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UTA In The News — Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thursday, November 13, 2014

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Innovation in Space

A scientific instrument invented by Daniel W. Armstrong, professor and UT Arlington Robert A. Welch Chemistry Chair, is on board the Rosetta spacecraft’s Philae lander, which successfully landed on a comet Wednesday, KXAS/NBC 5, KTVT/CBS 11 and WBAP/Talk 820 AM reported. Armstrong’s chromatography column will be used by Philae to analyze samples from the comet for organic molecules. “We hope everything goes successfully and that they’re able to turn out a lot of very interesting and useful information,” Armstrong said.

Military marriage research

A KTVT/CBS 11 story focused on research that UT Arlington social work student Warren Ponder conducted about how couples cope during a military deployment. Warren, a married Army infantryman, was deployed to Iraq for 15 months. Regina Aguirre, an associate professor of social work, said, “if I can learn how to strengthen marriage and provide support to our military, that is phenomenal.”

Penotypic plasticity

Matthew Walsh, an assistant professor of biology at UT Arlington, recently published a paper in Proceedings of the Royal Society B that challenges current thinking on "phenotypic plasticity,” when an organism changes its trait expressions or physical characteristics, or those of its offspring, because of external factors, the website PhysOrg reported. Current theory says similar conditions will favor phenotype changes within and across generations. "The surprising aspect of our research is, they couldn't do both," said Walsh.

Repairing damage in the body

A University of Texas at Arlington physics team is using their expertise in the field of optics and photonics to advance new methods in areas such as mapping the neural circuitry of the brain and guiding neurons to potentially repair damage in the body, according to Photonics.com, Science Newsline and Medical Design Technology. Samarendra Mohanty, an assistant professor of physics, is co-author on two papers published this month, in PLOS ONE and Nature Scientific Reports.

Indigenous languages

Colleen Fitzgerald, Director of the Native American Languages Lab at The University of Texas at Arlington, was quoted on the website Global Voices about the Indigenous Language Challenge, an internet campaign to promote indigenous languages. Fitzgerald said programs in the U.S. and Canada that took children from Native families “had an immense effect on Native language acquisition.”