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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.
Neurons in the Brain Tune into Different Frequencies for Different Spatial Memory Tasks

Neurons in the Brain Tune into Different Frequencies for Different Spatial Memory Tasks

The hippocampus. Image courtesy of the Colgin lab.

Your brain transmits information about your current location and memories of past locations over the same neural pathways using different frequencies of a rhythmic electrical activity called gamma waves, report neuroscientists at The University of Texas at Austin.

Shade Grown Coffee Shrinking as a Proportion of Global Coffee Production

Shade Grown Coffee Shrinking as a Proportion of Global Coffee Production

Coffee Management Map

The proportion of land used to cultivate shade grown coffee, relative to the total land area of coffee cultivation, has fallen by nearly 20 percent globally since 1996, according to a new study by scientists from The University of Texas at Austin and five other institutions.

Researchers Discover Possible New Target to Attack Flu Virus

Researchers Discover Possible New Target to Attack Flu Virus

Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have discovered that a protein produced by the influenza A virus helps it outwit one of our body's natural defense mechanisms. That makes the protein a potentially good target for antiviral drugs directed against the influenza A virus.

The Horn: Junk Food, Good Science

The Horn: Junk Food, Good Science

Think you’ll always pick chocolate over a bag of chips? Don’t be so sure. Researchers have found that if they can get people to pay more attention to a particular type of junk food, they will begin to prefer it—even weeks or months after the experiment. The finding suggests a new way to manipulate our decisions and perhaps even encourage us to pick...
Possible Explanation for Human Diseases Caused by Defective Ribosomes

Possible Explanation for Human Diseases Caused by Defective Ribosomes

Ribosomes are essential for life, generating all of the proteins required for cells to grow. Mutations in some of the proteins that make ribosomes cause disorders characterized by bone marrow failure and anemia early in life, followed by elevated cancer risk in middle age. These disorders are generally called “ribosomopathies.”

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Neurobiologist Studies His Own Brain

Neurobiologist Studies His Own Brain

Dr. Russell Poldrack, professor of neurobiology and psychology, discusses his findings of a 14 month study he conducted on his own brain."We are particularly interested in how communication between different parts of my brain changes in relation to psychological factors such as stress or mood, and how it relates to biological factors that will...
Three Natural Sciences Faculty Receive Sloan Fellowships

Three Natural Sciences Faculty Receive Sloan Fellowships

Three faculty members in the College of Natural Sciences have recently been awarded 2014 Sloan Research Fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

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Crazy Ants Dominate Fire Ants by Neutralizing Their Venom

Crazy Ants Dominate Fire Ants by Neutralizing Their Venom

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Invasive “crazy ants” are rapidly displacing fire ants in areas across the southeastern U.S. by secreting a compound that neutralizes fire ant venom, according to a University of Texas at Austin study published this week in the journal Science Express. It’s the first known example of an insect with the ability to detoxify another insect’s venom.

The Ultimate in High Speed Cinematography Reveals Laser Gymnastics at Speed of Light

The Ultimate in High Speed Cinematography Reveals Laser Gymnastics at Speed of Light

Scientists in the Department of Physics have captured the ultimate high-speed movie of a laser pulse as it zips through a piece of glass at the speed of light. The new imaging technique will help scientists understand how intense laser pulses propagate through air, glass fibers and fusion pellets, and thus could have applications in atmospheric chemical analysis, fiber optic communications, and power generation.

Brain Scans Show We Take Risks Because We Can't Stop Ourselves

Brain Scans Show We Take Risks Because We Can't Stop Ourselves

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A new study correlating brain activity with how people make decisions suggests that when individuals engage in risky behavior, such as drunk driving or unsafe sex, it's probably not because their brains' desire systems are too active, but because their self-control systems are not active enough.