The University of Texas at Arlington College of Science July 2014  
Welcome to the July 2014 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.
Undergraduate student Fordjour wins one of only 15 UNCF/Merck fellowships for 2014  

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, August 11
Final exams, Summer 2014 second 5-week session
August 11-12
Final exams, Summer 2014 11-week session
Thursday, August 21
First day of classes, Fall 2014 semester
November 3-7
2014 Science Week

The College of Science spotlights the achievements of its alumni, students and faculty with a week of special events. Details coming soon.
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 2014 show schedule runs through August 24.. See
the full schedule here.
Maverick Science
Keep up with the COS with Maverick Science
The 2013-14 edition of Maverick Science Magazine is here! Read Maverick Science for the latest faculty, student and alumni news. Copies are available in the Dean’s Office (Life Sciences Room 206) and in LS 112. The online version can be shared via social media and is available here.
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
Emmanuel Fordjour
Emmanuel Fordjour, an undergraduate majoring in biology and microbiology, has won one of just 15 UNCF/Merck Science Research Fellowship Awards for 2014, which comes with up to $25,000 in scholarship money for tuition, housing and billable fees.
The award, from the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and The Merck Company Foundation and Merck Global Diversity Inclusion recognizes outstanding African-American students and postdoctoral leaders.
Ashley Purgason, College of Science assistant dean for undergraduate research and student advancement, said the college is grateful to UNCF and Merck for recognizing Fordjour.
“Emmanuel is very deserving due not only to his academic prowess and research experience, but because of his enthusiasm about science and training the next generation of scientists as well,” she said. “He is a bright and shining representative of the wonderful student body at UT Arlington and their hunger to succeed and advance the world around them.”
The Washington D.C.-based Council on Undergraduate Research and the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Foundation honored Fordjour earlier this year for his work with Julian Hurdle, an assistant professor of biology. Hurdle’s lab researches ways to fight a dangerous, hospital-acquired disease called Clostridium difficile infection or CDI.
Read more about Fordjour here.
Griffith receives $357K federal grant to study rock dynamics, rate strengthening
W. Ashley Griffith
The Army Research Office has awarded a three-year grant of up to $357,330 to a UT Arlington geophysicist using new technology to better define the energy needed to fracture rock at the surface and below ground.
W. Ashley Griffith, an assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, said the new research could give the Army information on how to address hardened and deeply buried targets, but the results could also easily be applied to improving civil engineering methods. The new grant also relates to Griffith’s ongoing research using the latest technology to explore the science of earthquakes and a phenomenon in rocks known as “rate-strengthening.”
Rate strengthening is when rocks get stronger when they are loaded faster, such as during an impact.
“Scientists know that rate strengthening when rocks break is related to the energy associated with microscopic crack growth. What we don’t know much about is how this is related to rock texture and composition, so it is difficult to transform our theoretical knowledge into predictive capability,” Griffith said. “This project takes advantage of UT Arlington’s unique facilities and expertise in both geology and engineering to answer these questions.”
Read more on this story here.
Welch Scholar program provides high school students experience in chemistry research
First row, from left: Minji Kim, Teresa Lee, Manasa Dutta, Rainah Zhang, Shouana Vang and Rainah McIntyre. Second row: Seiichero Tanizaki, Rohan Chakraborty, Jiwoo Lee, Anlei Tang and Thomas Oh. Third row: Rasika Dias, Peter Kroll, Fred MacDonnell and Alejandro Bugarin.
For the 22nd consecutive year, high school students from around Texas had the opportunity to participate in chemistry research at UT Arlington as part of the Welch Summer Scholar Program, conducting experiments and receiving one-on-one mentoring from faculty members.
The program, funded by the Welch Foundation of Texas, brings four male and four female high school students to campus to spend five weeks as Welch scholars. The students receive full scholarships to cover all program costs. Students are selected based on academic standing, personal statements and letters of recommendation. Since its inception, the Welch program has served more than 1,500 high school students from across Texas.
“The unique aspect of the Welch program is that students join chemistry research projects from the beginning of the program, following two days of orientation, and engage in formal chemistry research from morning to evening every day except for weekends,” said Seiichero Tanizaki, site director and chemistry lecturer. “They learn how to use modern instrumentation. They participate in research group meetings. This type of exposure to an academic research environment is difficult to find in a regular high school curriculum.”
Read more on this story here.
College of Science students are honored for achievements with awards, scholarships
The College of Science honored outstanding students and faculty members with annual departmental awards for the 2013-14 academic year and scholarships for 2014-15.
“The outstanding quality of work our students are doing is truly inspiring and gratifying, and these awards and scholarships are a great way to honor their dedication and hard work,” Dean of Science Pamela Jansma said. “Our students make all of us as College of Science faculty members and administrators very proud with their achievements in the classroom and in the laboratory. Congratulations to all of the recipients. We can’t wait to see what you are all going to accomplish next.”
Read more on this story here.
