M AVERICK S CIENCE E-News
The University of Texas at Arlington
College of Science
September 2017
 
Nygren receives 2018 Marie Sklodowska Curie Award for his pioneering research
David Nygren
David Nygren, Presidential Distinguished Professor of Physics at UTA and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, has been honored with a prestigious international award for his pioneering work in radiation detector developments and for enabling major discoveries in diverse areas of science.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers or IEEE has named Nygren the winner of the 2018 Marie Sklodowska Curie Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the field of nuclear and plasma sciences and engineering. The award is sponsored by the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society. Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and only woman to win twice, and the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences.
“I am extremely honored to be recognized with the Marie Sklodowska Curie Award by the IEEE, a very prestigious worldwide professional organization,” Nygren said. “Madame Curie is a hero in physics and to the world for her pioneering discoveries of radioactive elements and their properties. I am equally humbled to be recognized as contributing a small part to her legacy, in the pursuit of deeply fundamental knowledge.”
Read more of this story here.
Science Week features guest speakers, career panel, alumni mentoring sessions
The College of Science will celebrate the achievements of alumni, students and faculty during its annual Science Week, October 9-14.
Science Week features special events, lectures and panel discussions, which allow COS alumni and industry experts to share their knowledge and expertise with COS students.
The schedule of events includes: Monday October 9
  • 11-11:50 a.m. COBA Room 141 — COS alumnus Michael Ray (Mathematics B.S. ’76, M.S. ’78; Ph.D. Mathematical Science ’81) speaks with Physical Sciences FIG students. For class members only.
Tuesday, October 10
  • 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. SH Room 100 — Lisa Balbes of Balbes Consultants, LLC, speaks on “Traditional and Non-Traditional Careers for Chemists and Biochemists.” Open to all chemistry students; recommended for undergraduates. Lunch will be provided.
Wednesday, October 11
  • 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. University Club — Welcome Luncheon honoring new COS female faculty, hosted by Minerva Cordero, associate dean of science. Open to all female COS tenure/tenure-track faculty.
  • 12–12:50 p.m. LSB Room 119 — Medical/Dental Alumni Panel, co-hosted by MDPA (pre-med student organization). The panel features an M.D., D.O. and D.D.S. who will share their career experiences with students in panel discussion format, moderated by Greg Hale, health professions advisor. Pizza will be provided.
  • 3:30–5 p.m. NH Room 100 — Featured Science Week Speaker: Michael Turner, National Academy of Sciences member and a theoretical cosmologist at the University of Chicago who coined the term “dark energy” in 1998.
  • 6:30–8 p.m. SH Room 121 — Roundtable discussion led by alumnus Dr. Ignacio Nuñez (B.S. Biology ’75) on “The Economics of Health Care” for members of FIG sections 103, 104, 105, and 112. Pizza will be provided.
Thursday, October 12
  • 2–2:50 p.m. PKH Room 210 — Alumni mentor Chloe Lemelle (M.S. Psychology ’08; Ph.D. Experimental Psychology, ’10) speaks with Psychology FIG students. For class members only.
Friday, October 13
  • 12–1 p.m. GS Room 100 — EES Colloquium: Asish Basu, UTA professor of EES. Title: “The Science of Diamonds Forever.” Lunch will be provided.
  • 1–2:30 p.m. CRB Room 114 — Chemistry & Biochemistry Seminar: Érico Flores, professor of chemistry, Federal University of Santa Maria, Brazil. Title: “New Challenges and Solutions for the Determination of Trace Elements in Complex Matrices.” Open to all.
  • 1:30–3 p.m. SH Room 129 — Science Resume Workshop. Industry experts will critique resumes and provide tips on how to improve them. Students can remain on site for headshot photos suitable for Linked In and other professional usage; wear appropriate business attire. Open to all science majors.
  • 3–4:30 p.m. CRB Room 114 — Chemistry & Biochemistry Seminar: Sarbajit Banerjee, professor of chemistry, Texas A&M University. Title: “Metal Oxide Nanostructures for Electronics and Energy Storage: Endowing ‘Intelligence’ through Phase Transformations.” Open to all.
  • 3:15–4:30 p.m. SH Room 129 — Science Interview Workshop. Conducted by experts from a range of industries hiring science graduates, including governmental agencies and utility corporations. Students can arrive at 3 p.m. for headshot photos suitable for Linked In and other professional usage; wear appropriate business attire. Open to all science majors.
Watch a promotional Science Week video here.
Winguth takes on new role as Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences chair
Arne Winguth
The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences saw a change in leadership with the start of the new semester.
Arne Winguth, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, assumed the role of department chair on September 1, replacing Asish Basu, who stepped down to focus on research and teaching.
“I’m honored to be trusted with the job of leading the department,” Winguth said. “I hope to continue strengthening the geoscience and environmental science program with a focus on the human condition. I also plan to promote new areas in environmental sciences such as sustainability, renewable energy, climate change, and climate impact utilizing high-performance computing and geospatial measurements and analysis.”
Winguth earned a Ph.D. in Oceanography at the University of Hamburg and the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in 1997. He worked as a research associate at the University of Chicago from 1997-99 and as an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1999-2007. He came to UTA in 2007. In his paleoclimate research he uses comprehensive 3-dimensional climate models that consider the general atmospheric and oceanic circulation, and geochemical cycles. His research interests include physical oceanography, climate dynamics and marine biogeochemical cycles.
Basu joined UTA in January 2013 as EES chair and professor. Before coming to UTA he spent 34 years at the University of Rochester (N.Y.), including 12 as department chair.
“I would like to thank Professor Basu for his leadership and service to the EES department throughout his years as department chair,” College of Science Dean Morteza Khaledi said. “I am confident that under Dr. Winguth’s leadership, the EES department will continue to thrive and reach new heights.”
Mandal co-authors paper that establishes link between hypoxia and gene in humans
Subhrangsu Mandal
UTA researchers have established a link between hypoxia, a condition that reduces the flow of oxygen to tissues, and HOTAIR, a noncoding RNA or molecule that has been implicated in several types of cancer.
RNA, or ribonucleic acid, is present in all living cells. Its primary role is to carry instructions from DNA.
In a study published in the September 20 edition of the journal Gene, Subhrangsu Mandal, an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and Marco Brotto, a professor of nursing in the College of Nursing and Health Innovation, write that hypoxia helps aid the growth of cancer cells in people with the HOTAIR gene. The paper was co-written with three graduate students from UTA’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry: Arunoday Bhan, Paromita Deb and Nadine Shihabeddin; and Khairul Ansari, a former UTA adjunct faculty member in that department. Brotto and Mandal were the paper’s senior authors.
Noncoding RNAs are a newly discovered class of molecules that are emerging as a master regulator or facilitator of cancer. In this study, the authors show a connection between Hypoxia and HOTAIR.
Read more of the story here.
Satyal, Musielak, Griffith research predicts Earth-like planet only 16 light years away

