News

From the College of Natural Sciences
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.

Manipulating Neurons

Manipulating Neurons

Illustrations: Jenna Luecke

With a flash of light, neuroscientists can now turn individual brain cells on or off. They do so using a set of tools, pioneered in part by UT Austin neuroscientist Boris Zemelman, called optogenetics.

Learning Expands the Brain’s Capacity to Store Information

Learning Expands the Brain’s Capacity to Store Information

Kristen Harris and her team used an electron microscope to make 3D images of brain structures like this one to understand how learning alters the structures. They discovered that learning causes some synapses (red) to grow and others to shrink, leading to an increase in their capacity to store information. In this image, axons (green) carrying signals from multiple brain cells connect via synapses to the shaft-like input of a single brain cell, called a dendrite (yellow). Credit: Univ. of Texas at Austin.

The act of learning causes connections between brain cells, called synapses, to expand their capacity to store information, according to a new discovery from neuroscientists at The University of Texas at Austin, the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences and The University of Otago in New Zealand.

Four Natural Sciences Faculty Receive Sloan Research Fellowships

Four Natural Sciences Faculty Receive Sloan Research Fellowships

​Four faculty members from the University of Texas at Austin's College of Natural Sciences have received 2018 Sloan Research Fellowships, which honor outstanding early-career scientists in eight fields.

Four Natural Sciences Faculty Receive Sloan Research Fellowships

Four Natural Sciences Faculty Receive Sloan Research Fellowships

​Four faculty members from the University of Texas at Austin's College of Natural Sciences have received 2018 Sloan Research Fellowships, which honor outstanding early-career scientists in eight fields.

Four Natural Sciences Faculty Receive Sloan Research Fellowships

Four Natural Sciences Faculty Receive Sloan Research Fellowships

​Four faculty members from the University of Texas at Austin's College of Natural Sciences have received 2018 Sloan Research Fellowships, which honor outstanding early-career scientists in eight fields.

Why Poison Frogs Don’t Poison Themselves

Why Poison Frogs Don’t Poison Themselves

The phantasmal poison frog, Epipedobates anthonyi, is the original source of epibatidine, discovered by John Daly in 1974. Epibatidine has not been found in any animal outside of Ecuador, and its ultimate source, proposed to be an arthropod, remains unknown. This frog was captured at a banana plantation in the Azuay province in southern Ecuador in August 2017. Credit: Rebecca Tarvin/University of Texas at Austin.

Don't let their appearance fool you: Thimble-sized, dappled in cheerful colors and squishy, poison frogs in fact harbor some of the most potent neurotoxins we know. With a new paper published in the journal Science, scientists are a step closer to resolving a related head-scratcher — how do these frogs keep from poisoning themselves? And the answer has potential consequences for the fight against pain and addiction.

Neuroscientists Join Virtual Mega-laboratory to Probe the Brain’s Deepest Secrets

Neuroscientists Join Virtual Mega-laboratory to Probe the Brain’s Deepest Secrets

To understand how billions of neurons work together to guide decision-making in a single brain, twenty-one laboratories will join forces under the umbrella of the newly-formed International Brain Laboratory (IBL) to conduct a unique joint experiment.

Tags:
College Welcomes New Faculty at Start of the Academic Year

College Welcomes New Faculty at Start of the Academic Year

CNS welcomes new tenured and tenure-track faculty members this fall. Whether searching for insight into the fundamental nature of spacetime, studying cellular mechanisms that lead to disease, or determining ways to strengthen disadvantaged families, these industrious and trailblazing scientists build on the college's reputation in research and teaching.

Neuroscientist Receives Grant to Advance Understanding of Brain Structure

Neuroscientist Receives Grant to Advance Understanding of Brain Structure

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Kristen Harris, a professor in the Department of Neuroscience at The University of Texas at Austin, a $9 million grant to explore the brain in microscopic detail and understand the cell biology of the nervous system. Harris plans to image and map synapses, the tiny points of contact between neurons throughout the brain, in detail and to model synapse function and share the data publically for use by colleagues throughout the world.

Brain image from an electron micrograph through a single section plane illustrating spiny dendrites (yellow), nonspiny dendrites (orange), excitatory axons (green), excitatory synapses (red), astroglia (light blue), microglia (dark brown). Image credit: Kristen Harris