Alum Meherali named 2014-15 secondary teacher of the year by Irving school district
Aaly Meherali, a UT Arlington alumnus and former UT Arlington research associate in genomics, was named the Irving school district’s 2014-15 Secondary Teacher of the Year in May.
Meherali, a chemistry teacher at Jack E. Singley Academy, has taught for five years, the last three at Singley. In addition to teaching and leading curriculum development and training colleagues, he serves as an environmental advisor for the Clear Water Treatment program. He holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from UT Arlington, a master’s degree in chemistry from Texas A&M Commerce and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Texas A&M Commerce.
By winning the Irving district award, Meherali is now in the running for Regional Teacher of the Year. If selected, he will then be a finalist for Texas Teacher of the Year. The winner of that award will be announced October 24 in Austin.
Mohanty, Koymen team’s research on lasers’ effects on organisms featured in journal
Ali Koyman, left, and Samarendra Mohanty
A UT Arlington research group led by physics assistant professor Samarendra Mohanty and physics professor Ali Koymen has used low-power, near-infrared lasers and crystalline magnetic carbon nanoparticles to perform photothermal delivery of impermeable dyes and plasmids into live human prostate cancer, the journal Biophotonics reported in its July issue.
The heat from the laser causes the CNPs to stretch the cell membranes and increase fluid flow to allow exogenous substances (plasmids, for example, or an agent that kills the cancer) to be delivered, the article says.
“This technology is an important development toward controllable in vivo drug, vaccine and gene delivery,” Mohanty says in the article. “It could someday enable label-free diagnostics with therapeutic potential in optogenetics, cancer and many other diseases.”
Read the article here.
Mydlarz quoted in online story about study examining coral health near dredging sites
Laura Mydlarz, associate professor of biology, was quoted in a Fox News website story on July 22 about increased sickness in coral reefs and ocean bed dredging.
The story quotes the study’s lead author, Joe Pollock, a post-doctoral candidate from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University and the Australian Institute of Marine Science. Pollock says that at dredging sites, researchers “found more than twice as much coral disease than at our control sites. Corals require both light and food to survive. And unfortunately, dredging impacts corals on two fronts: Increased turbidity means less light for photosynthesis, while increased levels of sediment falling onto the coral can interfere with their ability to feed.”
Mydlarz, who did not take part in the study, said: “It adds data that we need to look at as far as managing how dredge sites are planned and how dredging is conducted on those areas.”
The story originally appeared on the website LiveScience. Read the Fox News story here.
UT Arlington hosts 2014 Western Alliance Conference of planetarium administrators
The Planetarium at UT Arlington was the site of the 2014 Western Alliance Conference from July 22-25, bringing planetarium administrators together to share ideas and learn about the newest advances in technology for planetarium shows.
Levent Gurdemir, director of the Planetarium at UT Arlington, served as conference host. The conference featured paper presentations, workshops, planetarium shows and demonstrations by vendors of the latest in planetarium technology. Attendees also enjoyed a tour of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas on July 24.
The Western Alliance Conference is a gathering of planetarium professionals from multiple regions across the western half of the United States. The regional groups have their annual meeting during the conference.
The conference allows WAC planetarium administrators to share information about their experiences and to explore new and impressive educational and visualization technologies offered for the industry. Vendors from around the world filled the Chemistry and Physics Building lobby with the latest in planetarium technology.
Learn more at the WAC website here.
Alumna Boyles and her job as D/FW Airport wildlife biologist profiled on KERA News
Cathy Boyles fires sound cartridges from her pyrotechnic launcher to disperse birds that could damage planes at D/FW Airport. Photo courtesy of Shelley Kofler, KERA News
Cathy Boyles, a College of Science alumna and wildlife administrator at D/FW Airport, was the subject of an online profile by KERA News on July 7.
Boyles’ job is to keep birds and other wildlife — the occasional coyote or deer — away from aircraft, the story says. One of the tools she uses to do her job is an avian radar, an experimental tool that allows her to pinpoint the type and number of birds that are gathering at points all around the airport.
The airport uses a number of measures in attempting to prevent birds and other forms of wildlife from striking aircraft as they take off or land, including everything from firing pyrotechnic shells to introducing predators, such as falcons.
Boyles remembers how effective it was to release a falcon at nightfall when thousands of black birds had roosted in the airport’s live oaks, the story says.
“The birds have let down their guard by now,” she said. “They think they’re there for the night and they’re safe. And you release a predator into their midst and they’re gone.”
Read the story here.
Maverick Science magazine is available in print, online
The 2013-14 edition of Maverick Science Magazine is here! The magazine includes College of Science highlights from the past year and features in-depth looks at some of the College’s outstanding faculty, students and alumni.
The magazine’s online version can be shared via social media, is downloadable and is compatible with smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops. Print copies of the magazine are available in the Dean’s office (Life Science Building Room 206) or in Life Science Building Room 112.
Read the online version here.