The University of Texas at Arlington
College of Science
October 2015
Welcome to the October 2015 edition of Maverick ScienceE-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.
Dasgupta honored as first holder of Hamish Small Chair in Ion Analysis during symposium
Purnendu “Sandy” Dasgupta, left, and Hamish Small
The University of Texas at Arlington celebrated the $1 million endowed Hamish Small Chair of Ion Analysis with an event honoring Purnendu “Sandy” Dasgupta, the first faculty member to hold the chair, and the chair’s name-sake, renowned chemist Hamish Small
The endowed chair was established through a gift from multinational company Thermo Fisher Scientific.
Small, 86, invented ion chromatography, the process that allows the separation of ions based on their charge. His work has seeded a $300 million a year industry, and his processes are employed by diverse businesses, from those focused on power generation and water analysis to pharmaceuticals and healthcare.
Dasgupta, UTA’s Jenkins Garrett Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, is a celebrated researcher in his own right, a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the author of more than 350 papers in addition to book chapters and other published works. He holds 20 U.S. patents, including one on electrodialytic reagent generation technology on which current ion chromatography is based.
The two men joined UTA President Vistasp M. Karbhari and representatives of Thermo Fisher Scientific on campus October 19 for a reception and symposium in their honor.
Read more on this story here.
College of Science to celebrate past, look ahead to future with annual Science Week
The College of Science will celebrate Science Week 2015 from November 2-6, and as part of the College’s 50th anniversary year, the theme of the week will be “Focus on the Future: The Next 50 Years.”
Science Week will feature special events including talks for students featuring College of Science alumni and distinguished guests, panel discussions on careers in the medical and environmental science fields featuring alumni and industry professionals, guest lectures and a special program at the Planetarium featuring an award-winning Metroplex school-teacher who will share her story of flying on NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA).
Science Week is an annual event designed to put a spotlight on the achievements of the College of Science’s alumni, students and faculty and to allow students to interact with alumni and benefit from their experience.
As part of the College’s ongoing 50th anniversary celebration, each department will be featured with a week of special events over the course of the 2015-16 academic year. The second week of November will focus on the Department of Physics, and the highlight of the week is the 3rd International Workshop on Persistent and Photostimulable Phosphors, which will be held November 9-13 at the Sheraton Arlington hotel. The workshop will feature invited talks from a host of esteemed physicists from around the world, along with seminars, poster presentations and special entertainment for attendees.
Find the full schedule of Science Week events, along with the full schedule of COS 50th anniversary events, here. Learn more about the 3rd International Workshop on Persistent and Photostimulable Phosphors here.

