The University of Texas at Arlington College of Science October 2014  
Welcome to the October 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.
College’s 2014 Science Week to offer something for everyone during showcase  

For Alumni

Alumni Relations
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

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. Full schedule here.
Monday, Nov. 3
Registration begins for Spring 2015 semester
Wednesday, Dec. 3
Last day of classes for Fall 2014 semester
December 6, 8-12
Final exams for Fall 2014 semester
Friday, December 12
3 p.m. COS Fall 2014 Commencement
College Park Center

The College of Science will celebrate its newest group of graduates with the Fall 2014 graduation ceremony. Complete details here.
Planetarium’s Fall schedule is under way
A new semester of shows and events is under way at the Planetarium at UT Arlington! 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 planetari-um software. The Fall 2014 schedule runs through Nov. 30. See the schedule here.
Maverick Science
Keep up with the COS with Maverick Science
Read the 2013-14 edition of Maverick Science for the latest College of Science 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
The College of Science will celebrate science and put the spotlight on its alumni, students and faculty during its annual Science Week, November 3-7.
The week will be filled with special events including talks featuring faculty and
alumni from various fields; open microphone forums where students can present
their research; workshops on research opportunities for undergraduate students;
Q&A panels for students looking to go into the medical and environmental science
fields; and even a photo contest for students with fabulous prizes going to the winners.
A sampling of the highlights includes:
Social media Maverick Science Spirit Photo Contest
Begins Monday, November 3; deadline for entries is 11:59 p.m. Thursday, November 6
College of Science students are invited to send photos which embody “Maverick Science in Action” to #mavscienceinaction on Instagram. Be creative; sciencethemed photos are encouraged! Inappropriate submissions will not be considered. Winners will be announced on Friday, Nov. 7 during the Open Mic Day event. Winners
will receive either a FitBit or portable, Bluetooth-ready speakers (value $100).
Open to all College of Science students.
Open Mic Science Event
Monday, November 3, 4:30-5:30 p.m. CPB lobby, far west side of atrium
Research-active graduate and undergraduate students will give brief presentations of their research projects using nothing but a white board! Audience participation, questions and feedback are encouraged. Snacks will be served. Open to all.
Identifying and Securing Research and Funding Opportunities: A Hands-On Workshop for Students
Tuesday, November 4 12:30-1:45 p.m., Pickard Hall, Room 313
Wednesday November 5 12-1:30 p.m., Pickard Hall, Room 313
Presented by the Institute for Broadening Participation (IBP) and the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP). Ashanti Johnson, assistant vice provost for faculty recruitment, associate professor of environmental science and IBP director, will inform undergraduate students of research opportunities available to them. This is an interactive workshop in which students will sign up to receive information about research experiences and funding. Open to all undergraduate students.
Medical and Dental Panel Q&A
Wednesday, November 5, 12 p.m., Life Sciences Building, Room 119
College of Science alumni Asad Dean, M.D. (B.S. in Biology, Cum Laude), Pat Peters, M.D. (B.S. in Biology), Alvin Anene, M.D. (B.S. in Biology) and Scott Taylor, D.O. (B.S. in Biology), as well as Franklyn Alexander, D.D.S. , a longtime UT Arlington supporter and member of the UT Arlington Development Board, will answer students’ questions about careers in the medical field. Tim Henry, assistant dean of the Honors College and lecturer in biology, will serve as panel moderator. Open to all College of Science pre-medical and pre-dental students.
Careers in Earth and Environmental Science Panel
Wednesday, November 5, 12 p.m., Life Sciences Building, Room 124
Alumni and experts will talk with students about career options in the earth and environmental science field. James Grover, interim dean of the College of Science and professor of earth and environmental science, will serve as panel moderator. Pizza will be served. Open to all students.
Innovations in Medicine: Perspectives from Two Worlds
Wednesday, November 5, 7:30 p.m., E.H. Hereford University Center, Rosebud Theater
Alumnus Jivesh J. Sharma, M.D., a doctor and entrepreneur (B.S. in Biology, founder and CEO of NextGen Oncology), and Julian Hurdle, UT Arlington assistant professor of biology, will discuss scientific innovations in the medical field from different perspectives including research, clinical care and business. Remarks by James Grover, interim dean of science, and Carolyn Cason, vice president for research. Open to all students, the University community and the general public.
