UTAEngineer Magazine, Fall 2015

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Dispatches from the Forefront of Discovery


lights may
be the key
to helping
veterans with
PTSD and
brain injuries.


At the
Forefront of



t UT Arlington we’re asking big questions and seeking innovative solutions. Our students and faculty
tackle the pressing problems in today’s society, everything from clean energy to health care to national
security. With more than 7,000 students and 33 degree programs, the College of Engineering is one of
the largest and most comprehensive engineering programs in the state, providing students with the resources,
support, and knowledge that they need to succeed.
To learn more about the College of Engineering, including information on our graduate programs, many
corporate outreach opportunities, and more, visit uta.edu/engineering.





Khosrow Behbehani

Senior Associate Dean
for Academic Affairs

Energy Efforts By developing sustainable, cost-effective energy systems, UT Arlington engineers hope to
ensure a brighter future for the next

Lynn Peterson

Associate Dean for
Graduate Affairs

Pranesh Aswath

Associate Dean
for Research

Anand Puppala

Assistant Dean for
Student Affairs


J. Carter Tiernan

Director of Communications

Jeremy Agor

Director of Marketing Services

Tracey Faulkinbury

Vice President
for Communications

Lynne T. Waters


Jessica Bridges


Brody Price


Herb Booth

UTA Engineer is published by
University Communications.
Reproduction in whole or part
without written permission
is prohibited. The comments
and opinions expressed in this
magazine do not necessarily
represent those of The University
of Texas at Arlington or the
staff of UTA Engineer. Copyright
2015, The University of Texas
at Arlington. UTA does not
discriminate on the basis of race,
color, national origin, religion,
age, gender, sexual orientation,
disabilities, genetic information,
and/or veteran status in the
educational programs or activities
it operates. For more info, visit
uta.edu/eos. For info regarding
Title IX, visit uta.edu/titleix.
College of Engineering
UT Arlington Box 19019
Arlington, TX 76019
[email protected]

Serving Those Who Served Research into PTSD,
prosthetics, and arthritis caused by war wounds
are just a few of the ways UTA is helping veterans.


Safe and Sound The high-tech
SmartCare apartment is giving
elderly residents a new lease on life.






Fab Lab Inspires
Creativity Faculty and
students are taking
advantage of high-tech
equipment like 3-D
printers and scanners.

Bird-Brained Taking
their cue from shorebirds, Professor Cheng
Luo and Xin Heng created a novel solution
for fighting drought.


Thinking Strategically
for the Future

Khosrow Behbehani,
Dean of the College
of Engineering

As the new semester begins, the College of Engineering’s
focus on health care, energy, security, and the environment continues. Aligned with the recently formulated
UT Arlington strategic vision, we are working hard to
break new ground in all of these areas.
In this issue, you will read about how researchers in
the Bioengineering and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Departments are helping ease veterans’ suffering
from the physical and mental injuries that they received
in battle. You will learn how a collaboration between the
College of Engineering, College of Nursing and Health
Innovation, and Lakewood Village Senior Living Community in Fort Worth is allowing senior citizens to live independently without sacrificing their health and safety.
Finally, you will discover how our researchers could help companies save millions of
dollars and significant energy resources through better cooling techniques.
The college’s enrollment surpassed 7,000 students this fall—an all-time high.
We are delighted that our students are having the types of experiences detailed by
Mila Hunt, Naima Rivas, and Cynthia Rodriguez in our “I’m an Engineer” campaign
(uta.engineering/iamanengineer). We are focused on recruiting more female students,
and this is part of that effort.
To encourage greater student success, this fall we are offering a new class, “Solving Engineering Problems,” to help freshmen better understand how math is applied
to engineering. The class also focuses on collaborative learning and emphasizes
written and verbal communication to help students master the art of presenting their
solutions and ideas—two skills highly valued by employers.
We often talk about how we, as engineers, have a profound effect on the world
around us. Health care, energy, security, the environment, and other areas are
affected by our work. This, and our commitment to the success of our students, is
what the UT Arlington College of Engineering is all about.

Khosrow Behbehani
Dean, UT Arlington College of Engineering





Gian-Luca Mariottini uses
robots to show teens a
fun way to learn about
engineering and math.

Youth Academy Launches
Getting teenagers interested in engineering
is the goal of the new Technology Education
Academy, headed by Gian-Luca Mariottini, an
assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.
“Different than many existing ‘play-withrobots’ initiatives, the Technology Education
Academy’s goal is to use robots and assistive
technology to make students passionate about
STEM fields,” explains Dr. Mariottini.
The pilot 12-week after-school program
serves 8th- through 12th-graders from select

Arlington ISD schools at “The Lab,” located in the
East Arlington Branch Library.
“We want to make it fun,” says Mariottini.
“At the same time, we also have developed an
educational curriculum in collaboration with
Arlington teacher J. Smeaton to provide students
with a practical way of learning about science
and mathematics through robots, while using
The academy is funded by the Arlington
Tomorrow Foundation in collaboration with the
Arlington Public Library and Arlington ISD.

The University will soon have a
strategic outpost in the California
technology sector, thanks to a new
partnership with longtime Silicon
Valley entrepreneur and engineering alumna Gloria Maceiko (’82).
This important venture will allow
technology developed at UT Arlington to be matched with investors
and corporate partners.
As part of the endeavor, Maceiko
facilitated an agreement between
GrandCanal Solutions (a supply
chain optimization company) and
the Department of Industrial, Manufacturing, and Systems Engineering to focus on supply-chain science
and resolving industrial engineering
Ron Elsenbaumer, provost and
vice president for academic affairs,
believes the partnership represents
an evolution in UTA’s technology
commercialization efforts.
“The University’s research teams
add daily to our catalog of technology and innovation,” he says.
“These Silicon Valley initiatives will
amplify our efforts to more quickly
match University technologies with
the businesses and entrepreneurs
that can benefit most from them.”


