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Monday, October 2, 2023


Rep. pleased by science research

State Rep. Dan Branch (R-Dallas) came away from his visit to UH on Wednesday impressed with the innovative research being conducted on campus.

Branch, chairman of the House Higher Education Committee, gave the University a glowing endorsement.

‘Well I’m blown away by the sophistication of scientific research that’s being done here,’ Branch said. ‘I’m looking forward to learning more but whether it’s the superconductivity or the molecular research, it’s exciting.”

Branch spent time touring the Science and Engineering Research Center and the Texas Center for Superconductivity, where he perused UH’s notable research projects including biochips, stem cells and high temperature superconductors.

At SERC, Branch viewed researchers doing work in a wet/dry facility where biochips are handled. Dean of Research in Natural Sciences, B. Montgomery Pettitt explained to Branch that research could use biological components for usage in computer technology such as data storage.

‘We just wanted to show Rep. Branch where some of the state funds have gone in terms of new buildings for the campus,’ Pettitt said. ‘(The SERC) is the newest building where we have faculty offices, teaching, and laboratory space so it sort of covers the entire range of intellectual activities for what we do here. From teaching to creation and knowledge.’

At the TcSUH, Branch was interested to learn how the private sector could utilize a high temperature superconductor with zero resistance – in effect a highly efficient transfer of energy from one point to another.

Director of the TcSUH, Allan Jacobson, explained that it could be used in power lines for the electricity market, but it also had usage in the medical market with advanced procedures like MRIs.

TcSUH and its partner, SuperPower, are major components of the UH Energy and Research Park – a 70-acre, 14-building complex purchased by UH over the summer, Jacobson said.’

Branch authored HB 51, which provides matching state funds for state universities seeking flagship status.

‘He’s here viewing the facilties and seeing how the money we’re putting into schools like UH can be used to elevate (UH) to the (level of) research facilities we have today,’ Branch’s chief of staff Candice Woodruff said.

Woodruff said that Branch understands the importance of having more flagship universities in Texas and that he hopes that, within a decade, the flagship frontrunners – UH, Texas Tech and UT-Dallas – would reach flagship status.

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