Dasgupta gets $1M NASA grant to conduct more open-tubular capillary chromatography
A UT Arlington researcher will develop a platform that could help scientists move one step closer to answering whether life may have existed “out there” or if we are really alone in the universe.
Purnendu “Sandy” Dasgupta, the Hamish Small Chair in Ion Analysis of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has been awarded almost $1 million from NASA to further the search for amino acids, the so-called building blocks of life..
Dasgupta will do that by extending a platform that he developed to detect and separate ions called an open-tubular capillary chromatography platform. The method uses very small volumes of samples that are injected into tubes extremely small in diameter, between 10 to 25 microns.
“To give you some perspective, the finest human hair is about 100 microns. This is about one-tenth of that. You can’t see the holes in those tubes,” Dasgupta said. “We have to be much more specific with amino acids than when looking for inorganic ions. But you want the scale to be as small as possible, requiring as little power as possible, and consuming as little material as possible. All of those things have to be carried out to space, and every little bit of weight, volume and power, is expensive.”
Read more of this story here.
Epperson awarded $270K NSF grant to find better methods to identify problem-solving
James Epperson
A UT Arlington math researcher wants to better understand the mathematical problem-solving skills that students need to excel in STEM fields - science, technology, engineering and math.
James Epperson, an associate professor of mathematics in the College of Science, will use a $270,518 National Science Foundation grant to develop methods to better recognize capacity in mathematical problem solving needed for success in foundational mathematics courses for STEM.
Although mathematicians and mathematics educators can identify prerequisite skills and conceptual knowledge needed for courses such as calculus, little is understood about the mathematical problem-solving capacity students must develop to successfully apply mathematical knowledge from prior courses to the learning of the mathematics central to their scientific field of study.
The research, in collaboration with Kathryn Rhoads, co-principal investigator and visiting assistant professor of mathematics, “will provide important and efficient tools that separate skills, procedural knowledge and conceptual knowledge gained in foundational mathematics courses from the mathematical problem-solving levels needed to leverage this mathematical knowledge in future courses and persist in STEM fields,” Epperson said.
Read more on this story here.
Walsh receives $220K NSF grant to examine zooplankton in lakes in Alaska, Wisconsin
Matthew Walsh
A UT Arlington biologist will test aquatic habitats in Alaska and Wisconsin to better document, understand and predict how organisms respond to natural change and change that is influenced by humans or environmental pollutants.
Matthew Walsh, an assistant professor in the Department of Biology, has received a $220,000 National Science Foundation Long-Term Ecological Research grant to examine zooplankton in more than 20 lakes in Alaska and Wisconsin.
For more than 30 years, scientists have documented site responses of natural populations and communities to rising temperatures, increased urbanization, changes in nutrient availability, and the spread of invasive species. Until now, they have not examined the extent to which these responses reflect evolutionary change in the aquatic habitats.
“We’re really asking key questions about evolution and how predictable it is, and how consistent it is across diverse ecosystems,” Walsh said. “We’re studying zooplankton because they’re important food for fish. And so what that means is if they’re evolving, changes in body size, and more, that’s going to also influence how the ecology changes over time.”
Read more about this story here.
Handley rejoins staff of College of Science as new executive assistant to the dean
The College of Science welcomed a new member to the dean’s staff in September when Ruth Handley became the new executive assistant to Dean of Science Morteza Khaledi. Handley is no stranger to the College of Science, however.
Handley, who earned a BBA in Accounting from UT Arlington in 2013, began her career at UT Arlington in January 2000 as a senior secretary in the Department of Physics. A year later she became an administrative assistant for the office of the Dean of Science.
In 2002 she became accounting clerk for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and moved from there to become an administrative assistant for the department in 2004. In 2010 she accepted the assistant to the dean position in the College of Education. In September she returned to the College of Science, replacing Amy Osborn, who is now executive assistant to Duane Dimos, UT Arlington vice president for research.
“We’re very pleased to welcome Ruth to the staff,” Khaledi said. “Her previous experience in the College of Science is a major asset. She has been at UTA for a long time and is very knowledgeable in how things operate at the university. That will be a big help to me as I continue to get acclimated to the dean’s position.”
Planetarium creates active stereo 3-D show about NASA’s SOFIA research observatory
NASA’s SOFIA flies across the sky in a new 3-D production at The Planetarium at UT Arlington.
A new active stereo 3-D show at The Planetarium at UT Arlington will transform learning for students and planetarium visitors interested in exploring the mysteries of our galaxy and beyond.
The Planetarium, which is part of the UT Arlington College of Science, soon will begin public showings of “SOFIA 3-D,” a short science film based on NASA’s research and outreach mission, Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA. The 3.5-minute film will also be shown prior to other future documentaries.
The NASA project has many goals, including the study of atmospheres of planets in the Solar System, such as Mars, and the study of comets. During its planned 20-year lifetime, SOFIA also hopes to inspire the development of new scientific instrumentation and nurture the education of young scientists and engineers.
“It has taken several years, but we are thrilled that we are finally able to introduce this significant film to the public,” said Manfred Cuntz, a professor in the Department of Physics and principal investigator on an $88,000 grant from NASA, which among other activities funded the production of the film and equipment needed to install, test and produce content for the 3-D projection system.
Read more on this story here.
Sharma co-authors two papers, presents research with Hozhabri, grad student Tiwari
Sharma Tiwari Hozhabri
Suresh Sharma, professor of physics, collaborated with graduate student Kunal Tiwari and Nader Hozhabri of UT Arlington’s Nanotechnology Research Center on research which was featured in two publications and at an international conference.
The first paper, co-authored by Tiwari, Sharma and Hozhabri and titled “High performance surface plasmon sensors: Simulations and measurements,” was published in the September 1 edition of the Journal of Applied Physics. The second paper, titled “Surface plasmon based sensor with order-of-magnitude higher sensitivity to electric field induced changes in dielectric environment at metal/nematic liquid-crystal interface” and co-authored with Ti-wari, was published in the journal Sensors and Actuators A.
Sharma, Tiwari and Hozhabri also made a presentation of their research, titled “Surface plasmon sensors with high sensitivity and resolution and modifications in the Kretschmann configuration system for SPR measurements on not-easily-accessible samples”, at the 8th EMN (Energy, Materials, and Nanotechnology) Meeting in November in Orlando, Fla.
Read the Journal of Applied Physics paper here.
Research published by Huda and graduate student Mayfield is spotlighted by journal
Huda Mayfield
Research by Muhammad Huda, associate professor of physics, and Ph.D. student Cedric Mayfield was highlighted in a recent Labtalk article in the online version of the Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter.
The Labtalk article is titled “Honing in pure-phase stability of complex multi-metal oxides.” The article is based on research published in a paper which Huda and Mayfield co-authored along with Ravi Subramanian of the University of Nevada at Reno. The paper, titled “Free energy dependence of pure phase iron doped bismuth titanate from first principles calculations”, was published in the July 22 edition of the Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter.
Participants will analyze medical literature and present case studies to their physician-mentors for critique. And they will meet with UT Arlington faculty members to evaluate, discuss and enhance their clinical experience, including analyzing relevant published topics such as clinical trials, molecular research, ethical issues, patient experiences and more.
Their research showed that the ability to hone in pure-phase stability from first principles calculations can change the outlook of synthesizing band engineered multi-metal oxides as a whole. From their work, the authors concluded that “our method can further advance solar energy conversion technologies by realizing higher quality mixed metal oxides.”
The research is a collaboration between Huda’s Condensed Matter Theory Group and Subramanian’s experimental Chemical Engineering Group at the University of Nevada at Reno. The work is supported by an award from the National Science Foundation.
College of Science faculty, students promote environmental research at Ecofest Arlington
Kids check out some of the items on display in the biology booth run by biology faculty members Laura Mydlarz and Matt Walsh during Ecofest Arlington.
UT Arlington and the College of Science were well-represented at the Ecofest Arlington festival on September 19.
Laura Mydlarz, associate professor of biology, and Matthew Walsh, assistant professor of biology, along with some of their students, engaged over 450 visitors at their booth, which featured Mydlarz’s research in coral immunity and disease, and Walsh’s research in evolutionary ecology. There were hands-on activities and educational information for all ages.
In addition, Doug Carlton and other members of UT Arlington’s CLEAR (Collaborative Laboratories for Environmental Analysis and Remediation) group engaged over 600 visitors at their booth, which provided information on CLEAR’s environmental research testing. CLEAR collects relevant scientific and engineering expertise to enable objective multi-disciplinary research to examine anthropogenic processes in the context of environmental and human health. CLEAR develops validated technologies to rapidly detect and remediate instances of environmental contamination.
Ecofest Arlington is a daylong festival designed to help build a sense of community, stimulate environmental awareness and promote stewardship across North Texas.
Learn more about CLEAR here and learn more about Ecofest Arlington here.
New edition of Maverick Science magazine highlights College of Science people, events
The 2015 edition of Maverick Science Magazine is here! The magazine includes College of Science news and highlights from the past year, including awards and research grants received by faculty and students, as well as in-depth looks at some of the College’s outstanding faculty, students and alumni. The magazine also includes a message from new Dean of Science Morteza Khaledi.
The electronic version of the new magazine is now available online. It can be shared via social media, can be downloaded and is compatible with smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops. Print copies of the magazine are available in the Dean of Science office (Life Science Building Room 206).
Read the online version here.

