MAVERICK SCIENCE E-News
  The University of Texas at Arlington College of Science August/September 2012  
Welcome to the August/September 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.
College of Science welcomes 10 new faculty members for 2012-13 academic year  

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

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. The Fall 2012 schedule, featuring the new public show Experience the Aurora, runs now through December 2. See the full Fall schedule 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
     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 coinvestigators 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 for Fall 2012 include: Alejandro Bugarin, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry; Todd Castoe, assistant professor of biology; Saiful Chowdhury, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry; Matthew Fujita, assistant professor of biology; Joseph Ngai, assistant professor of physics; Matthew Walsh, assistant professor of biology; Melissa Walsh, lecturer in biology. New faculty members for Spring 2013 include: Asish Basu, professor and chairman of earth and environmental science; Elizabeth Griffith, assistant professor of earth and environmental science; and W. Ashley Griffith, assistant professor of earth and environmental science.
     For more on this story, click here.
Veerabathina honored by UT Board of Regents with teaching excellence award
From left, UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, Vice Chairman R. Steven Hicks, Nilakshi Veerabathina and Chairman of the Board of Regents Gene Powell at a ceremony honoring Regent award recipients August 22.
     Nilakshi Veerabathina, lecturer in physics, is among seven UT Arlington faculty members to be honored this year by The University of Texas System Board of Regents for excellence in the classroom.
     In all, 65 educators from across the UT System were honored and will share $1.8 million in awards and were honored August 22 during a special ceremony in Austin.
     "I am humbled by the honor and I believe it corroborates my teaching philosophy," Veerabathina said. "The Department of Physics and the College of Science at UT Arlington have provided an academic environment that helped me channel my enthusiasm and utilize my knowledge and teaching skills in a uniquely effective way, and I feel thankful to everyone at UT Arlington that has made it possible for me to receive this prestigious award."
     The UT System award isn't the first to recognize Veerabathina for her teaching excellence. Last year, she was received the UT Arlington Faculty Service Learning Award, which is given to faculty members for innovations in engaged scholarship that integrates service learning into the curriculum.
     Read more on this story here.
Campbell receives 2012 Henry S. Fitch Award from national herpetology society
Campbell
     Jonathan Campbell, a UT Arlington biology professor known for traveling into the remotest regions of Central and South America to catalogue biodiversity, has received the 2012 Henry S. Fitch Award for Excellence in Herpetology, a national honor given by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists.
     The annual award was announced this summer at the 7th World Congress of Herpetology in Vancouver, Canada. The prize is awarded to an individual for longterm excellence in the study of amphibian and/or reptile biology, based principally on the quality of the awardee's research; consideration is also given to educational and service impacts of the individual's career.
     "Our awardee's scientific career has been one of discovery, finding and describing unknown species, and synthesizing the body of knowledge on Latin American herpetology," Jonathan Losos, Harvard professor and herpetology curator of the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, said in introducing Campbell's recognition.
     Read more on this story here.
University's new Math Emporium aims to boost students' success in college algebra
Weichao Wang, a Math Emporium lab instructor, explains some of the new software being used in the emporium to James Epperson, associate professor of math, during the emporium's grand opening on September 7.
     Seeking to turn around troubling statistics that plague universities nationwide, UT Arlington has instituted a new pilot program aimed at improving students' grades in college algebra courses.
     The University's College Algebra Math Emporium, a 5,000-square-foot space in Pickard Hall, opened in August and had its official grand opening on September 7. The emporium, a tutorial computer lab where students will spend two-thirds of their class time, is based on a model provided by the National Center for Academic Transformation (NCAT).
     The emporium model has students spend one-third of their class time in normal classroom instruction and the other two-thirds in the lab, where they have access to computers with specialized software and can work at their own pace. Graduate students serve as tutors and four will be available at all times when the lab is open. The room contains 102 desktop computers.
