Over an order of Irish nachos, DAMC BID Services and Communications Manager Katie Gosa and I were chatting recently about University of Texas at Arlington alumnus Adam Williams, who in 2017 collaborated with the UTA Fab Lab to 3D print a prosthetic arm for a professor’s 8-year-old son. Katie, who’s also a UTA graduate, loves this example of the kind of innovation that takes place in labs and classrooms across campus every day.
Incidentally, we both also love Irish nachos, another great invention by another great Maverick alumnus, J. Gilligan’s owner Randy Ford.
The year after Adam created that prosthetic arm, UTA dedicated the world-class SEIR (Science & Engineering Innovation & Research) Building, in which advanced breakthroughs are accelerated through a similar commitment to collaborative problem-solving. The North Texas Genome Center, housed in the SEIR Building, represents a partnership between researchers, bright-minded students, and a broad community of multiple universities, medical centers, and corporate partners.
“In the years since it was established, the North Texas Genome Center has earned a highly respected reputation in genome sequencing for biomedical research,” said Jon Weidanz, associate vice president for research and director of the NTGC. “After becoming CLIA-certified in January, we were poised to begin human genome sequencing for medical purposes. Then COVID hit, and we jumped into action to be able to serve our community.”
Over the course of three months, the NTGC quickly established what its staff describes as a pop-up operation for COVID-19 rapid testing. The test processing, which will be available to the entire UTA community, will help provide for the safe return of students to campus and assist local public health agencies.
At full capacity, the North Texas Genome Center can analyze a mind-boggling 500 samples per day. Isn't it incredible that this is taking place right here in Downtown Arlington?
As the implications of COVID-19 loom over the 2020-21 academic year, these examples from UTA suggest the way forward. In Downtown Arlington, the partnership formed between UTA, the City of Arlington and DAMC was set in motion in our earliest days, and look at all we’ve accomplished! The Levitt Pavilion, College Park District, Abram St. revitalization, and so many other projects have been made possible through our shared passion for building community, championing the arts, cultivating a spirit of entrepreneurship, and nurturing a college town environment full of talent and energy.
Together, we will face the uncertainties of the future with the certainty of genuine teamwork.