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Top administrators' field trip boosts ties with Argonne

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UIC visitors listen to Argonne scientist Nathan Guisinger explain his research
With a scanning tunneling microscope in the foreground, Argonne National Laboratory scientist Nathan Guisinger, center, explains his research at the Center for Nanoscale Materials to UIC administrators touring the facility Monday. His audience includes (L-R) Derrick Mancini, the center’s interim division director and an adjunct professor at UIC; Larry Danziger, interim vice chancellor for research; and Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares.

Photo: Argonne National Laboratory

Aiming to strengthen ties between UIC and Argonne National Laboratory, Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares led a delegation of senior academic leaders and administrators to the world-renowned laboratory Monday.

“We’re very pleased to be here and look forward to even deeper relationships with Argonne,” Allen-Meares told about two dozen UIC and Argonne administrators at the conclusion of the visit to some of the major research facilities at the national laboratory, located in suburban DuPage County.

“The success of this facility really depends on our partnerships,” said Argonne director Eric Isaacs, who noted the laboratory’s longstanding ties with UIC.

For example, university faculty and scientists at Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source have produced more than 180 publications together. Many researchers hold joint appointments, like Derrick Mancini, interim division director of the $72 million Center for Nanoscale Materials and adjunct professor of electrical engineering at UIC.

Isaacs said he hoped to strengthen links between UIC and Argonne in areas such as hiring, energy sustainability, fundamental science and the pursuit of funding opportunities.

Larry Danziger, interim vice chancellor for research and an official observer to Argonne’s Board of Governors, called Argonne “an incredible resource” for science and commended the laboratory for its outreach efforts to universities.

As a follow-up to the visit, Danziger said, he will contact UIC deans to bring together faculty and Argonne scientists to explore new collaborations.

More than a dozen UIC graduate students and post-docs are engaged in Argonne-funded research, Danziger said.

In Argonne’s Center for Transportation Research, the UIC group heard from one of them — Anita Ramirez, a Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering.

Ramirez, who has conducted research at Argonne for four years, said the Advanced Photo Source and other facilities at the laboratory have been invaluable to her work in studying the injection of diesel fuels.

“Working here has been a great experience,” said Ramirez, who spends four-and-a-half days a week at the transportation center.

Stephen Ciatti, adjunct associate professor of mechanical engineering at UIC, is a mechanical engineer at Argonne’s transportation center studying new fuel sources. He said the center, under the direction of Don Hillebrand, offers researchers “some of the latest and greatest equipment for doing cutting-edge work.”

Allen-Meares praised Danziger and Eric Gislason, former interim chancellor and former vice chancellor for research, for their efforts to build ties between UIC and Argonne.

In addition to the chancellor, Danziger and Gislason, the UIC delegation included R. Michael Tanner, provost; Shaffdeen Amuwo, associate dean of public health; Warren Chapman, vice chancellor for external affairs; Bruce Graham, dean of dentistry; Heather Haberaecker, executive assistant vice president for business and finance; Barbara Henley, vice chancellor for student affairs; Stefanie Lenway, dean of business administration; Dibyen Majumdar, associate dean of liberal arts and sciences; Mrinalini (Meena) Rao, vice president for academic affairs; Mark Rosati, associate chancellor for public affairs; Sol Shatz, associate dean of engineering; Steven Swanson, associate dean of pharmacy; Charlotte (Toby) Tate, dean of applied health sciences; Larry Tobacman, senior associate dean of medicine; Eric Welch, director of the Science, Technology and Environment Research Lab; and Monica Rausa Williams, assistant to the chancellor for special projects.

UIC visitors listen as Anita Ramirez, right, a Ph.D. student in engineering, talks about her research at Argonne. L-R: Sol Shatz, Heather Haberaecker, Barbara Henley, Paula Allen-Meares, Mrinalini Rao, Steven Swanson, Shaffdeen Amuwo, Dibyen Majumdar and R. Michael Tanner.

Photo: Argonne National Laboratory

Anita Ramirez, right, a Ph.D. student in engineering, talks about her research at Argonne

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