M AVERICK S CIENCE E-News
The University of Texas at Arlington
College of Science
FEBRUARY 2019
ALUMNI STUDENTS EVENTS PLANETARIUM ARCHIVES
Lopez to be inducted into UT System Academy of Distinguished Teachers
Ramon Lopez
Ramon Lopez, a UTA professor of physics, has been named to the UT System Academy of Distinguished Teachers for his excellence in teaching and mentoring students. He is one of only two candidates selected from across the UT System to join the distinguished body of educators this year. Lopez is an esteemed space physicist and a passionate advocate for enhancing the quality of K-12 science education and increasing diversity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, fields. He will be inducted into the Academy during an April ceremony in Austin. Read the story here.
Castoe using NIH grant to look for ways
to eradicate stubborn parasitic disease

Todd Castoe

Todd Castoe, a UTA associate professor of biology, is using a new grant to look for ways to finish off a disease that has stubbornly resisted all attempts to eradicate it. Castoe is co-investigator of a five-year, $3.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for a study titled, “Schistoso-miasis at the edge of elimination: Characterizing sources of new infections in residual transmission hotspots.” Castoe’s portion of the grant is $1,159,000. Read the story here.
Campbell, Chrzanowski honored by colleagues, students upon retirement

Jonathan Campbell, left, and Thomas Chrzanowski

Jonathan Campbell and Thomas Chrzanowski, two longtime professors of biology who helped build UTA’s Department of Biology into the vibrant center of teaching and research it is today were honored recently on the occasion of their retirement. Campbell and Chrzanowski, who have more than 73 years of combined experience as UTA faculty members, officially stepped down from their full-time professor positions on January 31. Read the story here.
Project will train students for careers
in agriculture fields using data science
Students involved with the project include, from left, Jordan Rodriguez, Johnny Valdez, Angela Avila, and Eriberto Estrada.
Jianzhong Su, UTA math professor and chairman of the Department of Mathematics, will use a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to prepare graduate and undergraduate students for data-based careers in agriculture-related fields. Su received a four-year, $295,000 USDA grant for an Alliance for Smart Agriculture in the Internet of Things Era project. Read the story here.
Jeon leads team in developing new way to achieve hydrogen atom transfer
Junha Jeon
Junha Jeon, UTA associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, has published research that describes a new, sustainable way to perform one of the most fundamental chemical processes used in biology and chemistry. Jeon led the research, which details a new method to achieve hydrogen atom transfer (HAT), a process which is fundamental to many processes in chemistry and biology. “The project’s goal was to develop a more sustainable catalytic process to generate a hydrogen atom and transfer it to another molecule,” Jeon said. Read the story here.
Psychology student Munoz wins third straight world taekwondo poomsae title
Adalis “AJ” Munoz. Photo courtesy of Team USA.
Adalis “AJ” Munoz, a UTA junior majoring in psychology and exercise science, won her third consecutive title at the World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships late last year in Taipei, Taiwan. The world championships are held every two years and Munoz won the 18-and-older freestyle division in 2014, 2016 and 2018. Munoz has maintained her world-champion status despite balancing a busy schedule as a full-time student at UTA and helping run her family’s dojang at Texas Forge Taekwondo in Fort Worth. The family opened a private training dojang in 2015 and opened to the public in August 2017. Read the story here.
Weidanz named to National Academy
of Inventors’ Senior Members first class
Jon Weidanz
Jon Weidanz, UTA associate vice president for research and professor of biology, is one of the 66 faculty, scientists and administrators in the inaugural class of NAI Senior Members, the National Academy of Inventors announced. Weidanz, an immunology expert, is a biotechnology entrepreneur, too. NAI Senior Members are active faculty, scientists and administrators from NAI member Institutions with success in patents, licensing and commercialization. They have produced technologies that have brought, or aspire to bring, real impact on the welfare of society. Read the story here.
CLEAR Lab extends collaboration with Apache Corp. for water quality studies
CLEAR team members include, front row: Tiffany Liden and Inês Santos; back row: Manny Varona-Torres; Zacariah Hildenbrand, and Kevin Schug.
The UTA Collaborative Laboratories for Environmental Analysis and Remediation (CLEAR lab) has extended its collaboration with the Apache Corporation to study surface and groundwater quality in the company’s Alpine High play in West Texas. Apache’s continued sponsorship provides CLEAR support for targeted monitoring efforts throughout Reeves County that will cover thousands of organic, inorganic and biological constituents that may be found in water. Apache’s sponsorship of CLEAR’s research team started in 2016. Read the story here.
Innovation on display at Fort Worth Regional Science & Engineering Fair
The 2019 FWRSEF drew more than 530 student project entries
More than 530 middle and high school students from around the region presented their research projects at the 68th annual Fort Worth Regional Science & Engineering Fair, held February 24-25 at College Park Center. The event, which UTA has hosted for years, showcases the innovative ideas of some of the top science and engineering students in a 10-county area. Students were treated to various activities on campus hosted by the Colleges of Science and Engineering, and the event concluded with an awards ceremony. Yuan Bo Peng, UTA professor of psychology, served as fair director, and the scientific review committee included Peng, math chair and professor Jianzhong Su, and biology associate professor Michael Roner. Learn more about the fair and see a list of award winners here.
North Texas Genome Center at UTA profiled in Dallas Innovates magazine
Kelly Sheff
The cutting-edge work being done at the North Texas Genome Center at UTA was profiled in the 2019 edition of Dallas Innovates magazine. The NTGC, which opened in March 2018, is a partnership between UTA, the University of North Texas Health Science Center, and Texas A&M University. The story explains that researchers are using genomic analysis to create databases which can inform solutions for difficult problems. “Ultimately, the sequencing data that we generate can be used to better diagnose and provide better treatment options [for any genetic-based disease],” said Kelly Sheff, NTGC director of lab operations. Read the Dallas Innovates story here.
Schug discusses lack of FDA oversight
in case of contaminated heart drug
Kevin Schug, right, with a student in the lab
Kevin Schug, UTA Shimadzu Distinguished Professor of Analytical Chemistry, was quoted in a January 29 story in Bloomberg News about how a heart drug made in China contaminated with a possible cancer-causing chemical made it past U.S. regulators. The story explains that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is conducting fewer inspections in China, and recommendations that the manufacturer of the drug in question be warned were overruled by FDA managers. “That’s not OK to just wave it off,” Schug said in the story. “I certainly would not want to take [any] drug had it gone through that process.” The drug was later recalled. Read the Bloomberg News article here.
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