The University of Texas at Arlington College of Science January 2013  
Welcome to the January 2013 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.
Cordero joins dean's staff as associate dean for student affairs; Morton retiring in May  

For Alumni

UT Arlington Alumni
You can help the next generation of Mavericks

Andrew Baum

Did the University of Texas at Arlington change your life? Do you want to help a fu-ture Maverick? Call Dr. Ignacio Nuñez, the chair of the College of Science Advisory Council. He'd love to help get you involved on campus again. The Advisory Council is issuing a challenge to each alumnus and to each member of our North Texas community who believes in our mission. The challenge: Give one day a year and $1,000 annually (that's just $83.33 a month) to benefit the students of UT Arlington. Dr. Nuñez was a first-generation college student, and UT Arlington made it possible for him to attend medical school and create a life vastly different than that of his parents. Did UT Arlington change your life too? Let's work together to help the next generation. You can contact Nuñez at or leave a message for him at 817-272-1497.

Memorial fund created to honor Truman Black

Andrew Baum
A special fund has been created to honor the memory of Dr. Truman Black, professor of physics and beloved member of the UT Arlington family, who died on Sept. 12, 2012.
Donations to the fund may be mailed to:
Truman D. Black Scholarship Fund at The University of Texas at Arlington
Office of Development
P.O. Box 19198
Arlington, TX 76019-0198

Calendar of events

An evening with Mark Kelly
Maverick Speaker Series

7:30 p.m. Feb. 19 Texas Hall
Kelly is an astronaut, retired U.S. Navy captain, best-selling author, and a naval aviator. As an astronaut, Kelly flew his first of four missions in 2001 aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, which he commanded on its final flight in May 2011. He became the center of international attention after the 2011 assassination attempt on his wife, former U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. An audience Q&A and book signing will follow his talk, "Endeavoring to Build a Better America."
Friday, March 1 UT Metroplex Day
TI Auditorium, UT Dallas campus, Richardson 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The annual event high-lighting research at UT Arlington, UT Dallas and UT Southwestern and providing chances for collaboration between the three UT schools in North Texas.
More information.
March 11-15
2013 Spring Break
Wednesday, March 27
2013 ACES Symposium

All day, E.H. Hereford University Center. The Annual Celebration of Excellence by Students symposium showcases students' research and awards prizes for best posters and oral presentations. Deadline for abstract submissions is February 6.
More information
Thursday, April 11
College of Science Health Professions Day

12-2 p.m. College Park Center; free. Recruiters from medical schools and health professions institutions in Texas and around the U.S. will be on hand to answer questions and provide admissions information.
May 4-10
Final exams for Spring 2013 semester
College of Science Spring 2013 Commencement ceremony
Saturday, May 11
8 p.m., College Park Center

