The University of Texas at Arlington College of Science Nov/Dec 2011  
Welcome to the November/December 2011 edition of Maverick Science E-News. This monthly e-newsletter provides information about College of Science events involving students, alumni, faculty and staff. To contribute items for inclusion, please send an email to If possible, please include a high-resolution headshot photo of those mentioned in your items.
Sharma to address College of Science grads at Fall 2011 Commencement ceremony    

For Alumni

UT Arlington Alumni
The Dr. Andy Baum
Memorial Fund

Andrew Baum
A special fund has been created to honor the memory of Dr. Andrew Baum, professor of Psychology and beloved member of the UT Arlington family, who died on Nov. 22, 2010. Donations to the fund may be mailed to: UTA College of Science/Dr. Andy Baum Memorial Fund
P.O. Box 19047
Arlington, TX 76019

Calendar of events

December 10-16
Final exams for Fall 2011 semester

Thursday, Dec. 15
College of Science Fall
2011 Commencement
12:30 p.m. at Texas Hall. Guest speaker will be alumnus Dr. Jivesh Sharma, M.D. (Biology '83) For more information, click here.

Friday, Feb. 3, 2012
UT Metroplex Day
at UT Arlington

A daylong event highlighting collaborative research opportunities between UT Arlington, UT Southwestern and UT Dallas.
For more information or to register click here.

Feb. 26-27, 2012
Fort Worth Regional
Science and Engineering Fair

Two days of activities for area high school and middle school students that puts the focus on science, with awards for best projects. For more on the fair, click here.
March 22-23, 2012
ACES symposium
at UT Arlington

The Annual Celebration of Excellence by Students (ACES) symposium is a university-wide, daylong event that showcases the best of our students' research and creativity. Undergraduate and graduate students work with faculty mentors in their disciplines to write and submit abstracts for the competition. The research symposium will be March 22 and the keynote address, by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, will be March 23. Research abstracts may be submitted now through Feb. 9, 2012. For more info, click here
The Planetarium at
UT Arlington

UT Arlington's planetarium, one of the finest in the nation, offers a variety of exciting shows and programs year-round and is now equipped with Digistar 4, the latest in planetarium software. The new Fall 2011 schedule has been released; see details here.
Maverick Science
New edition of Maverick Science coming soon
Read Maverick Science Magazine for the latest College of Science news and features about faculty, students and alumni. A new edition of Maverick Science is coming soon! Free print versions of the Fall 2010 edition are still available in the Dean’s Office (Life Sciences Room 206), or read the online version here.
COS T-Shirt
College of Science
T-shirts are here

