M AVERICK S CIENCE E-News
The University of Texas at Arlington
College of Science
May 2018
 
Hale receives 2018 Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award from UTeach organization
Greg Hale, UTeach Arlington co-director-
A co-director of UTA’s highly successful UTeach Arlington program has been named recipient of a prestigious award by the national UTeach STEM Education Association.
    Greg Hale, UTeach Arlington co-director and assistant dean of science, received the UTeach STEM Education Association’s (USEA) 2018 Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award. The award was presented to Hale during the 12th Annual UTeach National Conference, held May 22-24 in Austin.
    UTeach is a science and mathematics secondary teacher preparation program which began at UT Austin in 1997 to address the need for more highly qualified science and math teachers. It allows students to earn a teaching certificate in science or mathematics while also earning a bachelor’s degree, all in a four-year time frame. In the two decades since, replication programs have been created at universities nationwide, including at UTA.
    “I am humbled to have been singled out from among the faculty teaching in UTeach programs across 44 universities in the U.S.,” Hale said. “We know that D-FW school districts are in need of well-prepared STEM teachers who will persist in the field, and we know that the UTeach model produces such teachers.”
    Read more of this story here.
Biology researchers shed light on strength of immune response in diseased corals

From left, Lauren Fuess, Laura Mydlarz, Whitney Mann

UTA biology researchers have found a correlation between a strong immune response in diseased corals and a lower expression of genes associated with growth and reproduction.
    “Our findings point to an ecologically relevant potential trade-off, and one which has important implications as we see more coral disease as a result of climate change,” said Laura Mydlarz, UTA associate professor and associate chair of biology. “Resilience of species and coral communities may be affected if corals reduce cell growth and reproduction when actively fighting a disease.”
    The research was published this month in Royal Society Open Science as “Transcriptional analyses provide new insight into the late-stage immune response of a diseased Caribbean coral.” Mydlarz was senior author. Recent UTA biology doctoral graduate Lauren Fuess was first author. Former UTA biology doctoral graduate Whitney Mann and biology undergraduate Lea Jinks are also co-authors.
    Read the full story here.
Mandal, Perrotti studying link between ovarian hormones, blood cholesterol levels

Linda Perrotti and Subhrangsu Mandal.

Researchers at The University of Texas at Arlington are investigating the link between ovarian hormones and the blood cholesterol balance in the body, itself a key determinant of cardiovascular health or disease.
    “Pre-menopausal women are less likely to develop heart disease than their male peers, but this difference disappears after menopause,” said Subhrangsu Mandal, UTA associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry and leader of the project.
    “We are investigating the biochemical mechanism associated with the role of ovarian hormones in regulating the cholesterol balance in the blood, with an aim to open up new therapeutic avenues for the treatment of cardiovascular disease,” he added.
    Mandal and his co-investigator, UTA neuroscientist and associate professor of psychology Linda Perrotti, recently received a $439,360 grant from the National Institutes of Health to support this work, after presenting preliminary data showing the role of the ovarian hormone estradiol in the activation of a receptor that regulates the balance of cholesterol in the liver.
    Read the full story here.
UTA receives Noyce Scholarship Program grant to recruit, train more STEM teachers
UTA received a Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program grant recently to help recruit and prepare STEM teachers.
The National Science Foundation has awarded close to $1.5 million in a Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program grant to The University of Texas at Arlington to promote the recruitment, preparation and induction of new science and mathematics teachers.
    The grant also adds computer science and engineering teachers to the pool.
    Ann Cavallo, UTA College of Education associate dean for Research and Graduate Studies, is principal investigator in collaboration with colleagues from the Colleges of Science and Engineering.
    Cavallo, who also serves as co-director of UTeach Arlington and has received similar grants from NSF previously, is joined on the project by Greg Hale, assistant dean in the College of Science, co-director of UTeach Arlington and director of the Science Education and Career Center; Ramon Lopez, physics professor and also UTeach co-director; James Alvarez, professor of mathematics; and Carter Tiernan, assistant dean for Student Affairs in the College of Engineering; as co-principal investigators.
    Read more of this story here.
Study finds straight women interact more comfortably with gay men than straight

Eric Russell and Vivian Ta.