     Read more on this story here.
UT Arlington teaming up to make 'big-data' software in Higgs search widely available
De
     UT Arlington is teaming with the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven and Argonne national laboratories to develop a universal version of PanDA, a workload management system built to process huge volumes of data from experiments at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland.
     The new project will bolster science and engineering research that relies on "big data," a priority recently promoted by The White House. The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research has awarded a combined $1.7 million to Brookhaven and UT Arlington to fund the PanDA work over the next three years.
      "PanDA has been an extremely useful piece of software. We could not have found the Higgs without it," said Kaushik De, physics professor and director of UT Arlington's Center of Excellence for High Energy Physics. "It's been used by thousands of physicists around the world. We thought, 'Wouldn't it be nice if we repackaged it so others could use it too?' So, we proposed generalizing PanDA as a meta-application."
     Read more on this story here.
Pierce receives $300K grant from NSF to study new class of sulfur-oxidation enzymes
Pierce
     The National Science Foundation has awarded a three-year, $300,000 grant to a UT Arlington biochemist working to unravel the mystery of how enzymes regulate the human body.
     Brad Pierce, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, is studying a new class of enzymes that are catalysts for the oxidation, or breaking down, of sulfur-bearing molecules in the body.
     Enzymes involved in sulfur-oxidation are increasingly being recognized as potential drug targets for development of antimicrobials and therapies for cancer and inflammatory diseases such as arthritis. "Ironically, while sulfur is considered one of the six primordial elements necessary for life to exist, enzymes involved in sulfur metabolism remain poorly understood." said Pierce.
     Read more on this story here.
Jensen-Campbell discusses bullying in the workplace during TV interview with KTVT
Jensen-Campbell
     Lauri Jensen-Campbell, associate professor of psychology, was interviewed in a story about workplace bullying by KTVT/Channel 11 TV on September 5.
     Jensen-Campbell said that bullying is not always physical and can include verbal and social types of aggression. "In the work-place, usually it will be things like purposely leaving [you] out of a meeting to harm your chances of getting a promotion or purposely forwarding an email that might get [you] in trouble or harm your reputation," Jensen-Campbell said. She also discussed her research into child bullying, as part of the special segment, "Take a Stand Against Bullying."
     Watch the September 5 segment here.
Mattioli part of team studying earthquakes off coasts of Nicaragua and Costa Rica
Halldor Geirsson took this photo of the eruption of San Cristobal volcano in Nicaragua on September 8.
     Glen Mattioli, professor of earth and environmental science, is helping collect and analyze data following two powerful earthquakes in the past three weeks in Central America.
     Mattioli is on leave from UT Arlington this year to serve as program director for geodetic infrastructure at UNAVCO, a National Science Foundation and NASA-funded university consortium based in Boulder, Colo., whose mission is to foster geodetic science around the world.
     Mattioli, a team of students from UT Arlington, and Dr. Henry Turner from the University of Arkansas were in Nicaragua in July collecting GPS data. Mattioli and College of Science Dean Pamela Jansma have an NSF-funded project to study the neotectonics of Nicaragua, where they have been working since 2000. On August 27, soon after the UTA team left, a magnitude 7.3 earthquake occurred off-shore. Penn State student Halldor Geirsson and a field engineer from UNAVCO returned to Nicaragua to obtain post-earthquake GPS data and to upgrade GPS infrastructure in Nicaragua as part of the pan-Caribbean COCONet project.
     On September 5, a magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck offshore Costa Rica. Geirsson, working in concert with UNAVCO, UTA and INETER, the Nicaraguan agency responsible for monitoring earthquakes and volcanoes, is now using instruments, including some deployed immediately from UT Arlington, to gather surface deformation data resulting from both quakes in the region. The San Cristobal volcano began erupting while measurements were being taken.
     "Our GPS observations will be critical data to constraining the Mw7.3 event of August 27 offshore El Salvador and Nicaragua, and the Mw7.6 event of September 5 in the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica," Mattioli said.
     More information on the earthquakes can be found on the U.S. Geological Survey website here and here, on the UNAVCO website here. For more on COCONet, click here.
Paulus delivers talk on the creative group mind at Herbert A. Simon Society workshop
Gatchel
Paulus

