Shimadzu instrumentation worth millions fuels transformative year for UT Arlington research
The University of Texas at Arlington offers students a new level of experience with the most sophisticated scientific instrumentation this fall with the opening of two new teaching laboratories as part of the Shimadzu Institute for Research Technologies.
The newly-opened labs and the Center for Bio-Molecular Imaging, which will open Nov. 15, are part of a $25.2 million investment in research. The Institute gives UT Arlington students and faculty six diverse centers of excellence in which to share instrumentation and innovations across disciplines. The wealth of technology also puts UT Arlington in a unique position to support research and development across the U.S. and attract outside investments.
With the new labs, UT Arlington becomes home to the widest range of instruments from worldwide technology leader Shimadzu Corp. in the United States.
“Our students will learn through experience with instrumentation not available at universities elsewhere in the world,” said Carolyn Cason, UT Arlington vice president for research. “The Shimadzu Institute is not only a resource for private business, but is also an educational hub that will prepare our next generation of researchers, scientists and innovators.”
UT Arlington established the Shimadzu Institute for Research Technologies earlier this year with the support of a $7.5 million gift from Shimadzu Scientific Instruments, Shimadzu’s Maryland-based U.S. subsidiary. Shimadzu Corp. has worldwide sales of $3 billion annually.
Faculty members and research teams are planning projects that will put Shimadzu instrumentation in the hands of a variety of undergraduates – from nursing and biology students studying basic chemistry to future engineers and chemistry majors headed toward careers in drug development, epidemiology or food science. In addition, a $50,000 portion of the Shimadzu gift was designated to establish the Shimadzu Undergraduate Research Excellence or SURE Fund. That fund will be used to support innovative models in undergraduate research.
This fall, undergraduate enrollment in chemistry and biology classes that include lab components totals more than 4,500.
“This is state-of-the-art education for our students,” said Jorge Rodrigues, an assistant professor of biology whose work on bacterial diversity was recently published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. “They’ll certainly have a competitive edge when interviewing for jobs or graduate school.”
For example, the biology-teaching lab will allow undergraduates to work on a MALDI-TOF Mass Spectrometry system that uses a software database for on-site identification of thousands of microorganisms. Such research is important in food safety, disease detection and pollution control.
The Center for Advanced Analytical Chemistry was the first component of the Institute to open in Spring 2012. This summer, research conducted at the center on potential contamination at private water wells near natural gas drilling sites made national and international headlines.
This fall UT Arlington’s former Nanotechnology Research and Education Center has joined the Shimadzu Institute and is now known as the Nanotechnology Research Center.
The Institute also will include three other centers – the Center for Environmental, Forensic and Material Science, the Center for Human Genomics and the Materials Genome Center.
The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of more than 33,000 students and 2,200 faculty members in the heart of North Texas and the second largest member of The University of Texas System. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more about UT Arlington.