Studies led by a psychology researcher at The University of Texas at Arlington suggest that women are likely to be more comfortable and intimate in conversations with men who identify themselves as gay than with heterosexual men.
    Eric Russell, a research associate in the Department of Psychology who received a Ph.D. in Psychology from UTA in 2017, is lead author of a paper titled “Women interact more comfortably and intimately with gay men — but not straight men — after learning their sexual orientation”. The paper was published recently in the prestigious journal Psychological Science. Co-authors are William Ickes, UTA professor of psychology, and Vivian Ta, a recent UTA Ph.D. graduate.
    For the project, Russell and his colleagues conducted a pair of studies and found that when heterosexual women interacted with men for the first time, they had more open interactions with gay men after the men disclosed their sexual orientation to the women. However, women who interacted with straight men did not exhibit this same pattern after discovering their sexual orientation.
    Read more of this story here.
College of Science faculty, staff earn awards for efforts in teaching, research, mentoring
Dean Morteza Khaledi, third from left, with some of the COS’s award recipients, from left, Nilakshi Veerabathina, Alejandro Bugarin, Ramon Lopez, Laura Mydlarz and Kevin Schug.
Excellence in research, teaching and service was honored during recent events hosted by UTA and the College of Science, with College of Science faculty and staff members receiving numerous awards and recognition for their efforts.
    University-wide awards were presented during the annual Spring Meeting of the University Faculty and Associates on April 26 in the E.H. Hereford University Center’s Rio Grande Ballroom. College of Science awards were presented during the College’s annual Spring Faculty and Staff Meeting on May 9 in the Central Library 6th Floor Atrium.
    College of Science Dean Morteza Khaledi praised the work of the College’s faculty and staff and was joined in announcing the awards by Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Minerva Cordero and Interim Associate Dean for Research and Development Kevin Schug. Cordero praised the College’s strong commitment to teaching and mentoring, while Schug noted the College’s significant contributions to UTA’s growing research profile.
    Read more of this story and see more photos here.
College of Science honors newest class of graduates at Spring 2018 Commencement
Misty Martin.
The College of Science celebrated its newest class of graduates during the Spring 2018 Commencement ceremony on May 11 at College Park Center.
    Among those receiving their diplomas this spring is Misty Martin, who earned a B.S. in Chemistry with honors and plans to go on to medical school after taking a gap year to work at Children’s Research Institute at UT Southwestern in Dallas, where she has been hired as a research assistant.
    At Children’s, she will analyze biological samples using mass spectrometry. Her goal is to be accepted to UTSW’s combined M.D./Ph.D. program and eventually become a pediatric oncologist, with the goal of revolutionizing the field of pediatric cancer treatment.
    Ultimately, she would like to practice medicine and conduct research. She would also like to become a professor at a university, “where I may have an impact on my students as my professors at UTA have had on me,” she said.
    Read more of Martin’s story here. See photos from the COS Commencement ceremony on our Facebook page here. See a video of the COS ceremony here.
Highland Park defends title over Flower Mound at 18th annual UTA Calculus Bowl
Members of the winning team from Highland Park include Richard Luo, Michael Zie, Stacy Wang, Amy Li, and Michael Zhan. The team’s faculty mentor is Charles Tillerson.
The competition was fierce as always but in the end, Highland Park High School was victorious and took home the coveted championship trophy for the second year in a row at the 2018 UTA Calculus Bowl.
    The 18th annual version of the Calculus Bowl, held March 2 in University Hall, had no shortage of excitement, with Highland Park holding off runner-up Flower Mound High School, which holds the record for most Calculus Bowl titles with five.
    The event, hosted by the Department of Mathematics, is a contest between area high school teams vying to be the first to solve a series of difficult calculus problems. Points are awarded for each correct answer, with the top 10 teams advancing from the preliminary round to the finals. Other schools making it to the final round this year include Bridgeport, Fort Worth Country Day, Grapevine, Arlington Martin STEM Academy, Arlington Martin, Mansfield, Dallas Science and Engineering Magnet, and Fort Worth Trimble Tech.
    Members of Highland Park’s team include Amy Li, Richard Luo, Stacy Wang, Michael Zhan, and Michael Zie. The team’s faculty mentor is Charles Tillerson. Flower Mound’s team consisted of Will Cao, Kaustub Navalady, Adi Ojha, Joe Williams, and Nancy Xu. Faculty mentor is Russell Yeatts.
CLEAR scientists test for bacteria in Ponder water supply after residents’ complaints
CLEAR lab members include, front row: Tiffany Liden and Inês Santos; back row: Manny Varona-Torres, Zac Hildenbrand, and Kevin Schug.
Scientists from UTA’s Collaborative Laboratories for Environmental Analysis and Remediation (CLEAR) gathered skin swabs and water samples on May 15 in Ponder, where some residents have complained of burning, itching rashes after exposure to their tap water, a story in the Denton Record Chronicle reported.
    Kevin Schug, CLEAR director and associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, CLEAR consultant Zac Hildenbrand, and other CLEAR lab members took samples in order to analyze them in the lab in an effort to identify what is causing the complaints, which include skin rashes, headaches, and infections, including E. coli.
    Hildenbrand said the problems being reported in Ponder are similar to problems being reported in other communities, the story states. It’s possible, he said, that there is a bacteria in the public water supply that is resisting standard disinfection techniques.
    According to the article, federal and state laws require public water supplies to test for the presence of only a handful of bacteria. Hildenbrand said his group will test for more than 2,500 different microbial species.
    “We’re going to get to the bottom of this,” Hildenbrand said in the story.
    The story was reported by multiple D-FW media outlets. Read the Record-Chronicle story here.
Rajeshwar quoted in story about utilizing cheap metals to reduce carbon dioxide
Krishnan Rajeshwar.
Krishnan Rajeshwar, Distinguished University Professor of chemistry and biochemistry, was quoted in a story about reducing carbon dioxide using cheap and abundant metals previously thought to be useless in the April 4 edition of the journal Chemistry World.
    The article is titled “Coordination trick reinvents cobalt and nickel as carbon reduction catalysts.” A research team led by Kazuhide Kamiya from Osaka University made nickel and cobalt complexes with different ligands to investigate if changing the metal’s coordination number could improve their ability to reduce carbon dioxide, the article states.
    The results were encouraging but are preliminary, the article notes. The article quotes Rajeshwar: “One limitation is that only the two electron reduction route is demonstrated. More practically important are deeper reduction pathways leading to liquid products [such as alcohols].”
    Read the Chemistry World article here.
COS Alumni

