The University of Texas at Arlington College of Science May 2013  
Welcome to the June 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.
College of Science welcomes newest alumni during Spring 2013 graduation ceremony  

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 future 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

Monday, June 3
First day of classes for first 5-week Summer Session.
Wednesday, July 3
Last day of classes for first 5-week Summer Session.
Tuesday, July 9
First day of classes for second 5-week Summer Session.
Thursday, August 8
Last day of classes for second 5-week Summer Session.
Thursday, August 8
Last day of classes for 11-week Summer Session.
Thursday, August 22
First day of classes for Fall 2013 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 5, the latest in planetarium software. The Summer 2013 schedule, featuring the new public show TimeSpace, runs now through August 25. See the full Summer schedule here.
Maverick Science
New edition of Maverick Science magazine
The 2012-13 edition of Maverick Science Magazine has arrived! Copies are 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. The website version is online 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
College of Science graduates were all smiles during the Spring 2013 commencement ceremony.
The College of Science gained around 400 new alumni with the graduation of the Class of 2013 on May 11.
The Spring 2013 commencement ceremony, held in College Park Center, gave families and friends the chance to see their graduates cross the stage and be recognized for their years of hard work and sacrifice.
The ceremony, which included graduates from the College of Science and the School of Architecture, began with a welcome from Provost Ron Elsenbaumer, and introduction of the stage party by Dean of Architecture Donald Gatzke. Dean of Science Pamela Jansma then greeted the audience and introduced the guest speaker, COS alumnus Scott Green (Biology '99), who founded The Greenery, a full-service nursery in Waxahachie, in 1987. Wanting to expand his knowledge base and credibility in his business, Green went back to school and earned a B.S. in Biology, with an emphasis in Botany, from UT Arlington in 1999.
"I want to congratulate all of you graduates here tonight," Green said. "Fifty-two percent of you are first-time college graduates in your families, as I was. The time, effort and sacrifices have paid off."
Green encouraged the graduates to pursue their dreams with passion, and asked them to always remember to lend a hand to those less fortunate than themselves.
"Use that same dogged determination that got you here to make a difference in the lives of others," he said.
Watch a video of the ceremony here.
Morton wraps up 30-year career as assistant dean for student affairs, pre-med advisor
Edward Morton, assistant dean for student affairs and health professions advisor, retires from UT Arlington June 1 after 30 years with the College of Science.
Morton, who has helped thousands of students get and stay on track to go to medical school, is stepping down and plans to enjoy retirement "while I'm still able to," he joked.
"Ed's tireless dedication to the College of Science has been instrumental in the success of our students and our programs for three decades," Dean Pamela Jansma said. "He has been an advocate for the student, always looking for ways to strengthen advising and teaching within the college, while maintaining high standards. He has advised thousands of our undergraduates as they pursued the options before them for careers and graduate study. His commitment ensured that our students received the best preparation for entry into the professional programs in health professions. His compassion, empathy, and willingness to listen resulted in many undergraduates finishing their degrees who may otherwise not have been able to do so."
Morton has served in a wide variety of roles in his 30 years at UT Arlington. Some of his duties have included pre-med curriculum coordinator; chair of the college's Grade Appeals Committee; coordinating academic advising for all six COS departments; handling health professions scholarships, including selection of recipients; approving all of the college's degree plans; editing the college's undergraduate course catalog; and directing the University's Joint Admission Medical Program (JAMP), which provides services and support for economically disadvantaged students who wish to pursue a medical education. Most recently, he spearheaded the creation of the college's new Advising Center, which centralizes the advising process for COS students.
Morton says he will miss interacting with colleagues and helping guide students toward their goal of a medical career, but says now that he has made the decision to retire, he has no regrets.
"I think it's time to let someone younger come in and do this job," he said. "It's been a great experience working here, but I think 30 years is enough. The people are what have made this job so wonderful, and I'll miss them. I'm excited to see what great things the college and UT Arlington will do in the future."
College of Science faculty, staff members receive awards from College, University
The College of Science presented annual awards to faculty and staff and recognized faculty members who received various honors in the 2012-13 academic year during an end-of-year faculty and staff meeting on May 2.
Honors bestowed by the College included: Outstanding Research Award - Subhrangsu Mandal, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry; Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award - Gaik Ambartsoumian, associate professor of mathematics; Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award - Kenneth Abayan, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Mary Jane Goad Staff Excellence Award - Karen Twohey, administrative assistant II in psychology.
Dean Pamela Jansma also recognized faculty members who received University awards for 2012-13, as well as service awards and faculty promotions.
Read more on this story here.
COS students’ achievements rewarded with awards, scholarships from departments
The College of Science in May honored outstanding students and faculty members with annual departmental awards for the 2012-13 academic year and scholarships for 2013-14.
