By Andrew Smith
University News Service
November 11, 2013
Texas State University graduate student Travis Cantu was recently selected to attend the American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meeting and Exposition in Dallas March 16-23 to present his academic pursuits in reforming cancer treatment through biomedical polymer engineering.
Cantu’s research focuses on the creation of synthesized chemical polymers capable of conducting photo-thermal energy. Once injected into the body, the polymers travel to the site of cancerous growths and deliver concentrated bursts of heat and light, killing cancer cells. The localized treatment is a promising alternative to current chemotherapy regiments that flood the entire body with toxins and subject patients to severe, often painful side effects.
As an honorary speaker for the ACS’s Excellence in Graduate Polymer Research Symposium, Cantu will detail the findings of his work in a short presentation to fellow students, educators and companies from across the industry.
Professors Jennifer Irvin and Tania Betancourt of the university’s Material Science, Engineering and Commercialization (MSEC) Program and Associate Dean Thomas Myers provided Cantu with the necessary guidance and resources to conduct his research. The MSEC program is designed to help students refine their research into marketable technologies and services.
Cantu’s achievement exemplifies the important role of students in establishing Texas State as a major research university.
Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
October 22, 2013
Texas State University's Gary Beall, of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Bert Powell, of the Materials Science, Engineering and Commercialization Program, are co-recipients of the American Chemical Society's Cooperative Research Award in Polymer Science and Engineering.
The formal presentation will take place at the National American Chemical Society meeting in Dallas in the spring of 2014.
The national award recognizes significant developments in polymer materials that involved academic and industrial cooperation. Past recipients include Bob Waymouth of Stanford University and IBM and Rod Quirk of the University of Akron and Phillips Petroleum. The citation of the award reads, "For seminal contributions to the science and engineering of nanoclay-polymer nanocomposites which defined the concept of polymer nanocomposites for the community and established the foundation for global industrial enterprises."
Beall and Powell share this award with Emmanuel Giannelis of Cornell University. The body of work that is being recognized is based on the collaboration between Beall and Powell, while they were in private industry, and Cornell.
Posted by Jayme Blaschke
Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
November 15, 2012
Texas State University officially opened STAR One, the first building at the Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Park, Nov. 9.
STAR Park is a 38-acre site hosting Texas State’s first incubator building, STAR One. Dedicated to the university’s research and commercialization efforts, STAR One, a 20,000-square-foot facility, will serve as a technology incubator/accelerator for start-up and early-stage businesses, and will provide companies access to secure wet labs, clean space, conference room, office space and other university-provided services.
Texas State President Denise Trauth, Provost Gene Bourgeois, STAR Park Executive Director Stephen Frayser as well as area dignitaries were on hand for the event.
Institutions, like people, have to work hard to justify the confidence and loyalty of their friends and work constantly to maintain that trust.
If Texas State University were a person, it would be known as reliable, talented and intelligent but modest.
The institution's modesty has always been one of its most endearing traits. Texas State administration, faculty and students have netted honors and recognition but don't usually brag on themselves. They focus energy into doing.
The latest recognition is a big one. Last week, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board designated Texas State University as an emerging research university.
The designation means the San Marcos university is eligible to tap into a special state fund set up to bolster higher education research.
The recognition is one step below Tier 1 status, a designation enjoyed by the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University and Rice University.
The university's growth in the past 20 years has reflected the phenomenal Central Texas growth over the same period.
Texas State has been aggressive in its recruiting efforts in and out of the region. The institution has also been aggressive in achieving status as a Hispanic Serving Institution.
To earn the designation — and the federal money that comes with it — an institution's undergraduate enrollment must be at least 25 percent Hispanic.
To win recognition as an emerging research institution, institutions must offer a wide range of undergraduate and master's degree programs; serve a geographically diverse student population; award at least 20 doctoral degrees per year; and offer at least 10 doctoral programs.
Institutions also compete by raising money from donors. Money from the Texas Research Incentive Program is proportionate to how much institutions raise from their donors. The incentive fund's appropriation for the current fiscal year is $35.6 million.
Donor generosity is one way of measuring an institution's ability to inspire loyalty.
According to statistics ranking seniors' satisfaction with Texas' top 10 public universities, 91 percent of Texas State's seniors rated their experience as good or excellent.
Even though Texas State has a lot to brag about — including being the only Texas institution of higher learning to produce a president of the United States — it rarely does. Founded in 1903, Southwest Texas State Teachers' College was 27 years old when Lyndon B. Johnson graduated with a degree and headed off to a teaching job in South Texas.
