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UTA In The News — Monday, January 5, 2015

Monday, January 5, 2015

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Search for life

Research by a UT Arlington astrophysicist sheds greater light on S-type and P-type binary stars and forms the basis for BinHab, a new online tool that can be used to calculate the regions of binary systems favorable for life, commonly known as habitable zones,, e Science News, Astronomy News Roundup, MacroInsider and several other websites reported.

A better method

A UT Arlington study in a recent edition of Analytica Chimica Acta shows that a new, more sensitive method of detecting trace amounts of estrogen in small samples could improve research into cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions, Health Canal, Red Orbit, Science Newsline and many other websites reported. The technique, which was developed by UT Arlington scientists and colleagues from Palacký University in the Czech Republic, uses chromatography instrumentation and mass spectrometry to detect trace amounts of the hormone at less than 10 parts per trillion in a 100 microliter sample – equal to a drop of water in 20 Olympic-size swimming pools.

National Academy of Inventors

Daniel Armstrong, UT Arlington Robert A. Welch Chair in Chemistry, was recognized in the Dallas Business Journal for being named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. Robert Timmons, UT Arlington distinguished professor in the College of Science, also was elected a fellow to NAI, the Journal reported. Both will be inducted March 20, 2015, as part of the 4th Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Cartoons and politics

Dallas NPR station, KERA 90.1 FM, broadcast a PRI/The World interview with Ritu Khanduri, UT Arlington cultural anthropologist, about R. K. Laxman, the famed Times of India cartoonist who created the iconic character, The Common Man. Khanduri interviewed Laxman at length for her new book, Caricaturing Culture in India: Cartoons and History in the Modern World. A version of the radio report also appears on the PRI website.

Cartographic connection

NPR affiliate, WMFE 90.7 FM in Orlando, Fla., interviewed Ben Huseman, cartographic archivist in the UT Arlington Special Collections Library, about early European mapmaking and the difficulties 16th century expeditions had in producing maps of Florida.

Dasgupta's contributions recognized

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers board of directors last month named Purnendu Dasgupta, the UT Arlington Jenkins Garrett Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, a Fellow for his contributions to ion chromatography and analytical instrumentation for environmental studies, India West reported. In all, about 35 among the 300 researchers worldwide qualified for Fellow status, which was effective Jan. 1.

Siemens' new role

Civitas Learning announced that George Siemens, UT Arlington executive director of the Learning Innovation and Networked Knowledge Research Lab, has been named to its 10-member national advisory board, reported. Members of the advisory board will join Civitas Learning’s growing leadership team and Pioneer Partners in supporting college and university innovation aimed at helping a million more students each year succeed on their higher education journeys.

The genome of birds

A global association of more than 200 scientists -- including two from UT Arlington -- recently released findings from an unprecedented study regarding the genome of birds, Dallas CultureMap reported. Biologists Todd Castoe and Matthew Fujita and the rest of the Avian Phylogenomics Consortium released 28 papers earlier this month detailing the genetic codes of nearly 50 birds and three crocodilian species, in the most comprehensive avian family tree to date. The research offers a big-picture understanding of how birds evolved in what is described as the avian “big bang” after the dinosaurs went extinct 66 million years ago.

Equine-assisted therapy

Equine-assisted therapy has been known to help motor-skill diseases and maladies, Refreshing News 99 reported. However, how effective those therapies are in treating mental or behavioral issues hasn't completely been uncovered. "It's really only possible to say with any confidence that there's empirical evidence that equine-assisted activities appear to be helpful as a complementary treatment for a range of disorders," said Alexa Smith-Osborne, a UT Arlington associate professor of social work, who studied equine-assisted therapy." And for people who have not responded well to first-line treatments, it does show promise."

Holiday returns

Holiday returns can come with minimal stress, the Detroit Free Press reported. Narayan Janakiraman, a UT Arlington associate professor of marketing, who writes about return policies, said if a more flexible return policy is offered, it increases the perceived quality of the product and decreases perceived risk. "Return policies increase the likelihood of a purchase."

New leader

The University of Texas at Arlington has named Michael K. Kingan as Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations, MyFox NEPA in Plains, Pa., and many other websites reported. Kingan is a former senior vice president and chief development officer for The University of New Mexico Foundation with more than two decades of success in advancement positions.

Officer remembered

KXAS/NBC 5 noted a program by UT Arlington that focuses on the study of family violence, which was started in honor of UT Arlington alumna and Arlington Police Officer Jillian Smith, who died in the line of duty four years ago.

Students win NTx Apps Challenge

Three UT Arlington Computer Science and Engineering students have won a $10,000 prize in the NTx Apps Challenge for a smart traffic light network that adjusts traffic light schedules to make traffic flow more efficient, Informed Infrastructure reported. GridLock was developed by Zedd Shmais, James Staud and Nhat Tran. All are seniors from Fort Worth. The team created a real-time monitoring system that analyzes traffic conditions and enables better vehicular flow.

Area colleges seek $1.1 billion from Legislature

North Texas-area colleges are seeking $1.1 billion from the Legislature for construction and renovation, The Dallas Morning News reported. The Legislature convenes Jan. 13. Included in that amount is a $190 million request from UT Arlington for a Science and Engineering Innovation Research building and $99 million for a College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions Academic and Research building.

Texas lawmakers to feds: Leave us alone

State lawmakers hope to send a clear message to the federal government this year: Don’t mess with Texas, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. Already, more than a dozen bills have been filed to push back against what their sponsors say is a continued federal overreach. Allan Saxe, a UT Arlington associate professor of political science, said lawmakers could take these proposals and do more with them. “State legislators have more clout than most of us so they should utilize their political strength behind these proposals by contacting U.S. senators and representatives. Otherwise, not much will come of them except good window dressing.”