     Paul Paulus, professor of psychology and former dean of science, delivered a talk at a workshop of the Herbert A. Simon Society on September 10 in Trento, Italy.
     Paulus' talk, "Understanding the Creative Group Mind", was followed by a discussion and a roundtable.
     The Simon Society is named for Herbert Simon, winner of the 1978 Nobel Prize for Economics, who was the first to challenge radically the model of rationality used by neoclassical economics and which was the origin of the recent financial crisis and of the many forecasting errors made by national and international financial institutions.
     The society's objective is to contribute to reformulating economic theory by starting with the many non-neoclassical directions that have been developed in recent years, in particular behavioral and cognitive economics, neo-institutional economics, evolutionary economics, and organization theory.
     For more on the Herbert A. Simon Society, click here.

Lopez discusses possible dangers of solar magnetic storms on national radio program
Gatchel
Lopez

     Ramon Lopez, professor of physics, was a guest on the Coast-to-Coast AM radio program on August 22, talking about space weather. He discussed sun cycles and potential solar storms that could knock out power grids, satellites and communications.
     The solar magnetic field transfers the roiling energy of the sun into electrical energy, which heats the upper atmosphere of the sun, which then becomes so hot that it travels out into space as the solar wind, he explained. As the solar wind streams past the Earth's magnetic field, some of its energy is captured and released as electric currents that flow down to the polar regions. If this current is strong enough, it will cause the upper atmosphere to light up in what we see as the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights, he said.
     Despite recent advances in our ability to predict space weather, satellite data currently gives us only a one-hour lead time on how activity from the sun may affect Earth, Lopez said. Super magnetic storms have been occurring on the sun throughout history, but it's only in recent times that they could have a significant impact on us by damaging our technology. Lopez cited a solar event from 1859 in which the telegraph system was knocked out for a week. North America's power grid is particularly vulnerable to solar flare damage, he warned.
     Lopez's book, Storms from the Sun, is available from the National Academies Press. It can be downloaded for free here.

Walsh's research on evolution-ecology connection featured in Science magazine
Mydlarz
Walsh

     Matt Walsh, assistant professor in biology, was included in a story about how evolution affects ecology in the August 24 edition of Science magazine.
     Walsh, a former postdoctoral fellow at Yale University who joined the UT Arlington faculty in August, helped conduct research at Yale with David Post on the alewife, a fish that lives in lakes in eastern North America, and how it shapes and is shaped by its freshwater ecosystem. Their research has shown how these so-called eco-evo effects can ripple across a food web in unexpected ways, the article said.
     They looked at whether the ecological impact of the alewife on Daphnia zoo-plankton had evolutionary consequences for the Daphnia as well, the article states. Walsh collected eggs from the sediments of lakes with landlocked alewives, as well as lakes that were still connected to the sea and those that had no alewives at all. Then, he raised several generations of Daphnia in the lab. He found genetically based differences: Daphnia from lakes with anadromous alewives grew faster, matured sooner, and produced many more offspring than Daphnia from landlocked or ale-wife-free lakes, the article said.
     Read the full story here.

Corduneanu, Liu, Su deliver talks at World Congress of Non-Linear Analysts in Greece
Mydlarz Mydlarz Mydlarz
Corduneanu Liu Su

     Constantin Corduneanu, professor emeritus in math, and Chaoqun Liu, professor of math, served as organizer and chair of the 6th World Congress of Non-Linear Analysts 2012, held June 25-July 1 in Athens, Greece.
     Corduneanu also delivered the keynote address, "Interaction between Mathematics and Other Fields of Science." Liu also delivered a talk, "New Theory on Turbulence Generation and Sustenance by Direct Numerical Simulation."
     Jianzhong Su, professor and chair of the math department, also delivered a talk, "A Globally Convergent Method for an Inverse Problem of Diffusive Optimal Tomography and its Experimental Applications".
     Portions of the conference were held in the Zappeion, a building which was used during the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.
     Read more about the conference here.