On hearing the news about Texas State's designation as an emerging research institution, state Sen. Judith Zaffirini declared, "Wonderful. Bravo. It's about time." Zaffirini, D-Laredo, leads the senate's Higher Education Committee.
Texas State deserves that accolade and many more.
The people who are the university have more than earned them. More importantly, however, they are on the way to earning many more.
The new Star Park facility, located on a 38-acre site at Hunter Road and McCarty Lane in San Marcos owned by the university, will provide university and commercial tenants access to secure wet labs, clean rooms and office space. Green and bio-technology companies will be a major focus, and backers hope that San Marcos' convenient location between Austin and San Antonio will work to attract corporate research interest from those cities' technology communities.
Texas State has established the Center or Research Commercialization to provide an effective interface between industry, government and academia. The center will be used to launch high-tech start-ups related to the university’s Advanced Materials Laboratory and other significant research programs at Texas State.
Interdisciplinary partnership will be a major selling point of the facilities, incorporating expertise from the McCoy College of Business Administration and the Materials Science, Engineering and Commercialization program at Texas State.
The project, designed by Philo Wilke Architects of Houston, has an estimated cost of approximately $7 million, with funding coming from Higher Education Assistance Funds, an Economic Development Administration grant and the City of San Marcos. American Constructors of Austin has been selected to manage the project.
A partnership between Texas State University-San Marcos and the City of San Marcos has landed a $1.85 million award from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) in support of the new Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) building.
The grant funds the construction of a state-of-the-art research and commercialization center at Texas State through the Office of Commercialization and Industrial Relations (OCIR).
This project will attract corporate research on alternative energy projects and establish San Marcos as a place for university graduates to find high tech careers.
The new facility will serve as a technology accelerator for start-up and early-stage businesses, and will provide university and STAR tenants access to secure wet labs, clean rooms and office space. Green and bio-technology companies will be a major focus, and backers hope that San Marcos' convenient location between Austin and San Antonio will work to attract corporate research interest from those cities' technology communities.
This building will house 'spin-offs' from research conducted and intellectual property generated by university faculty, and 'spin-ins' from companies outside the state that want to come in and strategically work with the university. Our mission is education with relevance, and this is expanding our university's research profile, and adding depth and breadth to our educational and research programs.
It will have clean room facilities for materials development and wet labs for small business start-ups in this region. The merging of semiconductor nanotechnology with biotechnology as a major opportunity for economic development in the state. Our location along the I-35 corridor is ideal for linking the large biotech/medical activities in San Antonio and the semiconductor community of Austin.
Interdisciplinary partnership will be a major selling point of the STAR facilities, incorporating expertise from the McCoy College of Business Administration and the Materials Science, Engineering and Commercialization program at Texas State.
The EDA awarded the grant through the Global Climate Change Mitigation Incentive Fund, which is intended to foster the green economy by promoting economic competitiveness while enhancing environmental quality.
By Kristina Kenney
University News Service
September 6, 2011
Texas State University-San Marcos Department of Engineering Technology was awarded $486,599 on Aug. 29 by the National Science Foundation. The grant took effect on Sept. 1 and will go toward helping fund an advanced materials research proposal for upgraded instrumentation over the next three years.
The Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) program was set up by the NSF to help universities upgrade various technological equipment and instrumentation for areas of advanced research, and Texas State has had a very high success rate with the competitive grants recently, winning several large awards in the last few years.
“It’s a good example of how Texas State is increasing its research profile,” said Thomas Myers, director of Materials Science, Engineering and Commercialization, and associate dean of science at Texas State. “In order to do state-of-the-art research, you have to have the correct set of tools. By getting external funding, we have managed to pull in millions of dollars worth of equipment.”
The proposal’s principle investigator is In-Hyouk Song, assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Technology, and co-principle investigators include Texas State’s Byoung Hee You, Edwin Piner, Hsing-Huang Tseng, Maggie Yihong Chen, Nikoleta Theodoropoulou and Gary Beall.
The particular piece of equipment that this award will help fund is called an Inductively Coupled Plasma-Reactive Ion Etching System, an advanced materials processing system which will allow researchers to define structures with very precise dimensions through innovative dry etching abilities. Such processing systems are crucial to the construction of newly developed and developing technological devices that continue to get smaller in size.
Myers said that the new system will be placed in the College of Science’s newly renovated clean room and will be used by many researchers across several different departments including engineering technology, physics and chemistry.
