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University of North Texas Resource Magazine online

Research, Scholarship & the Arts at the University of North Texas

News briefs

No Smoking

unFILTERed 2.0, a CD-ROM that provides an interactive learning experience designed to teach young people about the effects of smoking, is considered a "must see" in middle schools across Texas.

The CD, which was created collaboratively by the UNT visual communication design program and the Department of Rehabilitation, Social Work and Addictions, was supported by more than $500,000 in state grants from the Nursing, Allied Health and Other Health-Related Education Grant Program and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

After a year in Texas schools, the CD is now being shared with middle school educators in Hawaii, Missouri, Minnesota and South Dakota. unFILTERed has been cited for its design excellence by the American Institute of Graphic Arts, the College Art Association, the International Institute for Information Design and the Dallas Society of Visual Communications.

Flying high

Monty Smith, Ph.D., assistant professor of engineering technology, was selected to participate in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Faculty Fellowship Program at the Ames Research Center in California. He worked closely with NASA colleagues to improve the capability of tiny airborne rotorcraft surveillance equipment.

Smith's research in controlling maneuvers in rotorcraft considers nonlinear effects, a method that has been successfully applied to fixed-wing short takeoffs and vertical-landings but is more difficult to implement on rotorcraft. Applications for the research extend beyond conventional flight vehicles to military
platforms such as rocket launchers and missiles.



Engineer Ron Ogan, M.S., Dallas section chair of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc., and Elias Kougianos, Ph.D., UNT assistant professor of engineering technology, have teamed up to offer UNT engineering students real-life experiences in developing radio-frequency identification (RFID) — the latest technology for tracking items.

The new technology, which Ogan says is replacing bar codes, uses a computer chip that stores unique identifying information for inventory or tracking purposes.

UNT students created a transmitter that could scan the chip in an RFID tag as far away as 30 feet. Kougianos says the experience should prepare them to develop even better technology for the future.


Body armor

To better protect soldiers and law enforcement personnel, Rick Reidy, Ph.D., asso- ciate professor of materials science and engineering, is developing a lightweight soft body-armor vest — a flak jacket — that stiffens upon impact from high-velocity projectiles.

Current protection against assault weapons, which uses large stiff steel or ceramic plates inside vests, can be heavy and hinder movement. Using a different design concept, Reidy and two professors from Johns Hopkins University have developed vests that will provide more flexibility and greater protection than contemporary jackets.

Reidy describes the new jackets as "dragon-scale armor" made up of overlapping ceramic composite discs within polymer layers that stiffen during impact. The project, currently in the research and development stage, was named the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory 2003 Invention of the Year for Physical Science.


Musicians' health

For the first time ever, professional musicians and music educators will gather with medical and allied health professionals this fall to develop a way to educate college music students about the health risks associated with performance. The Texas Center for Music and Medicine will present the nation's first Health Promotion in Schools of Music Conference Sept. 30 through Oct. 2 (

With the conference, organized in partnership with the Performing Arts Medical Association, researchers seek to integrate health promotion concepts and materials into the more than 500 schools of music accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. NASM has served as a consultant on the project, which is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the International Foundation for Music Research, the National Association of Music Merchants and the Scott Foundation.

Directors of the Texas Center for Music and Medicine are Kris Chesky, Ph.D., UNT research assistant professor in the College of Music, and Bernard Rubin, D.O., professor of internal medicine and chief of rheumatology at the UNT Health Science Center at Fort Worth.


Plant physiology

Brian Ayre, Ph.D., assistant professor of biological sciences, is conducting plant physiology research that could help increase food, wood and textile production as well as provide a greater understanding about plant metabolism.


A National Science Foundation grant is supporting the research of Brian Ayre, assistant professor of biological sciences. His plant physiology research could help increase food, wood and textile production.

He was recently awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation for his research, which uses molecular biology to determine how plants transport sugars — the building blocks for growth and fruit production.

Ayre introduces the plant material to be studied into a mustard plant, which serves as a genetic model, to trace the path of sugars through the plant. His research aims to speed up fruit production and improve the quality of plants by improving transport of sugars.


At the UNT Laboratory of Advanced Polymers and Optimized Materials, scientists are working to meet industry and consumer demands for better plastics.

Witold Brostow, Ph.D., Regents Professor of materials science and engineering, leads an international research team to improve the properties of existing materials and create new ones that are scratch-resistant, have low friction, survive high temperatures and can sustain great impacts.

To advance polymeric research, Brostow coordinates an annual world forum, attended by researchers from more than 50 countries, known as the POLYCHAR Conference (

In 2004, POLYCHAR-12 was held in Guimaraes, Portugal, where experimental, theoretical and computer simulation work was presented. POLYCHAR-13 is planned for Singapore in 2005.


Dorian Gray

UNT's College of Music presented the world premiere of Hans Schaeuble's opera Dorian Gray this spring. Faculty members created scores working from Schaeuble's handwritten orchestrations.

