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Research Notes: UTA appoints new director for Shimadzu Institute

🕐 4 min read

The University of Texas at Arlington in early March appointed Jeff Campbell as the new director of the Shimadzu Institute for Research Technologies.

Campbell has more than 20 years of experience in product design and development, engineering and operations management, as well as business development and sales. His areas of expertise include semiconductors and optoelectronics, sensors and controls, and networking and wireless communications.

At UT Arlington, Campbell will report to Duane Dimos, vice president for research.

“Jeff Campbell is the rare combination of very solid technical expert and businessman,” said Dimos. “I am sure that he will lead the Shimadzu Institute to new levels of service for our internal and external customers while we continue to grow the capabilities of the institute.”

The Shimadzu Institute was established in 2013 following a $7.5 million gift from Shimadzu Scientific Instruments, the largest philanthropic gift in the university’s history. In recognition of the gift, the university renamed the Institute for Research Technologies at UT Arlington the Shimadzu Institute for Research Technologies.

The institute has the largest collection of Shimadzu scientific instrumentation in the United States and has wide-ranging analytical capabilities, including defining the properties of biomolecules, materials science, brain imaging, metals analysis in water and others.

Dave Jorissen, regional manager of Shimadzu Scientific Instruments’ office in Houston, praised the choice of the new director.

“Jeff Campbell has all the right tools for this next phase for the institute, where we plan to grow our customer base and raise the reputation and stature of the organization among the scientific community,” Jorissen said.

During the last two years, Campbell was director of the electronics, optics and materials focus area within the UT Dallas Applied Research Center, including developing the advanced infrastructure for the center’s laboratories.

Previously he had positions leading product development, engineering and business development in Fortune 1000 brands, as regional manager of sales operations for the lighting controls company Acuity Brands, vice president of electronic sensors company TT Electronics Optek Technology, and vice president of the transportation systems company Texas Highway Products.

Earlier in his career, Campbell worked as a senior design engineer for Texas Instruments and Infinite Technology. He earned master’s degrees in electrical engineering and in physics, both from the University of Texas at Dallas.

“There are important opportunities for growth for the institute in a dynamic area like the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex,” Campbell said. “We will be reaching out to our internal faculty but also other research institutions and corporations that need our support.” – Robert Francis

FROM NASA TO THE OCEAN

A new online database launched by the University of Houston, through its partnership in the Ocean Energy Safety Institute, hopes to make offshore drilling safer and more reliable. The Ocean Energy Technology Portal (OETP) allows companies to search proven technologies developed by federal agencies and other organizations that could address some of their own research problems.

Worried about pipeline corrosion? Maybe NASA’s work on a microparticle coating that can “self-heal” a scarred site would be a solution. A second NASA innovation could dramatically improve critical infrastructure monitoring with the use of a fastener equipped with radio frequency torque and tension sensing.

In addition to research from NASA, the database includes work from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), the National Energy Technology Labs and the European Space Agency – about 100,000 projects in all. Several other international organizations have expressed interest, and more partners will be added, said Paul Robinson, program manager for the Ocean Energy Safety Institute, who has directed the project.

Jack James, a technology strategist at Johnson Space Center/NASA, said the agency has worked with the oil and gas industry before, so when Robinson approached with the idea, it seemed like a natural fit.

“That’s part of the NASA mission,” he said. “We explore space and develop new technologies for the benefit of mankind.”

The Ocean Energy Safety Institute was established by BSEE in November 2013 to provide both industry and federal regulators with reliable information about safety issues in offshore drilling. Three Texas universities – UH, Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Austin – are partners in the institute, which is managed by the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station’s Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center.

A federal advisory group made up of representatives from industry, federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations and the academic community recommended forming the institute after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It does not have regulatory authority but is charged with providing unbiased, independent, science-based information.

As part of that, Robinson said, BSEE asked the institute to review the state of research involving deepwater oil and gas. Most companies were working independently, he discovered, with little interaction or input from other research teams.

“There was obvious financial resource waste and limited collaboration with other industries,” he said.

He proposed the portal to allow people to better coordinate, making publicly funded research more readily available. Robinson said private companies can offer their own research catalogues – either complete technologies or just the abstract. Many of the technologies included in the OETP include contact information for people who want to learn more.

www.OETP.org.

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