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The Shimadzu Institute for Research Technologies at the University of Texas at Arlington has been reaching out to several companies to serve as research partners – including many smaller startups and entrepreneurial ventures. “We have seven centers with different research areas, said Joe A. Barrera, director of the Shimadzu Institute. “We’re looking for research opportunities that can easily or quickly translate to market solutions. We have not only instrumentations, but companies can hire our own expertise and they can give a lot of research insight and drive some research insight for companies or small startups that don’t have that expertise.” Barrera, who earned his doctorate in cell and molecular biology from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in 2009, was named director of the Shimadzu Institute in February 2013.
The laboratory was established in 2012 through the support of Shimadzu Scientific Instruments and the University of Texas at Arlington. The mass spectrometry and analytical chemistry research center includes a large number of mass spectrometers, as well as state-of-the-art supporting peripheries and other spectroscopy instrumentation. The institute was renamed Shimadzu in February to honor a $7.5 million monetary donation from Maryland-based Shimadzu Scientific Instruments. Shimadzu Scientific Instruments is the American subsidiary of the Kyoto, Japan-based Shimadzu Corp., which was established in 1875. The company’s technology is used around the world in medical diagnostics, aerospace and industrial endeavors and in analytics. Among the companies the institute is working with is E3Water LLC, a recent TECH Fort Worth honoree that provides a process to remove toxins from wastewater and drinking water that current industry accepted applications do not or cannot remove. E3 Water’s Wastewater Treatment Technology is a high volume, physical/chemical treatment, totally enclosed system that exceeds EPA clean water discharge standards. In drought-plagued Texas communities, the system could prove invaluable, according to company officials. Barrera noted that E3’s process is proven and working, but the institute’s process and instrumentation can help the company refine what it’s doing.
“They want to continually track the quality of the water they’re producing – that’s the short term goal,” he said. “The longer term goal is to adapt their technology to desalinization. That’s something a lot of companies are interested in.” The institute is also working with a company called iQ Athletes that could impact sports and athletes around the country. The Shimadzu Institute has access to high-speed cameras and is working to help iQ Athletes put that technology to work to better explain and show athletes the impact of changes in, for example, a pitcher’s arm motion. “We think it will have a much larger impact to show someone the impact of what they are doing, rather than just telling them, and these high-speed cameras can do that,” Barrera said. Barrera said the institute wants companies – large and small – to know it is available for collaboration. “There are many ways companies can collaborate with us,” he said. “If you know how to use an instrument, you can come here and use the instrumentation, or you can hire us to do the work.”