hall from May 29-June 2, sponsored by an NSF grant.
     The conference featured distinguished professor Peter Kuchment of Texas A&M University, who delivered 10 lectures on the mathematics of tomographic imaging. Leonid Kunyansky of the University of Arizona lectured on the algorithmic and numerical aspects of tomography, and David Isaacson of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, talked about electrical impedance imaging. Poster displays were another feature of the conference.
     The goal of computed tomography is to recover the interior structure of a non-transparent object by using external measurements. One of its major applications is in medical diagnostic imaging, where several more classical as well as newly developed techniques (X-ray, CT scan, etc.) strive to recover the internal distribution of various tissue parameters such as density, water content, oxygenation, hemoglobin content, electrical conductivity, optical absorption and scattering coefficients, and stiffness. Knowledge of these parameters plays a crucial role in medical diagnostics, particularly in early cancer and pulmonary edema detection. In such applications the so-called tomogram (the map of the internal distribution of parameters of interest) is obtained not by direct measurements, but rather by applying mathematical techniques to the externally measured data to extract the image.
     For more on the conference, click here.

    

Franklin talks about decline in number of frogs and toads in Dallas-Fort Worth area

     Carl Franklin, biological curator at the UT Arlington Amphibian and Reptile Diversity Research Center and president of the DFW Herpetological Society, said he has observed an alarming decline among local frog populations, Pegasus News reported in June 19 article.
     Franklin said several toad species once abundant in Dallas County have become scarce. Tarrant County has more diversity due to less development, but that is changing.
     Frogs play an integral role of the food chain, eating a variety of pest insects, including mosquitos. However, Franklin said that fact has so far not been enough to get the attention of the public.
     “You can tell people till your blue in the face that they eat bugs,” he said. “That doesn’t change behavior.”
     To read the article, click here.