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From the College of Natural Sciences
Three Chemists’ Lifetime Achievement Celebrated this Summer

Three Chemists’ Lifetime Achievement Celebrated this Summer

Chemists Stephen Martin, Jonathan Sessler and Dave Thirumalai have won lifetime achievement awards.

Three UT Austin chemistry professors—Jonathan Sessler, Dave Thirumalai and Stephen Martin—were awarded lifetime achievement awards this summer.

Scientists Map a Complicated Ballet Performed in Our Cells

Scientists Map a Complicated Ballet Performed in Our Cells

For years, scientists have looked at human chromosomes, and the DNA they carried, poring over the genetic code that makes up every cell for clues about everything from our eye color to congenital diseases. In a new study, however, scientists have demonstrated the movement of chromosomes within cells also may play a role in human traits and health.

Remembering Joanne Ravel, UT Austin Biochemistry Professor

Remembering Joanne Ravel, UT Austin Biochemistry Professor

Joanne Ravel (PhD '54), Ashbel Smith Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin, passed away on June 28, 2018 just shy of her 94th birthday. She was a lifelong resident of Austin, Texas.

New Nerve Gas Detector Built with Legos and a Smartphone

New Nerve Gas Detector Built with Legos and a Smartphone

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have designed a way to sense dangerous chemicals using, in part, a simple rig consisting of a smartphone and a box made from Lego bricks, which could help first responders and scientists in the field identify deadly and difficult-to-detect nerve agents such as VX and sarin. The new methodology described in a paper published Wednesday in the open-access journal ACS Central Science combines a chemical sensor with photography to detect and identify different nerve agents — odorless, tasteless chemical weapons that can cause severe illness and death, sometimes within minutes.

Anti-Alcoholism Drug Shows Promise in Animal Models

Anti-Alcoholism Drug Shows Promise in Animal Models

Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have successfully tested in animals a drug that, they say, may one day help block the withdrawal symptoms and cravings that incessantly coax people with alcoholism to drink. Photo credit: Shutterstock.

Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have successfully tested in animals a drug that, they say, may one day help block the withdrawal symptoms and cravings that incessantly coax people with alcoholism to drink. If eventually brought to market, it could help the more than 15 million Americans, and many more around the world who suffer from alcoholism stay sober.

The Physics of Rapidly Spreading Cancer

The Physics of Rapidly Spreading Cancer

Using a computer simulation that models the physical and chemical interactions of cancerous cells (colored dots), researchers discovered that over time, tumors develop a distinctive two-part structure: slow moving cells moving randomly in a dense core (blue and purple), surrounded by a band of cells moving faster and more directly outward (green, yellow, red). Arrows indicate direction of motion. The image at right is the same tumor cut in half to reveal the inner structure. Image credit: Anne Bowen, Texas Advanced Computing Center at the University of Texas at Austin.

Scientists have recently discovered a method in cancer's madness. Before now, they've been perplexed by how cancer cells, growing alongside healthy cells, often spread much faster into surrounding tissue than randomness would dictate. It's as if cancerous cells are intentionally moving directly outward, invading healthy tissue.

Pen-Like Device That Detects Cancer Takes Prize at SXSW

Pen-Like Device That Detects Cancer Takes Prize at SXSW

A University of Texas at Austin professor and her team were honored with a prestigious SXSW Interactive Innovation Award for the MasSpec Pen, a device that will allow surgeons to identify cancerous tissue in seconds.

A Score to Settle with Cancer (Audio)

A Score to Settle with Cancer (Audio)

Jonathan Sessler was a college student when he was first diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. Fortunately, he was also a chemistry major. After surviving radiation therapy, relapsing and then surviving extremely high doses of what he calls "rat poison" (a.k.a. chemotherapy), his oncologist challenged him: "You're a chemist. Find new cancer drugs."

Cancer Agency Awards More than $3 Million to University of Texas at Austin Scientists

Cancer Agency Awards More than $3 Million to University of Texas at Austin Scientists

Three awards totaling $3.19 million from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) will support cancer research in The University of Texas at Austin's Departments of Molecular Biosciences and Chemistry.

Chemistry Alum and Owner of Live Oak Brewing Talks Hops

Chemistry Alum and Owner of Live Oak Brewing Talks Hops

Chip McElroy came to the University of Texas at Austin in 1975 and left in 1988 with a PhD in biochemistry. After a career in biotech and drug design, he left behind molecular biology and co-founded Live Oak Brewing Company 22 years ago. That was back before anyone knew what craft brewing was in Austin. McElroy is putting that chemistry knowledge to good use now at Austin's oldest brewery.

New Method for Depositing Single Platinum Atoms

New Method for Depositing Single Platinum Atoms

In a new paper in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Allen Bard and co-workers describe a new approach to create catalytic platinum structures the size of one to a few atoms fabricated on an atom-by-atom basis.​

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Chemists Receive $2 Million to Develop Inexpensive Home Test for Heart Failure

Chemists Receive $2 Million to Develop Inexpensive Home Test for Heart Failure

With the prick of a finger, the new sensor could indicate whether a person has elevated levels of a biomarker associated with heart failure. Credit: iStock.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded a team led by Richard M. Crooks, a chemistry professor at The University of Texas at Austin, a $2 million grant to develop an inexpensive, at-home test for people diagnosed with heart failure.

Scientists: New Device Accurately Identifies Cancer in Seconds (Updated)

Scientists: New Device Accurately Identifies Cancer in Seconds (Updated)

A team of scientists and engineers at The University of Texas at Austin has invented a powerful tool that rapidly and accurately identifies cancerous tissue during surgery, delivering results in about 10 seconds—more than 150 times as fast as existing technology. The MasSpec Pen is an innovative handheld instrument that gives surgeons precise diagnostic information about what tissue to cut or preserve, helping improve treatment and reduce the chances of cancer recurrence.

C. Grant Willson Receives ACS Award in Polymer Chemistry

C. Grant Willson Receives ACS Award in Polymer Chemistry

Photo of Dr. C. Grant Willson by Tamir Kalifa.

C. Grant Willson, professor of chemistry and chemical engineering and the Rashid Engineering Regents Chair at UT Austin, has been awarded the 2018 ACS Award in Polymer Chemistry.

Scientists Discover Powerful Potential Pain Reliever

Scientists Discover Powerful Potential Pain Reliever

Stephen Martin (left) and James Sahn have discovered a new pain reliever that acts on a previously unknown pain pathway. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Stephen Martin.

A team of scientists led by chemists Stephen Martin and James Sahn at The University of Texas at Austin have discovered what they say is a powerful pain reliever that acts on a previously unknown pain pathway. The synthetic compound, known as UKH-1114, is as effective at relieving neuropathic pain in injured mice as a drug widely used for pain relief called gabapentin, but it works at a much lower dose, with longer duration of action.