University Launches Chapter of
National Academy of Inventors
Faculty researchers now have a new way to
network with other innovators on campus,
as UTA was chosen to host a chapter of the
National Academy of Inventors (NAI).
NAI fellowships are awarded to academic
inventors who have demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation. Their outstanding creations have made a tangible impact on quality
of life, economic development, and the welfare of
society. Seven engineering professors are NAI fel-

lows (including four Charter Fellows) and about
100 UT Arlington professors possess patents for
various devices, processes, and technologies.
“The University is honored to host a chapter
of this magnitude,” says Ron Elsenbaumer, NAI
fellow and UT Arlington provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Whenever we can
display our research, we have the opportunity
to showcase how that research can change the

UT Arlington is hosting
a new chapter of the
National Academy
of Inventors.





Thousands of students
from around the world
were introduced to
engineering thanks to
a new Massive Open
Online Course, or MOOC,
created and coordinated
by Pranesh Aswath, associate dean for graduate
studies and a professor
of materials science and
The course, which was
targeted to high school

students, aimed to excite
students about engineering and open their eyes to
opportunities in the field.
It also helped improve
their math skills by
showing how the subject
is relevant to their daily
“High school students
have little exposure in
school to engineering.
They learn science and
math, but don’t have a

concept of engineering as
a career,” says Dr. Aswath.
“The goal of this course is
to demystify engineering
in the context of opportunities, and to demystify
math in the context of
More than 18,000 students from 182 countries
enrolled in the course,
with contributions from
more than 30 UT Arlington faculty.

Two departments in the College
of Engineering are under new
leadership in 2015. Michael Cho was
named chair of the Bioengineering
Department while Hong Jiang is
heading the Computer Science and
Engineering Department.
Dr. Cho was named a fellow of
the American Institute for Medical and Biomedical Engineering
in 2011 for seminal contributions
in establishing tissue-engineering
methods to regulate cell and tissue
behavior over multiple length scales.
Previously, he was a professor of
bioengineering at the University of
A program director at the
National Science Foundation and
a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Dr.
Jiang in recent years has focused on
memory and storage architecture
to provide systems support for big
data research. Prior to coming to
UT Arlington, Jiang served as the
Willa Cather Professor of Computer
Science and Engineering at the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln.



Jay Rosenberger and
Bill Corley’s ubiquitous
decision model will
help organizations
find better solutions.

Solving the Unsolvable Industrial, manufacturing,
and systems engineering Professors Bill Corley and Jay Rosenberger have
demonstrated a way to solve a broad class of previously unsolvable real-world
decision problems. Their approach reduces the number of calculations so
solutions in linear programming problems are obtained much faster than
existing methods for large decision problems. This allows an organization to
maximize profit, minimize costs, and allocate resources. “Linear programming is the most widely used computational model in the business and scientific worlds,” Dr. Corley says. “It will now become even more important.”

The College of Engineering’s newest addition,
Kenneth Reifsnider, is set
to lead the University’s
Institute for Predictive
Performance of Advanced
Materials and Structures.
“The institute will focus
on materials systems, an
area of engineering currently experiencing rapid
growth,” he says. “We
cannot afford to develop
complex systems of materials in high-performance
structures by trial and
error, and the growing
cost of maintaining such
systems in applications
from automobiles to
turbines to jet engines is
a barrier for the future.”
Dr. Reifsnider, who is a
member of the prestigious National Academy
of Engineering, joined the
University in June. He is
an expert in high-temperature energy systems and
composite materials
Reifsnider believes the
institute will serve a critical function for the University: “We will develop
methods of predicting the
function and reliability of
complex systems of materials in high-performance
systems. The research will
enhance many systems
and significantly reduce
the cost of design and
maintenance of engineered materials.”




Seong Jin Koh’s
process can help cool
electrons and allow
devices to function
with little energy.


Cooling Electrons with Nanotech
Materials science and engineering Associate Professor Seong Jin Koh and his
team have discovered a way to cool electrons to -228 degrees Celsius without
external means and at room temperature. The process involves passing the
electrons through a quantum well, which cools them and keeps them from
heating. This advancement could enable electronic devices to function with
very little energy. As engineering Dean Khosrow Behbehani says, “Dr. Koh
and his research team are developing real-world solutions to a critical global
challenge of utilizing energy efficiently and developing sustainable electronic
technology that will benefit us all every day.”

A group of UTA engineers
is developing an urban
water prediction system
that integrates data from
advanced weather radar
systems, innovative wireless sensors, and even
cellphone apps.
D.J. Seo, an associate
professor in the Civil
Engineering Department,
is leading the project,
which aims to create
high-resolution modeling of water systems to
improve the sustainability of large urban areas
from extreme weather,
urbanization, and climate
change. The resulting
prediction system will
use cloud computing to
produce products for
flash-flood forecasting,
inundation mapping,
water-quality forecasting,
storm water management,
urbanization impact
assessment, climate
change impact assessment, and more. The project also will eventually
aid local governments in
determining infrastructure needs to minimize
“This research will
look at not only water
quantity, but also at water
quality through the use
of sensors,” says Khosrow
Behbehani, dean of the
College of Engineering. “It will advance our
understanding of urban
sustainability and its
associated challenges
through the environmental, social, and economic
needs of a large city.”
Dr. Seo’s project builds
on his previous work in
establishing the CASA
(Collaborative Adaptive
Sensing of the Atmosphere) radar system in
North Texas.


Heart attacks are lifechanging events, all the
more so because the
resulting muscle damage weakens the organ
and makes recovery
difficult. Yi Hong, an

assistant bioengineering
professor, is developing a
bioactive patch that will
help restore function to
the heart and extend a
patient’s life.
After a heart attack,
heart muscle dies and the
walls of the heart become
thin and weak. This
weakness may cause the
heart to expand too much
and lessen its ability to
effectively move blood
through the body. Dr.
Hong’s bioactive scaffold,

in the form of a patch,
will strengthen the heart
muscle, then become part
of the heart itself.
“Our new polymer combines with the heart to
allow new muscle to grow
over it and create new
tissue before the patch
biodegrades,” he explains.
“This really focuses on the
patient. We will be able to
suture the patch in place
to quickly restore the
damaged area and extend
the patient’s life.”