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

M-F, November 2-6
Science Week 2015
A week full of guest lectures, Q&A panels and special events designed to bring College of Science alumni, students and faculty together and to showcase the innovative work being done in the College. See the full schedule of events here.
M-F, November 9-13
3rd International Work-shop on Persistent and Photostimulable
Phosphors DFW 2015

A week-long conference hosted by UT Arlington featuring invited presentations by experts and students from around the world. Full details here.
November 13, 14, 20, 21
7 p.m., Planetarium
Apollo’s Flight

The Planetarium presents a special multimedia performance based on the character of Apollo, the Greek god of light and music. Apollo’s Flight includes original music by Marek Eneti along with light projections, electronic progressive live instrumentation, pristine sound, and spacey film footage which come together for a truly unique experience. Tickets are $20 for general admission, $15 for students with ID and children under 12. Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling 817-272-1183 or by emailing
November 26-27
Thanksgiving holidays
Wednesday, Dec. 9
Last day of classes for Fall 2015 semester
December 12, 14-18
Final exams for Fall 2015 semester
Friday, December 18
College of Science
Fall 2015 Commencement

3 p.m. in College Park Center. Details coming soon.
Planetarium’s fall schedule is under way
The Fall semester is here and the Planetarium has a new lineup of fun and exciting shows which will transport you throughout the solar system! The Fall schedule runs August 27 through November 29.
6:00 pm - Cosmic Origins Spectrograph
6:00 pm - From the Earth to the Universe
1:00 pm - Astronaut
2:30 pm - Cosmic Origins Spectrograph
5:30 pm - From the Earth to the Universe
7:00 pm - Pink Floyd
1:30 pm - Astronaut
3:00 pm - Spacepark 360: Infinity

For tickets, reservations, group rates or further information, please contact The Planetarium at UT Arlington.
Maverick Science
New Maverick Science magazine is here!
Find out what’s happening in the College of Science by reading our official magazine, Maverick Science. It has the latest news about our amazing faculty, students and alumni! The 2015 edition of Maverick Science is here; print copies can be obtained in the dean’s office (LS 206) and the electronic version is online here.
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