Developing Resources That Spur Innovation
State-of-the-art facilities equipped with the latest technological advancements provide faculty and students with the infrastructure they need to produce the next generation of inventions.
Though long a staple at UT Arlington, simulation in health care education is growing by leaps and bounds. Now, lessons learned at the University's Smart Hospital, a 13,000-square-foot center filled with computerized patients in realistic hospital units, are helping others explore the field.
The College of Nursing recently partnered with Laerdal Medical, a leader in simulation technology, to provide 100 simulation scenarios that can be purchased through Laerdal's SimStore.
UT Arlington will use the proceeds from the agreement to continue operating and expanding the Smart Hospital, whose virtual environment helps students think critically and develop confidence and competency in clinical skills.
"More and more, simulation facilities are filling the role of the laboratory situations that all of the nursing programs in the world have to provide," says Carolyn Cason, the University's interim vice president for research and director of the Center for Nursing Research. "Our potential market is a global one."
A tour of all the micromanufacturing research and production facilities in Texas would have only one stop: the Texas Microfactory at UT Arlington's Automation and Robotics Research Institute.
The microfactory houses a system of nanorobots that can construct novel materials 1,000 times smaller in diameter than a human hair. Using automation technology to program the robots, researchers can tailor-make nanomaterials that one day may revolutionize the defense, energy, and medical industries.
The system could be used to build ultra-sensitive sensors that detect tiny volumes of dangerous chemicals or biological agents and to create products that enable faster medical diagnosis and noninvasive surgical techniques. The nanomaterials also could improve the efficiency of energy storage and conversion. If a company wants to develop 500 units—or 2,000—the Texas Microfactory can devise the process and then produce the devices.
"We differentiate ourselves because we have a chain from innovation to research and development, prototyping, and pilot production," Texas Microfactory Director Harry Stephanou says.
SEEING THE LIGHT
Optics research keeps illuminating new discoveries in the Optical Medical Imaging Laboratory that UT Arlington bioengineers have occupied on the UT Southwestern Medical Center campus since 2008.
Using the leading-edge facility, bioengineering Assistant Professor George Alexandrakis and David Chen, director of UT Southwestern's Molecular Radiation Biology Division, are applying new imaging methods to study how cancer cells repair their DNA after radiation or chemotherapy. Their studies will contribute to a more detailed understanding of cancer treatment resistance.
"The eventual goal of the research is to kill cancer cells more efficiently and save the good cells," Dr. Alexandrakis says. "One of the challenges in treating cancer is that tumors are often embedded in good tissue. They're kind of mixed together."
He has received two grants worth $1.13 million for the work, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.