Support the College of Science by wearing one of our COS T-shirts! They're short-sleeve, 100% cotton, with a small College of Science UT Arlington logo on the front and a full color logo on the back. They’re only $10 each! Available in S, M, L and XL sizes. Buy them in the Dean's Office (Life Sciences Room 206) or in Life Sciences Room 109.
The College of Science is now on Twitter
Facebook Logo Keep up with the College of Science on Twitter, the popular microblogging service utilizing instant messaging, SMS or a web interface. Keep up with the latest COS news via short “tweets” by following our feed @UTA_Science.
Follow the College of Science on Facebook
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Maverick Science
E-Newsletter Archives
     The College of Science will celebrate its newest group of graduates during its Fall 2011 Commencement ceremony at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 15 in Texas Hall.
     Guest speaker will be Dr. Jivesh Sharma, M.D., who earned a B.S. in Biology in 1983 and went on to graduate from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Following an internship and residency at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio, he was an Instructor and Clinical Fellow of Medical Oncology at the same institution.
     His core training is in cancer translational research, accelerating the delivery of new drugs from the "bench to the bedside". He is board certified in medical oncology.
     Dr. Sharma is a member of the clinical faculty of Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas. Because of his interest in technology, particularly as it relates to improving healthcare, he founded Health IT, a technology company that serves the health care industry by supporting the patient/provider relationship.
     For more information on Fall 2011 graduation, click here.
Jansma announces Su as new chairman of Math Department effective Jan. 1, 2012
     Jianzhong Su, a professor of mathematics who has served the department, College of Science and the University in numerous capacities in his career at UT Arlington, is taking on a new role - chair of the Department of Mathematics.
     Su will take the place of Jianping Zhu, who is leaving at semester's end to become dean of Graduate Studies at Cleveland State University (see story below). Su will assume his new role on Jan. 1, 2012.
     "Dr. Su is an outstanding scholar who has served the department, college and University in various capacities," Dean Pamela Jansma said. "He will do an excellent job. Dr. Su will take over as chair after six and a half years of tremendous leadership by Dr. Jianping Zhu. The department is on firm ground and we are confident that it will continue to thrive in the years to come under Dr. Su's guidance."
     Su came to UT Arlington in 1990. He earned a B.S. in Applied Mathematics from Shanghai Jaiotong University and a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Minnesota. In addition to his teaching duties, Su is Director of Graduate Studies for the math department and for the past 10 years has served as a trustee on the board of the Fort Worth Regional Science Fair. He also does award-winning research and received the College of Science Research Excellence Award in April.
     "I thank Dr. Zhu who did an excellent job as math department chairman during the last 6 and half years," Su said. "The department has grown tremendously in all areas. Especially, the math graduate program has doubled its size, with woman and minority students quadrupled. "The mathematics department is well positioned in UTA's thrust for reaching Tier One research university status. Math faculty has a strong research program in all major areas of mathematics. We attract a large number of students to math graduate and undergraduate degree programs, teacher programs, summer REUs, and many outreach activities. Many math faculty members also play significant roles in many ongoing interdisciplinary research projects throughout the university where mathematics serves as the crucial link connecting many areas of engineering, science, education, nursing and others."
Zhu honored for his 6 1/2 years of stellar leadership of math at farewell reception
Jansma and Zhu
Dean Pamela Jansma and Jianping Zhu at the farewell reception for Zhu on November 16.
     Jianping Zhu, professor of math and chair of the Department of Mathematics since 2005, is stepping down at the end of the semester to become dean of graduate studies at Cleveland State University. The department staff hosted a reception for Zhu on November 16, allowing faculty and staff the chance to thank Zhu for his many contributions to the department, college and University.
     Dean Pamela Jansma, psychology professor and former Dean Paul Paulus and a host of math faculty members and colleagues thanked Zhu and praised him for his unfailingly compassionate, calm and even-handed demeanor in dealing with the challenges of leading the department. They noted his hard work in strengthening the department's Ph.D. program, in hiring quality faculty and in raising the department's overall success to new heights. Associate Dean Krishnan Rajeshwar called Zhu a "quintessential gentleman" who will be missed by all.
