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From the College of Natural Sciences
Nobel Laureate, Web Stars, Drumming Dean Cheer on 2020 Graduates

Nobel Laureate, Web Stars, Drumming Dean Cheer on 2020 Graduates

​At the end of each May, the College of Natural Sciences celebrates another year's graduates, their impact at UT and the positive change they'll bring the world. This year's group of graduates were extraordinary, working as hard as any grads before them and making just as many contributions on the Forty Acres and in the community. For them, the College of Natural Sciences missed having a live event this spring but instead held our first virtual commencement celebration. High-profile scientists, friends and faculty, as well as students themselves, joined in a day especially for recognizing and honoring our newest graduates.

Meet the 30 Dean's Honored Graduates for this Year

Meet the 30 Dean's Honored Graduates for this Year

Each year, the College of Natural Sciences bestows its highest honors for graduating seniors on a select group of students. These students, known as Dean's Honored Graduates demonstrate excellence across multiple domains, achieving not only academically but in scientific research, independent intellectual pursuits, leadership, service, entrepreneurship and community building. Below are biographies of the 30 outstanding students selected by a committee of College of Natural Sciences faculty for this distinction in 2020.

Researchers Discover Genetic Mechanism Behind Scoliosis in Fish

Researchers Discover Genetic Mechanism Behind Scoliosis in Fish

For about 100 years, scientists have known about the Reissner Fiber, an enigmatic structure inside the spinal canal of vertebrates. What they didn't know was exactly what role the Reissner Fiber played in the formation of the spine during different life stages and what influence it had on spinal conditions like scoliosis, a condition displaying atypical curvatures in the spine.

Texas Science Students Serve the Community During the Pandemic

Texas Science Students Serve the Community During the Pandemic

Undergraduates in public health, neuroscience and computer science found ways to help out their communities and fellow classmates, amid and in spite of COVID-19.

Students at UT Austin already had plenty on their plates. When COVID-19 hit, the usual return from spring break and settling back into campus life turned instead into a mass migration—students scattering to shelter in place wherever they call home, in many cases moving back in with their families. Some became ill or began caring for sick family members. Classes moved online. Jobs ended. Everything was topsy turvy (it still is). But that hasn't stopped College of Natural Sciences undergraduates in public health, neuroscience and computer science from finding ways to help out their communities and fellow classmates.

The Next 50 Years: The Future of Cybernetics

The Next 50 Years: The Future of Cybernetics

This semester, the College of Natural Sciences is checking in with faculty experts about developments related to their fields of study that may well affect how we live, work and interact with one another and the world around us over the next 50 years.

Graduating Seniors Help Identify Scientific Solutions in Coronavirus Fight

Graduating Seniors Help Identify Scientific Solutions in Coronavirus Fight

As confirmed cases of COVID-19 began to appear in the U.S., graduating seniors at the University of Texas at Austin looked for ways to apply their now considerable scientific expertise toward slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus. In the midst of their own academic careers and personal lives being turned upside down by a pandemic, their work yielded potential solutions to the shortage of coronavirus tests and medical-grade facemasks.

Scientists Discover Molecular Culprits Linked to Alcohol Use Disorders

Scientists Discover Molecular Culprits Linked to Alcohol Use Disorders

An unanswered question in alcoholism research has been what drives the transition from moderate alcohol consumption to alcohol dependence. Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin set out to discover if a molecule that regulates gene expression in the brain called Lim-only 4 (Lmo4) could facilitate this transition. In doing so, they discovered a molecular mechanism in the brain that is critical to the development of alcoholism, providing potential new targets for treatment.

Mathematician and Neuroscientist Chosen for Texas Ten Recognition

Mathematician and Neuroscientist Chosen for Texas Ten Recognition

Every year, the Alcalde by the Texas Exes flips the script and gives alumni the chance to give their favorite professors an A+. Through nominations from former students, the Texas Ten honors professors who have made a difference in the lives of Longhorns.​ This year, two of the Texas Ten were chosen from the College of Natural Sciences.
Updated: Model Forecasts When States, Cities Likely to See Peak in COVID-19 Deaths

Updated: Model Forecasts When States, Cities Likely to See Peak in COVID-19 Deaths

A computer model from the UT COVID-19 Modeling Consortium forecasts daily deaths from COVID-19 as of May 5, 2020. The likelihood that an area has passed its peak in daily deaths is indicated by colors ranging from burnt orange (very low) to dark purple (very high). Credit: University of Texas at Austin.

A University of Texas at Austin model that projects COVID-19 deaths for all 50 U.S. states and dozens of metro areas using geolocation data from cellphones to determine the impact of social distancing within each place finds, in many communities, deaths have likely not yet peaked. The model, originally launched with state data, was updated on April 24 to be the first publicly available model to show projections of deaths also by metro area.

One Day as a Texas Science Student

One Day as a Texas Science Student

Ordinary life in UT Austin's College of Natural Sciences is filled with friendly faces, hands-on discovery, walks under the live oak trees, rigorous classes, and a whole lot of pizza. In our far-from-ordinary spring of 2020, we miss these things and can't wait to get them back.