Science for All
Thursday, 12-2 p.m., Central Library 6th Floor Parlor
Biology Assistant Professor John “Trey” Fondon will speak at 12:30 p.m. on “Separating Fact from Fiction about Genetically Modified Organisms”. The event is meant for a broad audience of all education levels and disciplines. Lunch will be served at 12 p.m. and ongoing during the talk. Please note that photo ID is now required for entry to the library. Open to the University community.
Open Mic Science Event
Friday, 12-1 p.m., E.H. Hereford University Center, Palo Duro Lounge
Not a repeat of Monday’s event but a new session. Research-active graduate and undergraduate students will give brief presentations of their research projects. Audience participation, questions and feedback are encouraged. Snacks will be served. Open to all.
Lecture on Drug Discovery
Friday, November 7, 1-2 p.m., Science Hall, Room 101
Meg Phillips, Ph.D., holder of the Carolyn R. Bacon Professorship in Medical Science and Education and the Beatrice and Miguel Elias Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Science at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, will talk about methodologies used in drug discovery research. Open to all College of Science students and faculty.
Faculty Seminar of Undergraduate Research Best Practices
Friday, November 7, 2-3 p.m., Life Sciences Building, Room 124
Ashley Purgason, assistant dean for undergraduate research and student advancement, will host this seminar for faculty. Topics to be covered include mentorship of undergraduates and groups historically underrepresented in STEM as well as integrating research into the curriculum. Open to all College of Science faculty.
See the full schedule of Science Week events here.
Schug named to magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 as one of best young analytical scientists
Kevin Schug
Kevin Schug, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry and the Shimadzu Distinguished Professor of Analytical Chemistry, has been named to The Analytical Scientist magazine’s 2014 Power List as one of its Top 40 Under 40.
The recognition as one of the top young analytical scientists in the world is just the latest accolade for Schug, whose research focuses on the theory and application of separation science and mass spectrometry for solving a variety of analytical and physical chemistry problems. Schug is the only scientist from a Texas university represented on this year’s Power List.
“The future of analytical science is bright, and being a regular attendee of national and international conferences, I can attest to the quality of research being generated by a younger generation of accomplished analytical scientists around the world,” Schug said. “To be counted among them is a true honor.”
Read more on this story here.
Physics doctoral students honored for work in plutonium research by national group
Sarah Hernandez
Sarah Hernandez, a College of Science student who began her studies through a National Science Foundationfunded program to increase underrepresented groups in the sciences, recently was honored at an international conference of plutonium experts.
Hernandez presented her research on the stabilization of delta phase plutonium by the element gallium at the American Nuclear Society’s Plutonium Futures – The Science conference in September. She took home the prize for best poster presentation on plutonium materials.
In addition, she was lead author on a paper published this summer in the Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter.
“I never once dreamed I would be sitting here at this moment. When I won that award I felt like a celebrity,” said Hernandez, who has a bachelor’s degree from Texas Christian University and master’s degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
Read more on this story here.
EES senior Barber wins award for best paper at Geological Society of America meeting
Troy Barber, center, with Qinhong “Max” Hu, left, and Xubo Gao, visiting scientist from China.
UT Arlington senior Troy Barber took home a Best Paper Award during the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Vancouver in October for his study of pore structure and fluid movement in rock formations.
The Geological Society’s Division of Coal Geology gave the award. According to the Coal Division, the Best Paper Award recognizes “presentations which are of exceptional scientific quality and are visually appealing.”
Barber, an earth and environmental sciences major, joined the research group of Qinhong “Max” Hu, UT Arlington associate professor, in 2013. Barber’s winning paper was called, “Applying Vacuum Saturation to Study the Pore Structure of Tight Shales.”
Barber said the honor would not have been possible without Hu’s “excellent support of undergraduate participation in his research.”
