Remembering Dr. Cristina Torres
(Mar. 2015) Dr. Cristina Torres, Research Assistant Professor in the department of Physics and the Center for Gravitational
Wave Astronomy passed away on March 9 evening in Brownsville. We deeply mourn the loss of our dear
colleague and friend whose rich contribution to science and to the community has left a lasting touch. Cristina
will forever be remembered by her innumerable students, colleagues and friends across the Americas and the world.
Her dedication to work, commitment to the students and her ability to reach out to people will remain an
inspiration. Our deepest condolence goes out to her family. Cristina will live in our hearts always.
President Fannin's message
High School Research Poster Competition
(Feb. 2015) The 2015 UTB Physics and Astronomy High School Research Poster
Competition included 13 high school students participating from 5 different high schools with 7 physics department faculty mentors.
Student research posters were presented on Saturday, February 21 in Cavalry Hall at UTB to 3 judges from the physics department. The top
project was presented by Tanya Llanes from Pace High School on NANOGrav: The Detection of Gravitational Waves Using Pulsar Timing. Competition details.
MOU launches STARGATE and NRAO collaboration to spur innovation
(Feb. 2015) The Center for Advanced Radio Astronomy (CARA) at The University of Texas Brownsville and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) signed
a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Friday, Jan. 23 in Charlottesville, Va.
The purpose of the MOU is to lay the groundwork for the two entities to collaborate on new initiatives and frontier radio astronomical technologies.
UTB REU and RET Applications Due March 16
(Feb. 2015) Applications for the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) and Research Experience for
Teachers (RET) programs are due on March 16, 2015 for paid summer research at UTB May 31-August 7, 2015. Selected
undergraduate students and K-12 teachers will spend the summer at UTB working on research projects in astrophysics,
biophysics, gravitational wave detection, lasers and photonics, nano-science and advanced materials or radio, optical
astronomy and applied physics. Participants will receive a stipend of $5,000, travel support up to $600, and room
and board. More info and application.
UTB Hosts APS Conference for Undergradaute Women in Physics
(Jan. 2015) The UTB Department of Physics and Astronomy hosted the regional
American Physical Society (APS) Conference
for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) at UTB January 15-17. The conference included a public outreach event aiming to attract women into the fields
of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Sarah Thornton, Ph.D. candidate from the Stanford
Center for Automotive Research laboratory, was the distinguished speaker for “From High School to
Implementing Ethics on Automated Vehicles", where she talked about her experiences
as a gradate student in physics. Read more
Professor Martirosyan Receives DOD Grant to Purchase Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope
(Dec. 2014) Dr. Karen Martirosyan, Associate Professor of Physics was recently awarded DOD grant to install
a cutting-edge commercial multi-functional instrument, a high resolution analytical Field Emission Scanning Electron
Microscope (JSM-7100FA, JEOL). DOD funding for this project is $433,500 for one year. The instrument will support
fundamental and interdisciplinary DOD related research and educational projects in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV)
region of South Texas. The JSM-7100FA is a major visualization tool applicable to a diverse range of research
disciplines. This new generation of variable-pressure SEM is able to image features close to resolution ~1 nanometer
and obtain quantitative analytical information from regions only a few atoms across. The system also includes
Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), Wavelength-Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (WDS), and Electron backscatter
diffraction (EBSD) detectors that allow for qualitative determination of the elemental composition and the crystallographic
orientations of a specimen, including luminescent materials. The instrument will be a great addition to establish a
strong collaborative research in engineering, physics, biomedical and chemistry (collaborators: Drs. Touhami, Islam, Kazansky, Trad and Uddin).
Physics Student accepted to winter astronomy workshop
(Dec. 2014) UTB physics student Alejandro Reyes has been accepted for the University of Maryland winter physics and astronomy workshop for undergrads
interested in attending graduate school in astronomy and physics. The workshop will include a weekend excursion to the National Radio
Astronomy Observatory in Greenbank, West Virginia, as well as tours of local facilities such as UMD physics labs, NASA's Goddard Space Flight
Center, and the National Institutes for Standards and Technology (NIST).