Suman Satyal

UTA astrophysicists have predicted that an Earth-like planet may be lurking in a star system just 16 light years away.
The team investigated the star system Gliese 832 for additional exoplanets residing between the two currently known alien worlds in this system. Their computations revealed that an additional Earth-like planet with a dynamically stable configuration may be residing at a distance ranging from 0.25 to 2.0 astronomical unit (AU) from the star.
“According to our calculations, this hypothetical alien world would probably have a mass between 1 to 15 Earth's masses,” said lead author Suman Satyal, UTA physics researcher, lecturer and laboratory supervisor. The paper is coauthored by Zdzislaw Musielak, professor of physics, and John Griffith, a UTA undergraduate student.
The astrophysicists published their findings August 17 in an article titled “Dynamics of a probable Earth-Like Planet in the GJ 832 System” in The Astrophysical Journal.
Read more of the story here.
Cuntz selected to fly aboard NASA’s SOFIA aircraft during night flight over Pacific
Manfred Cuntz preparing to board the SOFIA aircraft in Palmdale, Calif.
Manfred Cuntz, professor of physics, was selected to fly aboard the SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) aircraft as a public outreach team member.
Cuntz was on board the aircraft September 26 as it made a 9.5-hour night flight over the Pacific Ocean, taking off and landing from its base in Palmdale, Calif. Joining him on the flight were six guest observers who performed infrared observations, along with the flight crew.
SOFIA is the largest airborne observatory in the world, capable of making observations that are impossible for even the largest and highest ground-based telescopes. SOFIA is a partnership of NASA and the German Aerospace Center, consisting of an extensively modified Boeing 747SP aircraft carrying a reflecting telescope with an effective diameter of 2.5 meters. SOFIA’s instruments operate in the infrared wavelengths.
“Needless to say, getting a spot on the SOFIA aircraft is usually highly competitive, so I'm quite happy about this opportunity,” Cuntz said.
Cuntz and Levent Gurdemir, director of the UTA Planetarium, received funding through NASA SOFIA which was used to develop two Planetarium shows: “Unseen Universe: The Vision of SOFIA” and “SOFIA 3-D”. The funding also provided support for other UTA-based education and public outreach (EPO) initiatives.
Cuntz will present a talk at the Planetarium about his SOFIA experience at a time and date to be determined.
Learn more about SOFIA here.
Elsenbaumer leaving UTA after 26 years of campus leadership, chemistry innovation

