The University of Texas at Arlington
College of Science
Nygren, Jones receive $1 million grant to build neutrino experiment detector
David Nygren, left, and Ben Jones
David Nygren, UTA Presidential Distinguished Professor of Physics, and Ben Jones, UTA assistant professor of physics, have won a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to build a detector that may offer a key insight into the lingering mystery of the universe’s matter-antimatter imbalance.
    The new detector will be integrated into the Neutrino Experiment Xenon TPC (NEXT), an international physics experiment conceived by Nygren and being carried out in northeastern Spain at the Canfranc Underground Laboratory. Read more here.
UTeach program gets $120K grant for STEM initiative with Boys & Girls Clubs

UTeach Arlington student Benjamin Rodriguez works with children at a Boys & Girls Club in Arlington.

The UTeach Arlington secondary math and science teacher preparation program at The University of Texas at Arlington has been selected for a prestigious grant by the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation to benefit UTeach students and youth served by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Tarrant County.
    The initiative, named Maverick STEMbrace Success at Boys & Girls Club of Arlington, provides a one-year, $120,624 grant to benefit both entities. The grant will help recruit and support UTA science, mathematics, and computer science majors who are pursuing secondary teacher certification while they serve Boys & Girls Club youth in an after-school STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) program. Read more here.
Wahab named to list of ‘Top 40 Under 40’ analytical scientists in the world

Farooq Wahab

M. Farooq Wahab, a UTA research engineering scientist, was named to the 2018 “Top 40 Under 40” Power List of young analytical scientists by the prestigious British magazine The Analytical Scientist in its October 2018 edition.
    Wahab has worked in the lab of Daniel W. Armstrong, the Robert A. Welch Distinguished Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry, since 2014. Wahab is one of only two members of the 2018 list from a Texas university.
    Read more here.
Mandal team finds new way to possibly control diseases like meningitis, sepsis
Subhrangsu Mandal
Researchers led by Subhra Mandal, UTA associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, have found a potential new pathway to regulate immune response and potentially control inflammatory diseases of the central nervous system such as meningitis and sepsis.
    “We need to know what turns on inflammatory response to bacterial infection to be able to modulate the process,” Mandal said. Read more of this story here.
Dias team discovers way to utilize new copper compound to purify ethylene
Rasika Dias
Researchers led by Rasika Dias, UTA distinguished university professor of chemistry and biochemistry, have filed a provisional patent application on a new copper compound that can be used to purify ethylene for use as a raw material in the production of plastics such as polyethylene or PVC, as well as other industrial compounds.
    Ethylene is produced from crude oil but is usually obtained as a mixture containing ethane. Manufacturing processes using ethylene usually require pure, or 99.9 percent, ethylene feed-stock.
    Read more of this story here.
Lopez tabbed for National Academies panel, College Board committee chair
Ramon Lopez
Ramon Lopez, UTA professor of physics, has been named to an ad hoc committee by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to review responses from NASA’s Heliophysics program and the National Science Foundation to the 2013 decadal survey, “Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society.”
    The committee’s review will evaluate the agencies’ progress toward implementing the recommendations outlined in the decadal survey, which Lopez helped to create as part of the survey’s steering committee. Since 2000, Lopez has served almost continuously on various National Academies committees, this being the eighth in that time frame.
    Lopez was also named chair of the College Board’s Science Academic Advisory Committee. As chair, Lopez will direct the committee as it works to identify emerging trends, opportunities, issues and challenges within the sciences, and share its recommendations with the College Board. He will represent the Science Academic Advisory Committee on the overarching Academic Assembly Council, which meets twice annually and advises the board of trustees and College Board staff on matters of teaching and learning.
    Read the National Academies decadal survey here. Learn more about the College Board here.
Macaluso joins NSF-sponsored inorganic chemistry education research project
Robin Macaluso
Robin Macaluso, UTA associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, has been named a Fellow of the Virtual Inorganic Pedagogical Electronic resource (VIPEr) in an innovative study to develop, test and refine and flexible, foundation-level inorganic chemistry courses.
    As one of the first 20 faculty members selected for the groundbreaking project, she will join inorganic chemists from across the United States in a community of practice dedicated to improving student learning. Over the course of the project, the VIPEr Fellows will implement evidence-based practices in their courses.
    The study, entitled “Improving Inorganic Chemistry Education,” is being led by the Interactive Online Network of Inorganic Chemists (IONiC) with support from the National Science Foundation’s Improving Undergraduate STEM Education program. IONiC is a vibrant virtual community which facilitates collaborative development of learning materials to the wider inorganic chemistry community. The project will use classroom observations, analysis of student work, student surveys and faculty interviews to generate data about how changes in the classroom affect student learning, interest, and motivation.
    Learn more about the project here.
Fall 2018 Commencement ceremony to honor College of Science graduates
The tossing of caps is always a highlight of the commencement ceremony.
The College of Science will celebrate its newest group of graduates at the Fall 2018 Commencement ceremony, at 7 p.m. on Friday, December 14 at College Park Center.
    The ceremony will include College of Science and College of Education students who completed the requirements for graduation in August or December. Guest speaker for the ceremony will be Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott, wife of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
    Graduates are encouraged to arrive at least one hour early. All guests attending the ceremony must have a ticket. Full details about the ceremony can be found here. Read more about UTA Commencement here.
UTA physics students make science fun and educational at DFW Career Expo
SPS team members include, back from left, advisor Nila Veerabathina, Dominic Kotzer, Matthew Depalma, Erika Jones; seated in middle, Desiree Bates; front, Edward Perez.
A team of UTA physics students led by Nilakshi Veerabathina, associate professor of instruction, entertained and educated schoolkids in grades 6-12 and college students at the 2018 Aviation & Transportation Career Expo at DFW International Airport on October 26.
    The team, comprised of members of the Society of Physics Students, included Desiree Bates, Niyousha Davachi, Matthew Depalma, Erika Jones, Dominic Kotzer, Edward Perez, and Parvat Sapkota.
    More than 3,000 students, teachers and administrators from schools across North Texas attended the Expo, which was held at American Airlines Hangar #5 and included about 20 organizations from around the Metroplex.
    Physics activities included demonstrations associated with mechanical electrical generators, Tesla coil, wheels and rotating stools, super conductors, magnets and electricity, bed of nails, and optical illusions. Learn more about the Expo here.
Biology student Manirakiza is crowned as UTA’s 2018 Homecoming Queen
Homecoming King Tatenda Ndlovu and Queen Clarissa Manirakiza
Clarissa Manirakiza, a UTA senior majoring in biology, was named 2018 Homecoming Queen during a ceremony at the UTA men’s basketball game against Northern Iowa on November 10 at College Park Center.
    Joining Manirakiza in presiding over the Homecoming Court was Homecoming King Tatenda Ndlovu, a senior majoring in information systems. They will serve as goodwill ambassadors for UTA for the next semester.
    Manirakiza is active in various organizations on campus and this year is serving as director of The Big Event, which is a day of community service and outreach involving UTA students, faculty, and staff, as well as community members, in an effort to engage, educate, and mobilize volunteers throughout the community. It will be held on April 6, 2019.
    Read a profile of Manirakiza in The Shorthorn here.
Six COS seniors present their work at Honors College Research Symposium
Six College of Science seniors were among 18 UTA Honors College students who presented their Honors Senior Projects to fulfill their degree requirements at the 2018 Honors Research Symposium on November 16.
    COS students, their project titles and faculty mentors included:
  • Kyle Alyson Chi, biology, “Dissecting the Role of the Insulin Receptor Signaling Pathway on Regenerative Organ Growth in Snakes”; Todd Castoe
  • Niyousha Davachi, physics, “Higgs Boson Decay and Dark Matter Faculty”; Andy White
  • Godswill Nwaosu, biology, “Caspase Allostery and pH Dependence”; Clay Clark
  • Sara Stearns, biology, “The Evolution of Vertebrate Brain Architecture in Response to Divergent Natural Selection - Concerted vs. Mosaic Evolution?”; Matthew Walsh
  • Marah Townzen, mathematics, “A Mathematical Analysis of a Model of Drug Action on Intracellular Calcium Dynamics”; Hristo Kojouharov
  • Jessica Tung, biology, “Characterization of Scleractinian Coral Caspases in Comparison with Human Homologs”; Clay Clark