Unlocking Hidden Connections
Computer science and engineering
Professor Gautam Das is developing
a system to combine and understand
the hidden data stored on social networks like Twitter and Facebook.
The key is to find “implicit edges”
in how the Web platforms are used.
Implicit edges connect two seemingly unrelated occurrences on social
media sites; in contrast, explicit
edges represent more obvious relationships, such as friends, followers,
and contacts.
“We will determine which are the

more promising directions to pursue
when seeking more hidden data,”
says Dr. Das, who is also director of
UT Arlington’s Database Exploration
Laboratory. “We are looking at who is
acquainted or are followers of one person or another across social networks.”
Das’ research could be used to
improve military intelligence, make
electronic commerce more efficient,
identify topics generating media
buzz and public interest, and even
help determine pharmaceutical side
effects of certain drugs.
Gautam Das is
looking for hidden
connections on social
media platforms.

An electrical engineer at UTA is
building a handheld, nanoscale gas
chromatography tool that could
detect and analyze dangerous gases
in a person’s breath or the air in a
“Our sensors can separate hundreds of vapors in complex samples
and identify the ones that could be
used as chemical markers,” says
Assistant Professor Yuze “Alice” Sun.
“Many devices like this are large
and don’t always have separation
capabilities to provide detection
The device could be especially
useful in environmental and
security settings. For example,
homeowners could detect whether
certain allergens or toxic chemicals
are present in their house, firefighters could determine if there were
accelerants present at a fire, or
Homeland Security agents could
check whether someone’s luggage
has evidence of explosives.



The Fab Lab
gives students
access to hightech equipment
like 3-D printers.

Fab Lab Inspires Creativity
With the opening of the “Fab Lab” in the Central
Library, engineering faculty and students gained
access to high-tech equipment to help them
build prototypes and apply classroom concepts
to real-life applications.
UT Arlington’s Fabrication Laboratory features technology for research in digital fabrication and data visualization, including nine 3-D
printers, a laser cutter, vinyl cutter, 3-D scanners,
and digital media software and hardware. Like
other Fab Labs, it emphasizes collaborative
learning as well as creation and fabrication.


President Vistasp Karbhari believes the
project is well-suited for a modern, urban university and will provide faculty, students, and
UTA partners access to technology that inspires
“We applaud the UT Arlington Libraries for
having the vision to bring the Fab Lab to our
University community,” he says. “The Fab Lab will
allow our students and faculty to engage with cutting-edge technologies that foster creativity and
new ways of thinking about the way we use data
and envision design, among many applications.”

Raul Fernandez is helping students
become entrepreneurs. The professor in practice in the Department
of Mechanical and Aerospace
Engineering is leading a new
program, funded by the National
Science Foundation, that aims to
teach students how to bring their
ideas to market through teamwork
and collaboration. Technology
Management Director Teri Schultz
is co-principal investigator.
Previously, students attended
universities, learned their trade, and
then were left to figure out how to
commercialize their inventions on
their own. In Dr. Fernandez’s new
model, students will gain the necessary skills while they are still on
campus and able to receive faculty
mentorship, thus giving them a better chance at success.
“We hope this will take hold
across campus. Entrepreneurship
is a natural fit for engineering and
business, but you can be innovative
at any level. There’s no limit,” says
Fernandez. “This program creates
tremendous synergy and enthusiasm. It’s about creating a community, not about vying for something,
and people are eager to share their
success stories and mentor others.”



Water Watchers As the city of Kennedale grows, so do
concerns about the quality of its water. To learn how good or bad the supply
is, the city turned to Assistant Professor Nick Fang and his students. For 12
months, they will sample sediment and stormwater at four locations, then
test them for various chemicals and elements like cadmium, chromium, lead,
copper, and arsenic. The students received training from the Trinity River
Authority and U.S. Geological Survey to ensure the tests are done properly.
Nick Fang’s civil
engineering students
are studying the quality
of Kennedale’s water.


The College of Engineering joined with
the College of Architecture, Planning, and
Public Affairs to offer a
new bachelor’s degree
program in architectural
engineering. The addition
brings the total number
of engineering undergraduate degree programs
to 10.
“We created this new
bachelor’s degree after
being approached by
engineering companies
in Dallas who wanted us
to do so,” explains Civil
Engineering Department
Chair Ali Abolmaali. “In
general, civil engineers
are not trained to design
buildings, but with
additional training in
architecture, they can
work a project from concept to design to finished
construction drawings.”
Students will take
courses in architectural
drawing, structural analysis, structural design,
drawing, mechanical,
electrical, and plumbing,
among others. The resulting skill set will give
graduates unique knowledge of how to design and
build structures, which
in return will give companies more flexibility.
According to Dr.
Abolmaali, there are only
two similar programs
in Texas: at UT Austin,
which is operating at
capacity, and at Texas


Safe and
SmartCare project helps the elderly
remain independent at home through
monitoring and sensor technology.


on i t or i ng a n elderly relative’s health while allowing her to remain independent could become easier if
an experiment by computer science and engineering
researchers Manfred Huber and Gergely Zaruba goes well.
SmartCare, a joint project between the College of Nursing
and Health Innovation and the College of Engineering, focuses
on designing intelligent care technology that can be installed
in the homes of older adults. It could eventually mean the difference between a loved one living alone or being forced to live
in a nursing home.
“The goal and promise of SmartCare,” Dr. Huber says, “is
that sensor technology embedded in the home—together with
intelligent software and the integration of care and support
systems using new communication technologies—will help
older adults live longer in their homes, manage their health
more efficiently, and remain connected with their families and
health care providers.”
An apartment in the retirement living residences at
Lakewood Village in Fort Worth is hosting the research. It
is equipped throughout with sensor-laden flooring that can
monitor the resident for signs of injury. Other systems are able
to detect if medication is being properly managed or if the
resident is bed-ridden or inactive. Because of this technology,
he or she will be able to live independently while still remaining under unobtrusive supervision and evaluation.
“SmartCare is a great opportunity for us to research,
develop, and field test health technologies especially tailored
to the elderly,” Dr. Zaruba says.


FLOOR: Sensors
underneath tiles
on the floor allow
researchers to measure and evaluate
changes in a resident’s
walking gait or weight
that might suggest
illness or injury.

