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Advancing the Strategic Plan 2020 - Spring 2018


DATA-DRIVEN DISCOVERY “UTA will focus on research that integrates big data from multiple fields and will develop data analytics and science that explore data from a wide variety of sources. We will use data to discover and share new knowledge, as well as enhance current knowledge.” UTA RESEARCHERS ARE USING GENOMICS TO STUDY… JOE BOLL (biology): massive-scale screening of antimicrobial drugs and compounds to fight multidrug-resistant bacteria SUBHRANGSU MANDAL (chemistry): epigenetics, gene regulation, and noncoding RNAs in human disease TODD CASTOE (biology): regenerative organ growth, fundamental relationships between genome structure and function, and the roles of adaptation in the process of speciation JEFF DEMUTH (biology): fundamental aspects of genome structure and content that impact disease, sex determination, and the origin of new species LAURA MYDLARZ (biology): coral immunity and coral disease, relevant to understanding coral decline worldwide ZUI PAN (nursing): calcium signaling in cancer and in muscle and heart diseases MATTHEW FUJITA (biology): the patterns and processes that generate biodiversity and the evolution of parthenogenesis and vision JON WEIDANZ (biology): the biology of the immune response and how the immune system can be used to develop new cancer therapeutics JEAN GAO (computer science and engineering): the genomic mechanisms driving disease diagnosis, progression, and prognosis SEN XU (biology): patterns of mutation and recombination in eukaryotic genomes, the genetic mechanisms for the origins of asexual reproduction NORTH TEXAS GENOME CENTER UTA, in partnership with the University of North Texas Health Science Center, is bringing massive genome sequencing capabilities to North Texas with the new North Texas Genome Center (NTGC). In addition to enhancing health care delivery in Texas and the surrounding six-state region, the NTGC will provide important facilities and equipment to spur growth in DFW’s rapidly expanding biotech sector. The center will be critical for research in drug development, disease prevention, cancer treatments, and fundamental aspects of genetics, such as cancer immunogenics, neonatal diagnoses, and cures for conditions like cystic fibrosis. NTGC Interim Director Jon Weidanz has already made headway with AbeXXa Biologics, which uses genetic information to drive cancer immunotherapy. UTA also expects the NTGC to boost the local economy through patented inventions, company startups, and job creation. NTGC RESEARCH CAPABILITIES DNA SEQUENCING SERVICES: Whole Genome Sequencing, Whole Exome Sequencing, Single Cell Sequencing, Targeted Panels RNA SEQUENCING SERVICES: Gene Expression, Whole Transcriptome, 16s rRNA, microRNA BIOINFORMATICS SERVICES: Data Analysis and Interpretation CLINICAL SERVICES: Pharmacogenomics 8 THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT ARLINGTON

DATA-DRIVEN DISCOVERY RECENT PROGRESS PREDICTING ROTOR SPAR FATIGUE UTA and the UTA Research Institute are developing state-of-the-art computational methodologies to predict the strength and life of rotor blade assemblies through a $1 million agreement with NASA. Led by mechanical and aerospace engineering Professor Endel Iarve, the researchers are also working to reduce the timeline for the development and certification of composite materials and structures, which will help make advanced composite components more competitive in commercial aircraft. The goal of the effort is to extend advanced computational techniques to larger and more complicated systems, improving life prediction in rotorcraft structures. INVESTIGATING TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY Associate Professor Ashfaq Adnan is investigating the link between blast-related traumatic brain injury (TBI) and microcavitation, or the development of bubbles in the brain’s perineuronal nets, that may collapse and cause neuronal damage. Since TBI and related brain conditions cannot generally be detected by standard imaging techniques, Dr. Adnan developed a highfidelity computation model to stimulate the effects of shockwaves on the micro bubbles. He will use the evidence gathered at the nanoscale and employ multiscale methods to create a model that permits his team to examine what happens at an increased length of scale and duration. DATA-DRIVEN HEALTH CARE The College of Nursing and Health Innovation is continuing its transformation into a leading center for health care research by increasing its use of biostatistics in data-driven research. Along with Associate Professor Daisha Cipher—whose work includes a study on whether simulation could replace some traditional clinical rotation hours in the BSN program—new faculty hire Jing Wang is using biostatistics to provide a muchneeded connection between scientists and statisticians. Her work centers on issues such as refugee health, obesity, maternal mortality, and pandemic preparedness. TRACKING INFECTIOUS DISEASES Faculty across campus are tracking the spread of infectious diseases to improve public health. Mathematics Professor Christopher Kribs’ NSFsupported research uses differential equations to model population and infection dynamics for vector-borne diseases like Chagas, a chronic and ultimately fatal illness transmitted by a blood-sucking insect vector to humans. The Mathematics Department also added two new faculty—Souvik Roy and Johnghyun Yun—who are tackling disease vectors, and the College of Engineering recruited Yuan Zhou, who is investigating human-tohuman transmitted diseases like influenza. BOLD SOLUTIONS GLOBAL IMPACT 9