Researchers patent SIDS detection device
UT Arlington researchers have obtained a patent for a device aimed at saving babies’ lives through improved and rapid detection of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Electrical Engineering Professor J.-C. Chiao, doctoral candidate Hung Cao, and Heather Beardsley, a research engineer at TMAC (Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center), have developed a sensitive wireless sensor system that can detect carbon dioxide exhaled by babies as they sleep. More importantly, the sensors know when infants are not expelling carbon dioxide—quickly enough to allow intervention.
“This has the chance to save lives,” says Dr. Chiao, who holds the Janet and Mike Greene and Jenkins Garrett professorships in the College of Engineering. “Our system is more accurate than current systems. Our system reduces false alarms that desensitize parents or caregivers.”
SIDS typically occurs in infants younger than a year old while the child is sleeping. Cases are classified as SIDS when there is no other explainable cause of death.
Read more about the SIDS research.
A group of infants and mothers tested at UT Arlington have given researchers another reason to extol the unique properties of breast milk.
A team led by Sandy Dasgupta, Jenkins Garrett Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has found evidence that breast-fed babies can metabolize the environmental contaminant perchlorate, decreasing their risks of detrimental developmental effects from exposure.
The research suggests a link between this characteristic and bifidobacteria, bacteria that is plentiful in the digestive systems of breast-fed babies.
The team’s work with 18 pairs of infants and mothers is detailed in the article “Breast-fed Infants Metabolize Perchlorate,” which was recently accepted for publication by the American Chemical Society journal Environmental Science & Technology.
“Both Centers for Disease Control researchers and our lab have previously observed that there is a higher concentration of perchlorate in breast milk versus formula. Although the merits of breastfeeding far outweigh any risk posed by this, it has caused some mothers concern.” Dr. Dasgupta says. “Our results suggest that nature has already devised a way to at least partly take care of it.”
Read more about Dasgupta’s study.
Nursing Professor Judy LeFlore has earned national recognition from the 2012 Computerworld Honors Laureate program for her work using 3D gaming technology to teach students about in-hospital pediatric care.
Dr. LeFlore’s project “Can Game Play Teach Student Nurses How to Save Lives?” explored whether a 3D video game could teach nursing students how to respond to patients in a clinical setting. She and Assistant Professor Mindi Anderson worked with Marjorie Zielke, assistant professor of arts and technology at UT Dallas, to develop a game scenario called “iNursingRN: Respiratory Distress.”
The work was backed by $250,000 in funding from the UT System’s Transforming Undergraduate Education grant program. Dr. Zielke and LeFlore will receive the award in June in Washington, D.C.
Read more about LeFlore’s award.
A UT Arlington multidisciplinary team has received a $360,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to build artificial nanopores made of silicon that can detect “bad molecules” as a very early indication of cancer and other diseases.
Samir Iqbal, an assistant professor of electrical engineering who focuses on nanotechnology, is leading the project. He works with Sandy Dasgupta, the Jenkins Garrett Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Richard Timmons, a Distinguished Professor of Chemistry.
Nanopores are tiny openings—about 1,000 times smaller than a human pore on the skin or a human hair—made in very thin silicon chips. The silicon chips are the same material in computer processors and memories.
Dr. Iqbal’s team will run human blood-derived samples through these artificially created nanopores in a silicon chip and record how the composition may change as a function of disease.
Read more about the NSF grant.
With the help of a three-year, $725,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, Eric Smith, assistant professor of biology, will begin a three-year project to explore and catalog new species in the Indonesian portion of the Pacific Ring of Fire.
Dr. Smith (‘94 MS, ‘01 PhD) curator/researcher for UT Arlington’s Amphibian and Reptile Diversity Research Center, is the lead investigator on the grant. Michael Harvey (‘91 MS, ‘97 PhD), now an associate professor at Broward College in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is co-principal investigator.
The team will include researchers from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, the Bandung Institute of Technology and Brawijaya University in Indonesia, students from UT Arlington and Broward College in Florida, and researchers from other universities.
Read more about the NSF grant.
Erica Castillo, a junior in the College of Engineering, has been named UT Arlington’s first Goldwater Scholar.
Castillo’s research focuses on structural health monitoring under the direction of Haiying Huang, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. She plans to expand her research to include soft biomaterials.
Elijah Stevens, a sophomore in mechanical engineering, was awarded an honorable mention in the Goldwater Scholars program.
Stevens, an Iraq war veteran, is researching high temperature thermal protection systems under the direction of Dragos-Stefan Dancila, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering.
Congress established the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program in 1986 in honor of the former U.S. senator from Arizona and 1964 presidential candidate. The program’s goal is to encourage a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships in those fields.
Read more about the Goldwater Scholarship.
Sandy Dasgupta, the Jenkins Garrett Professor of Chemistry, is being honored as the 2012 recipient of the Dal Nogare Award today, Monday, March 12, at the Pittcon Conference and Expo in Orlando, Fla., one of the premier events in the world of laboratory science.
