UTSA and Oak Ridge National Laboratory nurture research partnerships

UTSA researchers

UTSA researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee (from left): Taeg Nishimoto, Jeffrey Kantor, Clare Cloudt, Hazem Rashed-Ali and Carlos Garcia

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(Aug. 31, 2011) -- A group of representatives from The University of Texas at San Antonio traveled to Oak Ridge, Tenn., this summer to establish partnerships with researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the U.S. Department of Energy's largest science and engineering research laboratory. UTSA and ORNL are expected to forge partnerships in sustainability, nanomaterials and computational biology.

Five UTSA representatives traveled to ORNL including Jeffrey Kantor, senior associate vice president for research development; Taeg Nishimoto, associate dean of the College of Architecture; Hazem Rashed-Ali, assistant professor of architecture; Carlos Garcia, associate professor of chemistry, and graduate student Clare Cloudt. The trip was made possible through UTSA's membership in Oak Ridge Affiliated Universities (ORAU). UTSA became a member of ORAU based on the expansion of the university's research program.

While in Tennessee, UTSA and ORNL representatives discussed building renovation projects, solar projects and guest lecturers from the ONRL Energy Sustainability Group. ONRL's Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences provided UTSA guests with a tour of its facility, where researchers use a multidisciplinary approach to study nanomaterials and related phenomena. UTSA also established connections with the ONRL Computational Biology group.

To support UTSA, the ORAU University Partnerships Office provided UTSA with a letter of support for a research proposal Garcia submitted to the National Science Foundation. The letter praises UTSA's biosensors research and commits to helping UTSA identify opportunities for research collaboration at the ORNL Center for Nanophase Materials Science.

"The people we met at Oak Ridge were extremely positive," said Kantor. "They were very open to the possibility of developing new research collaborations with us. We look forward to watching this relationship mature and expect it to bring great benefits to UTSA students and faculty in science and engineering."

Robert Gracy, UTSA vice president for research, said UTSA's partnership with Oak Ridge is a prime example of the type of relationship UTSA needs in order to become a nationally recognized research university.

"Partnerships like the one we are developing at Oak Ridge and those we have established with Southwest Research Institute, Texas Biomed and the Health Science Center are critical for achieving Tier One," said Gracy. "Each organization has its own strengths, but together we can address questions and fuel discoveries that will advance society's well-being."