Hu said Barber’s selection reflects well on UT Arlington as an environment where first-generation, non-traditional students like Barber can succeed.
Gatchel part of team using big data to find better ways for patients to manage pain
Pictured from left, front row: Aera LeBoulluec, Victoria Chen and Li Zeng. Back row, from left: Robert Gatchel, Jay Rosenberger, Mike Manry and Junzhou Huang.
A UT Arlington multi-disciplinary team is optimizing and integrating volumes of data in a National Science Foundation research project to help physicians make better, more informed decisions about treating patients’ pain.
Jay Rosenberger, an associate professor in the Industrial, Manufacturing and Systems Engineering Department, is leading the team, which will work for three years on the $374,998 NSF grant titled: “Statistics-based Optimization Methods for Adaptive Interdisciplinary Pain Management.”
The team includes Distinguished Professor Robert Gatchel of Psychology, Professor Mike Manry of Electrical Engineering, Assistant Professor Junzhou Huang of Computer Science & Engineering, and Rosenberger’s IMSE colleagues Professor Victoria Chen and Assistant Professor Li Zeng.
“The management of pain, especially when it becomes chronic in nature, is a very complex problem because there are a host of physiological and psychosocial factors involved that may differ from one patient to the next,” Gatchel said. “Therefore, careful clinical assessment has to be conducted before and during treatment in order to ‘tailor’ the best treatment program for each patient. The goal of this project is to better identify those key factors that are most important in tailoring the treatment for patients in order to produce the best therapeutic and cost-effective outcomes.”
Read more on this story here.
Physics researchers say new nanostructure could assist in the detection of radiation
Wei Chen
A UT Arlington research team says recently identified radiation detection properties of a light -emitting nanostructure built in their lab could open doors for homeland security and medical advances.
In a paper published in the Oct. 1 issue of Optics Letters, UT Arlington physics Professor Wei Chen and his co-authors describe a new method to fabricate transparent nanoscintillators by heating nanoparticles composed of lanthanum, yttrium and oxygen until a transparent ceramic is formed. A scintillator refers to a material that glows in response to radiation. The new structure is known as La0.2 Y1.8 O3 .
The researchers say the resulting “nanostructured polycrystalline scintillators” have better energy resolution than currently used materials sodium iodide and caesium iodide and the new scintillator is more stable than sodium iodide. It also has a fast luminescence decay time that is essential for radiation detection because it affects how quickly a detector can work, Chen said.
“Many people use this compound as a host material for lasers or other optical operations, but no one had ever tried this for radiation detection as far as we know,” Chen said. “We used a new way to make these materials and found that they hold a lot of promise as a new direction for luminescent scintillator research.”
Read more on this story here.
Physics research team shows how fluid flow can affect neuron growth in human body
A UT Arlington team exploring how neuron growth can be controlled in the lab and, possibly, in the human body has published a new paper in Nature Scientific Reports on how fluid flow could play a significant role.
In a new study co-authored by Samarendra Mohanty, leader of the Biophysics and Physiology Lab in the College of Science, the researchers were able to use microfluidic stimulations to change the path of an axon at an angle of up to 90 degrees. Axons are the shafts of neurons, on the tips of which connections are made with other neurons or cells.
The publication adds insight to the long accepted idea that chemical cues are primarily responsible for axonal pathfinding during human development and nervous system regeneration. Such knowledge could be essential for advances in spinal cord injuries, where fluid flow can guide regenerating axons, in addition to affecting the bio-chemicals in the injured site.
Finding a non-invasive, highly effective tool to guide neuron growth is important to neuroscientists hoping to determine how neural circuitry works and develop ways to test potentially life-changing therapeutic drugs on so-called lab-on-a-chip devices. Lab-on-a-chip devices incorporate several lab functions on a micro-chip.
Read more on this story here.
Campbell honored at reception for 13 years of leadership as biology department chair
Jonathan Campbell, right, is congratulated by interim Dean of Science James Grover after being presented with an original piece of glassware made by David Keen, professor and founder of UT Arlington’s glass art program.
Dozens of faculty, staff and administrators attended a reception October 23 in the University Club for Jonathan Campbell, professor of biology and one of the world's foremost herpetologists.
