UTA Magazine
Summary of research achievements on campus

NANOTECHNOLOGY FUNDING. UTA recently received $1.9 million for nanotechnology research as part of a $10 million award from the U.S. Department of Defense to the Strategic Partnership for Research in Nanotechnology. U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, who made the announcement in April, calls the funding the largest congressional investment to date in this emerging arena. UTA is using the funds to add research labs and equipment, including an electron microscope capable of viewing objects less than one nanometer in size. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter, or roughly 10,000 times narrower than a human hair. Nanotechnology, the art of manipulating materials on an atomic or molecular scale to develop lighter and more durable goods, is one of the fastest-growing sciences in the nation. UTA’s research involves the development of improved chemical and radiation detector technology to help track and thwart potential terrorist acts.

HATCHING NEW BUSINESSES. Genesis Medical Systems, an Arlington Technology Incubator company, has developed a product that enables communication between health care deliverers and patients who physically cannot communicate with them. Called Verbal-Eyes, the product allows the patient to give information to doctors or other caregivers by using a mouse or a keypad to respond to questions. Verbal-Eyes automatically converts Spanish to English and can be modified for other languages. Its developers say it is the first affordable product of its kind in the health care market. Established in 2001, the Arlington Technology Incubator is a collaboration among UTA, the city of Arlington and the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. It helps fledgling technology companies, particularly those with roots in UTA’s colleges of Science, Engineering and Business Administration, develop into successful businesses.

NOVEL TUMOR TREATMENT. Biomedical engineering Assistant Professor Yueqing Gu has received a prestigious New Investigator Award to improve the treatment of prostate tumors. The $327,000 grant is one of only 29 such awards presented by the Department of Defense last year. Dr. Gu is working with co-investigators to develop a non-invasive imaging system for evaluating the effectiveness of therapeutic drug delivery by biodegradable fibers to a prostate tumor. The system would measure hemoglobin distribution within the tumor and show blood vessel development. In a tumor undergoing chemotherapy by biodegradable fibers, changes in oxygen levels and vascular growth or decay indicate whether or not the current level of treatment is effective. Assisting with the research are biomedical engineering faculty members Hanli Liu, Kevin Nelson and Liping Tang. While conducting breast cancer research at Dr. Liu’s laboratory, Gu realized that using near-infrared light could have similar applications in chemotherapeutic prostate tumor treatments. The Defense Department’s Prostate Cancer Research Program grant will fund the project for three years.

NEVER HOME ALONE. The MavPad, UTA’s smart home environment, continues to make national headlines. A video crew for HGTV’s American Home 2005 recently taped a segment in the futuristic one-bedroom campus apartment inhabited by one student. The show will demonstrate the dwelling’s smart home aspects and feature an interior designer offering ideas on improving its décor. With 150 sensors wired to four computers, the MavPad can learn about its inhabitants, respond to their actions and anticipate their needs. The sensors facilitate the control of heating, air conditioning, media preferences, lights, blinds and many other devices. The smart apartment has been featured on the NBC Nightly News and in The Wall Street Journal. Though data collection has been under way for several months, it’s only the latest portion of a research project that the Computer Science and Engineering Department began in 2001. That’s when Professor Diane Cook secured a $1.16 million grant from the National Science Foundation to develop the artificial intelligence necessary for a smart home to monitor, reason and react to living patterns and preferences. All sensors and applications used in the MavPad were integrated and tested in Dr. Cook’s artificial intelligence laboratory before being installed.

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