GYM: Internetconnected exercise
equipment, including
a recumbent bike and
Kinect-based Tai Chi
trainer, ensure residents are exercising
regularly, even if they
are unable to leave the

appliances like a
microwave, a range,
and a refrigerator
track food use and
help prepare diet
plans. They may also
prevent injuries and
fires resulting from

BATHROOM: A scanner embedded in the
bathroom mirror tells
researchers about
a resident’s day-today heart rate, facial
expressions, and skin
color, all of which can
reveal info about his
or her overall health.

BEDROOM: Sensors
in the mattress allow
researchers to monitor sleep patterns,
such as fitful sleep
or staying in bed too
long. They can also
indicate areas of the
body that are under
too much pressure
and thus at risk for

and window transparencies are automated
and electricity and
water monitored to
help make residents
more comfortable.




Engineers at UT Arlington are uncovering
innovative ways to make generators, batteries,
and other technology more energy-efficient.


om pu t e r se rv e r s that are submerged in mineral oil for
cooling. Generators that burn fuel 30 times faster but produce
energy 25 percent more efficiently. Laptops that use cold electrons to save battery life. These are just a sampling of the innovative
and diverse ways UT Arlington is tackling energy research. This
work is critical, since finding and harnessing renewable, sustainable
energy sources is one of the major challenges facing the world today.
As they look for new solutions in petroleum, electricity, water power,
and more, engineers at the University are working to ensure that
the future remains bright.



the team has termed “Fire 2.0.” Currently, no
pressure gain combustion engines exist on the
“Up to 70 percent of energy is lost in current
gas turbine combustion engine technology,
which hasn’t evolved in several decades,” Bello
explains. “We capture the bulk of that energy
more efficiently so it’s not wasted as heat in the
body of the engine.”
Afthon’s patented technology burns fuel more
than 30 times faster than extant gas engines. It
uses the same amount of fuel, but releases the
energy very quickly so it does the work faster.
“It allows us to rev the engine down,” Bello
says. “We can decrease the power to 10 percent
of the generator’s capacity without sacrificing
speed and while maintaining efficiency.”
The Afthon team believes the technology will
be able to replace conventional engines in cars,
boats, ships, trains, airplanes, rockets, and power
plants. Another marketable aspect of the process
is that it can use many types of fuels, including
natural gas, propane, kerosene, or diesel.
Thanks to the VentureWell funding, Afthon
has developed a lab prototype and hopes to soon
build a field prototype generator. Though it usually takes technology companies five to seven
years to finish this stage, Bello thinks the technical development could happen in just two or three.

Students in Seong
Jin Koh’s lab
are helping him
cool electrons
to -228° Celsius.

Doctoral candidate Raheem Bello has created a
new power generator that can produce electricity
up to 25 percent more efficiently than existing
technology. Such a device has the potential to
reduce emissions and even alleviate power shortages in more remote areas of the globe.
“We’re looking for our new, more effective
generators to have the same impact on power as
the cellphone had on communications for the billions of people without access to electricity,” says
Bello. “There are many areas of the world that
can’t afford the electricity we take for granted in
this country.”
Frank Lu, a professor in the Mechanical and
Aerospace Engineering Department and director
of UT Arlington’s Aerodynamics Research Center,


believes the generator could radically alter the
world of energy.
“This kind of innovation shows what our
students are capable of,” he says. “The new energy
technology can be a game-changer globally.”
Bello cofounded the company Afthon with
Dr. Lu and fellow students Dibesh Joshi, James
Peace, and Akin Adekeye to begin commercializing the research. Initially called Detonation
Dynamics, Afthon—derived from the Greek word
afthonia (αφθονία) for abundance—has entered
many technology and commercialization competitions in the past year and won accolades for its
innovation, including $25,000 in grant funding
from VentureWell.
The Afthon process harnesses pressure gain
combustion, also known as detonation, which

Data centers at some of the United States’ largest
computing companies require huge amounts of
energy to run, consuming 3 percent or more of
the nation’s power grid. Finding an effective way
to cool servers and other computer hardware
could lead to extensive cost savings and more
efficient operation for the world’s computer networks and the companies that depend on them.
Mechanical engineering Professor Dereje
Agonafer thinks new advances in liquid cooling
may do the trick.
In a typical server rack, fans circulate air to
keep the hardware cool. However, organizations
like IBM, Facebook, and Yahoo have hundreds
of servers generating as much as 200 kilowatts
of power. Fans are inefficient in cooling at that
magnitude and take up a lot of space, so the companies have turned to liquid cooling as a better
“Liquid cooling is a foregone conclusion now
that air cooling limitations are being exceeded,”
explains Dr. Agonafer, who is site director for
UTA’s Center in Energy Efficient Systems (part of
the National Science Foundation’s Industry/Uni-

versity Cooperative Research Program). “More
and higher-powered server applications, particularly those in high-performance computing
spaces, are requiring liquid cooling for performance as well as for energy-efficiency.”
One area that Agonafer is investigating is
the effect of using warm water—25-30 degrees
Celsius instead of 15-20
degrees—on energy use
and whether it has a
negative impact on the
system. He is looking specifically at leakage related
to warm-water cooling,
assessing the impact of
pump failures on systems.
In addition, Rick Eiland,
a student in his lab, is
studying the benefits of
submerging the server
racks completely in
mineral oil, which does
not have the corrosive or
conductive effects that
water does on the copper components within
the servers.

identical reduction in the frequency of battery
charges needed.
“The key is that all transistor components
reside in a single nanopillar and that electrons
flow through it without being heated,” says
Dr. Koh. (A nanopillar is less than 50 nanometers
in diameter; to compare, a human hair is about
100,000.) “This research
will allow transistors
to consume less energy
and generate less heat.
That greatly affects
how well the transistors perform.”
The process involves
passing electrons
through a quantum
well to cool them
and keep them from
heating. Electrons are
thermally excited even
at room temperature.
If that excitation could
be suppressed, the
temperature of those electrons would be effectively lowered without external cooling.
To do so, the team is using a nanoscale
structure that consists of a sequential array of
a source electrode, a quantum well, a tunneling
barrier, a quantum dot, another tunneling barrier, and a drain electrode to suppress electron
excitation and make electrons cold.
“We are the first to effectively cool electrons
at room temperature. Researchers have done

“This kind of
innovation shows
what our students are
capable of. This new
energy technology
can be a gamechanger globally.”