Alumni Spotlight
Michael Ray




Mathematics was something Michael Ray always excelled in and enjoyed while growing up, so much so that he went on to earn three degrees in the field from UTA. “I enjoyed learning how to define and solve problems,” Ray says. “I chose math because it could be applied in so many ways and to so many types of problems.” The Fort Worth native graduated from Western Hills High School in just three years and enrolled at UTA in the fall of 1973. By 1981 he had received a B.S. in Mathematics with a minor in Physics (1976), an M.A. in Mathematics (1978), and a Ph.D. in Mathematical Sciences (1981). Along the way, he worked internships at Electronic Data Systems (1975-76) and NASA (1979), where, during the early days of the Space Shuttle program, he migrated code from the shuttle flight simulators to desktop computers so flight controllers could determine when to initiate problems for the astronauts to deal with during their flight training. But it was advice from one of his mathematics professors, Mike Lord, which ended up making the biggest impact on Ray’s career. In 1980 Lord suggested to Ray that he should apply for an internship with Mobil, and Ray did so. “If he hadn’t done that, I would never have considered going to work for that industry,” Ray said. Instead, the internship led to a 35-plus-year career with Mobil, which merged with Exxon in 2000. Although unfamiliar with the industry at first, his math background helped him fit in quickly. “Initially, a lot of the ideas in my dissertation were very similar to what I ended up doing in my first job at Mobil,” he says. “My education taught me how to learn and explore new areas, which is truly the value of education.” Ray was heavily involved in linear and non-linear solvers for reservoir simulators and developed the solvers used in the company’s first compositional simulator, COSMOS. From 1986-94, he served as primary investigator and project leader for Mobil’s three-dimensional, three-phase basin simulator. He next was given the job of managing E&P Technical Centers Basin Analysis and the Upstream Research program. In December 1999, he became responsible for ExxonMobil’s Upstream Research Technical Software Development Division and was given additional responsibilities as Upstream Breakthrough Research Manager in 2004. From 2006-16 he served as a Lab Director at ExxonMobil Corporate Strategic Research in New Jersey, and most recently he was Distinguished Science Advisor, a position he held until his retirement in 2017. In 2009 he was named a Fellow by the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics for his contributions to geophysical computation. He has maintained ties with UTA over the years, and in 2008 he and his wife, Wanda, established the Michael B. and Wanda G. Ray Scholarship for Graduate Studies at UTA. He was guest speaker for the College of Science Fall 2016 Commencement ceremony, and in 2017 he joined the College of Science Advisory Council. “Having spent over 20 years of my career as a research manager with a lead role in establishing a number of University-industry research partnerships, I felt that the COS Advisory Council would be an effective way to share that perspective,” he says. He strongly encourages any student thinking about a career in a STEM field to consider UTA and the College of Science. “A lot of the innovations today occur at the intersection of disciplines,” he said. “A degree in the sciences, and in particular mathematics, provides the type of education you need for a firm foundation to make those unexpected connections. UTA is a great school to get that foundation, with lots of opportunities to connect across a very diverse group of faculty and students and see things from multiple perspectives.”
Birthplace: Fort Worth
Years at UTA: 1973-81 (B.S., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees)
Favorite professor: “I’d have to start with my supervising professor, Rangachary Kannan. Additionally, Dick Mitchell, Roger Mitchell and Mike Lord.”
Advice for students: “Cultivate a curious mind. The future will be created by those in the STEM fields who can connect the dots.”

UTA student organizations

We invite you to become involved with the College of Science


Nu ñez

Hello, I'm Dr. Ignacio Nunez, 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 Eckler, LMSW, CFRE, at 817-272-1497 or cmeckler@uta.edu.

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Calendar of events

Monday, June 4
First day of classes for Summer 2018, 11-week session
Thursday, July 5
Last day to drop classes for Summer 2018, 14-week session
Thursday, July 19
Last day to drop classes for Summer 2018, 11-week session
Thursday, August 9
Final day of classes for Summer 2018, all sessions
Monday-Tuesday, August 13-14
Finals exams for Summer 2018 semester
Wednesday, August 22
First day of classes for Fall 2018 semester

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. 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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