    Learn more about the Honors Research Symposium here.
Schug, Hildenbrand pen editorial calling for review of gas well setback distances
Zach Hildenbrand, left, and Kevin Schug
Kevin Schug, UTA professor of analytical chemistry and director of UTA’s Collaborative Laboratories for Environmental Analysis and Remediation (CLEAR), and Zach Hildenbrand, CLEAR researcher, wrote that it’s time to reassess setback distances for natural gas wells across the Barnett Shale region of North Texas in an editorial for the Dallas Morning News on November 2.
    Setback distances vary greatly by locality but are less than 200 feet from residential areas in some cities. Schug and Hildenbrand contend that the increase in peer-reviewed literature on the topic in recent years shows the need to reevaluate regulations in the Barnett Shale region.
    Read the Morning News editorial here.
Research by Winguth cited in Fourth National Climate Assessment report
Arne Winguth
Research conducted by Arne Winguth, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, and colleagues was cited in the recently released second volume of the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4), a congressionally mandated report by the U.S. Global Change Research Program.
    The first volume was released in October 2017; volume two was released November 23. The report took two years to complete and included input from 13 federal agencies. The NCA assesses the science of climate change and variability and its impacts across the United States, now and throughout this century. It states that “human health and safety” and American “quality of life” is “increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change”.
    Among the works cited in Chapter 23 of the report is a 2013 article co-authored by Winguth in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology titled, “The urban heat island of the north-central Texas region and its relation to the 2011 severe Texas drought,” and a 2015 report co-authored by Winguth for the North Central Texas Council of Governments and Federal Highway Administration titled, “Climate change/extreme weather vulnerability and risk assessment for transportation infrastructure in Dallas and Tarrant counties.”
    Read the NCA4 report here.
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