Musielak quoted in LA Times story on key test flight for unmanned hypersonic aircraft
Jansma
Musielak

     Dora Musielak, adjunct professor in physics, was quoted in an August 13 story in the Los Angeles Times about an unmanned experimental aircraft which attempted to fly at Mach 6 for 300 seconds.
     Aerospace engineers say that harnessing technology capable of sustaining hypersonic speeds is crucial to the next generation of missiles, military aircraft, spacecraft — and even passenger planes. "Once the military proves out the concept, hypersonic transport becomes a step closer to reality," said Musielak, whose research focuses on high-speed propulsion.
     The attempt proved unsuccessful due to a broken fin which caused the missile to lose control before its air-breathing motor could kick in.
     Read the LA Times story here.

McMahon warns of further spread of zebra mussels in area lakes in Star-Telegram story
Jansma
McMahon

     Robert McMahon, professor emeritus in biology, was quoted in an August 18 story in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about the spread of zebra mussels into Lake Ray Roberts in Denton County.
     The appearance of the invasive species - which can wipe out other mussels and wreak havoc with lakes' ecosystems - in Lake Ray Roberts has led officials to believe it will only be a matter of time until they make their way into other area lakes.
     "The concern now is that it puts Lake Lewisville at the threat of infestation. With boater movement, it could then easily move to other North Texas lakes," said McMahon, who has been sampling at area lakes to see how far the zebra mussels have spread.
     Read the Star-Telegram story here.

McNair Scholars, mentors honored for 2012 summer research work at annual banquet
     The McNair Scholars Program held its 2012 Summer Research Banquet to recognize the achievements of interns and their mentors on August 3 at the Central Library's 6th floor atrium. Senior Vice-Provost Michael Moore and Dean of the Graduate School Philip Cohen were guest speakers.
     Each year, up to 15 of the 30 McNair Scholars engage in a research internship mentored by ad faculty member in their major. They plan the
Jansma Jansma Jansma
Colinot Ghanem Nshimiyimana
project in the spring and execute it over the summer, producing an abstract, paper and Power Point presentatathematics, mentored by Tuncay Aktosuion.
     This summer's participants and their faculty mentors included: Darrelle Colinot, biology, mentored by Jeffrey Demuth, assistant professor of biology; Norma Ghanem, mathematics, mentored by Tuncay Aktosun, professor of mathematics; Jean-Luc Nshimiyimana, biochemistry, mentored by Rasika Dias, professor of chemistry/biochemistry; Patricia Vignaux, biology, mentored by Michael Roner, associate professor of biology; Khanh Vu, biology, mentored by Kytai Nguyen, associate professor of bioengineering.
Jansma Jansma
Vignaux Vu
     McNair Scholars are undergraduates from disadvantaged or underrepresented in graduate education backgrounds. The program's goal is better to prepare participants for future graduate study leading to a Ph.D. and a career in academia. This year's recruitment period is October 1-November 2. An open house will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, October 10 in Ransom Hall Room 202.
     For more on the McNair Scholars Program, click here.

 

Panchal receives travel award to present research at molecular plant conference
Jansma
Panchal

     Shweta Panchal, a Ph.D. student in biology, received an National Science Foundation travel award to present her research at the XV International Congress on Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions held on July 29-August 2 in Kyoto, Japan.
     Panchal, a student of assistant professor of biology Maeli Melotto, presented her recent findings on environmental factors that modulate plant immunity and bacterial pathogenesis favoring either the host or the bacteria side of the model pathosystem Arabidopsis/Pseudomonas.
     In April, Panchal received the Outstanding Graduate Research Award in Biology for the academic year 2011-12 and also received the William L. and Martha Hughes Scholarship.
     Find more information about the conference here.