UTEP to Unveil State-of-the-Art Research and Teaching Facility
February 24, 2012 | UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATIONS
The University of Texas at El Paso will hold a grand opening for its new Chemistry and Computer Science Building at 11 a.m. March 2.
The $69.2 million building is the latest of completed construction on the UTEP campus geared toward achievements in research.
"This building moves us another step forward to Tier One (national research) status," said Anny Morrobel-Sosa, Ph.D., dean of the College of Science at UTEP.
"Research under our departments is being facilitated by the construction of this building. Chemists and other research faculty have access to newer and modern facilities. It all adds to the growing intellectual capacity of the University."
The 150,186-square-foot building houses two departments – chemistry and computer science – from two colleges – science and engineering. The facilities are designed to promote collaboration between the two colleges with department offices and labs spread throughout the building.
The building houses the University's newest research instrument – a $1.8 million cryo-electron microscope – which will be used by UTEP faculty including Ricardo Bernal, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry, in the facilitation of chaperonin research for cancer-treatment applications.
The third floor houses the lab of Luis Echegoyen, Ph.D., Robert A. Welch Chair of Chemistry at UTEP. Echegoyen is researching controlling fullerenes' electron-accepting abilities in order to make solar cells more affordable, self-sustaining sources of renewable energy.
On the first floor is a computer science immersion space used for full-body, virtual-agent interaction research under David Novick, Ph.D., Mike Loya Distinguished Chair in Engineering and professor of computer science. In the same laboratory suite are rooms used by Nigel Ward, Ph.D., chair of the computer science department, and his students for research on human-computer interactions.
"The new facility is a big boost to our computer science department," said Richard Schoephoerster, Ph.D., dean of the College of Engineering at UTEP. "It brings the department closer to the rest of the College of Engineering, and provides state-of-the-art teaching and research facilities for our students to utilize."
UTEP officially broke ground on the building site in March 2009. Funding for the project was provided in part by a $124 million allocation from The University of Texas System Board of Regents to help UTEP boost its research portfolio.
UTEP is using these gains in facilities and research development as momentum for attaining recognition as the first national research university with a 21st century student demographic.