With a $64,000 grant and performance rights from the Hans Schaeuble Foundation in Switzerland, the College of Music set out four years ago to make opera history. This past spring, when the Opera Theatre and Symphony Orchestra presented the world premiere of Schaeuble's magnum opus — a full-length opera masterpiece based on Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray — it succeeded.

Originally penned in 1948, Dorian Gray the opera could have remained in the foundation's vaults for another generation if not for the dedication of Stephen Dubberly, D.M.A., associate professor of music; Timothy Jackson, Ph.D., associate professor of music; and Paula Homer, M.M., professor of music. Working from Schaeuble's handwritten orchestrations, the team created vocal and symphonic scores.

The performance was also recorded, which means that UNT's students will forever be listed as the world-premiere cast.


Welch Chair

New building — Advancing toward its long-time goal to provide state-of-the-art chemistry laboratories for both teaching and research, UNT is opening a new Chemistry Building this fall. Chemistry research groups, classrooms and teaching labs, which have been scattered across campus, will be in the new 105,000-square-foot building, which is opening in two phases. The second phase is planned to be completed in 2005.

Foundation provided $1 million while various contributors offered $1 million in matching funds to establish a $2 million endowment for the Welch Chair.

Borden is recognized internationally for his expertise in computational chemistry — research in which computers are used to explain and predict the properties of molecules and the rates of their reactions. He is slated to begin work at UNT on Nov. 1 when his research group will move into laboratory facilities in UNT's new Chemistry Building.


Lewis and Clark

From 1997 to 2002, Brent W. Phelps, M.F.A., associate professor of visual arts, made an extensive photographic survey of the trans-Mississippi route explored by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark from 1804 to 1806.

The work from Phelps' journey will be on display in the exhibition Brent Phelps: Photographing the Lewis and Clark Trail from Sept. 25 to Jan. 2 at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth (

Phelps located sites visited by the expedition and photographed the locales during the same seasons and under weather conditions similar to those recorded by the explorers. The artist's color panoramas range in length from 3 to 6 feet.

The exhibition, organized by the Amon Carter Museum in conjunction with the nation's bicentennial commemoration of the Lewis and Clark expedition, will juxtapose selected journal passages with the photographs, highlighting 200 years of change and drawing dramatic and often ironic parallels between the past and the present.


Medical informatics

With a recruitment grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the medical informatics program in the UNT School of Library and Information Sciences, in collaboration with the Texas A&M Medical Sciences Library, is creating a program to recruit people into biomedical sciences information management careers. Typically, people in the field serve as librarians and researchers for health care professionals.

Fellowships to attend graduate school in medical informatics at UNT will be offered to the top achievers in an online course for UNT pre-med students and Texas A&M health and kinesiology students interested in the field.

Ana Cleveland, Ph.D., professor of library and information sciences, is the director of UNT's medical informatics program.


Mapping waste

Terrance Pohlen, Ph.D., assistant professor of marketing and logistics, is employing newly developed supply chain mapping techniques to study the disposal of a product no one wants — hazardous waste.

His research examines the reverse supply chain used for hazardous waste, from its generation at major manufacturing or chemical companies to its incineration or disposal in hazardous landfills. The new mapping techniques will help determine where opportunities exist to reduce costs and improve performance, safety and compliance across the supply chain.


Women's study

Female high school students in Dallas County have a higher dropout rate than the national percentage, according to a study coordinated by UNT's Center for Economic Development and Research. Bernard Weinstein, Ph.D., professor of applied economics, is director of the center.

Funded by the Dallas Women's Foundation, the survey included information gathered from 1,250 women and 400 middle school and high school girls in Dallas County and the 2000 U.S. census. The findings showed that while 92 percent of the mothers surveyed said they expected their adolescent daughters to enter college, 25.2 percent of Dallas County's female population in 2000 were high school dropouts, compared to the national dropout rate of 19.6 percent.

Excerpts from the study can be found online at


Global consumers

Internationally, America has become to casual clothing what Italy is to formal wear — the paradigm of high fashion for Generation Y. Generation Y consumers are in the age range of 18 to 24.

A research team from UNT and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville is studying why America has gained such prestige for its jeans and casual shirts in countries such as Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, China, India and Mexico.

The interdisciplinary study includes UNT researchers Delores Knight, Ph.D., assistant professor of merchandising and hospitality management; Judith Forney, Ph.D., professor and dean of the School of Merchandising and Hospitality Management; and Louis Pelton, Ph.D., associate professor of marketing and logistics. The project was funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.



Improving the educational achievement of Hispanic students of the Dallas Independent School District is a priority of UNT's Project PATHS — Participation and Training in Health Science.

To be conducted from 2004 to 2007, the program will promote education and careers related to health and science. It is conducted in partnership with the UNT Health Science Center at Fort Worth, and North Dallas High School and Molina High School in Dallas.

Allen Jackson, Ed.D., Regents Professor of kinesiology, health promotion and recreation and co-principal investigator for the project, says that while Hispanic students are the principal target participants, all students in North Dallas and Molina high schools may participate.

PATHS is funded by a grant from the National Center for Research Services of the National Institutes of Health.