New technology developed by Associate Professor Seong Jin Koh may provide a solution to the
bane of every cellphone user’s experience: battery
life. His invention could lead to a tenfold reduction in the energy consumption of smartphones,
laptops, and tablets, which would result in an

electron cooling before, but only when the entire
device is immersed into an extremely cold cooling bath,” says Koh. “Obtaining cold electrons at
room temperature has enormous technical benefits. For example, the requirement of using liquid
helium or liquid nitrogen for cooling electrons in
various electron systems could be lifted.”
Usha Varshney, program director in the
National Science Foundation’s Directorate for
Engineering, which funded Koh’s study, believes
the implications of this research are vast.
“When implemented in transistors, these cold
electrons could potentially reduce energy consumption of electronic devices by more than 10
times compared to the present technology,”
Dr. Varshney says. “Personal electronic
devices such as smartphones and iPads would
last much longer before recharging.”
In addition to potential commercial applications, there are many military uses for the
technology. Batteries are heavy, and less power
consumption means reducing the battery weight
of the electronic equipment soldiers carry, thus
enhancing their combat capability. Other potential military applications include electronics for
remote sensors, unmanned aerial vehicles, and
high-capacity computing in remote operations.  
In the future, Koh hopes to identify key elements that will allow the electrons to be cooled
even further. The biggest challenge is keeping
the electrons from gaining energy as they travel
across device components, so more research is
needed on how energy-gaining pathways could
be effectively blocked.

Left: Dereje Agonafer’s
liquid cooling will benefit
computing companies.
Right: Seong Jin Koh’s cold
electrons could reduce
energy consumption.


Those Who
Important breakthroughs in PTSD, brain injuries, osteoarthritis, and
prosthetics research are helping veterans live full and pain-free lives.


h i l e s e r v i ng with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan, David Tyson was injured in a firefight. Like
many soldiers, he began suffering from symptoms
of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when he
returned home from the battlefield.
“I was feeling funny, and during my end-processing I asked
if I could see someone about it,” Tyson recalls. “I wanted to be
checked for PTSD and traumatic brain injury because I had a
friend who had been diagnosed with them and he told me it
was better to know than not know. I went to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the doctor there referred me to a
psychiatrist, who diagnosed me.”
Though he began to receive treatment, many of Tyson’s
difficulties remained, especially when it came to things like
memory. That’s where UT Arlington stepped in. A number


of researchers at the University are investigating innovative
ways to treat wounded veterans and improve their quality of
life—such as an artificial limb outfitted with sensors that can
automatically adjust its fit and a driverless car that can take
patients to their doctors’ appointments.
Most importantly for Tyson, this research includes novel
treatments for brain injuries. While studying at Tarrant
County College, he was offered the opportunity to participate in the Student Veteran Project, a veterans’ supported
education clinical trial at the UT Arlington Center for Clinical
Social Work. It was there that he was introduced to bioengineering Professor Hanli Liu and social work Associate Professor Alexa Smith-Osborne.
“David completed the initial testing, and we found an
area of his brain that wasn’t functioning fully as a result of

David Tyson is part
of a clinical trial
for student vets
with brain injuries.


his traumatic brain injury,” explains Tracy Maddoux, his
peer facilitator in the Student Veteran Project. “The research
that Drs. Liu and Smith-Osborne are conducting will help us
develop a plan to
help him succeed.”
The two professors are using functional near-infrared
spectroscopy to
map brain activity
responses during
cognitive activities related to digit
learning and memory retrial. Dr. Liu
says that this type
of brain imaging
allows them to “see”
which brain region
or regions fail to
memorize or recall
learned knowledge
in student veterans with PTSD or comorbid conditions like traumatic brain
“It also shows how PTSD can affect the way we learn and
our ability to recall information,” she adds. “This new way of
brain imaging really advances our understanding.”
The study is multi-disciplinary, associating objective brain
imaging with neurology. The testing involved 16 combat veterans previously diagnosed with PTSD who were experiencing
distress and functional impairment affecting cognitive and
related academic performances. They were instructed to perform a series of number-ordering tasks on a computer while

“The injectable
scaffolds developed
can be used not only
by soldiers, but also
millions of people
worldwide who suffer
from arthritis.”

Hanli Liu and Alexa
research is helping
veterans with PTSD
and brain injuries.


researchers monitored their brain activity through near-infrared spectroscopy, a noninvasive neuroimaging technology.
While the research proved effective in measuring cognitive dysfunction associated with PTSD, it also yielded an
unexpected but exciting discovery: Shining low-level light on
the brain (by placing the light source on the skull) can stimulate and energize neurons to function more effectively. When
cells are stimulated with light, they remain stimulated for a
lengthy period of time even after the light is removed. That
is different than other therapies that use magnets or electric
shocks and has potential to yield effective, longer-lasting
In Tyson’s case, light treatments have already made a difference in his ability to comprehend and take tests.
“In my final exams, I had a multiple-choice test in my
speech communications class and I realized I was able to
process better. I was able to read, comprehend, and identify
key words in the questions that I wasn’t before,” he says. “I
was struck by the improvement. I’ve found a resource that has
built my confidence level, and now I can see myself crossing
the stage, getting my degree, and contributing to society.”
U n l i k e P T S D a n d T BI , osteoarthritis is not something
we often think of as a post-combat condition. But while the
disease is usually associated with aging, many young soldiers
return home with cartilage damage that may contribute to its
early onset.
Called post-traumatic osteoarthritis, it develops as a result
of the improper healing of joints, which turn arthritic. It often
occurs in soldiers with broken bones from blasts, shrapnel,
and gunshot wounds.
Liping Tang, a professor in the Bioengineering Department, is attempting to treat the disease by injecting patients
with nanoscaffolds that target injured cartilage and attract
stem cells to the affected area to repair it naturally.
“Joints and cartilage are surrounded by stem cells that
need instruction in where to go and what to do,” he explains.
“We’ve found that if we inject microscaffolding that we’ve
developed into the injured area, it recruits the stem cells that
are needed in the healing process. Biomolecules are then
released from the scaffolds to transform stem cells into cartilage cells to form new cartilage tissue, while also reducing the
symptoms associated with arthritis.”
If successful, the consequences of traumatic injuries could
be substantially reduced and made more manageable without
the need for invasive surgery. This is in stark contrast to current treatments for osteoarthritis, such as anti-inflammatory
drugs and painkillers, which reduce symptoms but are
ineffective in curing the disease. As a result, patients often
undergo joint replacements that may fail due to poor healing
and union with surrounding tissue. In addition, multiple
surgical interventions are usually needed to fix the joints over
the patients’ lifetimes.
“The injectable scaffolds developed can be used not only
by soldiers, but also millions of people worldwide who suffer

