The Science and Engineering Building seeks to create a world-class environment for multidisciplinary research and education. The building supports innovative research approaches and houses new technologies that are conceived and developed through collaboration among faculty in the sciences, engineering, and allied units on campus. Several of the many research themes being addressed in the SEB are listed below.
This team of researchers focuses on how arid land plants adapt to stressful environments with the goal of advancing crop and landscape water conservation, water reuse for urban applications, breeding crops for tolerance to marginal (desert) lands, and restoration of disturbed desert areas. Researchers conduct studies on a variety of subjects, including utilizing urban reuse water to grow turfgrass and ornamental trees; inserting plant genes that promote stress tolerance into crops to make them more resilient; and restoring the ecology of desert lands after devastating wildfires. Their work involves scientists in the areas of plant physiology, ecology, and soil science. Each of the principal investigators in this group conducts extensive outreach activities associated with their research; they have formed partnerships with such off-campus organizations as the Southern Nevada Water Authority, Nevada Cooperative Extension, Las Vegas Master Gardeners, and Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
This multidisciplinary team of engineering faculty and students conducts research on the design and development of high-performance and general computer, electronic, sensor, and software systems for use in both public and private sectors. The team's goal is to discover and share knowledge of various aspects of technology for multiple applications, including intelligent transport systems; low-power sensor data collection for gaming; homeland security; nanotechnology; medical image processing, and development of small electronic chips and sensors with medical and security/reconnaissance capabilities.
Geosciences research in the SEB focuses on two different areas: 1) Petrology and Geochemistry and 2) Climate and Earth Surface Processes. The first group utilizes the disciplines of geology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology, and engineering to better understand volcanic activity, mountain formation, and mineral resources. They apply their studies to such areas as causes of earthquakes, mining of unique gold deposits, and understanding the forces that create continental super-volcanoes. The Climate and Earth Surface Processes group uses the fields of geology, chemistry, biology, and mathematics to produce records of Earth's changing climate over timeframes from decades to billions of years. They seek to determine the composition and sources of airborne dust in the area and investigate the processes of soil formation, landscape development, and climate change.
The research interests of this research team focus on the use of experimental and theoretical methods to investigate solids, surfaces, and interfaces in a variety of materials systems. This research has applications in a variety of fields, including nanoscale light-emitting devices; renewable energy conversion (e.g., solar cells and hydrogen fuel cells); chemical sensors; nuclear waste management and stockpile stewardship; and combustion science. These investigations cut across several fields of science and engineering, requiring, by their very nature, interdisciplinary research collaborations. This involves chemists and physicists, engineers, spectroscopists, and theoreticians; the team also collaborates with industrial and national laboratory partners, helping to raise the profile of UNLV in the research and business communities.
SEB researchers who focus on integrative physiology take a multi-disciplinary approach to how animals interact with their environment, from the level of individual genes to entire ecosystems. These internationally recognized faculty members investigate how long-term and short-term climatic changes affect a wide variety of animals, and how animals respond to these changes. They study behavioral and physiological responses to environmental stress, working from the whole animal to tissues to cells to specific genes. The animals investigated include species adapted to desert habitats and non-desert model species that are ideally suited to test hypotheses about gene-environment interactions. The IP group is highly collaborative and works closely with other UNLV research groups and scientists at other universities. Their research is funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and other sponsors.
The goal of the research in this area is to develop and analyze new materials and structural components that help optimize the performance of machines, vehicles, manufacturing equipment, and large engineering systems. Most of the research projects in this area involve making materials or components, measuring their physical and mechanical properties, and developing computational simulations of their behavior, including failure analysis under extreme environments such as high temperature, multi-axial loading, impact, and blast loading. The researchers in this group utilize well-equipped labs with sophisticated systems to measure material properties and test their components. They employ sophisticated control and data acquisition systems for tests in tension, compression, bending, fatigue, impact, and high temperature. They also use high-speed cameras and 3-D digital scanners, as well as several different commercial software programs for design and computational simulations. The research team has received more than $11 million in research funding since 2000 from both government agencies and private-sectors sponsors.
This group focuses on a broad range of solar and renewable energy projects with the goal of advancing renewable energy technologies, developing concepts that could evolve into commercial products, and working with private partners to refine and improve renewable energy equipment. The researchers focus on such areas as utility scale power generation, building applications, and advanced vehicular systems (hydrogen and fuel cells), utilizing a wide range of techniques and types of analysis. Their research involves several engineering disciplines, environmental studies, business, and architecture. Researchers in this area have received more than $23 million in funding in the last five years.
This group of researchers seeks to address a wide range of transportation issues, including safety and congestion on the highways and surface streets; traffic flow and incident management; roadway access; and strategies for traffic control, to name a few. The group’s goal is to contribute scientific data and analysis to traffic and pedestrian issues through multi-disciplinary research in order to bring solutions to fundamental and applied transportation problems. This research involves faculty from civil engineering, electrical engineering, statistics, mathematics, finance, and marketing, among others. The team garners approximately $2 million per year in sponsored program funding.