Bee Sustainable

Bees and their importance to the survival of food crops and biodiversity are more important than ever as the insects face extinction. UNT's commitment to learning more about the insects and their impacts earned the campus a Bee Campus USA distinction five years ago, and in 2019, the College of Science recruited Elinor Lichtenberg, assistant professor of ecology, who studies plant-pollinator interactions. Researching bees and other insects that visit flowers, she studies their behavior and ecology, in what way humans affect these insects, resources needed for them to thrive and how to help improve sustainable ranching practices. "Without these pollinators, it would be a much different world," Lichtenberg says.

Collaboration Spotlight
Moving Toward Carbon-negative Manufacturing

Chemistry professor Shengqian Ma will spearhead the development of an industrial direct-air carbon dioxide capture module as part of a $2 million, three-year project for the U.S. Department of Energy. The project will develop a prototype low-cost system for capturing carbon dioxide waste from manufacturing emissions and cleanly converting it into ethanol for potential uses for manufacturing settings such as thermal power plants and steel and cement producers. The project is a collaboration between Ma and researchers at Northern Illinois University, the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and Angstrom Advanced Inc. The project expands on the discovery of a new electrocatalyst that converts carbon dioxide and water into ethanol with high energy efficiency, high selectivity at a low cost. A report on the discovery was published in July of 2020 in Nature Energy. (Image by Argonne National Laboratory.)

Research News
Propelling UNT's Research and Innovation

Three major leadership moves in the Division of Research and Innovation will expand research leadership opportunities for faculty members while propelling UNT's enterprise as a Tier One research university forward. Aaron Roberts will serve as associate vice president of research. He replaces Pamela Padilla, professor of biological sciences, who was recently appointed dean of College of Science. Chandra Donnell Carey will serve in a senior leadership role as the first Faculty Fellow in the division, and Amie Lund will be the new director of UNT's Advanced Environmental Research Institute.

Targeting Therapeutics

Brian Meckes, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, has received a prestigious 2021 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award from Oak Ridge Associated Universities for his research about subcellular targeting for nanotherapeutic delivery in order to better treat diseases. Meckes and his research team are exploring better ways of delivering nanoparticle therapeutics to targeted cells by taking advantage of changes in the cell membrane that occur in diseased cells. They are using nanolithography — the process of creating patterns on the nanoscale to create incredibly small structures — and other tools to study these interactions.

Creating Sustainability-Minded Artscape on Campus

Savannah Thomas is an ecology for environmental science major, minoring in geography with a focus on GIS, and a budding artist. She was selected earlier this year as a muralist for her design, We Are the Change, in the Scrappy Storm Drain Artscapes Competition through the UNT We Mean Green Fund. The goal of the storm drain murals is to bring awareness to the adverse impact litter has on our waterways. "We often do not think of science and art as similar, but they can be used together to see new perspectives and answer questions about our world," Thomas says.

Advancing Communication Technology for the Navy

Hung Luyen, assistant professor of electrical engineering, is developing multifunctional, full-duplex high-frequency (HF) antennas capable of simultaneously sending and receiving information. The project, funded by a grant from the Office of Naval Research, aims to develop adaptive matching and decoupling networks for use in multi-element HF antenna systems, enabling full-duplex operation and allowing the systems to adapt dynamically to a changing antenna environment. Such systems can be implemented on Navy ships, on grounded stations or on assault amphibious vehicles moving through different terrains to support robust and resilient military communications.

Chapman Named Fellow of American Society of Plant Biologists

Kent Chapman, Regents Professor of biological sciences and director of UNT's BioDiscovery Institute, was recently awarded the 2021 Fellow of ASPB Award by the American Society of Plant Biologists. The award, established in 2007, is granted to members of the society in acknowledgment of long-term contributions to plant biology as well as service to the group. Throughout his more than 27 years at UNT, Chapman has developed a research program in plant biochemistry and cell biology, focusing specifically on plant lipid metabolism, which is recognized internationally.

Du named Fellow of ASM International

Jincheng Du, professor of materials science and engineering, recently was elected Fellow of ASM International for significant contributions to the study of glasses, ceramics and other materials for functional and structural applications. Du received the recognition for developing computational materials and atomistic simulation methods for glasses, ceramics and other materials that deepened the understanding of their structure-property relations, and their corrosion and ion-transport behaviors. Du is a longstanding expert in the fields of glass and ceramic materials, as well as in computer simulations of material behaviors.

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