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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

Human Trials Begin for a Low-Cost COVID-19 Vaccine to Extend Global Access

Human Trials Begin for a Low-Cost COVID-19 Vaccine to Extend Global Access

Clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate NDV-HXP-S, which includes a key protein developed at the University of Texas at Austin, began in Thailand in March 2021. Photo courtesy of Thailand’s Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO).

In a major boost to efforts to combat COVID-19 globally, a vaccine that recently entered human trials in Vietnam and Thailand, and is slated for a clinical study in Brazil, holds promise for affordable vaccine manufacturing in countries currently dependent on imported vaccines. The vaccine is the result of a partnership between The University of Texas at Austin, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York and global partners interested in advancing the supply of affordable vaccines to address the pandemic.

Sciences, Mathematics at UT Austin Ranked Among Nation’s and World’s Best

Sciences, Mathematics at UT Austin Ranked Among Nation’s and World’s Best

Two lists of academic rankings published this month show that The University of Texas at Austin's programs in the sciences and mathematics are among the best in the country and the world.

Do Sick Animals Socially Distance? (Audio)

Do Sick Animals Socially Distance? (Audio)

When we get sick, we change our social interactions—we keep away from others and we don't share food. It turns out, humans aren't the only species to do it.

Finkelstein Receives Welch Foundation’s Norman Hackerman Award

Finkelstein Receives Welch Foundation’s Norman Hackerman Award

The Welch Foundation today announced that Ilya J. Finkelstein, an associate professor of molecular biosciences at The University of Texas at Austin who has been researching the coronavirus and the gene-editing tool CRISPR, will receive the 2021 Norman Hackerman Award in Chemical Research. Having already made significant scientific contributions in chemistry and biochemistry, he is being recognized as a rising star in his field.

A Virtual Science Festival as Big as Texas

A Virtual Science Festival as Big as Texas

The University of Texas at Austin is gearing up to welcome science enthusiasts everywhere to the Texas Science Festival. The virtual celebration features rapid-fire and deep-dive presentations by world-changing scientists, live hands-on demonstrations, explosive science, telescope viewings, opportunities to interact with experts from Texas' flagship public research institution and more.

Scientists Discover How Remdesivir Works to Inhibit Coronavirus

Scientists Discover How Remdesivir Works to Inhibit Coronavirus

Remdesivir is the only antiviral drug approved for use in the U.S. against COVID-19. Photo courtesy of Gilead.

More effective antiviral treatments could be on the way after research from The University of Texas at Austin sheds new light on the COVID-19 antiviral drug remdesivir, the only treatment of its kind currently approved in the U.S. for the coronavirus.

UT Austin Professors Named ACM Fellows by the Association for Computing Machinery

UT Austin Professors Named ACM Fellows by the Association for Computing Machinery

The Association for Computing Machinery, the primary professional organization in the field of computer science, has named two University of Texas at Austin professors — Peter Stone and Lizy Kurian John — as ACM Fellows. The award goes only to highly distinguished computer scientists representing the top 1% of ACM members.

New Tool Helps Parents and Educators Estimate COVID-19 Infection Numbers at Their School

New Tool Helps Parents and Educators Estimate COVID-19 Infection Numbers at Their School

With COVID-19 cases hitting new highs across the country, a new online tool can help families and school leaders estimate how many infected people are likely to show up at a school on a given day anywhere in the United States. The free, interactive dashboard was produced by The University of Texas at Austin COVID-19 Modeling Consortium.

Treisman Receives James Bryant Conant Award from Education Commission of the States

Treisman Receives James Bryant Conant Award from Education Commission of the States

Philip 'Uri' Treisman, founder and executive director of the Charles A. Dana Center at The University of Texas at Austin, has dedicated his career to improving mathematics and science education on a national scale, leading to measurable gains in student performance in these subjects and improvements in course success for elementary school children through university undergraduates. Now he is the recipient of one of the most prestigious awards in American education, the 2020 James Bryant Conant Award from the Education Commission of the States.

Coronavirus Mutation May Have Made It More Contagious

Coronavirus Mutation May Have Made It More Contagious

The number of virus strains present in each zip code in Houston during the second wave of COVID-19 cases in summer 2020. Number of strains is represented by a spectrum of colors from blue (0 strains) to red (50 strains). Credit: Houston Methodist/University of Texas at Austin.

A study involving more than 5,000 COVID-19 patients in Houston finds that the virus that causes the disease is accumulating genetic mutations, one of which may have made it more contagious. According to the paper published in the peer-reviewed journal mBIO, that mutation, called D614G, is located in the spike protein that pries open our cells for viral entry. It's the largest peer-reviewed study of SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences in one metropolitan region of the U.S. to date.