Physics Students Winning the Best Presentation Awards at UTPA
(Nov. 2014) Congratulations to our students Ramona Luna and Mkhitar Hobosyan on winning the Best presentation awards at the 6th Annual
PACE Bioethics Conference, which was held at the University of Texas Pan-American on November 4-6th. The Topic of the PACE
(Pan American Collaboration for Ethics in the Professions) conference was “Bioethics & the Future of Medical Education”.
Each winner was awarded a certificate and an iPad as a prize.
Mkhitar Hobosyan is a PhD student in our Cooperative PhD Program with UTSA. His research is focused on fabrication of
Nano- Materials for various applications, including Biomedicine (cancer treatment). His presentation title was “Microfluidics
Synthesis of Magnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles for Hyperthermia Cancer Treatment”. His research work is under the supervision
of Dr. Karen Martirosyan.
Ramona Luna is an undergraduate physics student and her presentation title was “Synthesis and Characterization of chitosan
gels and films”. Her research work is under the supervision of Dr. Ahmed Touhami. She is also a MBRS-RISE Scholar.
Physics Professor Invented a Breakthrough Medical Devices to Improve Cancer Cure
(Oct. 2014) Dr. Karen Martirosyan, Associate Professor of Physics has been awarded a patent titled "MRI Markers,
Delivery and Extraction Systems, and Methods of Manufacture and use Thereof". The patent, US 8,846,006 B2, is associated
with cancer research. This work is in collaboration with the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center (Prof. Steven Frank) and is related
to development of a novel, non-toxic cobalt-based contrast and imaging agents for use in enhanced medical imaging for
This patent is an important milestone towards further commercialization of the MRI implantable markers in clinical use
because it further elaborates ways of effective cure of cancer by using magnetic resonance imaging in the planning,
treatment, and post-implant evaluation for brachytherapy for disease in various organs including the prostate, head and
neck, breast, lung, brain, GI malignancies and sarcomas.
The positive-signal 'MRI Marker' markers have already received FDA 510(k) clearance that can utilize real-time MRI-guided
procedures, including prostate brachytherapy. The permanently implantable MRI marker technology allows improvement of
positive MRI seed localization after brachytherapy offered to more than 200,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer in the
U.S. each year. Full details of the patent can be seen here
Physics student receives award from the American Physical Society
(Sept. 2014) Forrest Shriver, an undergraduate student in the department of physics and astronomy, has received an award of
$2,000 from the American Physical Society. It is an application-based scholarship for physics majors at minority serving institutions,
and is contingent upon the student being in good academic standing during the time of the scholarship. The scholarship can be renewed
again for another year at $3,000/year. The official announcement from APS can be fund here: http://www.aps.org
UTB to become a leader in space exploration reseach
(Sept. 2014) Governor Rick Perry announced at the groundbreaking ceremony for SpaceX an investment of $9 million to UTB for the creation of
STARGATE: a research center of excellence for the development of radio systems based on phased-array technology. Read more
UT promotes cooperation with Mexican universities
(Sept. 2014) With the aim of increasing academic exchange and student mobility between the USA and Mexico, Dr. Fredrick Jenet,
director of the UTB Center for Advanced Radio Astronomy (CARA), Dr. Richard Price, member of CARA, and Dr. Randall Charbeneau, assistant
vice chancellor of the University of Texas System, visited Mexico City last week to meet with their Mexican counterparts.
The Brownsville Herald
The New York Times
Students to Benefit from SpaceX Launch Site at Boca Chica Beach
(August, 2014) SpaceX ended months of speculation that the rocket company would chose Cameron County and build the world’s first vertical rocket
launch site at Boca Chica Beach to complement its existing launch sites at Vandenberg, California, and Cape Canaveral, Florida.
UTB second US team at the International Collegiate Programming Contest
(June, 2014) UTB team, led by physics undergraduate student Ali Amir Aldan and including physics major Satzhan Sitmukhambetov and computer science
major Raynaldo Rae, participated in the recently concluded World Finals of the prestigious International Collegiate Programming Contest
(ICPC) held at the Ural Federal University in Russia.
