UTEP Launches New Research Partnerships with Chihuahua Universities
U.S.-Mexico Faculty Collaboration Fellowship will fund six projects for cross-border impact
EL PASO, Texas (Aug. 10, 2023) – How are our region’s pecan farms affected by drought? Is there a better way to address domestic violence in Ciudad Juárez? These are a few of the big questions scientists are asking as they prepare to embark on a new cross-border research collaboration.
Created by The University of Texas at El Paso, the U.S.-Mexico Faculty Collaboration Fellowship program will support research projects with higher education institutions in the State of Chihuahua to spur studies on issues that impact the lives of people throughout the Paso del Norte region.
The new program will fund six projects in its inaugural phase. Each will be spearheaded by a team composed of UTEP faculty and one or more researchers from a college or university in the State of Chihuahua. Partner institutions include the Instituto Tecnológico de Ciudad Juárez (ITCJ), the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez (UACJ) and the Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua (UACH).
“This effort is a direct result of the recent strengthening of UTEP’s relationships with our strategic partners in the State of Chihuahua,” said Arturo Barrio, assistant vice president for international relations. “It’s also a tangible manifestation of our shared commitment to improving the lives of people across our region on both sides of the border.”
The projects that have received funding this year are:
3D Printing to Support Regional Manufacturing
Lead researcher: Eric MacDonald, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering and associate dean for Graduate Studies and Research (UTEP)
Collaborator: Susana Hortensia Sanchez Rangel, Doctor of Materials Science, Department of Basic Science (ITCJ)
This project will explore new, low-cost methods of fabricating geometrically complex structures, such as tools and replacement parts for manufacturing equipment and fixtures, in engineering grade materials. The results of the research will be directly applicable to the regional manufacturing industry.
How do Herbicides Affect Water Quality?
Lead researcher: Wen-Yee Lee, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry (UTEP)
Collaborators: Hugo Gutierrez, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Earth, Environmental and Resource Sciences (UTEP); and Beatriz Rocha, Doctor of Environmental Science and Engineering, professor in the Directorate of Research and Graduate Studies (UACH)
This project will study the impacts of a widely used herbicide on water quality and subsequent impacts on livestock and agricultural products. The results will be relevant to the agricultural and ranching communities across the region.
An Interdisciplinary Approach to Our Water Shortage
Lead researcher: Alex Mayer, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and director of the Center for Environmental Resource Management (UTEP)
Collaborators: Ivonne Santiago, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Civil Engineering (UTEP); Josiah Heyman, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology (UTEP), and multiple UACH and UACJ researchers
This project will bring together regional stakeholders to identify research needed to address conflicts over limited water supplies in this region. It outlines three elements: 1) engaging the binational water community, including researchers at all three institutions, policymakers, NGOs, water managers, and utilities; 2) a joint, interdisciplinary short course for students; and 3) development of research proposals targeting the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S., and the Consejo Nacional de Humanidades Ciencias y Tecnología (CONAHCYT) in Mexico.
A Binational Teaching Program
Lead researcher: Jeremy Slack, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology (UTEP)
Collaborators: Emilio Lopez Reyes, Doctor of Migration Studies, professor in the International Relations Program (UACH); Patrick Timmons, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration (UTEP)
This project will build on an existing research collaboration on immigration and asylum in Ciudad Juárez by catalyzing joint learning experiences at both institutions. It will pilot a hybrid model of instruction that will allow students from both sides of the border to have increased class opportunities, learn from a broader group of faculty and develop their research activities to comply with both U.S. and Mexican academic systems.
Addressing Domestic Violence and Mental Health on the Border
Lead researcher: Paul Carrola, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Counseling, Special Education and Educational Psychology (UTEP)
Collaborators: Johana Rocha, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Counseling and Special Education (UTEP); Eunae Han, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Counseling and Special Education (UTEP); Alberto Castro Valles, Doctor of Social Sciences, professor in the Social Sciences and Administration Institute (UACJ); María Nieves Gonzalez Valles, Doctor of Social Sciences, professor in the Social Sciences and Administration Institute (UACJ); and Jorge Ramon Lozano Martinez, Doctor of Social Sciences, professor in the Social Sciences and Administration Institute (UACJ).
This project will build on ongoing collaborative research on domestic violence in Ciudad Juárez by providing training experiences and extending the current research. It includes mental health practitioner training for students at UTEP and UACJ, workshops and joint development of curriculum for both institutions. This effort aims to solidify the long-term relationship between institutions to benefit mental health in the Paso del Norte region.
Pecan Farming and Drought Stressors on the U.S.-Mexico Border
Lead researcher: Hugo Gutierrez-Jurado, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Earth, Environmental and Resource Sciences (UTEP)
Collaborators: Luis Castruita Esparza, Doctor of Forestry, professor in the Department of Forestry (UACH); María del Carmen Delgado Gardea, Doctor of Microbiology, professor in the Directorate of Research and Graduate Studies (UACH); Rocío Infante, Doctor of Microbiology, professor in the Directorate of Research and Graduate Studies (UACH); and Orlando Ramírez Valle (Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Agrícolas y Pecuarias)
This project will conduct research on water stress in Pecan trees due to drought and climate change. The investigation will sample and monitor four pecan orchards along the west Texas Rio Grande corridor and in Chihuahua along the Conchos River. The goal is to understand the trees' long-term and daytime responses to these stressors. The research team will also design a data-driven information system to support farmers in both regions to optimize water use, reduce crop stress and augment yield.
The U.S.-Mexico Faculty Collaboration Fellowships program is funded by a $120,000 allocation from UTEP’s research enterprise. Several of the projects that received funding this year are already underway, while others will begin in the coming weeks.
About The University of Texas at El Paso
The University of Texas at El Paso is America’s leading Hispanic-serving University. Located at the westernmost tip of Texas, where three states and two countries converge along the Rio Grande, 84% of our 24,000 students are Hispanic, and half are the first in their families to go to college. UTEP offers 169 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs at the only open-access, top-tier research university in America.
Last Updated on August 10, 2023 at 12:00 AM | Originally published August 10, 2023
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