“It allows us to do cutting-edge research and to train students in cutting-edge research that otherwise would not have happened,” said Myers.
This most recent award from the NSF is one of the largest given to Texas State through the MRI program, being just slightly less than one for a scanning electron microscope two years ago. Myers said both awards were well above average for the NSF, and the honor should attest to the quality of research being done at Texas State.
Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
May 21, 2010
Materials science research at Texas State University-San Marcos will soon add a new scanning electron microscope (SEM) to its cutting-edge facilities.
The Board of Regents of the Texas State University System has authorized the purchase of a Helios NanoLab 400 DualBeam Scanning Electron Microscope from the FEI Company. The instrument normally sells for $2.2 million, but was negotiated to a lower level by the principal investigator of the NSF grant, Nikoleta Theodoropoulou of the physics department. The acquisition will be paid for by a combination of National Science Foundation grant funds, Higher Education Assistance funds, Semiconductor Initiative Special Item appropriations, Research Development appropriations and budgeted departmental operating funds.
"This is an important tool for us. It would be almost a show stopper for many of the things we do if we were not able to acquire this instrument," said Tom Myers, director of Materials Science, Engineering and Commercialization, and associate dean of science at Texas State. "For us it is a very fundamental tool. It's hard to do nanotechnology if you can't see, manipulate and build things at that level.
"We needed a very good SEM to see things at a nano scale. This gives us that capability we did not have before," he said. "But one reason we are excited about this acquisition is that it also gives us the ability to build structures with dimensions of only a few hundred atoms. For many of the new areas of research our faculty are exploring, this is an indispensable tool."
The National Science Foundation grant marks the sixth time in three years Texas State has won the backing of the foundation for expansion of its research capabilities, and represents an unprecedented run of success.
"That is highly unusual. And the win for the SEM, about three times larger than any previous NSF equipment grant, represents the maturation of what we're trying to do here. Others have recognized that Texas State is a significant player in this arena," Myers said. "We're getting validation from multiple parties of what we're trying to do."
This equipment will be used by the materials science engineering commercialization program as well as the faculty in chemistry and biochemistry, engineering, engineering technology and physics at Texas State, and will leverage the existing capabilities of the university's materials research center, Myers said. The electron microscope has electron beam lithography and other advanced processing and characterization capabilities, including Focused Ion Beam technology, putting Texas State's microscopy capabilities on par with those of other state universities such as the University of Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.
"Electron beam lithography is not that uncommon, but now we have a built-in focused ion beam milling. We can use that to make samples or mill structures directly," Myers said. "We can make structures in-situ. Plus we also have an ultra-high-precision stage, so when we put it all together, it gives us unique capability in the state.
"This is a top of the line instrument," he said. "The opportunities it gives us for new faculty research opportunities are tremendous… it's an investment in our future that will reward us far more than most people realize."
Texas State University in San Marcos is out of space, but $633 million worth of construction slated to take place in the coming years will make room for more students.
Last semester, thousands more students enrolled at the university. And demand is so high for on-campus housing that Texas State is conducting a dormitory lottery for upperclassmen next semester.
“We are absolutely one of the fastest-growing universities at 30,800 students,” Texas State President Denise Trauth said. “To grow by 2,500 students [over a semester] is very rapid growth, and I think it shows the demand for our programs.”
The growing university has been moving forward with expansion projects and renovations that will eventually position it to enroll more students in academic programs such as engineering, materials science and consumer sciences.
Everywhere you look, development at the university, which is the middle of its 10-year master plan, is starting to heat up. In the past couple of years about $109 million has been invested to expand the campus. But that’s only about one-sixth of what the university has in the pipeline.
Texas State has four major projects under construction, including a new family and consumer sciences building in San Marcos and a nursing building in Round Rock. This year, it will break ground on a new undergraduate academic center and a recital hall and theater renovation.
Meanwhile, multiple projects being planned are awaiting funding, including a $56.7 million music building and an $82 million engineering and science building in San Marcos, and two health professions buildings in Round Rock that would have a combined price tag of about $80 million.
The next project to get under way at Texas State will be a $4 million to $5 million research and commercialization center. Funding for the center is in place, and the university will be issuing a request for proposals for land planning in the next few weeks. The site for the commercialization center is just south of campus, at McCarty Lane and Hunter Road.
Additionally, the university will seek regents’ approval for a $47 million housing residence hall complex, which will have about 600 beds. Given enrollment increases, there is a huge need for on-campus housing, Trauth said.