     Zhu, who served four years as chair of the Department of Applied and Theoretical Mathematics at the University of Akron prior to coming to UT Arlington, expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to lead the department and said he would treasure his memories of his time with colleagues and students at UT Arlington.
     Zhu's research has been focused in the areas of applied mathematics, numerical analysis and parallel computation. He has B.S. and M.S. degrees in Computational Mechanics and a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics.
Gatchel receives Texas Psychological Association's lifetime achievement award
     Robert Gatchel, the chair of the College of Science's Department of Psychology, has been chosen to receive the Texas Psychological Association's 2011 Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award, that group's most prestigious honor.
     Gatchel, a distinguished professor of psychology, holds the Nancy P. & John G. Penson Endowed Chair of Clinical Health Psychology at The University of Texas at Arlington. His areas of research include the psychophysiology of stress and emotion, the co-occurrence of psychological and physical health disorders and aspects of chronic pain treatment.
     The criteria for the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award says it is given to a psychologist "who has a long and distinguished record of exemplary professional service" and is recognized by his colleagues in and outside the field of psychology.
      Read more on this story here.
Betrán receives grant to continue genomics work in improving reproductive knowledge
     Esther Betrán, associate professor in biology, has received a grant of nearly $670,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue examining the genomic structure of male fruit flies for clues about the way reproductive functions evolve.
     Betrán has proposed a scientific model in which gene duplication rapidly changes the function and characteristics of the testes tissue of the Drosophila, or fruit fly, while leaving the genomic structure of other tissues unchanged.
     The new grant will help Betrán test her theory that duplicate genes become fixed in the genome as long as they perform new and beneficial functions for male reproduction. She'll also explore how quickly these changes occur and how the genes manage to express only in testes by examining the evidence left behind in the genome of current species.
     Read more on this story here.
Pires da Silva provides sex-determination expertise for article on spider mite genome
Pires da Silva
Pires da Silva
     Andre Pires da Silva, an assistant professor of biology, is one of five principal investigators on a recent effort to map the genome of the two-spotted spider mite, or Tetranychus urticae, one of agriculture's most resilient and detrimental pests.
     Pires da Silva, an evolutionary biologist, examined and interpreted the genome results to learn more about the spider mite's reproduction. He found that the genes involved in determining what sex offspring develop into are unlike any other known examples in genomics.
     A paper on the project was published November 24 in the journal Nature. The lead author is Miodrag Grbić, a researcher at the University of Western Ontario.
     Read more on this story here.
UT Arlington, TCC form partnership to promote participation in geosciences
     UT Arlington and Tarrant County College are partnering to encourage students from underrepresented groups to consider majoring in the geosciences and to establish an easy transfer process between TCC and UT Arlington.
     Officials from the two institutions have received a $200,000, three-year grant from the National Science Foundation's Opportunities to Enhance Diversity in the Geosciences program. John Wickham, professor and chair of UT Arlington's Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, is the principal investigator for the grant. Co-principal investigators are Pamela Jansma, dean of the UT Arlington College of Science; Gary Smith, TCC interim vice president for academic affairs and dean of science; and Glen Mattioli, UT Arlington professor of earth and environmental sciences.
     Read more on this story here. A website,, has been created to provide more information about the program.
UT Arlington to host Fort Worth Regional Science and Engineering Fair on Feb. 26-27
     Hundreds of North Texas' most talented middle and high school students will gather February 26 and 27 at UT Arlington's new College Park Center for the 61st Fort Worth Regional Science and Engineering Fair.
     Entries are being accepted now with deadlines for some categories set for Dec. 17.
     The Fort Worth Regional Fair is the longest running science and engineering fair in Texas. It draws students from 10 counties, including Tarrant, Parker, Wise and Johnson counties. Students in grades 6 through 12 compete for cash prizes and the chance to advance to national competitions.
     Read more on this story here.
Society of Physics Students UTA chapter adds nine members in Fall 2011 ceremony
Group Photo
Along with Ramon Lopez, professor of physics and advisor for the UTA chapters of SPS and Sigma Pi Sigma, second from left, new members of the Society of Physics Students Arlington Chapter include, from left, Bill Dawson, high school science teacher and UTA alumnus; Christopher B. Jackson, assistant professor of physics; Christie L. Boone, undergraduate; Andrew Brandt, professor of physics; Elijah Murphy, undergraduate and president of SPS UTA chapter; Alexander Villalobos, undergraduate; James Bourbeau, undergraduate, Bethany Hiller, undergraduate; and Cezanne Narcisse, undergraduate.
