Two UTA faculty honored for outstanding research

Sun and Varanasi recognized for their creative accomplishments

Tuesday, Apr 30, 2024 • Katherine Egan Bennett : contact

Venu Varanasi
Venu Varanasi, associate professor in the Bone Muscle Research Center

The University of Texas at Arlington is honoring two faculty for their outstanding contributions to research.

Yuze (Alice) Sun, associate professor of electrical engineering, and Venu Varanasi, associate professor in the Bone Muscle Research Center, are the 2024 recipients of the University Award for Outstanding Research Achievement or Creative Accomplishment. This award recognizes faculty members for achieving significant research or creative accomplishments during the past three years.

“Alice and Venu are truly bright stars on the faculty at UT Arlington,” said Kate C. Miller, vice president of research and innovation. “Both have made remarkable contributions to science and engineering over the past three years.”

Colleagues in the College of Engineering nominated Sun for her contributions to the research and development of lasers and sensors, particularly those used in medical applications. Over the past three years, she has produced innovative work in optofluidic lasers, photonic crystal sensors, wearable gas analyzers, micro-gas chromatography, novel bio/chemical sensing and nanophotonic scintillators.

“In a short period, Dr. Sun has demonstrated an impressive track record in securing funding from major agencies, such as the National Science Foundation, the Army Research Office, the Department of Energy and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, totaling $6.2 million,” said Michael Vasilyev, professor of electrical engineering. “In addition, her research has been published in more than 90 journal articles, and she holds three patents for her work.”

“It’s an honor to be recognized by my colleagues,” Sun said. “It’s a testament to the great support available in UTA’s College of Engineering that we have accomplished so much these past few years.”

Throughout Varanasi’s career, he has focused on developing novel materials that have contributed to scientific advancements in industries such as health care, energy and aerospace—innovations that led to his induction into the National Academy of Inventors as a senior member. One innovation: He created a new surgical model of tissue repair that uses in situ bioprinting to repair damaged tissue by “reprinting” missing parts of a broken bone or torn muscle to accelerate tissue repair.

“I strive for opportunities where I can leverage my engineering and basic science expertise to develop clinical solutions, especially ones that solve hard-to-treat injuries like volumetric muscle loss and large bone defects,” Varanasi said. “I am grateful to all the multidisciplinary researchers at UTA who are part of the teams that have made the development of these solutions possible. I credit much of my success to the tireless efforts of my mentees, and I strive to help them achieve their own career advancements.”

Varanasi has authored more than 45 publications, book chapters and peer-reviewed proceedings that have been cited more than 1,200 times.

“Dr. Varanasi has firmly established himself as a leader in tissue engineering and a mentor, having supervised several doctoral students and advised many junior faculty in his lab,” said R. Matthew Brothers, chair of graduate programs in exercise medicine. “He has distinguished himself in technology development, patenting innovations and commercialization activities.”

Yuze Alice Sun
Yuze (Alice) Sun, associate professor of electrical engineering