Discovery: UTA Prof Pursues Novel ALS Research, Legislature Gives UNT $10M for New Manufacturing Tech Center

You'll also find out about two UT Dallas undergraduates who have received prestigious Goldwater Scholarships in this roundup of research and development activity in North Texas.

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Whats new, next, and reimagined in Dallas-Fort Worth ResearchEvery week, we do a little research of our own. We’re looking for scientists, professors, engineers, entrepreneurs—anybody, really—engaging in research and development across North Texas.

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UTA prof taking novel approach in ALS research

A professor at the University of Texas at Arlington is taking a novel approach in her research into the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.

Kineseology professor Jingsong Zhou recently received a $2.88 million award from the National Institutes of Health. [Photo: UT Arlington]

Kinesiology professor Jingsong Zhou recently received a $2.88 million award from the National Institutes of Health for her work and was invited to serve as a member of the NIH Center for Scientific Review’s Skeletal Muscle and Exercise Physiology Study Section.

Most research into ALS focuses on the spinal cord because of how the disease affects neurological function, UTA said. But Zhou’s work focuses on the theory that ALS affect the physiology of the entire body by way of defective cells in multiple organs.

“Twelve years ago, my lab made a discovery in the muscle defects of ALS, and we have been looking closely at the disease ever since,” she said in a statement. “In the beginning, we believed the muscle atrophy ALS causes was secondary to the death of the neurons in the spinal cord, but we have evidence that indicates the muscle is not only a victim of the disease, rather it actively contributes to it. This is a systemic disorder affecting the whole body.”

In the past decade, Zhou has received more than $4 million in grants and published more than 70 peer-reviewed articles.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Additive Manufacturing Lab at Discovery Park on the UNT campus was in November. [Photo: UNT/Michael Clements]

UNT says $10M for manufacturing center will advance research

The now-adjourned 86th Texas Legislature awarded $10 million to The University of North Texas’ Center for Agile and Adaptive Additive Manufacturing, and the center said it knows exactly how to spend the money.

The center will use it to transform manufacturing technologies to better develop complex 3-D objects to create viable market-based solutions that impact almost every industry “from operating rooms to oil fields,” UNT said in a statement. They plan to do it while producing almost no waste and creating cost savings that will give companies an advantage over the competition.

“Through CAAAM, UNT will advance its research and expand its role as a leader in this exciting new technology,” UNT President Neal Smatresk said in a statement. 

The center was launched last year under the umbrella of UNT’s existing Materials Research Facility, co-sponsored by the Office of Research and Innovation and the College of Engineering for the dual purpose of research and providing students with more hands-on education opportunities in this emerging area.

UNT said it has developed one of the most-advanced university research facilities in the U.S. for materials analysis. It gives faculty and industry the ability to collaborate on advancing the science and application of materials processing and additive manufacturing, UNT said.

Also, UNT said it will establish a Texas-based prototype center that could transform the future of advanced manufacturing across the globe. The university said that research conducted there will lead to smart materials and environmentally friendly technologies while helping develop a highly skilled workforce of engineers in the state.

2 UT Dallas undergrad researchers receive Goldwater Scholarships

Mark De Los Santos

Vyom Raval

Two UT Dallas undergraduates have been recognized with awards from the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, joining 18 other UT Dallas students who previously were recognized by the Goldwater Foundation.

Receiving the prestigious award were Mark De Los Santos, a Eugene McDermott Scholar and a molecular biology senior in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Vyom Raval, a Green Fellow and a neuroscience senior in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

Scholarship winners receive $7,500 for one year.

It’s an elite group, as 496 college students from an estimated pool of 5,000 from 443 institutions were awarded scholarships, which are named in honor the late Sen. Barry Goldwater from Arizona.

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