The University of Texas at Arlington‘s Shimadzu Institute for Research Technologies continues to expand its offerings to students and researchers. The university recently announced a major merger between the school’s Nanotechnology Center and the Shimadzu Institute in a bid to further centralize research efforts on the campus. Now, UT Arlington has announced that it will open two new, state-of-the-art teaching laboratories at the Shimadzu Institute during this year’s fall term, according to a recent press release.
The new labs join the Center for Bio-Molecular Imaging as part of a $25.2 million investment in the Shimadzu Institute’s expansion. Once both of these new facilities are established, it will give students and faculty six distinct learning and research centers, all of which will benefit from being able to share instrumentation, innovations, and research in a multi-disciplinary environment. The wealth of technology also puts UT Arlington in a unique position to support research and development across the U.S. and attract outside investments, thanks in large part to Shimadzu Corp. in the United States, who has helped to establish the Institute as a leader in leveraging the widest range of research instruments available.
“Our students will learn through experience with instrumentation not available at universities elsewhere in the world,” said Carolyn Cason, UT Arlington vice president for research. “The Shimadzu Institute is not only a resource for private business, but is also an educational hub that will prepare our next generation of researchers, scientists and innovators.”
UT Arlington and Shimadzu Corp. have quickly and aggressively expanded the Shimadzu Institute’s presence and infrastructure, having only established the Institute earlier this year, with the support of an initial $7.5 million gift from Shimadzu Scientific Instruments. Considering that Shimadzu Corp. boasts worldwide sales of $3 billion annually,they are well-positioned to fund and equip such a facility.
Rather than being solely a university-based research center, however, the plan for the Shimadzu Institute is to merge research with education. The faculty, led by Director Joe A. Barrera, seeks to plan projects, “. . . that will put Shimadzu instrumentation in the hands of a variety of undergraduates – from nursing and biology students studying basic chemistry to future engineers and chemistry majors headed toward careers in drug development, epidemiology or food science. In addition, a $50,000 portion of the Shimadzu gift was designated to establish the Shimadzu Undergraduate Research Excellence or SURE Fund. That will be used to support innovative models in undergraduate research,” according to a UT Arlington press release. This initiative will help Shimadzu to familiarize a new generation of researchers with their own instrumentation, and give UT Arlington students an opportunity to participate in critical biotech and life sciences research, even in the early stages of their education.
This fall, undergraduate enrollment in chemistry and biology classes that include lab components totals more than 4,500.
Jorge Rodrigues, an assistant professor of biology at UT Arlington whose work on bacterial diversity was recently published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, recognizes the unique opportunity that the Shimadzu Institute will offer UT Arlington students: “This is state-of-the-art education for our students. They’ll certainly have a competitive edge when interviewing for jobs or graduate school.”