The University of Texas at Arlington
College of Science
November 2015
Welcome to the November 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.
Weiss, Koymen using $640K grant from NSF to develop positron beam testing facility
Alex Weiss, right, with the positron beam.
Alex Weiss and Ali Koymen, professors of physics at The University of Texas at Arlington, are developing a next generation positron beam facility that will enable them to analyze the properties of advanced materials for future electronics applications such as ultra compact high-speed computers and ultra small high-powered batteries.
Initial research is focusing on the characteristics of graphene, a versatile pure carbon material 200 times stronger than steel that is expected to provide ecologically-friendly, sustainable solutions across a huge variety of applications including electronics and biotechnology.
“Graphene is touted to be widely used in future applications like flexible electronics, organic LED and high-frequency transistors, “ said Weiss, physics department chair and principal investigator of the project. “However, the exceptional properties of this material will only get translated into real-life applications when there is a proper understanding of the microscopic interaction of graphene at stable interfaces with other materials. Our research is supporting this area.”
Read more on this story here.
Physics department hosts over 150 scientists at 3rd international phosphors workshop
Attendees of the phosphors workshop at the Sheraton Arlington Hotel.
UT Arlington hosted over 150 scientists from around the world during the 3rd International Workshop on Persistent and Photostimulable Phosphors, held November 9-13 at the Sheraton Arlington Hotel. Professor of physics Wei Chen served as chair for the conference.
The workshop brought 155 scientists and investigators from more than 15 countries together to discuss and witness the rapid advances and progress in persistent and photostimulable luminescent materials as well as their applications. The work-shop’s purpose was to report new achievements in both experiment and theory and discuss future possibilities. It also aimed to foster and enhance collaborations among investigators and between the academic world and industry.
“Organizing an international conference is an unforgettable experience for me and my research team, and we learned a lot,” Chen said.
The workshop also included educational efforts and training involving undergraduate and graduate students. Students and junior investigators learned about the vital role these advanced materials can play in sensing, safety and world security.
“In a truly synergistic way, the workshop promoted the education of students on these special luminescence materials,” Chen said. “These educational efforts will enable new researchers to meet the needs of society.”
The event began with a welcome dinner and reception at the UTA Planetarium, followed by a planetarium show, along with presentations about research and opportunities for collaboration by Vice President for Research Duane Dimos, College of Science Dean Morteza Khaledi, College of Engineering Dean Khosrow Behbehani, UTARI Director of Research Eileen Clements, and Alex Weiss, professor and physics department chair.
The weeklong workshop featured invited talks from a host of esteemed international physicists, along with seminars, poster presentations and special entertainment for attendees, including tours of the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens and AT&T Cowboys Stadium.
“I sincerely hope that the workshop offered valuable insights into persistent and photostimulable phosphors, and provided valuable information for future directions in research and development, and more importantly I hope it will really bring some collaboration opportunities to UT Arlington,” Chen said.
Learn more about the workshop here.
Class of ’66 graduate to deliver valedictory address at COS Fall graduation ceremony
The College of Science will celebrate with its newest graduates at the Fall 2015 Commencement ceremony, scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday, December 18 at College Park Center.
For students, the event is the culmination of years of dedication and hard work, whether at the undergraduate, master’s or doctoral level. It’s a chance for families and friends to come together to celebrate their students’ achievements.
Guest speaker for the ceremony will be College of Science alumnus Dr. Michael Sakowski, who earned a B.S. in Biology in 1966. Sakowski is a member of the first class to graduate after the formation of the College of Science, which this year is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Sakowski has been in private practice in anesthesiology in Arlington since 1977 and has served on a variety of county and state committees and boards working with health issues, including eight years as director of District 2 of the Texas Society of Anesthesiologists. He is currently chief of anesthesiology at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital.
Tickets are required for all guests attending the ceremony, including children. Complete information about ticketing procedures and more about Fall 2015 Commencement can be found here.
Biology undergraduate student Koo earns award for poster at Texas ASM fall meeting
UTA students who attended the ASM Texas Branch meeting.
Christina Koo, an undergraduate student in biology, received second place in the Joan Abramowitz Award-Undergraduate Molecular Microbiology Poster Presentation division at the American Society for Microbiology Texas Branch fall meeting at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville on October 30.
Koo, a student in the lab of Woo-Suk Chang, associate professor of biology, is president of the UTA chapter of Mu Sigma Microbiology Society.
Sixteen students from UTA’s chapter of the Mu Sigma Microbiology Society, including five from Chang’s lab, attended the meeting. UTA had the most undergraduate attendees of any institution. In addition to Koo, UTA student attendees included: Samuel Frickel, Jorge Rivera, Patricia Young, Roberta Wilson, Ashley Meldrum, Caitlynn Reeves, Silvia Patino, Aniqua Ali, Kathy Le, Joshua Gullace, Lisa Mueller, Cung Thwang, Jamie Keenan, Julie Le and Elizabeth Mangkuorahardjo.
