Research Magazine 2006

Real solutions to real problems

Dana Dunn
Dana Dunn, Ph.D. Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Better health care. A cleaner environment. A more robust economy. All emerge as life-enhancing outcomes of the explorations featured in The University of Texas at Arlington’s second issue of Research magazine.

On the health care front, our genome biologists are studying the genetic makeup of mosquitoes, fruit flies and other tiny creatures to better understand how to combat cancer, malaria, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease. UT Arlington chemists are exploring ways to create safer drugs and treat common ailments like a sore throat. Our Smart HospitalTM features lifelike mannequins that help students diagnose and treat simulated illnesses.

Researchers in our College of Science are tackling the environmental problems of arsenic-laced groundwater and greenhouse gases. Others are seeking greener chemical processes to make commercial polymers and pursuing cleaner methods to make renewable fuels like biodiesel. A microreactor developed by one of our engineers has economic as well as environmental advantages. By drastically reducing the time required to convert vegetable oil into biodiesel, the process slashes production costs considerably.

Ron Elsenbaumer
Ron Elsenbaumer, Ph.D. Vice President for Research Administration

Additional boosts to the economy come from successfully moving technology from the research lab to the marketplace. Two startups that graduated from the Arlington Technology Incubator have direct ties to UT Arlington. The companies, which originated from the research of two engineering professors, have far-reaching applications in the medical and defense industries.

In fact, the number of startup companies derived from UT Arlington technologies has increased four-fold since 2001. During the same period, invention disclosures increased by more than 500 percent and patents filed surged by more than 800 percent. Revenue from licensing has also increased significantly.

We have built powerful Web-based tools that allow our faculty to simply and effectively build collaborative partnerships across departments, colleges, academic institutions and even private industry. Collaborative interdisciplinary partnerships help speed research productivity as well as technology transfer to the marketplace.

Overall, research and sponsored activities funding at UT Arlington has increased by 80 percent since 2001. We’ve hired more than 50 research faculty in science and engineering and nearly 140 new faculty campuswide. Establishing more endowed chairs and professorships in targeted areas, such as nanoelectronics, is an important priority. Infrastructure additions include the Chemistry and Physics Building, which opened this year, and a recently approved engineering research facility that will be the largest building on campus when completed in 2010.

It’s all part of UT Arlington’s mission to achieve premier research status. Take a few minutes to read this Web site. We think you’ll agree that we’re well on our way.