"Our students are inspiring with their level of commitment and achievement, so it's good to be able to recognize some of them for all their hard work and dedication to study and research," Dean of Science Pamela Jansma said. "They are going to be our leaders of tomorrow, and we're committed to providing them with the best education possible as well as the opportunity to be involved in groundbreaking research during their time here at UT Arlington."
For a complete list of award and scholarship recipients, click here.
Gatchel receives Distinguished Psychologist Award for 2013 from Dallas organization
Robert Gatchel, the Nancy P. & John G. Penson Endowed Professor of Clinical Health Psychology and director of the Center of Excellence for the Study of Health & Chronic Illnesses, was named winner of the Dallas Psychological Association's Distinguished Psychologist Award for 2013.
Gatchel was nominated for the award based on his years of contributions to the psychological community as well as his mentorship of graduate students.
"It is always a great honor to receive an award like this from one's peers and former students," Gatchel said. "I will always cherish this award because it represents over 30 years of my contributions to the field of psychology in the D-FW area, as well as to mentoring many graduate students who are now professionals in the field."
The award was presented to Gatchel at the DPA's Spring Social & Awards ceremony on May 19 in Dallas.
Gatchel came to UT Arlington in 2004 after 25 years at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. He has long been involved in cutting-edge research in science and medicine and his research has been continuously funded for the past 30 years by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense, among other sources.
He has also mentored 65 Ph.D. graduates, 38 masters students, six post-doctoral students and numerous junior faculty members.
Learn more about the Dallas Psychological Association here.
MacDonnell finds new ruthenium complexes that could control cancer cell growth better
A team of UT Arlington researchers has identified two ruthenium-based complexes they believe could pave the way for treatments that control cancer cell growth more effectively and are less toxic for patients than current chemotherapies.
Fred MacDonnell, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, has been researching a new generation of metal-based antitumor agents along with a team from the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Duarte, Calif. Their aim is to find new therapies to complement widely used platinum-based therapies, such as cisplatin. Cisplatin is one of the most widely used anti-cancer drugs and shows remarkable effectiveness against some cancers, however it does not work on all cancers and can have severe side effects.
In a study published in the May edition of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, the team describes two newly developed ruthenium polypyridyl complexes, or RPCs, that yielded results comparable to cisplatin against human non-small cell lung cancer cells in pre-clinical lab tests.
Read more about this story here.
Gough co-authors Nature paper on effects
of rising temperatures in Alaskan tundra
A recent paper in the journal Nature that is co-authored by UT Arlington associate professor of biology Laura Gough is challenging long-held ideas about the effects of temperature increases in the Alaskan tundra.
High latitudes contain nearly half of global soil carbon, and scientists have been concerned that warming temperatures could lead to increased microbial activity and more of that carbon being released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Increased carbon dioxide releases would then speed warming even more, enhancing the greenhouse effect.
Instead, the research team working at the U.S. Arctic Long Term Ecological Research Site in northern Alaska found that carbon stocks in soils subjected to 20 years of experimental warming did not differ from soils that experienced ambient air temperatures. Gough and her co-authors believe a complicated interplay between increased woody-shrub growth and the soil could be counteracting the warming effects.
Read more on this story here.
Mohanty's new fiber-optic, optogenetic stimulator has potential for brain mapping
A new tool being developed by Samarendra Mohanty, UT Arlington assistant professor of physics, could help scientists map and track the interactions between neurons inside different areas of the brain.
The journal Optics Letters recently published a paper by Mohanty on the development of a fiber-optic, two-photon, optogenetic stimulator and its use on human cells in a laboratory. The tiny tool builds on Mohanty's previous discovery that near-infrared light can be used to stimulate a light-sensitive protein introduced into living cells and neurons in the brain. This new method could show how different parts of the brain react when a linked area is stimulated.
The technology would be useful in the BRAIN mapping initiative recently championed by President Barack Obama, Mohanty said. BRAIN stands for Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies and will include $100 million in government investments in research.
Read more on this story here.
Castoe, Fujita contribute to project which mapped genome of western painted turtle
Castoe Fujita
Matthew Fujita and Todd Castoe, assistant professors of biology, have recently completed work on an international effort to sequence the genome of a western painted turtle, only the second reptile species to have its genetic information fully mapped.
Castoe and Fujita, both of whom joined the UT Arlington College of Science in 2012, were among 30 co-authors on a recent Genome Biology publication that described the work. Researchers found that some of the western painted turtle's extraordinary abilities - like being able to withstand oxygen deprivation and near total freezing of its tissue may be linked to sets of genes that are common to all vertebrates, but used uniquely in the turtle. It also showed that the turtle genome has evolved extremely slowly.
