Frank Lu elected vice president of AIAA

Frank Lu, professor of aerospace engineering, has been elected vice president of publications of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

Dr. Lu, director of the Aerodynamics Research Center, joined UT Arlington in 1987.

He has served as editor-in-chief of AIAA Progress in Aeronautics and Astronautics and as an editorial board member of Shock Waves, Aerospace Science and Technology, and International Journal of Aerospace Innovation; and the book series Shock and High Pressure Phenomena.

AIAA is the largest aerospace professional society in the world, with more than 35,000 individual and 100 corporate members from 80 countries.

Source: MavWire

Geological Society of American names associate professor as fellow

Qinhong “Max” Hu, an associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, has been named a fellow by The Geological Society of America, an honor reserved for scientists making distinguished contributions to the geosciences.

Dr. Hu has been at UT Arlington since 2008. His research specialty is in describing and exploring the processes by which fluids move through porous and fractured porous media in the earth, such as tight rock formations. He is the principal investigator on $625,000 in grants to study fracture-matrix interaction in gas recovery in North Texas’ Barnett Shale.

“Dr. Hu’s world-class efforts to advance earth science are evidenced by an impressive history of publications, presentations, funding, and professional honors,” says Pamela Jansma, dean of the College of Science. “As a newly named fellow, he will undoubtedly continue these contributions in the years to come.”

The Geological Society of America is a global professional society with a growing membership of more than 25,000 individuals in 107 countries.

Source: MavWire

Electrical engineering prof lands two major grants

Qilian Liang, an electrical engineering professor in the College of Engineering, has received grants from the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation totaling more than $1.2 million.

The five-year, $797,500 ONR grant addresses a signal processing system that provides better information for radar even though it collects less data.

“When the Navy’s radar looks at a specific area, it takes into account everything in that area,” Dr. Liang says. “Much of that data isn’t needed for the system to come to a precise answer on what a radar system says is there. If you take in less data, it takes the system less time to make an informed decision.”

The three-year, $470,000 NSF grant is for developing a system in a cellphone that could automatically locate available space within a bandwidth, reducing or eliminating “dead spots” in coverage.

“In the wireless network industry, bandwidth is everything,” says Liang, who has been at UT Arlington since 2002. “The system I’m developing shows where the room is in a bandwidth.”

Read more about Liang’s bandwidth and algorithmic system research.

Source: MavWire

New observations help astrophysicist understand sun’s dynamics

Physics Professor Zdzislaw Musielak has been awarded a three-year, $301,339 National Science Foundation grant to investigate Alfvén waves in the sun, a phenomenon vital to understanding Earth’s nearest star.

“The sun is the source of energy that sustains all life on Earth, but there is much that remains unknown about it,” says Dr. Musielak, a two-time winner of the international Humboldt Prize for his research into the sun and solar-type stars. “With this research, we hope to explore one of the great mysteries—what forces fuel the heat of the sun’s outer atmosphere and the basic physical processes for creating its magnetic influence on Earth and other planets.”

Alfvén waves are magnetic plasma waves named after Hannes Alfvén, who received a Nobel Prize in 1970. Their existence helps explain why the sun’s corona, or upper atmosphere, is hotter than the solar surface. Understanding Alfvén waves is also crucial to explaining the speed of solar winds, a stream of highly charge particles released into space by the sun.

Read more about the NSF grant to investigate Alfvén waves.

Source: MavWire

Researchers get $1.35 million grant to develop sensor garments for robots

Human-like robots with skin and clothes embedded with sensors that could help machines accurately perceive the environment and better assist human owners are at the heart of a new $1.35 million National Science Foundation project led by Dan Popa, associate professor of electrical engineering.

Dr. Popa, who leads the Next Gen Systems group within the College of Engineering, is the principal investigator of a collaborative effort to advance robots and robotic devices, improve prosthetics, and enable those devices to perform tasks that people can no longer do themselves.

The four-year project is part of the NSF’s National Robotics Initiative, which is aimed at accelerating the development and use of robots in the United States that work beside or cooperatively with people. The UT Arlington team’s grant was the largest among the initiative’s 37 awards this fall.

Co-principal investigators are Zeynep Celik-Butler, professor of electrical engineering and director of the Nanotechnology Research and Education Center; Donald Butler, professor of nanotechnology and electrical engineering; Frank Lewis, professor of electrical engineering and the Moncrief-O’Donnell Endowed Chair; and Nicoleta Bugnariu, associate professor of physical therapy and neuroscience at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth.

