UNT Research, Volume 18, 2009 Page: 5
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i n i t i a t i v e s
UNT i() INVESI Xlii.iiONS
IN BUILDING RESEARCII
The University of North Texas is set
to invest at least $25 million in multidisci-
plinary collaborative research in a sweeping
effort to strengthen Texas' economy and
create solutions to address today's most
The initiative, which begins this year with
the development of six collaborative clusters,
will enhance and expand the innovative
research already in progress at UNT by
bringing together faculty from across colleges
and disciplines to work together, exchange
ideas and explore solutions.
In another key component of the invest-
ment, the university will hire several new
faculty members, including many senior-level
researchers with national and international
"We're focusing our investment in areas
that will produce results," Provost Wendy
K. Wilkins says. "UNT will be the leader
in these areas, and we're confident enough
of our ability to succeed that we are willing
to invest millions of dollars."
Among the clusters' wide-ranging and
high-profile initiatives, researchers will
discover more effective ways to treat con-
ditions such as autism, cancer and heart
disease; develop more durable materials
for jet engines; investigate molecular plant
signals that could lead to innovations in
areas such as agriculture and medicine; and
explore new ways to support and improve
By investing in known areas of excellence,
UNT will use its existing research efforts to
stimulate further growth and build nation-
ally and internationally recognized research
programs. The first six clusters are:
* Bio/nano photonics, to explore how
light can be used in extremely small
dimensions to develop new nano-
devices with applications in medicine,
communications, energy and a number
of other fields.
UN I resident bretcheln M. Batailli
$25 million in multidisciplinary collaborative research.
* Materials modeling, to produce pre-
dictive tools for creating next-generation
materials that will help scientists reduce
greenhouse gas in the environment,
develop better materials to lengthen the
life of jet engines and discover new
therapies for serious battlefield injuries.
* Developmental physiology and genetics,
to explore developmental biology at the
molecular, cellular and physiological
levels, which will contribute to scientific
advances for human conditions such
as tissue trauma, clotting disorders and
* Signaling mechanisms in plants, to
study the molecular signals of plants
that control growth, crop yield, defense
against pathogens and responses to
stress. Advances in understanding of
plant metabolism have stimulated new
technologies in agriculture, human
nutrition and medicine. The cluster
will work closely with the Noble
Foundation in Ardmore, Okla., a lead-
ing research group in this field.
* Autism spectrum disorders, to expand
field-based research and training
programs in education, behavior analysis
and learning technologies for autism,
which affects I percent of children, or
about 800,000, each year in the United
* Advanced research in technology and the
arts, to investigate the ways advances in
sensor technologies and other engineering
innovations can change and enhance the
production and delivery of art.
Two additional areas of interdisciplin-
ary research will receive seed funding to
encourage further development:
* Human health and sustainable environ-
ment, which will focus on how
environmental risks accumulate and
* Multi-scale damage, lifetime predic-
tion and design of materials, which will
focus on damage caused by aging in
various physical materials in hopes of
creating new, more resilient materials
for aerospace applications, automobiles
and prosthetic devices.
"We are very committed to expanding
UNT's research contributions," says
Vishwanath "Vish" Prasad, vice president
for research and economic development.
"This initiative will attract premier research
faculty to UNT and allow us to dramati-
cally improve our already significant
contributions to advances in knowledge as
well as our research funding."
UNT RESEARCH SPRING zo2009
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University of North Texas. UNT Research, Volume 18, 2009, periodical, 2009; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115032/m1/5/: accessed March 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting University Relations, Communications & Marketing department for UNT.