from arthritis,” notes engineering Dean Khosrow Behbehani.
“The use of injectable and injury-targeting scaffolds minimizes
the trauma of surgical operations, and the use of the patient’s
own stem cells alleviates any concerns of immune rejection.”
I n 2 014 , a C ong r e s s ion a l Research Service Report
estimated that U.S. troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan
from 2001 to 2014 had undergone more than 1,500 major limb
amputations. While the past decade has seen vast improvements in prosthetics, problems remain. But Haiying Huang
and Muthu Wijesundara hope their research will fix at least
one of those: the pain that can result from a poor fit between
an amputee’s residual limb and the prosthetic socket.
Prosthetic users frequently experience discomfort, blistering, and ulcers in areas where a prosthetic and limb meet.
Currently, many manage the pain by sticking commercially
available gel pads or even balled-up socks into the spaces
between them.
Drs. Huang and Wijesundara are creating an adaptive
interface that fits between a prosthetic and a patient’s limb to
improve fit and comfort. The interface will resemble inflatable
bubble wrap and will be embedded with four types of sensors
that monitor the fit of the prosthetic device by measuring the
vertical movement of the limb relative to the socket wall, the
pressure on the limb, changes in the circumference of the
limb during the day, and the water content in the tissue.
“Eventually, we want to build a socket that can adjust
automatically to the patient,” Huang explains. “To do that, we
need the sensors to tell us when and how to adjust the socket.
We plan to design a warning system first, then the sensor data
will teach us how to adjust the interface automatically.”
The goal, says Wijesundara, is to create an adaptable
interface that can improve comfort and fit regardless of the
residual limb conditions, thus increasing quality of life
for the user.
“We want everything to adjust depending on whether the
person is walking, running, or simply sitting down.”
On e of t h e wa y s to ensure treatments like sensor-laden
prosthetics and stem cell-attracting nanoscaffolds succeed is
by patients following proper post-surgery procedures. But getting to the doctor’s office can be difficult for soldiers suffering
from PTSD or other injuries.
Manfred Huber may have the answer. The computer science and engineering associate professor is designing a reservation/reminder software system as part of a project that will
eventually transport veterans on military bases to doctors’
appointments using driverless cars.
“We’re designing the system to be accessible through a
cellphone app or kiosk at a stop along the route,” Dr. Huber
says. “This system will help veterans who might be suffering
from traumatic brain injury or PTSD. It will hopefully get the
veterans where they need to be when they need to be there.”
He believes the system could be set up to send textmessage reminders about upcoming appointments to the

Dr. Liu’s sensors
use functional nearinfrared spectroscopy
to map brain
activity responses.

veterans. The vets will also be surveyed on their experiences,
and this information and feedback used to improve the performance of the reservation system.
Huber’s prototype will soon be installed at Fort Bragg in
North Carolina. The controlled environment of an Army base
should be an ideal testing ground, as there are fewer variables
at play. His collaborator on the project is Robotic Research
LLC, which is leading the Applied Robotics for Installation
and Base Operations driverless vehicle program.
“Our soldiers have served their country proudly, and when
they return home after traumatic injuries, it stands to reason
that we should do all we can to make their lives as comfortable as possible,” says Dr. Behbehani. “I am proud that we can
offer that assistance.”
E a r l i e r t h i s y e a r , Military Times named UT Arlington
as one of its top 100 colleges nationwide for veterans. That
commitment is seen not only in the abundant educational
and support services the University provides for student
veterans, but also in the research conducted by its faculty.
Whether they’re treating brain injuries, making prosthetics
more comfortable, or helping heal osteoarthritis caused by
war wounds, UT Arlington engineers are focused on improving the lives of veterans everywhere.




Wayne Bennett, 78, has
dominated the master’s
track and field scene,
winning world titles
and setting records.


As a part of UT Arlington’s 2014 Homecoming festivities, College
of Engineering alumnus Jim Greer (’84) was
honored for his professional achievements,
community engagement, and loyalty to his
alma mater at the 49th
annual Distinguished
Alumni Awards.
Greer is senior
vice president and
chief operating officer
at Oncor Electric
Delivery. A registered
professional engineer
in Texas, he has held
numerous leadership
positions at Oncor
and its predecessor
companies in the areas
of engineering, operations, and governmental relations.
Greer is a member of the College of
Engineering Board
of Advisors and the
Electrical Engineering
Department Advisory


Civil Engineer Finds His Second Wind
During his long career in construction
with Thos. S. Byrne Inc., Wayne Bennett
(’64 BS) headed major projects like the
Fort Worth Water Gardens, the Kimbell
Art Museum, two additions to the General
Motors Assembly Plant, and a major addition to the Amon Carter Museum of Western Art. But his greatest mark has been
on the master’s track and field scene,
where he’s won hundreds of medals, a

national title in the 100 meters, and a
world title in the 4x100 meter relay.
Bennett began competing in master’s
track at age 50 during a stressful time at
work. Running helped him relax and has
also led to lasting friendships.
“Everyone wants you to get better and
treats you like an old friend,” he says. “I
have friends I’ve made at the national level
that have lasted to this day.”


Bill Svihel

Stock donated by Dan and
Carolyn Carey will help
students for years to come.


Southwest Stocks Funding Education
Dan Carey (’66 BS) spent his career developing maintenance programs and
directing maintenance publications, scheduling, planning, and records departments. While working for Southwest Airlines, he purchased stock in the
company, an investment that is now paying dividends for UT Arlington students. “I found that I could give stock to the University, deduct the full value
of the stock, and neither I nor UT Arlington would pay taxes on it,” Carey
says. “I wanted my gift to serve engineering students at my alma mater. I
smile when I think that long after I’m gone, I’ll still be helping students here
at UT Arlington.”

