The University of Texas at Arlington
College of Science
November 2016
Officials mark newest milestone as UTA breaks ground on $125M SEIR building
UTA administrators including COS Dean Morteza Khaledi, second from left, and elected officials share a laugh during the ceremonial groundbreaking for the SEIR building.
Texas elected officials and numerous university supporters and faculty joined University of Texas at Arlington President Vistasp M. Karbhari to break ground October 27 on UTA’s new $125 million Science and Engineering Innovation and Research building, which will be the signature research facility for life and health science research at UTA.
“This is another milestone in our journey to becoming the best university in Texas,” Karbhari said. “I would like to thank our elected officials here today, whose unrelenting commitment to education has been a real catalyst behind UTA’s success over the last years. It has been your support that made all this possible.”
Karbhari was joined on the podium by U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis; state Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills; state Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Fort Worth; state Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie; Duane Dimos, UTA vice president for research; and Leine Newby-Estrella, a UTA doctoral student in biology.
Read more of this story and see a video from the groundbreaking here; see more photos here.
Science Week features guest speakers, COS alumni sharing perspectives with students
COS alumnus Dr. Ignacio Nuñez with UTA pre-med freshman Aimee Molina. Nuñez, an OB/GYN, has delivered thousands of babies in his career, including Molina in 1998. During Nuñez’s talk to the pre-med FIG class on November 1, Molina presented him with a photo of the two of them, taken the day she was born.
The College of Science celebrated its annual Science Week November 1-4, with special guest speakers from around the country and alumni returning to campus to offer advice and expertise to students.
Special guest speakers giving talks included Eric Mazur, Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Harvard University, “Assessment: The Silent Killer of Learning”; Michael Mumford, professor of I/O Psychology, University of Oklahoma, “Leader thinking skills: Use of skill measures in predicting complex performance”; Mark Harrison, Distinguished Professor of Geochemistry at UCLA and member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, “A New View of Early Earth and Its Habitability”; and Tim Davis, professor of computer science and engineering at Texas A&M University, “Math, Matrices and Music.”
Also, filmmaker and globally recognized advocate on water issues Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of explorer and conservationist Jacques Cousteau, spoke to a sold-out Texas Hall crowd about "This Blue Planet: Preserving and Sustaining a Healthy Earth”, and also spoke with COS biology students earlier in the day.
In other highlights: COS alumnus Dr. Asad Dean (B.S. in Biology, 1993) answered pre-med students’ questions about careers in the medical field; a panel comprised of COS alumni and industry professionals answered students’ questions about on jobs in the earth and environmental science fields; industry professionals conducted workshops for science students on writing effective resumes and mock interviews.
COS alumni who spoke with freshman interest groups (FIGs) about their experiences included Dr. Ignacio Nuñez (B.S. in Biology,1975), Lekha Gopalakrishnan (M.S. in Chemistry, 1990), and Adria Toliver-Lemelle (M.S. in I/O Psychology, 2010; Ph.D. in I/O Psychology, 2013).
Chen’s team is first to show new potential cancer treatment utilizing microwaves
Wei Chen
UTA physicists led by Wei Chen have shown that using microwaves to activate photosensitive nanoparticles produces tissueheating effects that ultimately lead to cell death within solid tumors.
“Our new method using microwaves can propagate through all types of tissues and target deeply situated tumors,” said Chen, professor of physics and lead author of the study published in October in The Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology titled “A new modality of cancer treatment-nanoparticle mediated microwave induced photodynamic therapy.”
Photodynamic therapy kills cancer cells when a nanoparticle introduced into tumor tissue generates toxic singlet oxygen after being exposed to light. Singlet oxygen is a highly reactive type of oxygen that irreversibly damages cell mitochondria and eventually causes cell death.
Read more of this story here.
CLEAR lab receives $150K donation for its ongoing research of air and water quality
Kevin Schug
Trammell S. Crow, who made Fair Parkbased Earth Day Texas the largest celebration of its kind in the world, has donated $150,000 to support the ongoing research efforts of UTA’s Collaborative Laboratories for Environmental Analysis and Remediation (CLEAR).
“The CLEAR team has now published on air and water quality monitoring studies from all across Texas and we are shifting our attention toward developing effective corrective strategies and best management practices to limit negative ecological impacts,” said Kevin Schug, UTA’s Shimadzu Distinguished Professor of Analytical Chemistry and director of CLEAR.
“With this support from Trammell S. Crow and the partnership with Earth Day Texas, we will continue to make discoveries that will ultimately make the shale energy extraction process more efficient and environmentally compatible,” Schug said.
CLEAR also announced that it will partner with Apache Corporation to conduct a baseline water quality study of groundwater and surface water in the newly discovered Alpine High resource play in West Texas. In September, Apache announced that it has discovered approximately 15 billion barrels of oil equivalent in southern Reeves County, Texas. The Alpine High resource play lies in the southern corner of the Delaware Basin within the prolific Permian Basin.
“This marks an exciting opportunity for our team to collaborate with an industry partner in an area with an extremely sensitive ecology,” Schug said. “Through this partnership, we will be able to conduct a baseline analysis of both surface and groundwater quality in the area which will provide important data for future monitoring efforts.”