Source: MavWire

Biologists unlocking the secrets of plant defenses

Researchers examining how the hormone jasmonate works to protect plants and promote their growth have revealed how a transcriptional repressor of the signaling pathway makes its way into the nucleus of the plant cell.

They hope the recently published discovery eventually will help farmers experience better crop yields with less use of potentially harmful chemicals.

“This is a small piece of a bigger picture, but it is a very important piece,” says Maeli Melotto, an assistant professor of biology.

Dr. Melotto co-authored a paper that advances current understanding of plant defense mechanisms with Sheng Yang He and his team at Michigan State University’s Department of Energy Plant Research Laboratory. The paper “Transcription factor-dependent nuclear import of transcriptional repressor in jasmonate hormone signaling” was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Read more about jasmonate signaling.

Source: MavWire

Bioengineering chair named IEEE fellow

Khosrow Behbehani, chair of the Department of Biogengineering, has been named a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Dr. Behbehani, also a bioengineering professor, was honored for his contributions to the development of respiratory therapy devices in chronic pulmonary diseases. He becomes the seventh UT Arlington faculty member to be elevated to IEEE fellow.

The majority of Behbehani’s work has focused on inventing devices and methods for diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea. In the 1990s, he and his team developed a device for treating sleep apnea patients, which was commercialized and used for treatment on several hundred people. Behbehani and his colleagues hold nine U.S. patents on devices and methods related to sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment.

“Behbehani’s work on sleep apnea is so important because the malady affects so many people in various ways,” says Jean-Pierre Bardet, dean of the College of Engineering. “And Behbehani’s sleep apnea research could lead to all kinds of different applications from here. What’s important is that better detection can lead to early and effective treatment.”

Read more about Behbehani and the IEEE.

Source: MavWire

Engineering dean named to UT System task force

Engineering Dean Jean-Pierre Bardet was among those named to the Task Force on Engineering Education for Texas in the 21st Century last week.

UT System Board of Regents Chairman Gene Powell and Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa announced the creation of the task force. The goal is to determine the current state of engineering degree programs in Texas, study current and future demand for engineers, and identify strategies for the Texas Legislature and higher education leaders that will foster student success in engineering while supporting economic growth across the state.

“The field of engineering is incredibly important, both to our state and to our nation, and enhances the economic vibrancy in Texas,” Chancellor Cigarroa says. “We need to determine if our higher education system has the capacity, including enough faculty, to prepare our engineering students and produce not only enough engineers but also the right types of engineers to support the increased workforce demands of Texas.”

Read more about the engineering task force.

Source: MavWire

Center for automotive engineering established

Arnold Petsche, founder of A.E. Petsche Co., has made a $1 million commitment to the College of Engineering to establish the Arnold E. Petsche Center for Automotive Engineering, pending UT System Board of Regents approval. His gift will double in value through the University’s Maverick Match program to create a $2 million endowment for the center. The Maverick Match leverages natural gas royalties to attract new philanthropic commitments.

The center will promote engineering education, innovation, and entrepreneurship, especially through student participation in the Formula Society of Automotive Engineers program. Each year, participating students design an FSAE car from the tires up and then race their vehicles against collegiate teams across the country.

The center will allow students to earn a new Certificate in Automotive Engineering and a Certificate in Engineering Entrepreneurship. It also will promote other automotive engineering initiatives, especially in cost-effective manufacturing of composites and other advanced materials.

Read more about the Petsche Center for Automotive Engineering.

Source: MavWire

Biology professor receives herpetology award

Jonathan Campbell, a biology professor known for traveling into the remotest regions of Central and South America to catalog biodiversity, has received the 2012 Henry S. Fitch Award for Excellence in Herpetology, a national honor given by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists.

Dr. Campbell received the award last month at the 7th World Congress of Herpetology in Vancouver, Canada. The prize is awarded to an individual for long-term excellence in the study of amphibian and/or reptile biology, based principally on the quality of the awardee’s research. Consideration is given to educational and service impacts of the individual’s career.

“It is no surprise to see Dr. Campbell honored by his peers,” says Pamela Jansma, dean of the College of Science. “Here at UT Arlington he has been instrumental in building the Amphibian and Reptile Diversity Research Center into a nationally known resource and providing valuable field experiences and mentoring for biology faculty members, graduate students, and undergraduates.”