Unlike the other projects, the residence complex would not require funding from the Texas Legislature because it would be funded by revenue from residence halls.
The planned commercialization center will assist the university in its effort to become a top research university in Texas.
“We have a responsibility to continue to grow and become a research university,” Trauth said. “That will take some time, but that is the ultimate goal. The master plan supports that vision.”
The commercialization center would house the materials science program, an interdisciplinary program that consists of engineering, physics, chemistry and other disciplines.
The center also would link faculty and entrepreneurs with cutting-edge research with the goal of spinning out inventions and startup companies. The university is looking closely at research involving energy, security and health.
Amy Madison, economic development director for the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce, said the city has taken a special interest in the commercialization center.
The center “will allow us to bring that [commercialization] effort forward, not only for our own businesses and community, but also for businesses that we can recruit to our area,” Madison said. “Texas State University is an economic engine for the city of San Marcos. Obviously, their expansion only increases that capacity for our city.”
Trauth said Texas State hasn’t decided how much it would like to increase capacity, only that it wants to accommodate Texas’ growing population for years to come.
According to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the university uses 100 percent of its space.
One of its fastest-growing programs is the engineering department. Launched in 2007, the school’s inaugural electrical engineering class anticipated 25 students but had 90.
“We believe there is a great deal of pent-up demand for baccalaureate engineering programs here in Central Texas,” Trauth said. “And we really believe it’s the job of Texas State University to step up to that. But we can’t do that until we get the funding for a building.”
Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
October 15, 2009
Texas State University-San Marcos has partnered with Arizona-based MicroPower Global to develop cutting-edge "green energy" technology.
The partnership, facilitated by the Texas Emerging Technology Fund and the Innovate Texas Foundation, will initially see MicroPower carry out its 12-month prototype development plan using the new Multifunctional Materials Laboratory at Texas State.
"Our investment through the Texas Emerging Technology Fund has helped create partnerships like those between Texas State University and MicroPower, and is moving Texas forward by developing cutting edge technology that will continue to enhance our state's global competitiveness and eventually introducing these technologies into the marketplace," said Texas Governor Rick Perry.
The idea is to build on a technology already planned for the 2010 BMW 5 Series, which converts heat into electricity for the car's air-conditioning and other power systems. MicroPower believes that the work it will perform in Texas will yield new efficiencies that will in turn open up huge new applications, such as heat recovery from jet engines. The plan is expected to bring at least 28 jobs to Texas and to participate in a potential $330 billion market.
“Thanks to the leadership of Gov. Perry and the Texas Legislature for their investment from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund in this research center, we are able to partner with Texas State University and are pleased to be working together in Texas toward developing this cutting edge technology.” said MicroPower Chairman Max Lewinsohn, who helped finance the development of the company’s technology from the outset. “It is clear Texas State has much to offer with their first-class research expertise and facilities and a strong desire to see technologies commercialized. We hope to strengthen our relationship with the university as we work to eventually introduce this breakthrough technology into the marketplace.”
An Energy Revolution in Texas
During the initial phase, MicroPower aims to build its first thermoelectric-chalcogenide based chips, a device that can convert heat directly into electricity, leading to significant energy savings. The chips' targeted efficiencies are in excess of 15 percent, or three times more efficient than the conventional material.
“Landing MicroPower with us in Texas is a direct result of the faculty talent and commercialization platform we have been able to assemble due to support from the Emerging Technology Fund and the vision of the university administration," said Terry Golding, director of the Center for Research Commercialization at Texas State.
Working with Texas State, MicroPower’s goal is to drive development toward the world’s first 20 percent efficient modules, which will revolutionize the thermoelectric market. In addition, the clean, green technology is expected to save energy, reduce harmful emissions and lead to the availability of substantial carbon credits.
"Having searched extensively for a suitable development facility, it was immediately clear Texas State was the perfect fit for MicroPower," said Ali Murdoch, MicroPower CEO. “As well as providing an ideal environment in which to complete this technology and grow the company, the support we have been afforded makes me extremely positive about MicroPower’s long-term future in Texas.”
Further cementing the relationship is the agreement in principle for MicroPower to relocate operations to the Interstate 35 corridor. MicroPower would be a key early tenant of the off-campus commercialization center, developed by Texas State in conjunction with the City of San Marcos. Groundbreaking is expected to begin within 12 months
About MicroPower Global Limited
MicroPower Global Limited is a private BVI registered company that has acquired the intellectual property rights to groundbreaking technology that can efficiently and cost-effectively convert heat directly into electricity, leading to significant energy savings. For more information on MicroPower, please visit: www.micropower-global.com.
