The University of Texas at Arlington College of Science April 2012  
Welcome to the April 2012 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.
UT Arlington unveils new $6M Shimadzu Center for Advanced Analytical Chemistry    

For Alumni

UT Arlington Alumni
Andy Baum Memorial Fund Tops $100K

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. The fund has now surpassed $100,000, including the Maverick Match portion. 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

May 11-14
Final exams for Spring 2012 semester
Sunday May13
Spring 2012
4:30 p.m., College Park Center

Guest speaker will be alumnus Thaddeus Arroyo (Mathematics '86).
Monday, June 4
First day of classes for Summer 2012 first 5 week session and Sum-mer 11 week session
Thursday, July 5
Last day of classes for Summer 2012 first 5 week session
Tuesday, July 10
First day of classes for Summer 2012 second 5 week session
Thursday, August 9
Last day of classes for Summer 2012 second 5 week session and Sum-mer 11 week session
Thursday, August 23
First day of classes for Fall 2012 semester
The Planetarium at
UT Arlington

Have you been to a show at the planetarium lately? The facility, one of the finest in the nation, offers a variety of exciting shows and programs year-round and is equipped with Digistar 4, the latest in planetarium software. Check out all the exciting shows in the Spring 2012 schedule here.
Maverick Science
New edition of Maverick Science is now here
The Fall 2011 edition of Maverick Science Magazine is now available! The magazine has the latest College of Science news and features about faculty, students and alumni. Free print versions are available in the Dean's Office (Life Sciences Room 206) and in LS 109. You can also check out 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.
Follow the COS on Facebook and Twitter
Facebook LogoKeep up with the College of Science on the popular social media sites Facebook and Twitter, and stay informed Twitter Logoabout what's going on and upcoming events in the College of Science.
Maverick Science
E-Newsletter Archives
From left, UT Arlington President James Spaniolo, chemistry associate professor and Shimadzu Center director Kevin Schug, Shimadzu senior global marketing manager Masayuki Nishimura and Shimadzu general manager Kozo Miseki during the grand opening ceremony for the Shimadzu Center.
    The start of what could be a long and productive collaboration was celebrated on April 9 as the Shimadzu Center for Advanced Analytical Chemistry at UT Arlington was formally dedicated by University administration and faculty along with executives and employees from Shimadzu Corp., a world leader in the analytical instruments industry.
    The center, made possible by a $3 million in-kind donation by Shimadzu Scientific Instruments, will be a home for scientific exploration and contains $6 million worth of state-of-the-art chromatography, mass spectrometry and spectroscopy equipment. The center will provide cutting-edge analytical chemistry services to support science and engineering research.
    The gift of nearly $3 million in equipment given by Shimadzu is one of the largest gifts ever to the UT Arlington College of Science.
    "We feel we are in great company and have a great partnership working with Shimadzu," UT Arlington President James Spaniolo said. "We are honored that a company with the worldwide reach of Shimadzu has chosen to invest in UT Arlington's research program. This equipment will provide opportunities for faculty and students in a laboratory that is truly on the cutting edge of analytical possibilities."
     For more on this story, click here.
College of Science to honor Class of 2012 at Spring Commencement ceremony on May 13
    The College of Science will celebrate with its latest class of graduates during the Spring 2012 Commencement ceremony at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, May 13 in College Park Center.
    This will be the first College of Science graduation ceremony in the new facility, which has a much larger seating capacity than Texas Hall. The guest speaker will be UT Arlington alumnus Thaddeus Arroyo, chief information officer of AT&T. Arroyo received a B.A. in Mathematics in 1986 and has spent over two decades working in the communication technology industry, winning numerous awards for his innovative ideas and leadership.
     All graduates and their guests are invited to the Graduation Celebration at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 11 at Levitt Pavilion at Abram and Center Streets just northeast of campus. There will be music, a keynote address and fireworks. The guest speaker will be Academy Award-nominated actor James Franco. Tickets are not required and the event is open to everyone.
    For more information on Spring 2012 Commencement, click here.
Smith receives $725K NSF grant to search for and catalogue new species in Indonesia
    When UT Arlington assistant biology professor Eric Smith was a graduate student in 1996, he and a fellow student, Michael Harvey, pulled out a globe and started looking for a new place to explore.
    They chose Indonesia. A trip on a shoestring budget allowed them to spend 10 days in the jungle looking for frogs, lizards, turtles and other life. The pair returned to Texas with some unique specimens and a desire to go back someday.
    Now they can - with the help of a three-year, $725,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. Starting later this year, Smith and Harvey will begin a three-year project to explore and catalogue new species in the Indonesian portion of the Pacific Ring of Fire, which includes the highlands of Sumatra and Java. Their team will include researchers from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, the Bandung Institute of Technology and Brawijaya University in Indonesia, students from UT Arlington and Broward College in Florida and researchers from other universities.
    Read more on this story here.
Dasgupta, Timmons, Iqbal receive $360K NSF grant to build artificial silicon nanopores
Dasgupta Timmons Iqbal
Dasgupta Timmons Iqbal
    A UT Arlington multi-disciplinary team has received a $360,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to build artificial nanopores made of silicon that can detect "bad molecules" as a very early indication of cancer and other diseases.
    Samir Iqbal, an assistant professor of Electrical Engineering who focuses on nanotechnology, is leading the project. He is working with Purnendu "Sandy" Dasgupta, the Jenkins Garrett Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Richard Timmons, a Distinguished Professor of Chemistry.
    Nanopores are tiny openings about 1,000 times smaller than a human pore on the skin or a human hair, made in very thin silicon chips. The silicon chips are the same material in computer processors and memories.
