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UT Arlington has bragging rights

A UTA researcher has found a novel way to treat cancer cells.
A UTA researcher has found a novel way to treat cancer cells. Bill Hanna

Periodically I like to keep readers updated on the striking results being achieved on and off the campus of the University of Texas System’s largest institution.

UT Arlington continues its legacy of setting milestones of achievement across the broad spectrum of higher education and the outcomes in terms of preparing graduates for successful careers are truly impressive.

Writing in the latest report tracking the progress of the university’s strategic plan, President Vistasp Karbhari shares his view of the challenges facing public research institutions and how he sees UTA’s role in that task.

“The opportunity of a transformational experience, the ability to develop talent and the determination to leave footprints in the sands of time — these are ever-present at this university of excellence as our faculty, staff, and students continue to reach new heights of excellence and positive impact.”

With a double-digit rate of increase in almost 13,000 degrees ranging across baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral diplomas awarded last year, those footprints are ever growing in number.

UTA’s global student population, projected to reach 65,000 by 2020, includes students from every state and more than 100 countries.

Being among only 10 universities in the country that have achieved the designations of Hispanic-serving institution and the Carnegie R-1 highest research activity classification, places the school in rare company nationwide.

College Factual, a leading source of data analysis and insights on college outcomes, produces an annual list of best colleges for veterans and has ranked the College of Nursing and Health Innovation number one in the United States.

While those kinds of statistics are remarkable, and there are many more like that in the report, the substance behind them can be found across the programs in every discipline.

Cancer trap
UTA professor Liping Tang's research is focusing on a way to isolate cancer cells and treat them away from healthy tissue. UTA

Here’s some highlights:

In pursuit of health and the human condition, initiatives include research into aging, hypoxia and cancer; blood vessel function; lessening chemotherapy’s side effects; and cardiovascular issues in older adults.

A NIH grant of $3.3 million is funding a study of the link between fat storage in the heart and cardiovascular disease as well as the influence of gender on the development of cardiac dysfunction.

Building sustainable urban communities focuses on planning and policy, assessing existing infrastructure, energy conservation, keeping water safe, assessing effects of environmental stressors, and studies of asthma in North Central Texas.

The UTA Research Institution is working with a $1 million agreement with NASA developing state-of-the-art computational methodologies to predict the strength and life of rotor blade assemblies.

Then there is a five-year, $7.3 million national initiative the university is leading to develop the next-generation space weather simulator capable of predicting energy distributions during space weather events like solar flares with unprecedented accuracy.

Nurturing student entrepreneurs through innovative programs where students discuss topics related to starting and building a business, marketing, crafting a pitch, and company structure have resulted in 15 student-led start-ups created over just the past year.

Following the model of the hit television series, UTA has developed its own Shark Tank in the College of Business. Students, competing for a $10,000 prize and the opportunity to turn their ideas into a reality, have just two minutes to share their concept to a panel of judges, investors, and venture capitalists.

The next big ribbon cutting will come around this fall with the opening of the $125 million Science and Engineering Innovation and Research building — promising to be the signature space for life and health science research.

Of all the reasons to celebrate the good fortune of our region as home to UT Arlington, details of all the programs and the world-class array of faculty and staff serving a diverse and promising body of students can be found on the institution’s extensive website.

Take a look, I promise you will like what you find there.

Richard Greene is a former Arlington mayor, served as an appointee of President George W. Bush as regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency and lectures at UT Arlington.