About The Texas Emerging Technology Fund
The ETF, created by the Texas Legislature at the urging of Governor Rick Perry, provides Texas with an unparalleled advantage by expediting the development and commercialization of new technologies, and by recruiting the best research talent in the world. For more information on the ETF, please visit www.emergingtechfund.com.
About Innovate Texas Foundation
Innovate Texas connects the state's wealth of intellectual capital with financial capital to create abundant economic opportunity and strengthen our universities. You can learn more by visiting www.InnovateTexas.org.
Nov. 18, 2008
Materials science research at Texas State University-San Marcos is poised to become a national leader in the developing field of multifunctional materials, thanks to a grant of $4 million from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund.
The grant was announced Nov. 17, 2008, at the annual Ready for Commercialization conference in Austin .
The grant will be used to operate and staff a newly established center for the research, development and commercialization of multifunctional materials to drive the development and innovation for the next generation of devices used in the fields of energy, security and health.
The establishment of the materials growth facility has been a priority of Texas State President Denise Trauth and Provost Perry Moore.
Trauth said, “This is a momentous event for Texas State. It takes us to a new level of prestige within the research community and allows us to better serve our students and the state of Texas."
Tom Myers, professor and director of the MSE program, said, “The establishment of this materials growth capability at Texas State will allow us to attract additional world-class researchers, especially those with an interest in solving real-world problems that have commercial applications and societal impact."
The term “multifunctional materials" refers to the use of a material or class of materials for multiple functions. Information processing and high-density, light-weight information storage are applications that could reap immediate benefits from the field of study, but other, more diverse uses include more efficient solar power generation and entirely new classical and quantum approaches to computing and communication. The federal government has even expressed interest in sophisticated, next-generation sensors that could be developed from this research for homeland security purposes.
Terry Golding, holder of the University Chair in Materials Science, Engineering, and Commercialization Program, and director of Texas State's Center for Research Commercialization, said, “This will give Texas State an unprecedented capability in terms of different types of electronics materials that can be produced and researched. In effect, this immediately places Texas State at the center of multifunctional materials research."
The MSE program is a collaborative effort involving the chemistry, biochemistry, physics, technology and engineering programs at Texas State, as well as the Nanomaterials Application Center, the Center for Nanophase Research, the Center for Coatings and Biobased Technology and the Institute for Environmental and Industrial Science.
Gary Beall, associate professor of chemistry and associate director of the MSE Program, said, “The interdisciplinary research fostered by the study of multifunctional materials is also having a strong impact on student education, allowing them to be a better-prepared resource for emerging high-tech industries within the State of Texas."
One of the key roles of the MSE program is to nurture and expand the expertise and talent necessary to foster new fields, industries and technologies. Research conducted within the program will have an immediate impact on the Texas economy, and is expected to attract additional federal research funding as it produces new commercial endeavors in support of civilian, defense and security applications.
“Such developments are at the forefront of current science and technology and promise to provide breakthroughs that can strengthen current industries and facilitate the emergence of entirely new industries," said Bill Covington, associate vice president for research and federal affairs.
The multifunctional materials center has also been supported by equipment gifts from Freescale Semiconductor and Motorola.
Freescale Semiconductor donated a molecular beam epitaxy tool and related equipment valued at more than $4 million. Motorola has donated a dual chamber production type molecular beam epitaxy system in support of the materials science program at Texas State.
The grant from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund was made as part of the program's Research Superiority Acquisition effort. Priority for ETF Research Superiority Acquisition is given to proposals that involve scientific or technical fields that have a reasonable probability of enhancing the state's national and global economic competitiveness, may result in a medical or scientific breakthrough, are interdisciplinary, have or may attract federal and other outside funding for research superiority, and are likely to create a nationally or internationally recognized locus of research superiority.
Date: December, 2008
M. Passlack, U. of California, San Diego, San Diego, CA USA;
R. Droopad, Texas State U., San Marcos, TX USA;
I. Thayne, A. Asenov, U. of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
III-V semiconductors are commonplace in laser and lighting applications and provide enabling components, such as power amplifiers, for mobile products including handsets and WLAN transceivers. In recent years, research into III-V semiconductors to complement silicon in mainstream electronic applications, such as microprocessors, has dramatically accelerated. Some interesting concepts have emerged that show promise to further enhance CMOS performance and provide new levels of functionality. Solid State Technology Magazine website.