    The team will run human blood-derived samples through these artificially created nanopores in a silicon chip and record how the composition may change as a function of disease.
    Read more on this story here.
Epperson wins distinguished university teaching award from Texas Section of MAA
    James Epperson, associate professor of mathematics, has been named the winner of the 2012 Texas Section of the Mathematical Association of America Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics Award.
    Epperson received the award at the MAA Texas Section 2012 Annual Meeting during the awards banquet on April 13 at El Centro College. As the winner, he will be the official Texas Section candidate for one of up to three national MAA Haimo Awards for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics to be announced in January 2013 at the Joint Meetings of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) and MAA.
    "We congratulate Dr. Epperson on this award. It reflects his great achievements being recognized by the math community at the state level. He richly deserves the award," said Jianzhong Su, math department chair.
    According to the Texas Section nomination guidelines, nominees should be widely recognized as extraordinarily successful in their teaching; have teaching effectiveness that can be documented; have had influence in their teaching beyond their own institutions; foster curiosity and generate excitement about mathematics in their students.
    For more on the MAA Texas Section, click here.
Ickes' book on how personal characteristics influence 1st impressions wins IARR award
    William Ickes, distinguished professor of psychology, has been selected to receive the International Association of Relationship Researchers (IARR) Book Award for his book, Strangers in a Strange Lab.
    Representing 30 years worth of scholarship, the book discusses the ways our initial impressions and ongoing relationships with people are influenced by our personality, gender, race, birth order, physical attractiveness, androgyny, the Big Five dimensions, shyness, and self-monitoring. The research findings reported in the book say that we can predict how well we will get along with others even before we meet them. The book details how personality characteristics affect behavior, thoughts, and feelings in initial interactions.
    Ickes will be recognized at an awards ceremony during the 2012 IARR Conference July 12-16 in Chicago.
    Order the book online from Oxford University Press here.
Mydlarz, Hunt educate visitors on coral reefs, lead contamination at 2012 Earth Day Dallas
Shown at Earth Day Dallas are, from left, Whitney Mann, Ph.D. student; Jorge Pinzon, post-doctoral student; Laura Mydlarz; Liz McGinty, Ph.D. student; and Joshuah Beach-Letendre, M.S. student.
Andrew Hunt, left, explains the New Orleans soil reclamation study he is leading to a visitor while a Hitachi representative shows other visitors information from the electromicroscope on display.
    Laura Mydlarz, assistant professor in biology, and Andrew Hunt, assistant professor in earth and environmental sciences, presented their research to visitors at the 2012 Earth Day Dallas festival in Fair Park on April 21-22.
    Mydlarz and students from her lab promoted their marine biology research from Texas and their study of coral reefs. They answered visitors' questions about the decline of coral reefs and explained their research.
    Hunt brought soil samples from his on-going lead contamination study being conducted in New Orleans, in which a phosphate product is being used to neutralize the lead in soil in residential areas. He also had a Hitachi electromicroscope on hand so visitors could inspect samples for themselves.
    The UT Arlington College of Engineering and Office of Sustainability were also represented at the festival.
    For more on Earth Day Dallas, click here and to see more photos of Mydlarz's and Hunt's booths on the COS Facebook page, click here.
College of Science faculty receive awards for contributions at annual University ceremony
    College of Science faculty members were among those honored by UT Arlington during the annual Spring Meeting of the Faculty and Associates on April 24 in the Rio Grande Ballroom at the E.H. Hereford University Center.
    The awards honor faculty from around the University for outstanding research, teaching and service.
    "We congratulate all of our College of Science honorees. It's wonderful to see the University honor these faculty members for their dedication and hard work," Dean of Science Pamela Jansma said. "Each of them is extremely deserving and represents the kind of excellence we strive for in the College of Science."
    For more on this story, click here.
Junior physics/engineering student named University's first Goldwater Scholar recipient
    Erica Castillo, a junior double majoring in physics and aerospace engineering, has been named UT Arlington's first Goldwater Scholar.
    Castillo's research focuses on structural health monitoring under the direction of Haiying Huang, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. She plans to expand her research to include soft biomaterials. Elijah Stevens, a sophomore in mechanical engineering, was awarded an honorable mention in the Goldwater Scholars program. Stevens, an Iraq war veteran, is researching high temperature thermal protection systems.
    Congress established the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program in 1986 in honor of the former U.S. senator from Arizona and 1964 presidential candidate. The program's goal is to encourage a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships in those fields.
    Read more about this story here.
Musielak's historical fiction book on pioneer female mathematician published by MAA
    Dora Musielak, adjunct professor in physics, has had her book, Sophie's Diary: A Mathematical Novel, Published by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA).
    She presented a talk on April 26 in Science Hall on the work of Sophie Germain (1776-1831), who made important contributions to the biharmonic equation and other math theories despite being denied formal mathematical training because of her gender. Musielak's book is a mix of fiction and math history and imagines Germain's life as a young woman.
    Musielak previously published the book herself and it garnered such positive response that the MAA, which rarely accepts works of fiction, elected to publish it.
    The book is being sold by the UTA Bookstore and will be available there May 4. It can also be ordered now at the MAA online store here.
Rodrigues delivers talk in Thailand on conversion of Amazon rainforest to pasture