The team finished 19th among more than 120 regional winners from all over the world, beating MIT (24th), Univ. Southern California (42nd),
Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison (56th), Stanford Univ. (57th), Univ. Michigan, Ann Arbor (67th), Iowa State (81st), Univ. Chicago (86th),
Univ. California, Irvine (88th), Virginia Tech (92nd), Carnegie Mellon Univ. (97th), Univ. of California, Berkeley (102nd) and Northwestern
Univ., Univ. of Maryland (tied at 103rd). The only team from the U.S. ranked above UTB is New York University (13th).
The team had earlier won the Texas regional contest sponsored by IBM, beating 56 other teams including Rice University, UT Austin, UT Dallas,
Texas A&M and others.
New cooperative doctoral program in physics
(June, 2014) The University of Texas, Arlington (UTA) and the University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU)
to offer a cooperative doctoral program in physics. Starting Fall 2014, doctoral students admitted to UTA under this cooperative doctoral
program can reside at UTB and carry out their research under the supervision of a UTB physics and astronomy department faculty member.
Five students who will be graduating with M.S. Physics degree by summer 2014 at UTB will join the first cohort of this program.
The new cooperative doctoral program will foster joint collaborative education and research advances between the two universities that
will enrich the RGV students.
New collaboration on the horizon with universities in Kazakhstan
(June, 2014) Professors Malik Rakhmanov, Soumya D. Mohanty and Soma Mukherjee were invited to deliver a series of lectures on topics of advanced signal processing, data analysis and data mining at an International Summer School held at the Eurasian National University (ENU), Kazakhstan in May 2014. The summer school also featured faculty members from several universities in the U.S. and Europe.
During the school, Drs. Rakhmanov, Mohanty and Mukherjee met with the Vice-Rector of the ENU and the Kazakhstan science funding agency representatives. There was tremendous interest to collaborate with the Physics faculty members at UTB in the area of scientific computing and astroinformatics. A team of ENU graduate students will visit our department in Fall 2014. More extended research visits by graduate students, fully funded by their national funding sources is expected to start soon. Plans to set up a dual M.S. degree program is in the cards.
UTB Selected to Host Physics Conference
The University of Texas at Brownsville has been selected as the site for a 2015 Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP). This event will be a three day regional conference for undergraduate physics majors. The conference organizer is Dr. Cristina Torres.
More info on the CUWiP.
UTB Physics Student Selected as NASA Ambasssador
(March, 2014) UTB Physics student Jose McKinnon has been selected by NASA as one of 105 top-performing interns, representing 29 states and 67 universities, inducted into NASA's 2014 Student Ambassadors Virtual Community. The NASA Student Ambassadors Virtual Community (NSAVC) is an online network designed to foster greater interaction and mentorship among outstanding interns of NASA higher education projects. This is the sixth group of student ambassadors to receive the honor since 2009. Student Ambassador Profile.
Nanoscience Program Graduates First Cohort
The UTB nanoscience certificate program exposes students to nanotechnology areas as part of broader approach to integrate nanoscale education in UTB’s undergraduate programs. This option prepares students for the emerging market of nanotechnology research and industry by providing basic scientific and research skills. Read more. Program website.
UTB REU Applications Due Feb 15
(Feb, 2014) Applications for the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at UTB are due on February 15, 2014. Selected students will spend the summer at UTB working on research projects in astrophysics, biophysics, gravitational wave detection, lasers and photonics, nano-science and advanced materials or radio, optical astronomy and applied physics. Participants will receive a stipend of $5,000, travel support up to $600, and room and board. More info and application.
NASA Internship Recruiting at UTB Feb 11-13
(Feb, 2014) NASA scientists and engineers will visit UTB to recruit students for paid summer internships at NASA centers. Students must attend an information
session on Tuesday, Feb 11 or Wednesday, Feb 12 to qualify for an interview on Thursday, Feb 13. Faculty are invited to a brown bag networking
lunch with NASA personnel Wednesday, Feb 12 12:30-2pm in Gran Salon. News article.
2014 UTB Physics and Astronomy High School Poster Contest Underway
(Feb, 2014) The UTB Department of Physics and Astronomy is currently hosting a poster contest for high school students. Teachers have nominated students
interested in physics and astronomy to participate in the contest by working with a faculty mentor to produce a poster on a research topic.
The student posters will be presented in a public event at UTB on Saturday, February 15 4-6pm in Salon Cassia. All participants, families,
classmates, and the public are invited to attend.
For more info