Learn more about the Texas Branch of ASM here.
Gatchel completes publication of 5-volume series of health and wellness handbooks
Robert Gatchel, distinguished professor of psychology and director of the Center of Excellence for the Study of Health and Chronic Illnesses, recently completed publication of a five-volume series of Handbooks of Health, Work and Disability, published by Springer.
Gatchel served as a co-editor of the series, which includes the titles Handbook of Occupational Health and Wellness; Handbook of Musculoskeletal Pain and Disability Disorders in the Workplace; Handbook of Vocational Rehabilitation and Disability Evaluation; Handbook of Return to Work; and Handbook of Qualitative Health Research for Evidence-Based Practice.
One of Gatchel’s students, Sali Asih, a Fulbright Scholar working in the Center of Excellence for the Study of Health and Chronic Illnesses, received a Ph.D. in Psychology this summer and is now a faculty member at the University of Indonesia.
In October, Gatchel received the Award for Outstanding Presentation on the Temporomandibular Joint from Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry.
UTA team makes physics fun for DFW K-12 students at Aviation & Transportation Expo
UTA team members included, from left, Edward Perez, Sergio Garza, Garrett Leavitt, Dominic Kotzer and Nilakshi Veerabathina.
A UT Arlington team lead by Nilakshi Veerabathina, assistant professor in practice in physics, entertained and educated K-12 students at the 12th annual Aviation & Transportation Career Expo on October 23.
The Expo, held at the C.R. Smith Museum and at DFW International Airport, hosted about 4,000 students and their teachers and administrators from 60 North Texas schools. UTA, which has been a part of each Expo since its creation 12 years ago, was one of more than 30 organizations representing industry, government and academia. In the last 12 years, UTA has served more than 35,000 K-12 students through the Expo. This year’s UTA team included physics faculty, undergraduate students and members from the UTA chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS).
Physics activities conducted by the UTA team included demonstrations with liquid nitrogen, mechanical electrical generators, a Tessler coil to create spark discharges and mild shocks, wheels and rotating stools for moment of inertia and gyros; superconductors and squeaky magnates to explain electric and magnetic fields. Visiting students and teachers also were presented brochures and other materials from the Department of Physics, the College of Science, the UT Arlington Planetarium and UTA. The Expo was sponsored by DFW Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration, American Airlines and Tarrant County College.
Learn more about DFW Expo here.
Pierce invited to serve on editorial board of prestigious Journal of Biological Chemistry
Brad Pierce, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, has been invited to serve on the editorial board for the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Among the international community of biomedical researchers, the Journal of Biological Chemistry is considered one of the premier journals in the fields of biochemistry and molecular biology. The journal is published weekly, with over 31,000 pages annually.
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.
Pierce’s laboratory research group employs modern biophysical and bioinorganic techniques to investigate mechanisms of metalloenzyme function and regulation. The breadth of research efforts conducted in his group follows an interdisciplinary approach, providing training in methods and instrumentation typically outside traditional divisional boundaries within chemistry departments.
Learn more about the journal here.
Schug interviewed by Chicago TV station for story about results from Illinois crime labs
Kevin Schug, Shimadzu Distinguished Professor of Analytical Chemistry, was recently interviewed by TV station WLS/ABC7 in Chicago for an investigative story involving Illinois state crime labs.
The news report uncovered a pattern of forensic failures that could put criminal cases in jeopardy and risk thousands of drunk driving charges and convictions being thrown out. Schug recently wrote an article for an online chromatography magazine about Illinois' lack of “due diligence.”
“Missing that information, they cannot rely on the validity of the results,” Schug said in the ABC7 story. “You simply don't do analytical chemistry without validating your methods and people have known that for many, many years. It certainly could affect justice. It could be false positives, it could be false negatives, there's just a lack of data to verify that the data is reliable.”
Watch the ABC7 story here. Read Schug’s LCGC Blog online article 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

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. Guest speaker will be Dr. Michael Sakowski, a UTA alumnus and member of the Class of 1966, the first to graduate after the formation of the College of Science. Dr. Sakowski is chief of anesthesiology at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital. Details on the ceremony here.
Tuesday, January 19
First day of classes for Spring 2016 semester
Planetarium’s holiday schedule announced
The holidays are almost here and the Planetarium has a lineup of fun and exciting shows to help celebrate! The holiday schedule runs December 3 through January 3.
December 3-20

7:00 pm - Laser Country
6:00 pm - Holiday Music Magic
6:00 pm - Season of Light
7:00 pm - Laser Zeppelin
1:00 pm - One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure
2:30 pm - Cosmic Colors
5:30 pm - Season of Light
7:00 pm - Laser Pink Floyd
1:30 pm - Holiday Music Magic
3:00 pm - Spacepark 360: Infinity

For the Dec. 22-Jan. 3 schedule, tickets, reser-vations or further infor-mation, 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.
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