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Faculty Researchers

UNT Welcomes

New Experts

A new group of distinguished researchers and senior-level faculty joined the University of North Texas in 2011, drawn to its collaborative environment and focus on pushing the boundaries of innovative research, scholarship and creativity.

Many of the new faculty members have national and international reputations as leaders and innovators and bring expertise in the sciences, music, engineering and other fields. Some were hired specifically to join the university's research clusters, interdisciplinary collaborations addressing complex scientific, technological, environmental and societal problems.

Their experience as dedicated researchers and mentors translates into excellent teaching and learning for students. From August 2011 through January 2012, UNT hired 62 new faculty members, including 12 professors, seven associate professors and 22 assistant professors. The following provides a snapshot of new faculty members throughout the university.

Rajeev Azad

Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences and Mathematics, Member of the Signaling Mechanisms in Plants Research Cluster

Rajeev Azad

Azad's research interests include bioinformatics, computational genomics, metagenomics, microbial genome evolution and genomic structural variations. Formerly a research assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University and the University of Pittsburgh, he studied bacterial gene transfer and structural variations in human genomes in projects funded by the National Institutes of Health. His recent studies have focused on detection of alien genes in microbial genomes and copy number polymorphisms in human genomes. His work has been published in Nucleic Acids Research, Molecular Biology and Evolution, and Bioinformatics, among other publications.

Stevens Brumbley

Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, Member of the Renewable Bioproducts Research Cluster

Stevens Brumbley

Well-known for his expertise in plant metabolic engineering, Brumbley joined UNT to develop new technologies for the production of industrial fine and bulk chemicals such as bioplastics and bioplastic precursors from biological rather than petrochemical resources. He is developing a model system for engineering high biomass C4 grasses such as sugarcane, sorghum and Miscanthus and is doing gene discovery work in algae. Brumbley was a senior research fellow and project leader of the Sugarcane Metabolic Engineering Group at the University of Queensland Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, where he is completing a project funded by a $2.4 million grant from the Australian Research Council. The project focuses on the metabolic engineering of sugarcane for the production of bioplastics that are biodegradable.

Barrett Bryant

Professor and Chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering

Barrett Bryant

Bryant is working to make software development more efficient and reliable. His research interests — compiler design, component-based software engineering and programming languages — all share the goal of applying new computer languages and techniques that will help automate the software engineering process. Bryant has been principal investigator or co-principal investigator on research grants totaling more than $9.3 million from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and other organizations. He also has published more than 140 refereed articles. He has served as an Association for Computing Machinery Distinguished Lecturer and received multiple teaching awards at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he was professor and associate chair of the Department of Computer and Information Sciences.

Dane Crossley

Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, Member of the Developmental Integrative Biology Research Cluster

Dane Crossley

Crossley examines and compares birds, reptiles and amphibians for patterns in maturation and the consequences of environmental stress. He has taught courses in Brazil and collaborated with a Danish scientist on studying the impact of alligators' elevated metabolic states on cardiorespiratory function following feeding or exercise. He earned his doctorate from UNT and previously worked at the University of North Dakota and Portland State University. He has received more than $1.59 million in funding for his research from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation CAREER award. His findings have been published in the American Journal of Physiology, The Journal of Experimental Biology and Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, among other publications.

Francis D'Souza

Professor of Chemistry and Materials Science and Engineering, Member of the Bio/Nano-Photonics Research Cluster

Francis D'Souza

D'Souza is an expert in electrochemistry, supramolecular and nanomaterials, optoelectronics and chemical sensor technology. He focuses on fabricating light-to-electricity conversion devices and the splitting of water to produce hydrogen fuel. Other projects target selective detection of chemicals and biochemicals of environmental, societal, security and health concern. He also studies the use of composite carbon nanomaterials for energy storage devices. Since 2005, he has received grants totaling $1.4 million from the National Science Foundation and the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund. He is a co-editor of Handbook of Carbon Nanomaterials and associate editor of the Journal of the Electrochemical Society, Electrochemical and Solid State Letters and the Journal of Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines. He is a fellow of the Electrochemical Society.

B.H. Fairchild

Professor of English

B.H. Fairchild

A renowned American poet, Fairchild turned his experiences as a child of a machinist growing up in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas into award-winning work. He has written six major collections of poetry, including Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest, which won the 2004 National Book Critics Circle Award, and The Art of the Lathe, which was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1997. He also has won the PEN Center USA West Poetry Award, the Bobbitt National Prize from the Library of Congress and the Arthur Rense Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, among others. His poems have been published in The New Yorker, Paris Review, Yale Review, Ploughshares and Sewanee Review, and he has received fellowships from the Rockefeller and Guggenheim foundations and the National Endowment of the Arts.

Gary A. Glass

Professor of Physics, Director of the Ion Beam Modification and Analysis Laboratory

Gary A. Glass

Glass uses high energy focused ion beams as nanometer-sized probes to analyze and manipulate materials at the nanoscale. In his current research, funded by the National Science Foundation, he is working to develop electrostatic lenses for focusing of high energy heavy ions or atom clusters. He holds a patent for a special magnetic lens focusing system for charged particle accelerators that has very strong focusing but also the unique ability to act as a zoom lens. He also is conducting microanalysis of biological tissue to determine drug delivery effectiveness and is researching microlithography of silicon and next generation electronic materials. He has received more than $8.4 million in funding from agencies including the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and U.S. Department of Energy. He is associate editor of Radiation Effects and Defects in Solids: Incorporating Plasma Science and Plasma Technology.