At the reception, Campbell was honored for his 13 years of service as department chair and for his many contributions to the department, the College of Science and UT Arlington. Campbell, who has been at UT Arlington since 1983, stepped down as chair in August to return full-time to research and teaching. Laura Gough is serving as interim chair until a permanent replacement is selected.
Gough and interim Dean of Science James Grover noted some of the many successes the department enjoyed under Campbell’s guidance and thanked him for his leadership. Campbell joked that when he agreed to serve as department chair in 2001, he thought it would be for only one year.
Campbell said he is excited to be able to once again focus on his research and teaching. He has described more than 100 new species, some of which were on the brink of becoming extinct without ever being known, and a number of new species of amphibians and reptiles have been named in his honor.
Kribs says widespread Ebola outbreak in U.S. extremely unlikely in story on WFAA
Christopher Kribs, professor of mathematics, appeared on WFAA Channel 8 on October 5 and said Ebola isn't likely to surge in the United States following the first confirmed case, which was found in Dallas on September 30.
Several more cases have been confirmed since the first one, including two nurses in Dallas who were infected while caring for the first patient. There has been no widespread outbreak, and Kribs said such a scenario is not at all likely in the United States.
“It really does vary from place to place, so people in the U.S. shouldn’t be worried about what’s happening in a place like Liberia happening here, because the conditions are just completely different,” Kribs said.
Kribs uses mathematics to chart and graph the spread of infectious diseases throughout the world. He has published works on mathematical modeling of infectious diseases and has monitored Ebola since outbreaks in West Africa in 2000.
Watch video of the WFAA story here.
Biology researchers studying tree felled by storm for North Texas climate history clues
Sarah Mahon with a section of the fallen tree. Courtesy of KTVT CBS11.
Sarah Mahon, a doctoral student in biology, and Michelle Green, a graduate teaching assistant, appeared in a story on KTVT Channel 11 on October 21 about a large oak tree on the UT Arlington campus which was felled by a severe storm.
The huge oak tree is now the focus of research in the Department of Biology. The tree’s age has been determined at around 100 years old.
“It can give a history of fires, the climate at the time, and possibly predict climate for the future,” said Mahon, who is focusing on a slice of the tree trunk which students cut after it toppled.
Green said the tree will allow researchers to study local weather patterns for almost a century and even collect information about bug infestations.
The story also appeared on the station’s website, Read the story or see the video here.
Yu talks about the power of Einstein’s special theory of relativity in online story
Jaehoon Yu, a professor of physics, was quoted in a September 25 story about Albert Einstein’s famous equation of E=mc2 on The Wire, an Oncor website.
Yu, who is involved in particle accelerator experiments made possible by Einstein’s famous equation, said the equation led to a different line of thinking.
“This equation introduced a radically new idea of energy and mass,” Yu says in the story. “It led us into a totally different concept of generating energy, and it will eventually help us harness energy much more efficiently.”
Yu, who teaches an introductory physics course, said he stresses the importance of that equation to incoming students.
Read the story here.
Planetarium offers safe way for visitors to view partial solar eclipse October 23
The Planetarium at UT Arlington hosted a watch party for a partial solar eclipse which occurred October 23, and dozens of students and members of the community came out to safely watch the phenomenon from the observatory deck on the third floor, several local TV stations reported.
The Planetarium had special filtered telescopes and glasses with solar filters available for visitors to use while viewing the eclipse, which was at its peak in North Texas during the late afternoon hours.
“I think it’s a great event for students on campus to get to see this, because not everyone knew there was going to be a solar eclipse, and glasses were provided downstairs, and it was advertised as a way for people to enjoy astronomy,” one student said in a story on KXA S Channel 5.
Partial solar eclipses, which occur about twice a year, are rare but are more common than total eclipses, the story says. The next total solar eclipse that will be visible in North Texas will be in 2029.

Maverick Science magazine is available in print, online
The 2013-14 edition of Maverick Science Magazine includes College of Science highlights from the past year and features in-depth looks at some of the College’s out-standing 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.