Research Institutes and Centers | Department of Biological Sciences

Research Institutes and Centers

Institute of Applied Science

The Institute of Applied Science (IAS) is a thriving interdisciplinary research unit where student and faculty researchers explore some of the most pressing environmental puzzles facing Texas, the nation, and the world.

At the institute, biologists, ecologists, geologists, engineers, computer scientists, chemists, geographers, archeologists, policy experts, philosophers and many others work together to understand how human actions impact the environment, and to use that knowledge to suggest scientific, engineering, policy and/or educational solutions to environmental problems.

Research activities include basic and applied studies in a variety of fields, including the analysis of trace organic and inorganic compounds in air, water, soils, waste materials and biological samples; toxicology; land use analysis via remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS); archaeological reconnaissance and salvage; and water resources management. The institute is particularly active in the coordination and execution of joint research projects with industry and governmental agencies in these areas.

The institute provides educational programs for students seeking training in environmental studies and other applied science areas. The Department of Biological Sciences Doctoral, Master's, and Professional Science Master's degrees in the Environmental Sciences are offered through the institute.

Learn more at the Institute for Applied Science website.

Center for Plant Lipid Research

The Center for Plant Lipid Research coordinates diverse research activities focusing on basic and applied aspects of research in the regulation of plant lipid metabolism. Center scientists are seeking to understand through contemporary cellular, biochemical and molecular genetic approaches how lipids influence the growth and development of plants. Efforts also contribute to the discovery of new products and uses for plant-derived lipids and their potential public benefit. The center provides training opportunities for undergraduates and graduate students in molecular biology, biology, and biochemistry. Several cooperating laboratories constitute the center, including: researchers in the biology and chemistry departments at UNT; the Health Sciences Center at the University of Missouri, Kansas City; and the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation at Ardmore, Oklahoma.

Learn more at the Center for Plant Lipid Research website.

Center for Network Neuroscience

Students interested in neurobiology, electrophysiology, neuropharmacology, neurochemistry or biophysics can participate in transdisciplinary investigations directed at the self-organization of small nerve cell networks and their ability to generate and process spatio-temporal patterns. Direct applications of network dynamics to the fields of pharmacology, toxicology, drug development, tissue-based biosensors and modeling of complex systems have been demonstrated and represent ongoing research efforts. The center uses in vitro preparations with primary focus on monolayer cultures of mammalian central nervous system cells growing on high density microelectrode arrays. Parallel recording with 64 or 256 amplifier systems allows long-term monitoring of network action potential production used for quantification of network responses to chemical and pharmacological compounds or to electrical and photonic stimulation. Sophisticated multichannel data processing programs support such analyses. In order to achieve high throughput, an 8-network 256-electrode platform, coupled to a liquid handling robot, is being tested for reproducibility and applications to rapid toxicity screening. The CNNS pioneered much of the microelectrode array technology and has extensive national and international contacts.

Learn more at the Center for Network Neuroscience website.

Center for Watershed and Reservoir Assessment and Management

Surface reservoirs in Texas currently provide 55 percent of drinking water for Texas citizens and serve as significant sources of water for agriculture, industry and recreation. However, maintaining these services is becoming increasingly more difficult and complex. The center offers scientific knowledge and expertise to address the current and emerging watershed scale issues of Texas. The center's expertise is based on more than 60 years of problem-solving research and state-of-the-art capabilities.

Learn more at the Center for Watershed and Reservoir Assessment and Management website.

Center for Remote Sensing

The Center for Remote Sensing (CRS) applies remote sensing technologies and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to land use and water resources issues. The center's state-of-the-art computer facilities for remote sensing data collection, image enhancement, classification and analyses support a variety of basic and applied research. The primary thrust of the research is to understand interrelationships between local or regional land use patterns and water quality. The center has a fully equipped Earth Resources Data Analysis System (ERDAS) and ARC/INFO capabilities.

Learn more at the Center for Remote Sensing website.

Elm Fork Education Center and Natural Heritage Museum

The Elm Fork Education Center (EFEC) and Natural Heritage Museum is the public education branch of UNT's Environmental Science, Environmental Ethics, Environmental and Community Journalism, Astronomy, Environmental Education, and Geography programs. Its mission is to develop and implement environmental education programs that engage students of all ages in field activities and discovery experiences. These opportunities are designed to encourage sound environmental decision making and responsible environmental stewardship. The mission of the Elm Fork Natural Heritage Museum is to provide opportunities to discover and share knowledge about plants,animals and their environment. In addition to providing resources to trained scientists, the museum also provides resources and opportunities for citizen scientists of all backgrounds to explore natural history and inspire young people to have a lifelong interest in nature.

Learn more at the Elm Fork Education Center website.

Learn more at the Elm Fork Natural Heritage Museum website.

Laboratory of Forensic Anthropology and Human Identification

The Laboratory of Forensic Anthropology and Human Identification is a component of the UNT System's Center for Human Identification housed at the UNT Denton campus and the UNT Health Science Center at Fort Worth. The laboratory provides human remains location and recovery assistance to law enforcement and medicolegal professionals across the U.S. and postmortem laboratory analysis. The laboratory participates in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) by entering samples from unknown human remains. The laboratory provides graduate academic training and accredited professional training to law enforcement and medicolegal investigators and to a number of federal agencies.

The main laboratories (osteology lab, decomposition lab and x-ray facility) are housed in the Department of Biological Sciences, as are the J.R. Lott Osteology Reference Collection and teaching labs. Cooperating entities include the Zooarchaeology Laboratory located in the Department of Geography, the Center for Remote Sensing located in the environmental science program and the electron microscopy facility located in the Center for Advanced Research and Technology at Discovery Park. Ongoing research activities include remote digital image analysis of clandestine burials, thermobaric effects on human bone, skeletal endocrinology and pathology related to drug use, isotopic analysis of human diet, taphonomy, and techniques in human identification.

UNT Quail Research

UNT Quail is an integrative wildlife research program that centers around America's greatest gamebird, the northern bobwhite quail. UNT Quail's mission is to foster sustainable bobwhite populations through innovative research, conservation, and education. This is accomplished through our state-of-the-art genetics and physiology laboratory on the UNT Campus. Our conservation efforts take place in the 3 million acre North Texas Quail Corridor, and our education efforts are illuminated with our youth leadership camp, the North Texas Land Scholars.

Get involved by supporting our research, by enrolling your land in the North Texas Quail Corridor, or by getting a youngster to our youth leadership camp. It will take all of us to reverse the quail decline and it starts with working with UNT Quail. For more information visit www.quail.unt.edu.

Learn more at the UNT-Quail website

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