Read more of the Trammel S. Crow donation story here. Read more of the Apache Corp. partnership story here.
Chen, Rajeshwar honored for publishing cover articles in esteemed publications
From left, Alex Weiss, Wei Chen, Morteza Khaledi, Krishnan Rajeshwar and Fred MacDonnell.
As part of an increased emphasis on recognizing excellence by faculty, physics professor Wei Chen and chemistry & biochemistry professor Krishnan Rajeshwar were presented with framed copies of recent research published and featured on the covers of esteemed journals.
The framed covers, presented by the UTA Office of Research Administration, were given to Chen and Rajeshwar during an October 27 ceremony also attended by College of Science Dean Morteza Khaledi, physics department chair Alex Weiss and chemistry & biochemistry department chair Fred MacDonnell.
Chen’s article, “A New Modality for Cancer Treatment – Nanoparticle Mediated Microwave Induced Photodynamic Therapy,” was published in the October edition of the Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology. Co-authors include Lun Ma, a UTA research assistant professor in physics, as well as Mengyu Yao, Lihua Li and Yu Zhang from the Guangdong Key Laboratory in Guangzhou, China, and Junying Zhang from Beihang University in Beijing, China.
Rajeshwar’s article, “Electrodeposition of Inorganic Oxide/Nanocarbon Composites: Opportunities and Challenges,” was published in the February edition of the journal ChemElectroChem Europe. Co-authors include Csaba Janáky, an assistant chemistry professor at the University of Szeged in Hungary, and Egon Kecsenovity, one of Janáky’s master’s students.
Copies of the framed covers were also presented to the dean and department chairs.
Read the abstract of Chen’s article here and read the abstract of Rajeshwar’s article here.
UTA team makes physics fun for DFW K-12 kids at Aviation and Transportation Expo
Members of the UTA team at the DFW Expo included, from left, John Pointer, Andrew Smith, Armando Perez, Andrea Nicole Lenear, Dominic Kotzer, Sergio Garza, Edward Perez, Akshat Tripathi and Nilakshi Veerabathina.
A team of UTA physics students comprised of members of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) and led by Nilakshi Veerabathina, assistant professor of practice in physics, entertained and educated K-12 students from around the Metroplex at the 13th annual Aviation & Transportation Career Expo on October 21.
The event, sponsored by DFW International Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration, American Airlines and Tarrant County College, was held at DFW Airport and at the American Airlines C.R. Smith Museum. About 2,000 K-12 students, teachers and administrators from schools across North Texas learned about aviation, transportation and science at the Expo. More than 30 organizations representing the aviation industry, government and academia were in attendance.
Activities conducted by the UTA physics team included demonstrations associated with mechanical electrical generators, Tessler coil, wheels and rotating stools, super conductors, magnets and electricity related demos, diffraction glasses and more. Students and teachers were also presented promotional materials from the Department of Physics, the College of Science, the UT Arlington Planetarium and UTA admissions office.
Learn more about the DFW Aviation & Transportation Career Expo here.
Cuntz talks about importance of learning about small dwarf planets in online story
Manfred Cuntz, professor of physics, was quoted in a story about a newly discovered small dwarf planet orbiting the sun, named 2014 UZ224, in the online version of The Christian Science Monitor on October 11.
The dwarf planet has been orbiting the sun undetected for millennia and is among the most distant objects in our solar system, scientists say. Cuntz
“2014 UZ224 is the third-furthest known object of significant size from the Sun while still a member of the solar system,” Cuntz told the CSM in an interview. “Understanding objects beyond planet Neptune, thus located at the outskirts of the solar system, provides important clues about the origin and formation of the solar system, including processes taking place thereafter.”
Read the Christian Science Monitor article here.
Pellegrino and his mitochondria research are focus of profile on Arlington’s website
Mark Pellegrino, assistant professor of biology, was profiled by MyArlingtonTX, which features community news and events on the City of Arlington’s website. The video and accompanying story were titled “Dr. Mark Pellegrino’s American Dream Story at UTA.”
Pellegrino’s studies on mitochondrial stress are of growing interest because of the implications for multiple conditions such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease and bacterial infections, the story says.
The story notes that Pellegrino began as an assistant professor at UTA in August. He is an internationally recognized biologist whose discovery that mitochondria are an important activator of innate immunity was published in Nature in 2014.
The story also notes that Pellegrino joins UTA at a time when the University is expanding its focus on research that advances health and the human condition, referencing the start of construction of the $125 million Science and Engineering Innovation and Research building.
See the MYArlingtonTX video here.
Alumnus Arrey releases first album while balancing medical school, busy family life
Eliel Arrey, who received a B.S. in Biology from UTA in 2012 and is now a fourth-year medical student at UTHealth McGovern Medical School in Houston, has released his first album, a dance and electronica music collection titled The Essentials.
Arrey, who is married and has three children, ages 4, 3 and 2, said music helps him cope with the stress of medical school. He started out as a deejay in Dallas but while at UTA in 2011 he began writing and producing his own music.
“Music is the only thing that keeps me sane,” he said in a McGovern Medical School website story. “It’s the only place I can go to and be locked away from the world. There are no limits, and I can do whatever I want.”
Arrey was born in Cameroon, West Africa, and came to the United States in 2004. At UTA he worked as a tutor and supplementary biology instructor. He plans to graduate from medical school in 2017.
Read the McGovern website story here.