Learning more about how common gene networks work in different vertebrates such as the turtle could someday lead to better understanding of human disease, scientists say. The scientists also looked to the genome for information about the turtle's lack of teeth, as well as its immune function, longevity and determination of whether offspring are male or female.
Read more on this story here.
Yousufuddin contributes to journal article about transition-metal-free direct arylation
Muhammed Yousufuddin works with the newly upgraded SMART APEX II single crystal diffractometer, which he used to perform analyses for the study.
Muhammed Yousufuddin, research scientist in chemistry and manager of the UT Arlington Center for Nanostructured Materials, is co-author of a study which is the cover story in the May 15 edition of the Journal of the American Chemical Society about collaborative research in biaryls.
Yousufuddin collaborated with Hongyin Gao and László Kürti of UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and Daniel H. Ess of Brigham Young University.
Biaryls, where two aromatic rings are connected by a covalent bond, are a common structure in pharmaceuticals, organic materials, and ligands for catalysts. Such molecules are typically made by connecting functionalized, and often activated, aromatic rings using a transition metal catalyst.
The team developed an arylaryl coupling reaction that does not require a transition metal catalyst. The reaction forms a 2-amino-2′-hydroxy-1,1′-biaryl or a 1-amino-1′-hydroxy-4,4′-biaryl, depending on the reaction mechanism. The products were confirmed using crystal structure analysis performed by Yousufuddin.
A news article about the work will appear in an upcoming edition of Chemical and Engineering News. Read the JACS article here.
Dasgupta, students publish online article on status of detection in ion chromatography
Purnendu 'Sandy' Dasgupta, the Jenkins Garrett professor of chemistry and biochemistry, recently co-authored an article in Chromatography Online about the status of detection in ion chromatography.
Dasgupta, one of the world's leading experts in the field of ion chromatography, co-authored the article with Hongzhu Liao and C. Phillip Shelor, both graduate students in his lab.
The article focuses on the most popular detectors in ion chromatography: the conductivity detector and the charge detector. The article also discusses conductivity detection, including the capacitively coupled contactless conductivity detection. Charge detectors developed in Dasgupta's laboratory are shown to complement conductivity detectors.
Read the article here.
Mattioli encouraged by early results of COCOnet natural hazard detection project
Glen Mattioli, professor of earth and environmental science, is mentioned in an article in Nature about COCOnet, the network of sensors designed to monitor and track natural hazards in the Caribbean
Mattioli is on leave from UT Arlington while serving as a program director at UNAVCO, a geodetic-survey organization based in Boulder, Colorado, that is managing the COCOnet project.
The article discusses how COCOnet (Continuously Operating Caribbean GPS Observational Network) is helping geophysicists detect the crustal strains and brewing storms that threaten the region.
Early results from the $6 million system, funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, were presented in Cancún, Mexico, on May 17 at the American Geophysical Union Meeting of the Americas. In the article, Mattioli talks about the difficulties in setting up the sensors while dealing with 31 separate national governments, many of which distrust the United States. The project has made more progress than expected in acquiring the permits needed to set up stations, Mattioli said — even in Cuba.
COCONet stations are being set up at sites as diverse as steep rainforest slopes and isolated coral-reef islands, the article says. Each station contains meteorological instruments, along with a GPS unit that constantly monitors ground movements and, in many cases, transmits those data in near real time. So far, UNAVCO has built or upgraded 38 of its planned 69 sites. At least 61 existing stations are also being incorporated into the network.
Read the article here.
Doctoral student Bhalerao earns NASA/Texas Space Grant Fellowship for 2013-14 year
Jayant Bhalerao, a Ph.D. student in physics, has been selected as a NASA/Texas Space Grant Consortium Fellow for the 2013-14 academic year.
The fellowship consists of a $5,000 supplemental stipend. Over the last eight years, the Texas Space Grant Consortium (TSGC) has awarded over $1.25 million in fellowships and scholarships. All graduate and undergraduate students attending TSGC academic institutions are eligible to apply. The TSGC is a group of 50 institutions which include universities, industrial organizations, non-profit organizations, and government agencies within Texas that are joined to ensure that the benefits of space research and technology are available to all Texans.
Bhalerao's faculty mentor is Sangwook Park, assistant professor of physics.
Learn more about the TSGC here.

Newest edition of Maverick Science magazine is online

     The electronic version of the 2012-13 Maverick Science magazine, the official magazine of the College of Science, is now online! The magazine includes highlights from the past year and features in-depth looks at some of the College's outstanding faculty, students and alumni.
     Print copies of the magazine can be picked up in the Dean's office (Life Science Building Room 206) or in Life Science Building Room 112.
     The web version of the magazine is online here. It also contains links to past issues of Maverick Science.