    The Society of Physics Students (SPS) UTA Chapter held its Fall 2011 induction ceremony on November 29, with nine new members joining the roster.
    New inductees include: Christie L. Boone, undergraduate; Andrew Brandt, professor of physics; James Bourbeau, un-dergraduate; Bill Dawson, Irving High School science teacher and UTA alumnus; Bethany Hiller, undergraduate; Christopher B. Jackson, assistant professor of physics; Elijah Murphy, undergraduate; president of UTA SPS chapter; Cezanne Narcisse, undergraduate; and Alexander Villalobos, under-graduate.
    The SPS is a professional association explicitly designed for students. Membership, through collegiate chapters, is open to anyone interested in physics. The only requirement for membership is an interest in physics. Within the SPS, Sigma Pi Sigma, a nationally recognized scholastic honor society, elects members on the basis of outstanding academic achievement.
College of Science faculty members receive promotions at annual Recognition Dinner
    A group of College of Science faculty members received promotions from assistant professor to associate professor and from associate professor to full professor at the Faculty Recognition Dinner on October 18 at the E.H. Hereford University Center.
   Receiving promotion from assistant professor to associate professor with full tenure were: Wei Chen, physics; Jared Kenworthy, psychology; Peter Kroll, chemistry & biochemistry; Subhrangsu Mandal, chemistry & biochemistry; Timothy Odegard, psychology; and Kevin Schug, chemistry & biochemistry. Receiving promotion from associate professor to full professor were: Christopher Kribs Zaleta, math/curriculum & instruction; and Qiming Zhang, physics.
    "We congratulate these deserving faculty members on their hard work and commend them on their promotions," Dean of Science Pamela Jansma said. "They are all very worthy and I look forward to working with them as they continue to do important teaching and research and help push UT Arlington toward Tier I status."
COS alumni share their experiences with students during 2011-12 Science Week
COS Alumni
College of Science alumni, from left, Dr. Dale Martin, Dr. Michael Sakowski, Dr. Maxwell Scarlett and Dr. Ignacio Nunez, at the medical ethics panel discussion.
    The College of Science's 2011-12 Science Week, held October 31-November 4, provided a chance for the college to showcase its alumni, students and faculty and celebrate their achieve-ments. Among the highlights:
    Dr. Michael Lynch, CEO of Tulane Medical Center, spoke with students about the health care profession and also gave a talk about his role in helping New Orleans recover from Hurricane Katrina.
    A quartet of alumi Dr. Dale Martin, D.D.S., Dr. Ignacio Nunez, M.D., Dr. Michael Sakowski, M.D., and Dr. Maxwell Scarlett, M.D. - shared their knowledge during a panel discussion on medicine and ethics, including topics such as informed consent, uninsured patients and end-of-life directives.
    Asok Ray, professor of physics, presented a talk on "Alternate Energies: Nuclear and Beyond" as part of the Library's Focus on Faculty series. Physics professors Zdzislaw Musielak, Samar Mohanty, Yue Deng and Amir Farbin lectured during a physics colloquium. Alumna Chloe Lemelle, a member of the executive consulting team at Batrus Hollweg International, talked to Nicolette Lopez's Introduction to Psychology class on ethics from the perspective of an Industrial/Organizational psychology practitioner. Other events included an info fair of College of Science student organizations, and a reception for the Claytor family. Nelson Claytor recently announced a $500,000 donation by the family to create a distinguished professorship at UT Arlington in honor of Richard N. Claytor. The donation will provide a major boost to the University's optics program.
Research by Tiwari, Singh, Sharma earns Best Poster Award at TSAPS Fall meeting
Twari Singh Sharma
Tiwari Singh Sharma
    Kunal Tiwari and Ankit Singh, graduate students in physics, and professor Suresh Sharma earned the Best Poster Presentation Award at the Fall 2011 meeting of the Texas Section of the American Physical Society (TSAPS), held October 6-8 at Texas A&M University, Commerce.
    Tiwari earned a certificate and $150 as first author of the poster, titled "Evidence for evanescent waves at interfaces in a high-index prism/liquid-crystal-Au-NPs/glass/air structure and effects of relative concentration of gold nanoparticles, wavelength, polarization, and incident angle of the laser beam."
    Sharma chaired a session on Nanoscience and also participated in the Executive Committee meeting as council observer. Over 270 physicists from around the state attended the meeting, about 200 papers were presented in both oral and poster sessions. UT Arlington students made a total of 19 presentations at the meeting.
New Arlington-Fort Worth chapter of Society for Neuroscience holds first meeting