    Jorge Rodrigues, assistant professor of biology, gave an invited talk during the annual meeting of the Royal Golden Jubilee Ph.D. Congress held April 6-8 in Jomthien, Thailand.
The Royal Golden Jubilee was created in honor of the king of Thailand and is sponsored by the Thailand Research Fund.
    Rodrigues' talk was title "Conversion of the Amazon Rainforest to Pasture and Its Implications to Microbiological Diversity and Conservation of Genomic Resources". This research is part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture/National Science Foundation award to study the biogeography of microbial communities in the Amazon Forest.
    For more about this research, click here.

Campbell interviewed in KXAS report about dangers of venomous snakes in North Texas
    Jonathan Campbell, professor and chair of biology and noted herpetologist, was interviewed in a KXAS Channel 5 news story on April 17 about a Colleyville man who was recently bitten by a copperhead outside his home and had to spend three days in the hospital.
    Campbell talked about the types of poisonous snakes found in North Texas, including rattlesnakes and copperheads, and where they typically like to live and hide. He said snakes typically prefer to stay in dark, moist hiding places during the day, particularly under piles of brush or leaves. The mild winter in North Texas means that snake season got an earlier start than normal this year.
    Watch the video here.
Governor names UTA alumna Purgason to UT System Board of Regents as student regent
    Ashley Purgason, who earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in biology from UT Arlington and is now working toward a Ph.D. in population health sciences with a concentration in toxicology from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, has been named by Gov. Rick Perry as a student regent to the UT System Board of Regents,
    Purgason was one of 10 students appointed by Perry as student regents to their respective university systems for terms effective June 1, 2012, and expiring May 31, 2013. She is the first UT Arlington alumnus appointed as a UT System Board of Regents student regent.
    An Arlington native, she graduated from Mansfield High School, where she helped lead the girls' basketball team to three straight Class 5A state titles. She was a walk-on member of the UT Arlington women's basketball team and also worked as director of basketball operations for the team.
    Read more on this story here and read an interview with Purgason here.