COS Alumni

Alumni Spotlight
Jocelyn Zee

Jocelyn Zee enrolled at UTA at age 13 and graduated with a B.S. in Microbiology in 2004, graduating Cum Laude. She went on to medical school and earned a D.O. from the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth. In 2011 she completed a residency program in family medicine at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth and was subsequently hired as a hospitalist. She now works as a full-time critical care physician at JPS. On November 10 she will be honored during the annual UTA Distinguished Alumni Awards Gala as the first recipient of the Recent Graduate Alumni Award, which goes to an alum who has displayed exemplary leadership and personal integrity.
Birthplace: Bedford
Years at UTA: 2000-04
Favorite professor/class: Thomas Chrzanowski (BIO 4445 Microbial Structure and Function) and Greg Hale (CHEM 1301, 1302, 2321 and 2322)
Best advice received as a student: “When my Mom wanted to quit high school in hopes that she could contribute to the family, her father said to her, ‘Don't worry about us; your grades are your paycheck.’ They grew up with humble means, and my Mom felt that instead of school, she could get a job, but this was her father's reply. Though I was blessed enough in that I did not personally go through the trials she had to, it is a piece of advice that still rang true for me for many years. It helped keep school in perspective, and reminded me that hard work literally does ‘pay off’!”
We invite you to become involved with the College


Hello, I’m Dr. Ignacio Nuñez, chair of the College of Science Advisory Council and a proud UTA alumnus (B.S. in Biology, 1975). I would love to help get you involved on campus again. I was a firstgeneration college student, and UTA made it possible for me to attend medical school and create a life vastly different than that of my parents. Did UTA change your life too? Let’s work together to help the next generation of Mavericks. To learn more, please contact College of Science Director of Development Christie Mosley-Eckler at 817-272-1497 or

UT Arlington Alumni Association

COS Students

Student Spotlight
David Nguyen

David Nguyen is a senior and is president of the UTA chapter of the Medical and Dental Preparatory Association (MDPA), one of the largest and oldest student science organizations on campus. He served as MDPA vice president last year and was external affairs chairperson two years ago. He says the MDPA is a great place to learn about the rigors of the medical field and about the concept of altruism and putting others first. “I think MDPA provides a lot of great resources to expose our members to this idea, through volunteering opportunities, job opportunities (scribing), and guest speakers,” he said. “I can say with confidence that I owe a large portion of my academic and personal success and growth to MDPA.”
Birthplace: Fort Worth
Year started at UTA: 2013
Major: Biology (minoring in Chemistry, Spanish) Favorite class/professor: “I don't like to do favorites, but if I had to choose, it would be a close call between Jimmy Rogers and Ashley Purgason.”
Where he hopes to be in 5 years: “Hopefully, finishing medical school!”

UTA student organizations

Calendar of events

Thursday, Dec. 8
COS Holiday Luncheon

11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Red River/Concho Rooms, 2nd Floor of the E.H. Hereford University Center Faculty and staff are invited to this holiday party hosted by the dean.
Friday, December16
COS Fall 2016 Commencement,
7-9 p.m., College Park Center The COS and COE will hold a joint ceremony. Guest speaker will be COS alumnus Michael Ray (Ph.D. in Mathematics, 1981), Distinguished Scientific Advisor for ExxonMobil. Full details available here.
Maverick Science
Read our official magazine,
Maverick Science, to learn
about some of the great things
going on in the College of Science!
Print copies are available
in LS 112; read the online version here.

Planetarium at UTA

The Planetarium at UTA, one of the finest facilities in the nation, is equipped with a state of the art Digistar 5 DLP Projection system. The facility hosts shows, school field trips, special events and private functions. The Fall 2016 show schedule runs now through November 27. For show schedule, tickets, reservations and more, visit The Planetarium at UT Arlington and plan your trip to the stars today!

Maverick Science
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