Future of Fashion

As one of the world's largest polluters, the fashion industry has weaved some not so pretty tales in terms of its environmental impact. While the industry is not inherently sustainable, that isn't stopping UNT community members from researching and experimenting with ways to reduce the toll that fashion takes on the Earth and the people involved in its labor. From plant molecular biology to fashion design and merchandising, UNT faculty, students and alumni across disciplines are thinking of ways to reshape the fashion industry's supply chain. In the process, they are inspiring others through their actions and educational instruction to be the next generation of changemakers with an eye on sustainability. Read more about their efforts in this feature story from the 2023 Spring edition of the North Texan magazine.

Collaboration Spotlight
New Leadership in Science and Engineering

UNT has named new top leaders for its College of Science and College of Engineering, which each include numerous departments, interdisciplinary programs, labs, centers and institutes, all of which are central to UNT's mission as a Tier One public research institution. John Quintanilla was named dean of the College of Science. Quintanilla has made tremendous contributions to UNT since he first joined as a faculty member in 1996, from developing new academic programs to serving as a founding co-director of Teach North Texas, UNT's award-winning program for preparing and supporting secondary teachers of mathematics and science. Paul S. Krueger will take over as dean of the College of Engineering effective June 1. Krueger is a pioneering researcher and inventor with several issued patents and pending patents related to his work in non-traditional propulsion, 3D printing and drag reduction. Krueger most recently served as interim dean of SMU's Lyle School of Engineering.

Research News
Sustainable Food Production

Researchers in UNT's Advanced Environmental Research Institute and College of Engineering are exploring how the desalination of brackish water could bring more sustainability to food production. The three-year project, backed by a $1 million grant from a joint funding program of the National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Agriculture, is examining how brackish groundwater desalination costs could be offset by using its byproducts — desalination concentrate or brine — for profitable food production. The work combines the expertise of faculty members Miguel Acevedo and Xinrong Li in engineering and Edward Mager in biological sciences along with research coordinator Breana Smithers.

Botanical Art Exhibition at BRIT

Dornith Doherty, a Distinguished Research Professor in UNT's College of Visual Arts and Design, worked with staff members from the Botanical Research Institute of Texas in Fort Worth on a new Art + Science Exhibition titled Illuminations: Past, Present, and Future of Fern Research. The result of a two-year research-based creative affiliation, Doherty presents new large-scale artworks that engage with the past, chronicle the present and project our possible ecological futures. Doherty's contributions to the exhibition include large-scale transparencies made from mid-20th century American plant studies, artworks made from images of ferns recently discovered in the tropics of Colombia and a projection of animated genomic data from these plants. The exhibition, which has been featured in PaperCity Magazine and Patron Magazine, is on view through June 30 at the BRIT. Read more about the exhibition.

Students Advance in NASA Challenge

A team of College of Engineering students including Willow Knight, Jason Summers, Ernest William Cubit II, Devin Davis and James Tiu was one of seven selected from around the U.S. for NASA's 2023 Breakthrough, Innovative, and Game-Changing Idea Challenge: Lunar Forge. For the challenge, students developed a concept proposal for a way to produce metal on the moon. As an awardee, the UNT team was awarded funds to help design, build and test their concept, which they will present to a panel of NASA and industry experts later this fall. Read more about the challenge and watch a video about the students' concept proposal. UNT researchers also are making discoveries through the support of NASA.

U.S. Presidential Report Citation

Research from William "Buddy" Scarborough, an assistant professor of sociology, was cited by the office of U.S. President Joe Biden in the 2023 Economic Report of the President. Scarborough, who studies gender and racial inequalities in the U.S. labor force, has been studying the pandemic's impact on women in the workforce. An early output of that research published in Gender, Work and Organization was the work cited in the president's recent report. The article showed how the gender gap in paid work hours was increasing early in the pandemic. "This is the best possible use of social science research — where it can inform policy that improves people's lives," Scarborough says.

Research on Tap

The Division of Research and Innovation is partnering with Denton-based Dan's Silverleaf to host the next installment of the Research on Tap discussion series. Grab a beverage from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 10, and hear Melanie Ecker, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, talk about how smart polymers could be used for biomedical applications. If you're unable to attend, watch on Facebook Live, where you can also see videos of previous talks.

Division of Research and Innovation

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© 2023 UNT Research and Innovation is a publication of the University of North Texas Division of Research and Innovation and the Division of University Brand Strategy and Communications. Email us at untresearch@unt.edu.