The College of Science and School of Architecture will have a joint graduation ceremony.
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 5, the latest in planetarium software. The Spring 2013 schedule, featuring the new public show Astronaut, runs now through May 26. See the full Spring schedule here.
Maverick Science
New edition of Maverick Science is coming soon
The 2012-13 edition of Maverick Science Magazine will be here soon! Copies of the Fall 2011 edition are still available in the Dean's Office (Life Sciences Room 206) and in LS 112. The magazine has the latest College of Science news and features about faculty, students and alumni. 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 112.
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
Cordero Morton
     Minerva Cordero, an associate professor of mathematics and a Distinguished Teaching Professor, is joining the College's administrative team as associate dean for student affairs. She will replace Edward Morton, who is retiring in May after 30 years with UT Arlington.
     Cordero will work with Morton this semester to ensure a smooth transition.
     "Dr. Cordero is an excellent teacher and has substantial administrative experience," Dean Pamela Jansma said. "She has served as associate dean of the Honors College here at UT Arlington and has worked in a variety of other roles with students, and these experiences make her an ideal successor to Ed Morton. Ed's tireless dedication to the College of Science has been instrumental to the success of our students and our programs for three decades. We will miss him and his leadership, but I feel our student programs will be in very good hands with Dr. Cordero."
      Morton has served as the College's pre-med advisor since his arrival in 1983, and has taken on a host of other duties over the years, including pre-med curriculum coordinator; approving the College's degree plans; handling health professions scholarships; directing the Joint Admissions Medical Program (JAMP); and creating and enforcing the College's academic standards, which has resulted in a major increase in the number of students meeting the College's GPA requirements of 2.25.
      In other Dean's staff news, Amy Osborn has been promoted to Executive Assistant to the Dean and Program Coordinator for Technology Initiatives. She will work with the director of the College's Math Emporium as well as assist faculty in implementing new classroom technology as well as working with academic partnerships. Derrick Austin has been promoted to Web Software Developer; he is responsible for the College's web applications as well as maintaining its website.
Basu assumes leadership role in EES; Fuchs steps in as interim chair of Psychology
Basu Fuchs
     The Department of Earth and Environmental Science underwent a change in leadership with the start of the Spring 2013 semester, as Asish Basu took over the chair role from John Wickham.
     Basu came to UT Arlington this month from the University of Rochester, where he had worked since 1978. His research interests are diverse and are primarily based on petrological, mineralogical and geochemical approaches in understanding aspects of Earth's evolution. He uses trace element, radiogenic and stable isotopes as principal tools in these studies, along with other standard laboratory and field observations.
     Basu earned a Ph.D. in Geology from the University of California at Davis in 1975, an M.S. in Geophysical Science from the University of Chicago in 1969, an M.S. in Geology from Calcutta University in 1966 and a B.S. in Geology, Physics and Mathematics from Calcutta University in 1964.
     The Department of Psychology is in a period of leadership transition, and associate professor Perry Fuchs has assumed the role of interim chair until a search committee finds a permanent replacement for Robert Gatchel, who stepped down January 1 after eight years as head of the department. Gatchel is focusing on his role as director of the new Center of Excellence for the Study of Health and Chronic Illnesses.<
Alumnus Krystinik offers advice to grads at College of Science Fall 2012 commencement
     The College of Science officially conferred graduate status to a new group of students during the Fall 2012 Commencement ceremony on December 16 at College Park Center.
     For the first time, the College of Science took part in a joint ceremony along with the School of Architecture. Dean Pamela Jansma introduced the guest speaker for the ceremony, College of Science alumnus Lee Krystinik, who earned a B.S. in Geology in 1977. He went on to earn master's and doctoral degrees from Princeton University and is principal and founder of Fossil Creek Resources in Arlington. He is also president-elect of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.
     UT Arlington has been an important part of Krystinik's family, as his parents, brother and sister all graduated from the University. He attended classes while also working to pay his expenses, and says he "couldn't have asked for a better education" than what he received at UT Arlington. He encouraged the new graduates to stress communication, to be sincere, to never complain and never explain, to respect everyone they deal with, and to be unafraid to fail.
     "One big thing in life is, when we act on our fears, we're most likely to make them come true," he said.
     Krystinik wished the graduates good luck and urged them to share their knowledge with others.
     "When life presents you with challenges and difficulties, forge ahead," he said. "Do what you believe is right, treat others with respect and, more than anything else, remember to have fun."
     To watch a video of the ceremony, click here.