Read more about the award for excellence.

Source: MavWire

UT Arlington professors expanding “big data” technology for ATLAS

UT Arlington is teaming with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven and Argonne national laboratories to develop a universal version of PanDA, a workload management system built to process huge volumes of data from experiments at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland.

The new project will bolster science and engineering research that relies on “big data,” a priority recently promoted by The White House. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research has awarded a combined $1.7 million to Brookhaven and UT Arlington to fund the PanDA work over the next three years.

Kaushik De, a physics professor and director of UT Arlington’s Center of Excellence for High Energy Physics, and Gergely Zaruba, an associate professor of computer science and engineering, are co-principal investigators for the University’s portion, which totals $704,488.

UT Arlington and Brookhaven developed PanDA for use by the ATLAS collaboration, a particle physics experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. ATLAS includes 3,000 physicists from UT Arlington and more than 170 other institutions, 40 of which are in the United States.

ATLAS computing hardware is located at 100 computing centers around the world that manage more than 50 petabytes, or 50 million gigabytes, of data. UT Arlington is home to the ATLAS Southwest Tier 2 grid computing center.

Read more about the PanDA project.

Source: MavWire

Civil engineering research to explore manhole rehabilitation

Mohammad Najafi, a civil engineering assistant professor, is teaming with a private sector engineer to study different techniques for renewing and designing manholes.

Dr. Najafi and Firat Sever of Benton Associates of Illinois are partnering in the $251,000 grant from the nonprofit Water Environment Research Foundation to conduct the research at UT Arlington’s Center for Underground Infrastructure Research and Education.

Titled “Evaluation of Manhole Rehabilitation Technologies,” the project will look at structural strengths and weaknesses of common manhole rehabilitation materials.

The grant will allow the team to conduct compression tests, tensile tests, and shear strength tests to create a tool for developing a system that people can use to rehabilitate manholes.

Read more about the grant to be used in manhole rehabilitation.

Source: MavWire

Grant would create tools for assessing earthquake damage

Andreas Stavridis is being paid to create an earthquake from the roof down at a southeastern California building.

Through a National Science Foundation grant, the civil engineering assistant professor will develop new numerical simulation tools to predict performance and strength of buildings in future earthquakes.

His research results could lead to changes in building codes so that buildings could withstand more severe earthquakes with less damage.

“Predicting the strength of existing buildings and their performance in future earthquakes is crucial as it will allow us to determine which buildings are safe and which need to be retrofitted or demolished,” Dr. Stavridis says. “We will develop new models and provide guidelines so that practicing engineers can apply them on any building of the same type.”

Read more about the NSF grant for assessing earthquake damage.

Source: MavWire

UT Arlington bioengineering associate professor named 2012 Tech Titan

The Metroplex Technology Business Council has named Mario Romero-Ortega, bioengineering associate professor and expert in neural regeneration, a 2012 Tech Titan in the Technology Innovator category.

The council is the largest technology trade association in Texas. It has about 300 member companies, representing about 250,000 employees. The Tech Titans awards are in their 12th year of recognizing outstanding technology companies and North Texas individuals who have made significant contributions to their industries during the past year.

“It is humbling to have our research recognized by the council,” says Dr. Romero-Ortega, who joined UT Arlington in 2008 from UT Southwestern Medical Center. “Of course, this award distinguishes the work of many people, from administrators and colleagues to students who have contributed to this work.”

Romero-Ortega was honored for developing better prosthetic arms that can allow injured military veterans and other amputees greater movement and may restore the sense of touch. The work is funded through a $2.2 million grant from DARPA, the research and development office for the U.S. Department of Defense.

Read more about the Tech Titan award.

Researchers receive grant to study new molecular models for how motor protons move

UT Arlington researchers have been awarded a $300,000 National Science Foundation grant to study a new model for how motor proteins behave in the body.

Their study could radically change the face of biology by explaining how proteins move and interact with other biological systems, says Jean-Pierre Bardet, dean of the College of Engineering.

Alan Bowling, an assistant professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, is the lead investigator. Samarendra Mohanty, an assistant professor of physics, and Subhrangsu Mandal, an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, are co-principal investigators.

The NSF award is funded through the Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research, or EAGER program. The grants support work on untested, but potentially transformative, research ideas or approaches.

Read more about the NSF award.

