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From the College of Natural Sciences
Esther is an Austin native who spent more than 12 years as a newspaper journalist with publications like the Austin American-Statesman and the Charlotte Observer. When she's not writing, she likes to travel, read and knit. 
New Dashboards Launched to Track COVID-19 Across Texas Communities

New Dashboards Launched to Track COVID-19 Across Texas Communities

The University of Texas at Austin's COVID-19 Modeling Consortium has launched a new online dashboard to track the spread and impact of the virus, including in hospitals across Texas, with detailed information for 22 areas.

Researchers Discover Key Mechanism Cells Use to Harness Energy

Researchers Discover Key Mechanism Cells Use to Harness Energy

Scientists have known for some time that NAD+ (oxidized nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide), a key molecule involved in the function of all cellular life, is needed to help cells harness energy. What scientists didn't fully understand until now is how human cells compartmentalized intracellular NAD+ or that – as a new paper out today in the journal Nature suggests – the process may be able to be controlled to help address aging and diseases, from neurodegeneration to cancer.

Matching CRISPR to the Job Improves the Safety, Efficiency of the Gene-Editing Tool

Matching CRISPR to the Job Improves the Safety, Efficiency of the Gene-Editing Tool

One of the biggest scientific advances of the last decade is getting better thanks to researchers at The University of Texas at Austin; the University of California, Berkeley; and Korea University. The team has developed a new tool to help scientists choose the best available gene-editing option for a given job, making the technology called CRISPR safer, cheaper and more efficient. The tool is outlined in a paper out today in Nature Biotechnology.

Hunting for a Better Biofuel Is Scope of New UT Austin-Led Research

Hunting for a Better Biofuel Is Scope of New UT Austin-Led Research

Switchgrass field experiments by the Juenger lab and partners in Michigan. Credit: Robert Goodwin, Michigan State University.

A team of scientists from nine universities and research facilities hope to find out how to make switchgrass — a fast-growing perennial native to the U.S. — into a biofuel powerhouse.

Some Bacteria Sacrifice Themselves to Protect their Brethren from Antibiotics

Some Bacteria Sacrifice Themselves to Protect their Brethren from Antibiotics

Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have discovered how some cells within a bacterial swarm will sacrifice themselves so that other cells in the swarm have a better chance of surviving onslaught by antibiotics, in a discovery important for efforts to address antibiotic resistance.

Early Spread of COVID-19 Appears Far Greater Than Initially Reported

Early Spread of COVID-19 Appears Far Greater Than Initially Reported

Patients with undiagnosed flu symptoms who actually had COVID-19 last winter were among thousands of undetected early cases of the disease at the beginning of this year. In a new paper in The Lancet's open-access journal EClinicalMedicine, epidemiological researchers from The University of Texas at Austin estimated COVID-19 to be far more widespread in Wuhan, China, and Seattle, Washington, weeks ahead of lockdown measures in each city.

New Tool to Guide Decisions on Social Distancing Uses Hospital Data and Emphasizes Protecting the Vulnerable

New Tool to Guide Decisions on Social Distancing Uses Hospital Data and Emphasizes Protecting the Vulnerable

With communities throughout the United States combating surges in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and Northwestern University have created a framework that helps policymakers determine which data to track and when to take action to protect their communities. The model specifies a series of trigger points to help local entities know when to tighten social distancing measures to prevent hospitals from being overrun by virus patients. The method also aims to minimize the economic impact to communities by suggesting the earliest times for safely relaxing restrictions.

Discovery about Hep C Drug Offers Insights for Coronavirus Treatments

Discovery about Hep C Drug Offers Insights for Coronavirus Treatments

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have discovered how a certain drug is able to stop viral spread for patients with Hepatitis C, and the finding may have important implications for drug developers seeking to stop other RNA viruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19.

Power of DNA to Store Information Gets an Upgrade

Power of DNA to Store Information Gets an Upgrade

A team of interdisciplinary researchers has discovered a new technique to store information in DNA – in this case "The Wizard of Oz," translated into Esperanto – with unprecedented accuracy and efficiency. The technique harnesses the information-storage capacity of intertwined strands of DNA to encode and retrieve information in a way that is both durable and compact. The technique is described in a paper in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

New Iris Apfel Coloring Book Will Support Student Scholarships

New Iris Apfel Coloring Book Will Support Student Scholarships

Well-known and colorful fashion icon, Iris Apfel is a visiting professor at The University of Texas at Austin and the inspiration for the decade-old UT in NYC program. In it, she introduces students primarily from UT's Textiles and Apparel Division to every aspect of the fashion world, including leading stars of the industry.