UTA gets $7.5 million for scientific research, technology

Posted Friday, Mar. 01, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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ARLINGTON -- Scientific discovery, innovation and research at the University of Texas at Arlington received a $7.5 million boost Thursday with a record gift from Shimadzu Scientific Instruments.

"This is the largest single cash commitment in the history of UT Arlington," President James Spaniolo said during a celebration held to highlight the gift. Faculty, students and representatives from Shimadzu were in attendance.

Shimadzu, a world leader in technology, has now given UTA a total of about $10.5 million; the $7.5 million cash commitment and a previous $3 million in-kind equipment donation.

"We are investing in both the future of UT Arlington and in our future," said Dave Jorissen, manager of the Shimadzu regional office in Houston. "It's a classic win-win for us."

To honor the gift, Spaniolo announced that the Institute for Research Technologies at UTA will be renamed the Shimadzu Institute for Research Technologies. The institute will include the Shimadzu Center for Advanced Analytical Chemistry, the Center for Imaging and the Center for Environmental, Forensic and Material Analysis.

Equipment such as the Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer (similar to equipment seen on the television show NCIS) is available to students. These machines help in the detection of contaminants or in the production of certain goods such as perfume or soft drinks, said Peter Combe, who is a mass spectrometer specialist.

The institute will house $25.2 million in equipment, including some Shimadzu instruments that will debut in the United States for the first time at the Arlington campus.

Carolyn Cason, UTA's vice president of research, said the investments in the institute will help outfit two teaching labs that can be used by undergraduates taking chemistry and biology. These labs will allow students to work with high-tech tools -- even if they aren't going to be scientists.

"Most of the students who come to college take those courses," Cason said.

Shadi Zumut, a research assistant who uses the institute equipment, said that for scientists-in-training, this investment in the institute is similar to how a state-of-the-art football stadium helps draw quality athletes to a program. He said students can explore a variety of questions and test for answers.

"They are not standing on the sidelines," he said. "They are able to participate."

Maciej Kukula, a facility manager at the institute, added: "It's like a candy store."

Diane Smith, 817-390-7675

Twitter: @dianeasmith1

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