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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

Silent Ebola Infections Could Be Key to Controlling Outbreak

Silent Ebola Infections Could Be Key to Controlling Outbreak

In a letter published in the Lancet medical journal on October 14, Steve Bellan and Lauren Ancel Meyers, speculate that Ebola may be silently immunizing large numbers of people who never fal ill or infect others. If so, they might bolster front-line health care responses to the ongoing outbreak. Learn more in our press release.

Mental Rest and Reflection Boost Learning, Study Suggests

Mental Rest and Reflection Boost Learning, Study Suggests

A new study, which may have implications for approaches to education, finds that brain mechanisms engaged when people allow their minds to rest and reflect on things they've learned before may boost later learning.

As Ebola Kills Some, It May Be Quietly Immunizing Others

As Ebola Kills Some, It May Be Quietly Immunizing Others

Ebola virus

As Ebola continues to spread in West Africa, it may be silently immunizing large numbers of people who never fall ill or infect others, yet become protected from future infection. If such immunity is confirmed, it would have significant ramifications on projections of how widespread the disease will be and could help determine strategies that health workers use to contain the disease, according to a letter published Tuesday in the Lancet medical journal.

Staying on the Grid: Placing a Nobel-prize Winning Neuroscience Discovery in a UT Austin Context

Staying on the Grid: Placing a Nobel-prize Winning Neuroscience Discovery in a UT Austin Context

Yesterday, three scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery of two types of brain cells involved in keeping track of where we are when moving around. Called place cells and grid cells, they may hold the key to understanding aspects of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's. Laura Colgin, who did research with two of the prize-winning scientists awarded this year’s Nobel Prize, is now an associate professor of neuroscience in the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Natural Sciences who continues to investigate the role of place cells in spacial memory tasks and more.

How 'Green' is Your Coffee?

How 'Green' is Your Coffee?

With more and more eco-friendly coffee on grocery store shelves in the U.S. and with major outlets like Starbucks and McDonald's getting into the act in recent years, you might think the coffee industry is becoming greener. But think again. 

Plants: The Future of Energy?

Plants: The Future of Energy?

Can we use plants for energy instead of oil? That's the question one group of intrepid students is trying to answer as part of an innovative program that plugs first year students into real-world research projects with top notch faculty and research scientists.

Is Corporal Punishment Abuse?

Is Corporal Punishment Abuse?

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was recently indicted on charges of child abuse for hitting his son with a tree branch. Elizabeth Gershoff, a professor of human development and family sciences in the School of Human Ecology who has studied corporal punishment for 15 years, was interviewed -- and her research referenced -- extensively in the media to provide context for the Peterson story from September 16 to 25.

Changes in Coastal Upwelling Linked to Variability in Marine Ecosystem Off California

Changes in Coastal Upwelling Linked to Variability in Marine Ecosystem Off California

In findings of relevance to conservationists and the fishing industry, new research links short-term reductions in growth and reproduction of marine animals off the California coast to increasing variability in the strength of coastal upwelling currents — currents that supply nutrients to the region's diverse ecosystem.

Scientists Develop Ebola Vaccine

Scientists Develop Ebola Vaccine

Since 2007, Maria Croyle and her colleageus have been developing a vaccine for the Ebola virus. The oral vaccine has been shown effective in rodents and primates and may soon be ready for human clinical trials. Croyle is a professor in the College of Pharmacy and member of the College of Natural Sciences' Center for Infectious Disease and Inst...
Exposure to Toxins Makes Great Granddaughters More Susceptible to Stress

Exposure to Toxins Makes Great Granddaughters More Susceptible to Stress

b2ap3_thumbnail_sleepypups-ADJUST.jpgScientists have known that toxic effects of substances known as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), found in both natural and human-made materials, can pass from one generation to the next, but new research shows that females with ancestral exposure to EDC may show especially adverse reactions to stress.