Dr. Dasgupta has made numerous improvements to methods of ion chromatography, the process of separating and detecting ions—atoms and molecules bearing a net electrical charge—for analysis. He is credited with the development of electrodialytic suppressors, eluent generators, and post column reagent introduction devices.
“We are so pleased to see Dr. Dasgupta honored with this prestigious award for his energetic and varied pursuits in expanding the field of chromatography,” says Ronald L. Elsenbaumer, provost and vice president for academic affairs and a former chair of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department. “Years of discoveries lie ahead thanks to the more refined equipment and better processes he has developed.”
Read more about Dasgupta’s award.
UT Arlington industrial engineers have patented an innovative method that can obtain optimal decisions for a broad class of real-world problems not previously solvable.
Bill Corley and Jay Rosenberger, professor and associate professor in the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, recently were issued a patent titled “System, Method, and Apparatus for Allocating Resources by Constraint Selection.”
Linear programming is a mathematical description of a vast number of decision problems occurring throughout the business and scientific worlds. Solving these problems allows an organization to maximize profit, minimize costs, or allocate resources.
“Linear programming is the most widely used computational model in the business and scientific worlds,” Dr. Corley says. “It will now become much more important. That’s the bottom line. We drastically improved over 60 years of research for computing with this ubiquitous decision model.”
Read more about the decision-making patent.
A team of University of Texas at Arlington researchers have developed a method that uses magnetic carbon nanoparticles to target and destroy cancer cells through laser therapy—a treatment they believe could be effective in cases of skin and other cancers without damaging surrounding healthy cells.
A paper about the work by Ali R. Koymen, professor of physics, and Samarendra Mohanty, assistant professor of physics, was published in January’s edition of the Journal of Biomedical Optics.
Ling Gu and Vijayalakshmi Vardarajan, two post-doctoral researchers in Dr. Mohanty’s lab, were coauthors on the paper “Magnetic-field-assisted photothermal therapy of cancer cells using Fe-doped carbon nanoparticles.”
Mohanty says the carbon nanoparticles can be coated to make them attach to cancer cells once they are positioned in an organ by the magnetic field. The magnetic carbon nanoparticles also are fluorescent, so they can be used to enhance contrast of optical imaging of tumors along with that of MRI.
Read more about photothermal therapy research.
Qilian Liang, professor of electrical engineering, has received a $300,000 National Science Foundation grant to determine how much closer technology can push toward the upper boundary of a smart grid’s threshold.
Dr. Liang joined UT Arlington in 2002 and is working to marry electrical grid infrastructure with information technologies to transmit and distribute power closer to that threshold. The goal of the project is to determine the threshold and to figure out the roadmap toward that threshold.
One study conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy concludes that internal modernization could save between $46 billion and $117 billion in 20 years. A smart grid is a digitally enabled electrical grid that collects information about usage and demand then acts to improve the efficiency, reliability, and sustainability of electricity services.
Read more about Liang’s research.
The College of Nursing will use a $419,000 federal grant to bolster recruitment of minorities to its nursing Ph.D. program with hopes of addressing cultural disparities in health research and patient care.
The grant—a three-year award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—will provide funds to recruit candidates from historically underrepresented groups and ensure the success of students through mentoring, professional socialization, and enhanced academic advising. Administrators believe their efforts will result in more students and graduates doing research related to disparities and provide more Ph.D.-prepared nurses to increase the number of minority faculty in nursing programs.
“The shortage of Ph.D.-prepared nurses is especially acute among minority nurses,” says Jennifer Gray, associate dean of the College of Nursing and principal investigator on the new grant. “As we have more and more minority patients seeking health care, we need minority health care providers who better understand their culture and could possibly be more effective.”
Read more about the nursing grant.
UT Arlington engineers working with Army surgeons are developing a pliable, polymer mask embedded with electrical, mechanical, and biological components that can speed healing from disfiguring facial burns and help rebuild the faces of injured soldiers.
The biomask project is led by Eileen Moss, an electrical engineer and research scientist based at the Automation & Robotics Research Institute in Fort Worth. Project partners include the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio and Northwestern University in Chicago. The work is funded through a $700,000 research grant from the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command.
“This gives our wounded warriors hope,” says Col. Robert G. Hale, commander of the U.S. Army Dental and Trauma Research Detachment in San Antonio, which is part of the Institute of Surgical Research.
Read more about the biomask project.
A group of UT Arlington astrophysicists expanded the discussion about a newly discovered planet orbiting two stars by presenting a study suggesting where an Earth-type planet could exist in the system.
The Kepler-16 System made headlines in September when researchers at NASA’s Kepler space telescope mission revealed the discovery of Kepler-16b, a cold, gaseous planet that orbits two stars like Star Wars’ fictional Tatooine.
The UT Arlington team, using data from the Kepler and previous research, has concluded that an Earth-type planet could exist in the system’s “habitable zone” as an exomoon orbiting Kepler-16b.
Billy Quarles, a doctoral student in the College of Science, presented the findings at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society this week in Austin. Co-authors are physics Professor Zdzislaw Musielak and Associate Professor Manfred Cuntz.
Read more about the Kepler-16b research.
