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News Archive 2001 - 2010

Engineering Faculty Receive Grants to Conduct Basic Research

June 3, 2010

Three College of Engineering faculty members were among the eight researchers across all kinds of disciplines at UT Arlington to receive a total of just under $976,000 in grants from the Norman Hackerman Advanced Research Program, a competitive, peer-reviewed grant program created by the Texas Legislature and administered by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

The purpose of the program is to encourage and provide support to faculty members and students in Texas institutions of higher education, both public and independent, to conduct basic research. Of the eight receiving grants, the three researchers in the College of Engineering received almost $445,000.

Bioengineering Assistant Professor Kytai Nguyen received $196,460 for her study of “In Situ Rapidly Forming Biodegradable Hydrogels to Mediate Wound Healing.”

Complex wounds resulting from diabetes, surgeries, superficial burns and blast injuries are difficult to treat with favorable outcome. Dr. Nguyen is developing a nanoparticle composite hydrogels system, or “liquid bandage,” that can be easily applied on complex and irregular wounds to form a skin-like protective barrier. This novel liquid bandage would also provide a slow release of therapeutic agents to facilitate wound healing and prevent infection.

Dr. Nguyen’s liquid bandage will provide better effectiveness and cheaper cost as compared to current methods. In addition, it would provide a simple and convenient way to treat burn patients where skin grafts and substitutes are not applicable or obtainable. The soft and elastic bandage should greatly reduce scar tissue formation and skin contraction.

Computer Science & Engineering Assistant Professor Gautam Das received $50,860 as his portion of a $150,000 project, “Inter-Agency ‘Co-opetition’ via Hidden Web Databases,” that he is conducting with collaborators at UT Austin and Texas State University.

Structured hidden databases are widely prevalent on the Internet. They provide restricted form interfaces that allow users to execute search queries by specifying attributes of the desired records, and the system responds by ranking and returning a few hundred or so records with matching attributes. For example, the site cars.com allows users to search new and used cars by make, model, year, etc. and returns results for the top 1500, ranked by price.

However, this wide access presents two conflicting goals: provide information to the target audience while avoiding the release of private or sensitive information to competitors or malicious users.

Dr. Das and his associates will develop innovative data querying and analytical techniques that can simultaneously address both goals with minimal changes to existing interfaces. Since both effective information sharing and privacy/security issues are of central concern in recent efforts to share personal health records, law enforcement agency files and so forth, the impact and application of the proposed research will be immediate and broad.

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Assistant Professor Haiying Huang received $197,202 for her study of “Unpowered Wireless Ultrasound/Acoustic Emission Sensors for Structural Health Monitoring.”

With integrated sensing and data transmitting capabilities, these sensors are small in size, have a low profile, conform to any surface, and are inexpensive to fabricate.

In this project, Dr. Huang will develop unpowered wireless transmission of ultrasound and acoustic emission signals for quantitative and reliable structural health monitoring, something that has never been achieved before. Her proposed sensor will achieve wireless, full-wave transmission of signals without a local power source and perform self-diagnosis. This system will significantly enhance the performance of structural health monitoring technologies and broaden the applications for safety assurance of a wide range of engineered structures.

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