News

From the College of Natural Sciences
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.

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

UT Austin 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.

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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
Inaugural Symposium Encourages Up and Coming Researchers

Inaugural Symposium Encourages Up and Coming Researchers

The College of Natural Sciences will be hosting the inaugural Symposium for Undergraduate Research Exploration (SURE in CNS) this fall to bring bright upper-division undergraduate students from underrepresented backgrounds to The University of Texas at Austin to share their research and explore options to pursue advanced degrees in the sciences.

Unlocking the Mind's Mysteries

Unlocking the Mind's Mysteries

It's been called the most complicated object in the known universe. But, as UT scientists are learning, the human brain offers five important clues for understanding its wonders.

Keeps Us on Our Toes (Audio)

Keeps Us on Our Toes (Audio)

Worried that smart robots are taking over the world? You'll be relieved to know they still have a long way to go. That is unless you're an artificial intelligence researcher like Peter Stone. One big challenge facing robots that walk and run is that they fall over a lot.

Taillefumier Awarded Sloan Fellowship

Taillefumier Awarded Sloan Fellowship

A faculty member at The University of Texas at Austin whose research combines applied mathematics and theoretical neuroscience has been awarded a Sloan Research Fellowship for 2017.

UT Austin Leads $29 Million Alcoholism Treatment Consortium

UT Austin Leads $29 Million Alcoholism Treatment Consortium

The National Institutes of Health has awarded an international consortium seeking better pharmaceutical treatments for alcoholism a five-year grant totaling $29 million. The administrative headquarters and several of the projects will be at The University of Texas at Austin, which will receive $8.5 million of the total.

Resetting the Alcoholic Brain (Audio)

Resetting the Alcoholic Brain (Audio)

Adron Harris, director of the Waggoner Center for Alcoholism and Addiction Research, and his team mapped the differences in gene expression between an alcoholic's brain and a non-alcoholic's brain. They found that, as a person becomes dependent on alcohol, thousands of genes in their brains are turned up or down, like a dimmer switch on a lightbulb, compared to the same genes in a healthy person's brain.