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From the College of Natural Sciences

Marc Airhart is the Communications Coordinator for the College of Natural Sciences. A long time member of the National Association of Science Writers, he has written for national publications including Scientific American, Mercury, The Earth Scientist, Environmental Engineer & Scientist, and StarDate Magazine. He also spent 11 years as a writer and producer for the Earth & Sky radio series.

Common Weed Killer Linked to Bee Deaths

Common Weed Killer Linked to Bee Deaths

Honey bee. Credit: Alex Wild/University of Texas at Austin

The world's most widely used weed killer may also be indirectly killing bees. New research from The University of Texas at Austin shows that honey bees exposed to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, lose some of the beneficial bacteria in their guts and are more susceptible to infection and death from harmful bacteria.

Flu Season Forecasts Could Be More Accurate with Access to Health Care Companies’ Data

Flu Season Forecasts Could Be More Accurate with Access to Health Care Companies’ Data

In an era when for-profit companies collect a wealth of data about us, new research from The University of Texas at Austin shows that data collected by health care companies could — if made available to researchers and public health agencies — enable more accurate forecasts of when the next flu season will peak, how long it will last and how many people will get sick.

Can We Build Machines that are Less Biased Than We Are? (Audio)

Can We Build Machines that are Less Biased Than We Are? (Audio)

Think about some of the most important decisions people make – who to hire for a job, which kind of treatment to give a cancer patient, how much jail time to give a criminal. Statistics and Data Sciences faculty member James Scott says we humans are pretty lousy at making them.

Cancer Agency Awards $2 Million to UT Austin to Recruit New Faculty Member

Cancer Agency Awards $2 Million to UT Austin to Recruit New Faculty Member

The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) has announced that Can Cenik has been awarded a $2 million Faculty Recruitment Grant. The program recruits emerging investigators pursuing their first faculty appointment who have the ability to make outstanding contributions to the field of cancer research.

Making Cancer’s Metabolism More Normal Blocks Drug Resistance

Making Cancer’s Metabolism More Normal Blocks Drug Resistance

Updated on August 31, 2018: This release was updated to correct mistakes in descriptions of the way cancer cells develop drug resistance and the way that anti-cancer drug DCA affects the metabolism of cancer cells.

The chemical structure of C1, a drug combining two active elements: Doxorubicin (Dox), a powerful cancer chemotherapy agent that's been used for decades; and a dichloroacetic acid (DCA) subunit, which reverses a cell's metabolism to aerobic. Credit: University of Texas at Austin

A new drug lead shows promise that it could reduce the size of cancerous tumors much more effectively than current treatments.

How to Make the Gene-Editing Tool CRISPR Work Even Better

How to Make the Gene-Editing Tool CRISPR Work Even Better

Among the most significant scientific advances in recent years are the discovery and development of new ways to genetically modify living things using a fast and affordable technology called CRISPR. Now scientists at The University of Texas at Austin say they've identified an easy upgrade for the technology that would lead to more accurate gene editing with increased safety that could open the door for gene editing safe enough for use in humans.

Remembering Joanne Ravel, UT Austin Biochemistry Professor

Remembering Joanne Ravel, UT Austin Biochemistry Professor

Joanne Ravel (PhD '54), Ashbel Smith Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin, passed away on June 28, 2018 just shy of her 94th birthday. She was a lifelong resident of Austin, Texas.

Which Mental Superpower Would You Choose? (Audio)

Which Mental Superpower Would You Choose? (Audio)

What if people who lost a particular brain function—say, an Alzheimer's patient who can no longer make new memories—had the same option as many people who've lost limbs or other body parts—the chance to use technology to supplement what's no longer there? Or what if you could boost a healthy person's brain, essentially giving them mental superpowers, like the ability to become a Kung Fu master by downloading new skills directly to your brain?

Scientists Pinpoint New Alcohol Addiction Pathway in Brain

Scientists Pinpoint New Alcohol Addiction Pathway in Brain

There's a new line of attack in the war on alcoholism: Reporting in the journal Science, UT Austin researchers discovered that people suffering from alcoholism have less of a protein, GAT-3, in the part of the brain called the amygdala.

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.