Michael Hedrick

Professor of Biological Sciences, Member of the Developmental Integrative Biology Research Cluster

Michael Hedrick

With funding from the National Science Foundation, Hedrick is using amphibians to examine lymph movement to better understand the evolutionary physiology of terrestrial vertebrates. In a previous 13-year project funded by $1.3 million from the National Institutes of Health, he used amphibians to examine how the brain generates breathing and changes during development. Amphibians are the only models in which the mechanisms can be studied at all developmental stages. Hedrick served as chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at California State University at East Bay. His findings have been published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, Journal of Comparative Physiology, Physiological and Biochemical Zoology and Respiratory Physiology and Neurobiology.

Jaime Jiménez

Professor of Biological Sciences and Philosophy and Religion Studies, Member of the Sub-Antarctic Ecosystems and Biocultural Conservation Research Cluster

Jaime Jiménez

Jiménez is a leading expert on wildlife conservation and environmental studies in the sub-Antarctic region of Chile. Holding a joint appointment in biological sciences and in philosophy and religion studies, he is the senior ecologist in the Sub-Antarctic Ecosystems and Biocultural Conservation cluster. The world-recognized research team collaborates with private agencies and government officials for long-term biocultural conservation in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve. Jiménez previously worked at the Universidad de Los Lagos in Chile. His research focuses on conserving critically endangered species, such as chinchillas, Darwin's fox and pudu deer. He is studying the migration of forest birds and the ecology of the Magellanic woodpecker on the Cape Horn.

Alexandra G. Ponette-González

Assistant Professor of Geography

Alexandra G. Ponette-González

Ponette-González, a biophysical geographer, is interested in understanding how global land-use and climate change affect water and nutrient cycling in natural and managed ecosystems. She has conducted research examining treeline changes in the northern Peruvian Andes and increasing atmospheric deposition in the Sierra Madre mountains of Mexico. She has given presentations at conferences across the U.S., Mexico, Peru and Nicaragua, and her findings have been published in Global Change Biology, Ecological Applications, Land Use Policy and Ethnobiology Letters. Her funding includes a National Science Foundation Minority Postdoctoral Research Fellowship and grants from NASA, the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society and the Fulbright Commission. She is interested in increasing diversity in science and in working with students from underrepresented groups and countries.

James Ryon

Professor of Instrumental Studies

James Ryon

As an oboist, Ryon has recorded three CDs, worked with the band Emerson, Lake and Palmer and presented recitals and solo performances in the U.S., South and Central America and the Middle East. For 19 years, he was a member of the Solaris Quintet at the University of Akron, where he served as professor of oboe. He also was a professor at Louisiana State University and has taught at the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory, the University of South Florida and the Caracas Philharmonic Conservatory. He is the principal oboist of the Baton Rouge Symphony and served in that position with the Akron Symphony, the Florida Orchestra, the Orquesta Filarmonica de Caracas and the Orchestra Estadual de Minas Gerais. His research in Brazilian music led him to organize and perform in festivals promoting the music of Brazil and to establish a Brazilian music collection at the University of Akron.

Laura Siebeneck

Assistant Professor of Public Administration

Laura Siebeneck

Siebeneck researches ways to improve the reactions of households and first responders in emergencies — especially in hurricane and wildfire-prone areas — during the evacuation and return-entry processes. She is interested in hazards, emergency management and geographic information systems, focusing on the geographic and temporal dimensions of household decision-making during disasters. While working as a research assistant at the Center for Natural and Technological Hazards at the University of Utah, she received a Quick Response Research Grant from the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado to study risk perception and communication during the 2008 floods in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Her work has been published in the International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, and Natural Hazards Review and is forthcoming in Risk Analysis.

Xun Yu

Associate Professor of Mechanical and Energy Engineering

Xun Yu

Yu's research projects include a self-sensing concrete pavement, enhanced with carbon nanotubes, which resists cracks and detects traffic flow — a device named as one of the "25 New Technologies for Future Infrastructures" by Popular Science magazine in 2010. He is developing a noise cancellation device for medical instruments in order to reduce the risks of hearing loss in pre-term infants and a car steering wheel sensor that detects sleepiness in motorists. He also shares a patent for a transparent thin film acoustic transducer. Yu has received $2.1 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Transportation, and his work has appeared in more than 20 publications, including Smart Materials and Structures and Nanotechnology.

Departments

President's Note

Transformative research and education

Initiatives

Student research and sustainability

Awards

Timoshenko Medal, ACS awards, international leadership

News Briefs

I-Corps, black holes, new clusters, Lone Star Professor

Faculty Researchers

Experts in engineering, computer science, poetry, environmental studies, instrumental studies

Student Researchers

Mercury legislation, math algorithms, library education, media ethics, neuroscience, consumer behavior

Faculty Books

Politics, natural language processing, sociology

End Note

Research momentum and support

Web page last updated or revised: March 15, 2012
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