    The Arlington-Fort Worth chapter of the Society for Neuroscience held its first meeting on November 4 at Texas Christian University. The SfN is a nonprofit membership organization of scientists and physicians who study the brain and nervous system. The society has over 40,000 members and is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to advancing understanding of the brain and nervous system.
    Students and faculty had a chance to display their research posters at the meeting. Perry Fuchs, associate professor of psychology and president of the Arlington-Fort Worth chapter, said the chapter has been awarded a $1,000 grant from the national organization, thanks to the work of Yuan Bo Peng, associate professor of psychology.
    The chapter's next meeting will be from 3:30-5 p.m. on Friday, December 2 at Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas. Students and faculty are invited to attend.
    For more information about the SfN, click here. For information on the local chapter, contact Fuchs at
Image of supernova remnant being studied by Park to be featured in 2012 calendar
Supernova remnant
This image of the remnants of a supernova, based on research by Sangwook Park, will be featured in a 2012 calendar
    An image of the remnants of a supernova based on the research of Sangwook Park, assistant professor of physics, will be featured in a 2012 calendar of images from the Chandra X-ray Observatory.
    Chandra is NASA's flagship mission for X-ray astronomy and is one of the "Great Observatories" similar to the Hubble Telescope.
    Park and graduate student Seth Post are studying the G299.2-2.9 supernova remnant, the remains of Type 1a supernova about 16,000 light years from Earth. Scientists use Type 1a supernovas to judge distances in space. So finding out more about those supernovas and the white dwarf stars that created them can help astrophysicists know more about the expansion of the universe, Park said.
    His work on the G299.2-2.9 remnant is funded by a two-year, $157,372 grant from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.
UT Arlington students honored for research at state microbiology meeting held at UTA
Group Photo
UT Arlington undergraduate members of the Mu Sigma Microbiology Society with James Tiedje of Michigan State University, center, and Thomas Chrzanowski, professor of biology, right, at the ASM meeting.
    UT Arlington students were among those who presented their research at the 2011 Fall Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology Texas Branch, held November 10-12 at UT Arlington.
    Approximately 200 participants from 44 universities and colleges in Texas and Oklahoma attended the event. There were 54 poster presentations and 18 oral contributions.
    UT Arlington students who won awards include: Nisita Obulareddy, Melotto lab, second place Samuel Kaplan Award, graduate student category; Briony Foster, Hurdle lab, honorable mention, O.B. Williams award; Alisa Moric, Roner lab, second place, Sulkin Award; Joshua Beach-Letendre, Mydlarz lab, second place, Joan Abramowitz award (undergraduate); Jantiya Isanapong, Rodrigues lab, honorable mention, Samuel Kaplan Award; Uyen Dang and Jonathan Adamson, Hurdle lab, tied for third place, Joan Abramowitz award (undergraduate).
    Thomas Chrzanowski, professor of biology, was the meeting chairperson. The meeting included four sessions dedicated to talks from students and two sessions dedicated to undergraduate education in microbiology and opportunities for enhancing laboratory experiences for students.
    There were three large plenary talks with topics ranging from microbial ecology, molecular pathogenesis and food-borne illnesses. The opening lecture was given by Dr. James Tiedje of Michigan State University, an elected fellow of the National Academy of Sciences. The closing lecture was by Katherine Boor of Cor-nell University, fellow of the International Academy of Food Science and Technology. Her talk was a timely discussion of the current cantaloupe–Listeria outbreak.
Social Interaction Lab featured in UT online magazine as lab nears 30th anniversary
    Longhorn Life, an online magazine operated by the Texas Student Media division of UT Austin, published a story about the Department of Psychology's Social Interaction Lab, which is run by William Ickes, distinguished professor of psychology.
    The lab is celebrating its 30th year of research.
    "The major focus of our research in the UT Arlington Social Interaction Lab is the study of naturally occurring social interaction," Ickes wrote on his faculty webpage. "For the past several years, the members of our lab have studied empathic accuracy and other aspects of intersubjective social cognition."
    Empathic accuracy, or what Ickes calls "everyday mind reading," involves how people's personalities affect their initial interactions, he said.
    Read the full story here.
Oblessuc wins Student Recognition Award at Bean Improvement Cooperative meeting
    Paula Oblessuc, a Ph.D. student advised by Maeli Melotto, assistant professor of biology, received the Student Recognition Award for best student presentation during the Bean Improvement Cooperative (BIC) Biannual Meeting held October 30–November 1 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
    Her oral presentation, titled "Determining the genomic structure of a QTL linked to angular leaf spot resistance," will be published as an article by the BIC in 2012.