Bernie Svihel was not
one for idleness. Over
the course of his 66-year
career, he performed
research with MIT that
supported the WWII
effort, helped develop
classified air-to-air
gunnery sights, designed
underwater acoustic
sensors for Naval Air
Development, and—at
age 77—taught electrical
engineering students at
UT Arlington.
Svihel kept his
position as a senior
lecturer until his death
in 2008. While at the
University, he created
the Ann Svihel Memorial
Endowment in honor
of his wife to provide
financial aid for electrical
engineering students.
“Dad had seen many
students struggle to get
through school due to
financial issues, so he
created the endowment
in honor of my mother to
enable him to give back,”
his son, Bill, says.
After Svihel’s death,
Bill Svihel added his
father’s name to the fund
and worked to ensure
it would be a perpetual
“When students succeed,” he says, “they have
the opportunity to make
important contributions
to society and make a
difference in their own


Alumnus Mike Greene and
his wife, Janet, are involved
in Community Link, a
food pantry and resource
center in Saginaw, Texas.



MOre Alumni/Giving info


Greenes Give Back Mike Greene (’69 BS) and his wife,
Janet, have given his hometown a resource that will help people in need for
years to come. With aid from Ralph Hawkins (’73 BA), they helped build
a new home for Community Link, a food pantry and resource center in
Saginaw, Texas. “It is a mutually beneficial relationship,” Greene says. “Community Link can offer more support to its clients thanks to the help UTA
students provide, while the students themselves can benefit from using the
skills they’re learning in the classroom in a real-world situation.”

When Cuong Nguyen
was a first-year
doctoral student, he
benefited from a $1,000
scholarship. Now that
he is an alumnus, he
is ensuring that other
deserving students
have the same opportunities he did.
Dr. Nguyen, who
graduated last May,
received a $1,000
scholarship six years
ago from electrical
engineering Professor
J.-C. Chiao to work in
his research lab. When
he won UT Arlington’s
Graduate Student
Employee of the Year
award last spring, he
immediately donated
the $1,000 prize back
to the University to
help other students as
he’d been helped.
“I admired Dr. Chiao
for assisting me, so
I wanted to do the
same,” Nguyen says
“It’s a small amount
of money, but I hope
it’ll help students be
able to continue to do
research and study at
UT Arlington.”


Six College of Engineering alumni were
presented with 50-year
alumni pins at a luncheon
held in their honor during
UTA’s Homecoming
weekend in November:
Marvin Applewhite (BS,
Electrical Engineering)
spent 28 years at Texas
Instruments in various
roles. Wayne Bennett
(BS, Civil Engineering)
worked in the construction industry as an estimator and project manager
with Thos. S. Byrne Inc.
for more than 22 years.


Frank Condron (BS,
Mechanical Engineering)
was the subject of a feature
article in the Victoria
Advocate about his hobby
of restoring old clocks.


Don Box (BS, Aerospace
Engineering) worked
at Chance Vought until
2000, then came out of
retirement in 2001 to
serve as a test operations
manager for Lockheed
Martin before retiring in
2008. Coy Garrett (BS,
Mechanical Engineering) spent time at LTV,
Grumman Aerospace, and
General Dynamics before
forming Coy E. Garrett
& Associates and Coy E.
Garrett Development Corporation in 1984. Charles
Goodman (BS, Electrical
Engineering) began his

Chattanooga and spent 20
years at General Dynamics/Lockheed Martin.
Todd Larson (MS, Civil
Engineering) was hired
as global director of
engineering and quality
at MWH Global. Homer
Nazeran (PhD, Biomedical Engineering) was
selected as a recipient of
the prestigious University
of Texas System Regents’
Outstanding Teaching
Award. He is a professor of
electrical engineering at
UT El Paso.



James Hotopp (BS, Civil
Engineering) was named

Michael Brown (BS,
Civil Engineering) was
named 2015 Engineer
of the Year by the DFW
Mid-Cities Chapter of the
Texas Society of Professional Engineers. He is a
project manager and team
leader at TranSystems
Corporation Consultants.
Yossef Lahad (MS, InterKathy Weygand Berek
disciplinary Studies) was
(MS, Civil Engineering)
appointed chairman of the leads Burns & McDonboard of directors of Betnell’s new water division
ter Office Solutions Ltd.
out of its Houston office.
He serves as director of
She is a member of the
JPI Group China, a leadTexas Water Conservaing strategic planning firm, tion Association, chairs
and is an active chairman
the ethics committee
for several startup comfor the Construction
panies. Since 2005, he has Management Associabeen an adjunct professor
tion of America, and is a
at the Hertzliya Interdisci- member of the American
plinary Center at Tel-Aviv Water Works Association.
William Hernandez (BS,
Mechanical Engineering)
was honored with the
Lex Frieden EmploySteve Karman (PhD,
ment Award by the Texas
Aerospace EngineerGovernor’s Committee on
ing) joined the Applied
People with Disabilities.
Research Team at PointHe is a professor, diswise. He was previously a
ability rights activist, and
research professor at the
University of Tennessee at co-founder of Pro4Max, a


career with the Southern
Company in 1971 as a
senior research engineer
and rose through the
ranks to senior vice president for Generation Policy
and chairman of the
board for the FutureGen
Industrial Alliance. Dois
Webb (BS, Mechanical
Engineering) made the
Army his career, retiring
in 1992 after 28 years.
Upon leaving the service,
he began working for the
Texas Air Control Board,
now the Texas Commission on Environmental

custom sports wheelchair
company. He was one
of the first two athletes
to attend UTA on a full
scholarship to play for the
Movin’ Mavs wheelchair
basketball team.

assistant city manager
for the city of Weatherford. He has worked for
the city since 2007 and
has held the positions of
utility civil engineer, city
engineer, and director of
water/wastewater and


William Wallace (’07 MS,
Computer Science and
Engineering) was named
vice president at Goldman Sachs. He develops
and maintains technical
solutions to support the
company’s real estate


Gene Capps (BS, Civil
Engineering) was named
2015 Young Engineer
of the Year by the DFW

Mid-Cities Chapter of the
Texas Society of Professional Engineers. He is
a project manager with
Baird, Hampton, and
Brown and serves as the
TSPE Mid-Cities Chapter’s secretary. Daron
Evans (MS, Biomedical
Engineering) was named
president and CEO of
Nephros Inc.


