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From the College of Natural Sciences
DNA Barcodes That Reliably Work: A Game-Changer for Biomedical Research

DNA Barcodes That Reliably Work: A Game-Changer for Biomedical Research

This illustration shows the most common structure of DNA found in a cell, called B-DNA. Credit: Richard Wheeler (Zephyris). Used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license.

In the same way that barcodes on your groceries help stores know what's in your cart, DNA barcodes help biologists attach genetic labels to biological molecules to do their own tracking during research, including of how a cancerous tumor evolves, how organs develop or which drug candidates actually work. Unfortunately with current methods, many DNA barcodes have a reliability problem much worse than your corner grocer's. They contain errors about 10 percent of the time, making interpreting data tricky and limiting the kinds of experiments that can be reliably done.

Physicists Catch Higgs Boson Interacting with Top Quarks

Physicists Catch Higgs Boson Interacting with Top Quarks

Artistic view of the Brout-Englert-Higgs Field. Image credit: Daniel Dominguez/CERN.

The ATLAS Collaboration, an international team of physicists including Peter Onyisi from the University of Texas at Austin, has announced the observation of Higgs bosons produced together with a top-quark pair. Observing this extremely rare process is a significant milestone for the field of high-energy physics.

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.

Gravitational Wave Event Likely Signaled Creation of a Black Hole

Gravitational Wave Event Likely Signaled Creation of a Black Hole

The merger of two neutron stars (top) that generated gravitational waves, announced in fall 2017, likely did something else: birthed a black hole. This newly spawned black hole would be the lowest mass black hole ever found. X-rays from the resulting object a couple of weeks after the merger (bottom left) and more than three months later (bottom right), suggest the object is not a neutron star, but rather a black hole. Illustration credit: CXC/M. Weiss. X-ray image credit: NASA/CXC/Trinity University/D. Pooley et al.

The spectacular merger of two neutron stars that generated gravitational waves announced last fall likely did something else: birthed a black hole, according to a team of researchers including Pawan Kumar and J. Craig Wheeler of The University of Texas at Austin. This newly spawned black hole would be the lowest mass black hole ever found.

Could a Digital Version of this Part of the Brain Be Coming Soon?

Could a Digital Version of this Part of the Brain Be Coming Soon?

The cerebellum (red) directs many of the movements we make often, yet don’t have to think about. Photo credit: Database Center for Life Science. Used via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.1 Japan license.

For decades, Michael Mauk, a neuroscientist at the University of Texas at Austin, has been developing a computer simulation of the part of our brains called the cerebellum that directs many of the movements we make often, yet don't have to think about, like walking or picking up a glass of water.

Mostly Science or Mostly Fiction? We Put these 2018 Summer Movies to the Test

Mostly Science or Mostly Fiction? We Put these 2018 Summer Movies to the Test

Summer blockbuster season is here, and an impressive crop of films feature science concepts. We sat down with scientists at the University of Texas at Austin to find out how close to reality the movie magic really is. So, grab some popcorn as we dust off our Science Truth Detector and see which 2018 films offer up sound science this summer.

Meet Jacob Van Geffen, Class of 2018

Meet Jacob Van Geffen, Class of 2018

Jacob Van Geffen

Jacob Van Geffen started coding early. He loved the feeling of creating something from scratch. Before he came to The University of Texas at Austin, he knew that he wanted others to be able to experience that feeling as well. He was passionate about making programming easier and more accessible for all people.

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.

UT Austin Mourns Passing of George Sudarshan, Titan of 20th Century Physics

UT Austin Mourns Passing of George Sudarshan, Titan of 20th Century Physics

World-renowned physicist E.C. George Sudarshan died of natural causes this week at the age of 86. A professor of physics at The University of Texas at Austin from 1969 to 2016, he made many important contributions to theoretical physics. Ennackal Chandy George Sudarshan was born in Kottayam, Kerala, India on Sep. 16, 1931. He received his Ph.D. de...
Graduating Natural Sciences Students Make Their Mark at UT Austin

Graduating Natural Sciences Students Make Their Mark at UT Austin

This is the month when close to 2,000 students in the College of Natural Sciences will cross the graduation stage and begin a new chapter in their lives. Our hearty congratulations go to all the Class of 2018.