Source: MavWire

Biologists taking coral reef research to Australia

Laura Mydlarz, an assistant professor of biology, is working with colleagues in Puerto Rico to assess the effects of warming ocean temperatures on coral reefs and will present her research at the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium in Australia in July.

Dr. Mydlarz organized and co-chairs a series of talks on immune defenses of coral reef organisms at this summer’s conference. Coral reefs worldwide are threatened by pollution, overfishing, and climate change.

Mydlarz will present work conducted in her lab in collaboration with Jorge Pinzon, a post-doctoral fellow in the UT Arlington Biology Department. Mydlarz’ graduate students, Elizabeth McGinty and Whitney Mann, also will present their research at the conference.

Read more about Mydlarz’s coral reef research.

Source: MavWire

Ruthenium-based complexes show benefits in cancer research

A chemistry team researching ruthenium compounds as possible anti-cancer drugs has discovered a way to make their complexes more effective against cancer cells and less toxic to healthy cells in lab tests.

Chemistry Professor Fred MacDonnell presented the team’s work this month at the 24th International Symposium on Chiral Discrimination in Fort Worth.

Platinum-based drugs are now the first line of treatment for many cancer patients. Scientists working with similar elements, such as ruthenium, hope to develop effective, less toxic alternative chemotherapy drugs.

Dr. MacDonnell noted that these ruthenium compounds work well against tumor cells under hypoxic, or low-oxygen, conditions. Such compounds could be useful to target the subpopulation of hypoxic cancer cells in solid tumors, as these cells are often the most resistant to drug treatment.

MacDonnell’s co-presenters at the conference were Abhishek Yadav, Thamara Jaranatne, and Arthi Krishnan, all past graduate students at UT Arlington.

Read more about the cancer research.

Source: MavWire

NASA grant fuels study for aerospace engineers

Two engineering researchers have been awarded a three-year, $640,000 NASA National Research Award to study novel injector designs to support combustion at hypersonic speeds, work aimed at reducing air travel times and making space access affordable.

Luca Maddalena and Luca Massa, both assistant professors in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, are the only collegiate researchers in the country to garner the NASA hypersonic award.

“We’re honored to be the only U.S. grant winners to study this very important topic,” Dr. Maddalena says. “This study on the effectiveness of new fuel injection schemes might lead to enabling affordable access to space for large hypersonic vehicles.”

Hypersonic speed is that which reaches Mach 5, or 3,500 miles per hour and more. Hypersonic technology differs from rocket technology in that hypersonic engines pull oxygen from the surrounding air. Rocket propulsion engines carry their oxygen source on board, which limits the payload of what the aircraft can carry.

Read more about the NASA grant.

Source: MavWire

Professors selected as fellows in national nursing academy

Two nursing professors have been selected as fellows of the American Academy of Nursing for their contributions to the nursing profession.

Judy LeFlore, a professor in the College of Nursing, and Jeannette Crenshaw, a clinical assistant professor who teaches in the college’s online program, will be honored along with 174 other fellows from around the world at the Academy’s 39th annual meeting and conference this fall in Washington D.C.

Dr. LeFlore is director of pediatric, acute care pediatric, and neonatal nurse practitioner programs. She has garnered national attention in recent years for her leadership in using simulation and game-based technology in teaching.

Dr. Crenshaw is an expert in evidence-based maternity practices, preoperative fasting practices, and administrative practices. In 2010 she led a unique study using video-ethnography and interactive analysis to improve immediate skin-to-skin care and breastfeeding rates. Collaborating with experts from the U.S. and Sweden, she improved skin-to-skin care during cesarean surgery by 25 percent.

Read more about the national honors.

Source: MavWire

Engineering professor appointed to national transportation research group

The Transportation Research Board, an arm of the National Academies, has named Anand Puppala to its Design and Construction Group.

Dr. Puppala, a distinguished teaching professor of civil engineering and interim associate dean for research in the College of Engineering, joins 16 leading U.S. engineers and scientists who will set the agenda for design and construction practices in transportation-related research.

The Design and Construction Group oversees eight sections including design, pavement management, structures, asphalt materials, concrete materials, geology and properties of earth materials, and soil mechanics as well as 57 national committees and two task forces.

“I look forward to working with the group, which is very important in guiding and shaping research directions in today’s and tomorrow’s transportation-related design and construction issues,” Puppala says. He has served several years as chair of the committee on soils and rock instrumentation of the Transportation Research Board.

Read more about Puppala’s appointment.

Source: MavWire