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UT Tyler Biology Professor Selected for National Open-Campus Program at Army Research Laboratory

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June 20, 2014

Media Contact:  Hannah Buchanan
Public Affairs Specialist
Marketing and Communications
The University of Texas at Tyler
903.565.5769 or 903.539.7196 (cell)

June 20, 2014

Dr. Joshua Banta, an assistant professor of biology at The University of Texas at Tyler, will participate in a premiere open-campus program this summer at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, Dr. Michael Odell, vice president for research and technology transfer, announced.

The UT Tyler Office of Sponsored Research and Technology Transfer nominated Banta, who was then recommended by UT System and selected by the U.S. Army after a thorough review of his qualifications.

As part of this initiative, Banta will collaborate with ARL scientists in areas of common research interest at ARL’s facilities. Banta’s focus will be the genetics of microbial biofuel production.

“I am really excited and humbled to be taking part in this program as the inaugural fellow,” Banta said. “Hopefully, this will foster many more collaborations between the U.S. Army labs and UT Tyler as well as the rest of UT System.”

Banta’s research expertise is in landscape ecology and genetics, focusing on plant life history. For the past three years at UT Tyler, he has been involved in projects bringing almost $1 million in extramural grants, many of which have directly addressed conservation issues in Texas.

As principal investigator, he also recently received nearly $86,000 from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to study the ecology and genetics of the Neches River Rose Mallow, a rare East Texas wildflower.

Banta currently serves as a UT System Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation faculty mentor and oversees the Integrative Evolutionary and Conservation Biology Lab at UT Tyler. His research has been published in Nature Communications and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, among other prominent journals.

He holds a Ph.D. in ecology and evolution from Stony Brook University in New York.

ARL’s Open Campus Initiative is a collaborative endeavor, with the goal of building a science and technology ecosystem that will encourage groundbreaking advances in basic and applied research areas of relevance to the Army.

The academic community and industry benefit from this arrangement through collaboration with ARL’s research staff at ARL’s unique research facilities, or by engaging ARL researchers to bring their research perspectives and expertise to academic campuses, according to promotional materials.

The mission the U.S. Army Research Laboratory is to provide innovative science, technology and analyses to enable full spectrum Army operation, now and into the future. To execute this mission, ARL leverages the substantial intellectual resource represented by the global academic scientific research community.

Formation of a collaborative and transparent relationship with this community, industry and small business through the Open Campus initiative offers the prospect for enhanced discovery and innovation and effective execution of basic and applied research programs in a variety of technical focus areas of high Army interest.

For more information, visit the U.S. Army Research Laboratory website.

One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler features excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 80 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of more than 7,500 high-ability students. UT Tyler offers courses at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine as well as a location in Houston.

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