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From the College of Natural Sciences

Amanda Figueroa-Nieves is the Spring 2021 Science Communications intern. She's a sophomore majoring in Public Health and Plan II Honors who enjoys spending time outdoors in the many parks around Austin. She is a news desk editor at The Daily Texan and was their Fall 2020 Senior Research News Reporter. This semester, she hopes to hone her reporting and writing skills while helping scientists communicate their research effectively. 

E-Cookbook Promotes Sustainable Food Sourcing and Raises Funds for Charity

E-Cookbook Promotes Sustainable Food Sourcing and Raises Funds for Charity

A team of 17 students from The University of Texas at Austin created a donation-based e-cookbook titled "A Taste of Austin Through the Lens of Sustainability" that showcases local restaurants and businesses focused on sustainability.

Xue-Xin Wei Asks Basic Questions about the Nature of Intelligence

Xue-Xin Wei Asks Basic Questions about the Nature of Intelligence

Image by Vivian Abagiu.

Xue-Xin Wei, a computational and theoretical neuroscientist, recently joined the Department of Neuroscience as an assistant professor. Wei grew up in Qingdao, China, before obtaining his undergraduate degree in mathematics at Peking University. His lab works at the intersection of computational/theoretical neuroscience, statistics, artificial intelligence and deep learning. He and his team work closely with experimental scientists to test predictions of computational models to form theory-experiment loops.

Graduating Computer Science Student Leaders Look Back on Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives

Graduating Computer Science Student Leaders Look Back on Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives

Computer science seniors América Quistiano and Audra Collins said they would not be here, on the cusp of graduating from one of the best computer science programs in the country, without the Hispanic Association of Computer Scientists and the Association of Black Computer Scientists.

Graduating Senior Finds Passions in Exoplanets and Outreach

Graduating Senior Finds Passions in Exoplanets and Outreach

When Zoe de Beurs arrived at UT Austin, she wasn't sure of what she wanted to do. Now, at the end of her fifth year, she's graduating from the Dean's Scholars honors program as a physics, astronomy and math triple major with an African and African Diaspora Studies minor.

Graduating Researcher and Student Leader Grateful for Mentorship and Support

Graduating Researcher and Student Leader Grateful for Mentorship and Support

In high school, Brett Dolotina looked forward to a diverse, lively campus culture at UT Austin. Austin seemed like a place where people could live freely. Dolotina, who uses they/them pronouns, looked forward to developing their own identity. Dolotina graduates this month as a Public Health and Biochemistry double major and a passionate student leader, with hopes of building a career in research.

UT Chemistry Researchers Encode Jane Austen Quote in a Polymer

UT Chemistry Researchers Encode Jane Austen Quote in a Polymer

A quote from Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park written in oligourethanes. Image credit: Sarah Moor.

Using a novel molecular data-storage technique, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin encoded a quote from Jane Austen's Mansfield Park in a series of short polymers, which a third party could read back without prior knowledge of the structures that encoded the passage. Polymers are molecules made of repeating subunits strung together like beads on a string, such as synthetic plastics.

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Nutrition Researchers Developing Digital Platform for Teachers

Nutrition Researchers Developing Digital Platform for Teachers

A group of University of Texas at Austin nutrition researchers and educators received a grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas to create a digital platform empowering teachers to include nutrition and gardening lessons in outdoor settings in their curriculum. The premise is that when kids have a direct connection to fresh produce — planting vegetables, tending them and watching them grow — they are more likely to make healthy eating choices.

New Tool Can Identify Meat and Fish Fraud in Seconds

New Tool Can Identify Meat and Fish Fraud in Seconds

The MasSpec Pen, which was originally invented by a team of scientists and engineers at UT Austin to identify cancerous tissue in people, can also now be used to determine the identity of meat and fish products in around 15 seconds. The research is described in the March 24 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

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Two Postdocs Receive Fellowships to Study Extrasolar Planets

Two Postdocs Receive Fellowships to Study Extrasolar Planets

Two UT Austin postdoctoral scientists, Brianna Lacy and Yifan Zhou, have received the 51 Pegasi b Fellowship from the Heising-Simons Foundation, which will provide them with support for research focused on planets that orbit a star outside our solar system, known as exoplanets. Zhou is supervised by Brendan Bowler, an assistant professor of astronomy, and Lacy will be supervised by Caroline Morley, also an assistant professor of astronomy.

Integrative Biology Professor Wins Early Career Award for Contributions to Ecology

Integrative Biology Professor Wins Early Career Award for Contributions to Ecology

Caroline Farrior, an assistant professor in the Department of Integrative Biology, was elected as one of 10 Early Career Fellows for 2021 by the Ecological Society of America, an organization of professional ecologists.