Park, Ellinger present research using new 3D approach for simulation of supernovas
     Two UT Arlington researchers want to bridge the gap between what is known about exploding stars and the remnants left behind thousands of years later. So they're trying something new using SNSPH, a complex computer code developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
     On January 8, Carola I. Ellinger, a post-doctoral researcher and Sangwook Park, an assistant professor of physics, presented their research on "3D Simulations of Supernovae into the Young Remnant Phase" at the national meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Long Beach, Calif. Their oral presentation focused on first efforts to use SNSPH, a parallel 3-dimensional radiation hydrodynamics code written in 2005, to create 3D simulations of a core-collapse supernova evolving into remnants.
     "There are a lot of numerical simulations for the explosion of the supernova and a lot of simulations of the blast wave expanding into interstellar medium, but there was no useful work connecting the two, even though the physics are connected," Park said. "Now, we are using the most appropriate program we know to do that."
     Read more on this story here.
Musielak receives $301K grant from NSF to study magnetic plasma waves in the Sun
     Zdzislaw Musielak, professor of physics, has been awarded a three-year, $301,339 National Science Foundation grant to investigate Alfvén waves in the Sun, a phenomenon vital to understanding Earth's nearest star.
     "The Sun is the source of energy that sustains all life on Earth, but there is much that remains unknown about it," said Musielak, a two-time winner of the international Humboldt Prize for his research into the sun and solar-type stars. "With this research, we hope to explore one of the great mysteries what forces fuel the heat of the Sun's outer atmosphere and the basic physical processes for creating its magnetic influence on Earth and other planets."
     Alfvén waves are magnetic plasma waves named after Hannes Alfvén, who received a Nobel Prize in 1970 for their prediction. Their existence helps explain why the sun's corona, or upper atmosphere, is hotter than the solar surface. Understanding Alfvén waves is also crucial to explaining the speed of solar winds, a stream of highly-charge particles released into space by the Sun.
     Read more on this story here.
Researchers say Amazon deforestation raises fears about loss of microbial diversity
     Research from an international team of microbiologists, including UT Arlington assistant professor of biology Jorge Rodrigues, has revealed a new concern about deforestation in the Amazon rainforest a troubling net loss in the diversity among the microbial organisms responsible for a functioning ecosystem.
     The group, which also includes professors from the University of Oregon, University of Massachusetts, Michigan State University and University of Sao Paulo, sampled a 100 square kilometer area, about 38 square miles, in the Fazenda Nova Vida site in Rondônia, Brazil, a location where rainforest has been converted to agricultural use. Their findings in part validated previous research showing that bacteria in the soil became more diverse over the years, as it was converted to pasture.
     But their findings contradicted prior thinking by showing that the loss of restricted ranges for different kinds of bacteria communities resulted in a biotic homogenization and net loss of diversity overall. Scientists worry that the loss of genetic variation in bacteria across a converted forest could reduce ecosystem resilience.
     Read more on this story here.
Dasgupta's research yields more effective technique to analyze ions in solution
     Purnendu 'Sandy' Dasgupta's work to develop a more efficient, effective way of measuring ions in solution has led to a new device in the scientific marketplace that could improve water quality testing and manufacturing methods.
     Dasgupta, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry, invented the charge detector for ion chromatography, along with Bingcheng Yang, a member of his research group, and Kannan Srinivasan, technical director for Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. The U.S. Patent office recently assigned a patent for the new technology to the UT System Board of Regents and Dionex Corporation, which is based in Sunnyvale, Calif. Thermo Fisher is Dionex's parent company.
     "The fact that ions carry a charge has been known since before the 20th Century began. For the first time, we can now measure that charge in a solution," said Dasgupta, the Jenkins Garrett Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry. "This gives you a possibility that didn't exist before. It gives you new information that couldn't be accessed before."
     Read more on this story here.
Schug to receive award from American Chemical Society at lab science conference
     Kevin Schug, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, will be recognized next year at the international laboratory science conference Pittcon 2013 for his outstanding contributions to analytical chemistry, the conference's organizing committee announced.
     Schug will receive the American Chemical Society Division of Analytical Chemistry Award for Young Investigators in Separation Science. His award is among 12 different honors that will be presented during symposiums at Pittcon 2013, which is scheduled March 17-21 in Philadelphia.
     "It is a great honor to be selected for this prestigious award from the ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry and to join the ranks of great scientists who have won this award before me," said Schug, who is also the Shimadzu Distinguished Professor of Analytical Chemistry at UT Arlington. "My goal is to make this a sign of the great things still to come from our group in the future."