Ronald Elsenbaumer

Ronald Elsenbaumer, interim dean of the College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs, and a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, is leaving UTA to become chancellor of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.
Elsenbaumer has served UTA in a variety of roles since coming to the University in 1991, including provost and vice president for academic affairs, vice president for research, department chair in chemistry (1996- 2003) and most recently as senior advisor to the president for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development
“I will always be grateful to Ron for his tremendous assistance and support from the first day that I joined UTA,” said UTA President Vistasp Karbhari. “He has a distinguished record of service and achievement at UTA.”
Elsenbaumer is considered one of the early leaders in the field of electronically conducting polymers. His internationally recognized lab group paved the way for practical applications by rendering the conducting polymer in easily processed form to enable casting as a fiber, fabric and other materials. A member of the National Academy of Inventors, he holds 35 patents in the area of conductive polymers and their applications.
Incoming freshmen class is UTA’s largest ever as well as its most academically accomplished

Hana Bader Ali

The first day of classes marked a major milestone for UTA, as its freshman class is now the largest in the University’s history, with 3,346 new students joining us from across the U.S. and around the world. This represents a 12 percent increase as compared to fall semester last year.
The new class is also the most academically accomplished, with 65 percent of entering freshmen having graduated in the top 25 percent of their high school class.
Entering freshman and Mansfield Timberview High School valedictorian Hana Bader Ali plans to major in biochemistry and become a doctor.
“The vast and growing array of research and academic opportunities that UTA has to offer attracted me and I knew UTA was the perfect place for me to receive my education and thrive,” Ali said. “In the future, I want to help those in my community get the care they need and even join an organization like Doctors without Borders to help those in crises around the world.”
Read more of this story here.

COS Alumni

UT Arlington Alumni Relations

We invite you to become involved with the College


Nu ñez
Hello, I'm Dr. Ignacio Nu ñez, 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 first-generation 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 at817-272-1497 or cmeckler@uta.edu.

COS Students

Student Spotlight
Acacia Young




When Acacia Young was in elementary school, her mother was working to finish her college degree in nursing. Young sometimes accompanied her mom to her classes, many of which were science classes. Young found them fascinating, and her love for science, and biology in particular, grew in high school. After high school she served in the U.S. Army and worked as a Russian linguist and in the business sector after leaving the Army. All the while, she never lost her love of biology and in 2014, she went back to school to pursue a degree. She enrolled at Tarrant County College, where she excelled and became a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society of two-year colleges, as well as being named to the all-Texas Academic Team in 2016. She took an interest in research and her biology professor, Jean Maines, suggested she apply for a Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) scholarship at UTA. The LSAMP program urges underrepresented minority students to pursue careers in STEM fields and provides valuable experience and instruction through its Summer Research Academy. Young was accepted and says the experience has “literally been life-changing.” She also began doing research in the lab of biology assistant professor Todd Castoe. Young plans to graduate in May 2018 and begin working on a Ph.D. in public health; she hopes to eventually become a professor. “LSAMP and the Castoe lab have taught me so much about research and how life works as a graduate student,” she said. Young is also a member of UTA’s McNair Scholars Program, which is designed to prepare talented but disadvantaged undergraduates for graduate study culminating in a Ph.D. In Castoe’s lab, she conducted research on Burmese pythons other snakes and presented a poster at a conference in El Paso. Through the LSAMP and McNair programs, she received free prep for the GRE, took classes on financial planning and how to write a CV, and more. She’s thrilled to be closing in on her biology degree and excited about the possibilities that lie ahead. “I love life and understanding how everything on Earth is so interconnected,” she says. “I don’t think I’d be happy doing anything else.”
Birthplace: Honolulu; grew up in Virginia Beach, Va.
Major: Biology with a minor in Psychology
Current status: Senior
Favorite professorsr/instructor: Todd Castoe, assistant professor of biology. “He let me infiltrate his lab for two years as an undergraduate, which was very kind of him. He has also been an excellent mentor and invaluable in my college career.”
Where she hopes to be in 5 years: “I hope to be graduating with my doctorate from a school that will accept me. I’m actively on the hunt."

COS Spring 2017 Dean’s List
UTA student organizations

Calendar of events

Friday, October 6
COS Fall 2017 Faculty & Staff Meeting
3:30-5 p.m., Central Library 6th floor atrium
All COS faculty and staff are invited. Provost Teik Lim will speak and department chairs will introduce new faculty and staff members. Refreshments will be served.
October 9-14
2017 Science Week
The College of Science puts the focus on the achievements of our alumni, students and faculty in this week of panel discussions and special events. See schedule in this newsletter.
November 23-24
Thanksgiving holidays
Wednesday, December 6
Last day of classes for the Fall 2017 semester
Saturday, December 9
Departmental final exams
December 11-15
Final exams for the Fall 2017 semester
Friday, December 15
COS Fall 2017 Commencement 7-9 p.m., College Park Center
The COS and COE will hold a joint ceremony. Full details available here.

Planetarium at UTA

Planetarium
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 Spring schedule runs through May 28. For show schedule, tickets, reservations and more, visit The Planetarium at UT Arlington and plan your trip to the stars today!

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