UT Arlington bioengineering researchers have designed an innovative, ultrasonic sensor system that can accurately detect whether a person suffers from sleep apnea without the inconvenience or cost associated with an overnight stay in a sleep center.
Researchers have applied for a provisional patent and are identifying private partners to market the device. UT Arlington has formed an alliance with Sleep Consultants Inc. in Fort Worth to conduct studies related to the research.
The new detection system promises a speedier path to diagnosis and eventual relief, says Khosrow Behbehani, professor and chair of the Department of Bioengineering, adding that conventional diagnostic testing can cost as much as $2,000 per patient per test. “For some, the cost is such a barrier that they may opt to continue to suffer rather than to be diagnosed.”
Read more about the sleep apnea research.
Jian Yang, an associate professor of bioengineering, has been awarded a $1.25 million National Institutes of Health grant to continue his work in creating safe, biodegradable, photoluminescent polymers that can improve cancer therapy. Dr. Yang will use his latest grant to continue work established through a 2009 NIH program.
The polymers he developed can be used for implants, nanoparticle creation for cancer imaging, drug delivery, construction of temporary stents, and tissue regeneration.
Jean-Pierre Bardet, dean of the UT Arlington College of Engineering, says Yang’s work in polymers will have a far-reaching impact on the way medicine fights cancer in the future.
Read more about Yang’s NIH grant.
Two physics professors and two engineering professors have been named fellows in their respective national organizations.
Andrew White, professor of physics and co-director of the Center for High Energy Physics, was named a fellow of the American Physical Society. He has taken part in groundbreaking research at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, or Fermilab, in Illinois and has worked on the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.
Ramon Lopez, a professor of physics, was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was recognized for his passionate pursuit of research made exemplary through additional contributions to education and public communication, and through achievement in broadening participation of minorities in science.
Zeynep Celik-Butler, director of the Nanotechnology Research and Teaching Facility and a professor of electrical engineering, was named a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. She was honored for her contributions to the understanding of noise and fluctuation phenomena in solid-state devices.
Liping Tang, a bioengineering professor, was named a fellow of the American Institute of Biological and Medical Engineering. He was recognized for his outstanding contributions in advancing the understanding of biocompatibility and transforming the development of medical devices for patient care.
Read more about Dr. White, Dr. Lopez, Dr. Celik-Butler, and Dr. Tang.
Andre Pires da Silva, assistant professor of biology and an evolutionary biologist, is one of five principal investigators mapping the genome of the two-spotted spider mite, or Tetranychus urticae. Their research was published in the Nov. 23 issue of the weekly journal Nature.
The U.S. Department of Energy-funded research helps to combat the spider mite and other pests. Chemical pest control of spider mites is estimated at more than $500 million worldwide.
“Spider mites are a huge problem for agriculture because they are very difficult to get rid of,” Dr. Pires da Silva says. “They’re very small, they reproduce in huge numbers, and they become very easily resistant to chemicals used to try to control them.”
Read more about the spider mite research.
George Alexandrakis, an assistant professor of bioengineering, has secured two new grants worth $1.13 million to track how cancerous cells damaged by radiation therapy work to repair themselves and apply that system to research focused on better cancer care.
Dr. Alexandrakis specializes in sub-cellular imaging and is collaborating on the project with David Chen, director of the Molecular Radiation Biology Division in the Department of Radiation Oncology at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.
The first grant, a $342,000 National Institutes of Health award, charges Alexandrakis with creating a system to measure how fast certain proteins come and go in a cell’s nucleus as they are trying to repair DNA.
A second, $789,000 grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas enables him to apply the technique he develops for imaging repair activity within a cell to work conducted by other members of the research team.
Read more about Alexandrakis’ research.
The National Institutes of Health has awarded biology Associate Professor Esther Betran nearly $670,000 to continue examining the genomic structure of male fruit flies for clues about the way reproductive functions evolve.
Dr. Betran has proposed a scientific model in which gene duplication rapidly changes the function and characteristics of the testes tissue of the Drosophila, or fruit fly, while leaving the genomic structure of other tissues unchanged.
The new grant will help Betran test her theory that duplicate genes become fixed in the genome as long as they perform new and beneficial functions for male reproduction. She’ll also explore how quickly these changes occur and how the genes manage to express only in testes by examining the evidence left behind in the genome of current species.
Read more about Betran’s research.
The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas has awarded two bioengineering researchers—Baohong Yuan and Liping Tang—more than $1.2 million to explore better methods of detecting cancer.
Dr. Yuan, an assistant professor who joined UT Arlington in 2010, last week won a $1 million award that he will use to create a better imaging system to detect cancer in deep tissue—tens of millimeters below the surface of the skin.
Dr. Tang, a professor whose work has focused on tissue engineering, received $200,000 that he will use to develop what he describes as a “chemical trap” that will mimic bone marrow, which attracts cancer cells.
“We want to provide much clearer images of microvessels in deeply seated small tumors,” says Yuan, who combines elements of physics with bioengineering for most of his research interests. “With that information, physicians could better target the tumors for elimination.”
Read more about Yuan’s and Tang’s cancer research.