     Read more on this story here.
Rodrigues, team study predator-producing bacteriophages found in mammal intestines
     Unique viruses called bacteriophages may play an important role in competition among bacterial strains, influencing the overall ecosystem of the human intestine, scientists at UT Arlington and UT Southwestern Medical Center say.
     A team led by Lora V. Hooper, an associate professor of immunology and microbiology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, and including UT Arlington assistant professor of biology Jorge Rodrigues examined the bacteriophages, or phages, produced by genetic information harbored in the chromosome of the mammalian gut bacterium Enterococcus faecalis. They found that a phage unique to Enterococcus faecalis strain V583 in mice acts as a predator, infecting and harming other similar, competing bacterial strains. They believe these lab results suggest what goes on in the human intestine.
     "This organism is using phage as a way to compete in your gut. If the phage is released and gets rid of all the other microbes, then strain V583 will have more nutrients available," Rodrigues said. "It opens up new questions about the role of phages in the gut system. Ultimately, you could use this as a technique to control bacteria in a natural way."
     Read more on this story here.
Melotto co-authors paper helping to unlock the secrets of plant defense mechanisms
     Researchers examining how the hormone jasmonate works to protect plants and promote their growth have revealed how a transcriptional repressor of the jasmonate signaling pathway makes its way into the nucleus of the plant cell.
     They hope the recently published discovery will eventually help farmers experience better crop yields with less use of potentially harmful chemicals.
     "This is a small piece of a bigger picture, but it is a very important piece," said Maeli Melotto, assistant professor of biology.
     Melotto recently co-authored a paper that advances current understanding of plant defense mechanisms with her collaborator Sheng Yang He and his team at Michigan State University's Department of Energy Plant Research Laboratory (DOE-PRL). He is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute-Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation investigator. A paper on the collaboration was published online Nov. 19 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences under the title, "Transcription factor-dependent nuclear import of transcriptional repressor in jasmonate hormone signaling."
     Read more on this story here.
Mohanty's team creates fiber-optic wrench that can rotate, move microscopic particles
     UT Arlington physicists have developed a new fiber-optic spanner, or wrench, that uses two laser beams to stably rotate and move microscopic objects, such as living cells, an innovation that will help scientists to work more efficiently at the microscopic level.
     The new technology surpasses current methods of fiber-optic rotation because it allows the object to be rotated at any axis, giving a fuller view. Through this method, cancer cells could be imaged during rotation or oocyte cells could be moved during in vitro fertilization, researchers said. The spanner also can use a "rotating bead handle" to twist and untwist DNA molecules to allow its sequencing more rapidly than current methods.
     The innovation is detailed in a new report, "Fiber-optic Spanner," published in the journal Optics Letters and available online here. Samarendra Mohanty, assistant professor of physics, led the research team and co-authored the paper with doctoral student Bryan Black.
     Read more on this story here.
2013 Annual Celebration of Excellence by Students deadline for abstracts is Feb. 6
     The Annual Celebration of Excellence by Students (ACES) symposium, a daylong event which showcases the best of UT Arlington students' research and creativity, is scheduled for Wednesday, March 27 in the E.H. Hereford University Center.
     Undergraduate and graduate students submit abstracts of their work for the competition, and the approved abstracts are then turned into posters or oral presentations for the event. Winners will be awarded in a variety of categories. ACES is an interdisciplinary event in which any student in any program can participate. The deadline to submit abstracts is Wednesday, Feb. 6.
     For more information, click here.
Deadline to register and submit poster abstracts for UT Metroplex Day is Feb. 14
     UT Metroplex Day, an annual collaborative event sponsored by UT Arlington, UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and UT Dallas, is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, March 1 at TI Auditorium on the UT Dallas campus in Richardson.
     All three UT Institutions in North Texas offer outstanding research infrastructure, cutting-edge expertise, and innovative collaborative opportunities. The continuing purpose of Metroplex Day is to encourage interdisciplinary research across the three Institutions, as well as to stimulate research projects that leverage the strengths of each Institution.
     All College of Science students are invited to attend and to submit posters for display at the event. There is no fee to register or to attend. Posters will be judged and $250 cash awards will be given to three winners (one from each University), in addition to three runner-up awards ($150 each). The deadline to register for the event and to submit abstracts is Thursday, Feb. 14.
     For more information, click here.