Caleb Milligan (BS, Civil
Engineering) was named
the Young Engineer of the
Year by the Fort Worth
Chapter of the Texas Society of Professional Engineers. He is a licensed
professional engineer, is
employed at Dunaway
Associates LP, and is the
TSPE Fort Worth Chapter’s treasurer.

Lawrence Whitman
(PhD, Industrial Engineering) was named dean of
the College of Engineering at the University of
Arkansas-Little Rock.


Brandon Laird (BS,
Industrial Engineering)
was elected regional
vice president of the
south central region of
the Institute of Industrial Engineers. He is a
manufacturing engineer
at Martin Sprocket and
Gear Inc.


Andrew Wilson (BS, Civil
Engineer) is an engineerin-training in the hydraulics and hydrology group
at Peloton Land Solutions.
He was named the
Edmund Friedman Young
Engineer of the Year by
the Fort Worth branch of
the American Society of
Civil Engineers. He is the
group’s hospitality chairman and webmaster.

Six alumni from Pakistan who
majored in electrical and civil
engineering visited campus
for the first time in 40 years
in April. From left: Mohammad
Shaiq, Abbas Ali Khan, Jawaid
Iqbal, Azizullah Shariff, Yousuf
Jangda, and Arshad Rehman.


In Memoriam

Jan Collmer (’54 AS,
Science and Engineering;
’63 BS, Mathematics),
80, Jan. 13 in Dallas. Mr.
Collmer founded Collmer
Semiconductor in 1978
and was a co-founder of
the Frontiers of Flight
Museum at Love Field. He
was inducted to the College of Engineering Hall
of Achievement in 1992
and served on the Board
of Advisors from 199497. He spent time on the
University’s Development
Board, was a member of
the ARRI (now UTARI)

Advisory Council, and
was a UTA Distinguished


Byron Deryl Boucher (’63
BS, Mechanical Engineering), 74, Dec. 13 in Burnet.
Mr. Boucher ran his own
business, Western Water
Wells, until his retirement
in 2003. He was also a
past president of the Texas
Water Well Association.

Noel Everard, 90, Sept.
13, 2014, in Arlington. Dr.

Everard was a professor
in the Civil Engineering Department from its
inception until his retirement and was its chair for
nearly 15 years. France
Meier, 86, Feb. 17 in
Arlington. The industrial,
manufacturing, and systems engineering emeritus
professor and chair developed the department’s
graduate program and saw
its first master’s degree
awarded. He also helped
the Computer Science and
Engineering Department develop its graduate
program. He retired in

2000 and was awarded
emeritus honors in 2001.
Betty Nedderman, 89,
Jan. 12 in Arlington. Mrs.
Nedderman was the wife
of President Emeritus
Wendell Nedderman,
founding dean of the
College of Engineering.
She was a Distinguished
Honorary Alumna of the
University and she and Dr.
Nedderman were lifelong
supporters of the college.
Joseph Jerry Stanovsky,
86, Dec. 26 in Davenport,
Fla. He was long-time
professor of aerospace




New water-collecting device modeled after the beaks of shorebirds.


s a n y i n v en tor will tell you, inspiration can come
from unexpected places. For mechanical engineering
Professor Cheng Luo and doctoral student Xin Heng,
the beaks of shorebirds provided the spark that eventually led to a device that collects water from dew and fog.
The idea came when Heng read an article describing how
shorebirds use their long, hinged beaks to ferret around for
food in the sand and water, then drive it into their throats by
opening and closing their beaks. Heng wondered if he and
Dr. Luo could replicate that process in the lab.
The duo successfully created an artificial beak from hinged,
non-parallel glass plates that measured about 26 centimeters
long by 10 centimeters wide. But when they tested it, they
discovered something unexpected.
“When we made the artificial beaks, we observed that
multiple water drops were transported by the narrow, beak-


like glass plates,” Luo says. “That made us think of whether we
could harvest the water from fog and dew.”
The answer was yes: The team found that they could collect
four tablespoons of water in a couple of hours, as the beak
forces the condensation to the point where the two glass
plates meet. The water is then pumped through a channel and
the process repeated.
Luo and Heng believe their creation could help provide a
sustainable solution for accumulating water in arid or semiarid places, which make up about half of the world’s land mass.
“This research shows that innovative ideas can be triggered
by the careful observation of seemingly unrelated phenomena,” engineering Dean Khosrow Behbehani says. “Collecting
water from existing fog or dew using this novel method offers
another alternative for places that are strapped for our most
precious resource.”

Students are UT Arlington’s most valuable resource. With your
support, they can achieve great things. We’re preparing our engineering
students to become tomorrow’s leaders and to make a lasting impact on society. The College of
Engineering provides abundant opportunities for students to work alongside world-class faculty,
explore creative solutions to real-world problems, and transform ideas into viable products that drive
economic development.
UT Arlington is committed to providing a first-rate, affordable education for as many students as
possible. But we need your help to continue this mission. Your gift could fund a professorship, provide
valuable equipment for research and teaching, or help a student fulfill his or her academic dreams.
By investing in the Excellence Now annual giving program, you create a consistent stream of support
that shapes the future of deserving Mavericks who, in turn, shape the future of our world.

Make a gift online today at uta.edu/giving or call the Office of Development at 817-272-2584.

Box 19019
Arlington, TX 76019-0019

Non-profit Org.
U.S. Postage


Burlington, VT 05401
Permit No. 19


Road Warrior

Since 2013, nearly 2 million simulated vehicles have
passed over experimental sections of pavement at
UT Arlington’s accelerated pavement testing center.
There, Associate Professor Stefan Romanoschi and
his team measure the durability of asphalt mixtures

containing recycled materials for TxDOT to determine
whether they can extend a road’s life. “In Texas, we use
5 million tons of recycled asphalt mixes each year,”
Dr. Romanoschi says. “By extending its lifespan by
three years, we can save millions of dollars.”

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