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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. Contact me

Antibodies from a SARS Patient Could Help Fight Coronaviruses Now and in the Future

Antibodies from a SARS Patient Could Help Fight Coronaviruses Now and in the Future

Scientists from UT Austin and elsewhere found many human antibodies that bind to the spike protein of SARS-like viruses. On the left, two copies of an antibody dubbed ADI-55689 (orange) bind two different sites on the spike protein (white). On the right, a different antibody dubbed ADI-56046 (purple) binds another site on the spike protein. These antibody binding sites are close to sites where the spike protein binds to receptors on the surface of human cells (red) and to another monoclonal antibody dubbed CR3022 (light blue).

As terrifying as the current pandemic is, scientists believe some of the hundreds of other known coronaviruses in bats might also have the potential to make the cross-species leap into humans, as this one probably did. Scientists are already thinking about ways to prevent another coronavirus from spiraling out of control. Basic research published in the journal Science provides evidence that an antibody therapy that's effective against all SARS-like coronaviruses is possible.

Meet Melissa Kemp, Time Traveler

Meet Melissa Kemp, Time Traveler

Melissa Kemp studies how environmental changes impact biodiversity in tropical regions. In May, she published a study tracking human-driven species introductions in the Caribbean through 7,000 years of human habitation."I'm interested in these past instances of change that we can see through the fossil record, because it's the key to really unders...
The Next 50 Years: Anybody Out There? (Audio)

The Next 50 Years: Anybody Out There? (Audio)

In these next few decades, will humans finally find life in space? We asked University of Texas at Austin astronomer Caroline Morley and her answer just might surprise you. Morley shares her vision for the future in this latest episode of our miniseries, The Next 50 Years.

Natural Sciences Faculty Receive Prestigious NSF CAREER Awards

Natural Sciences Faculty Receive Prestigious NSF CAREER Awards

Two faculty members from the College of Natural Sciences have received distinguished Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Awards totaling $1,075,000 over 5 years from the National Science Foundation.

COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Therapy is Safe, With 76% of Patients Improving

COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Therapy is Safe, With 76% of Patients Improving

The country’s first peer-reviewed study of convalescent plasma transfusion therapy, which uses blood plasma donated by recovered patients to treat currently ill patients, shows 19 out of 25 patients with COVID-19 improving with the treatment. Photo: iStock.

The country's first peer-reviewed study of a COVID-19 treatment that transfuses blood plasma from recovered patients into critically ill patients shows 19 out of 25 patients improving, including 11 discharged from the hospital.

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.

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.

Antibodies from Llamas Could Help in Fight Against COVID-19

Antibodies from Llamas Could Help in Fight Against COVID-19

The hunt for an effective treatment for COVID-19 has led one team of researchers to find an improbable ally for their work: a llama named Winter. The team — from The University of Texas at Austin, the National Institutes of Health and Ghent University in Belgium — reports their findings about a potential avenue for a coronavirus treatment involving llamas on May 5 in the journal Cell.

The Next 50 Years: A Model of Life on the Atomic Scale (Audio)

The Next 50 Years: A Model of Life on the Atomic Scale (Audio)

Can we simulate life — in all its messy complexity and at the scale of each individual atom — in a computer?