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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.

A Change in Bacteria’s Genetic Code Holds Promise of Longer-Lasting Drugs

A Change in Bacteria’s Genetic Code Holds Promise of Longer-Lasting Drugs

An alteration in the genetic code of bacteria holds promise for protein therapeutics. Credit: University of Texas at Austin.

By altering the genetic code in bacteria, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have demonstrated a method to make therapeutic proteins more stable, an advance that would improve the drugs' effectiveness and convenience, leading to smaller and less frequent doses of medicine, lower health care costs and fewer side effects for patients with cancer and other diseases.

6 Key Insights to Guide Graduates through Life after UT

6 Key Insights to Guide Graduates through Life after UT

This is the time of year when we in the College of Natural Sciences congratulate and recognize our new graduates. Making it to this point is not an easy feat. As alumni will tell you, it requires years of hard work, meeting aggressive deadlines and learning to thrive in an environment where many different things are coming your way.

Chemistry Educator Selected for Texas 10 Honor

Chemistry Educator Selected for Texas 10 Honor

Fatima Fakhreddine teaches during TIP Chemistry Jumpstart in 2017. The class gave incoming TIP freshmen a head start by allowing them to meet their professor, brush up on basic chemistry ideas, and hear from a panel of past chemistry students on how to do well in the class.

Dr. Fatima Fakhreddine of the College of Natural Sciences has been selected as one of The Alcalde's Texas 10 for 2018. Nominated by alumni and celebrated in the Texas Exes publication, the Texas 10 are dedicated educators who have had an unforgettable impact on the lives of students. Fakhreddine and the other winners this year were chosen from a pool of more than 100 nominees.

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.

Paul Goldbart Appointed Dean of UT Austin’s College of Natural Sciences

Paul Goldbart Appointed Dean of UT Austin’s College of Natural Sciences

Paul Goldbart

The University of Texas at Austin has named Paul Goldbart the next dean of the College of Natural Sciences. His appointment will begin Aug. 1, and he will hold the Robert E. Boyer Chair in Natural Sciences.