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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

New Test for Thyroid Cancer Could Prevent Unnecessary Surgery

New Test for Thyroid Cancer Could Prevent Unnecessary Surgery

A new preoperative test for thyroid cancer that’s faster and more accurate than the diagnostic test that doctors use today could prevent thousands of unnecessary thyroid removals each year. Credit: iStock.

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and Baylor College of Medicine have developed a new preoperative test for thyroid cancer that is faster and about two-thirds more accurate than the diagnostic tests doctors use today. Although more validation will be necessary before it can be used clinically, the new metabolic thyroid test shows promise for preventing thousands of unnecessary thyroid removals each year, such as the partial removal UT Austin grad student Amanda Helms had due to an inconclusive test.

A UT Austin Spin-Out Beats the Odds, Turning Data into Knowledge

A UT Austin Spin-Out Beats the Odds, Turning Data into Knowledge

Juan Sequeda and Daniel Miranker launched Capsenta, a start-up based on their research at the University of Texas at Austin which was recently acquired by data.world. Photo credit: Vivian Abagiu.

It was 2006 when Juan Sequeda (BS '08, PhD '15), then a new UT Austin computer science transfer student, saw a fellow undergraduate drop a bunch of papers on the floor. When he bent over to help pick up the papers, he was surprised to see that they were research articles about an obscure subfield in computer science that Sequeda himself had recently become obsessed with: the Semantic Web.

You Belong Here: What It Takes for Success in College (Audio)

You Belong Here: What It Takes for Success in College (Audio)

Why do so many first-year students struggle in college? Who is most likely to fail? And what can professors and staff do to help them get over the hump?

UT Austin Mathematician Wins Clay Research Award

UT Austin Mathematician Wins Clay Research Award

The Clay Mathematics Institute has awarded Philip Isett, a mathematics faculty member at The University of Texas at Austin and Caltech, the Clay Research Award. Isett received the prestigious award jointly with two other mathematicians in recognition of their shared contributions to "the analysis of partial differential equations" that are relevant to a mathematical understanding of moving fluids.

Chemist Receives NIH Outstanding Investigator Award

Chemist Receives NIH Outstanding Investigator Award

The National Institutes of Health has awarded Carlos Baiz, assistant professor of chemistry at The University of Texas at Austin, an Outstanding Investigator Award. The award comes with $1 million over five years to fund basic research that could, among other things, help scientists better understand how our brains encode memories and reveal the causes of some neurological and cardiovascular diseases.

A Squishy Rubik’s Cube® that Chemists Built from Polymers Holds Promise for Data Storage

A Squishy Rubik’s Cube® that Chemists Built from Polymers Holds Promise for Data Storage

A new Rubik's Cube-like structure made of a self-healing hydrogel might inspire new ways to store information and possibly help patients monitor their medical conditions. Image courtesy of Xiaofan Ji.

A team of chemists from the U.S. and China have constructed a cube of colored, hydrogel blocks, which looks and acts much like a Rubik's Cube®. The researchers say their work is more than just fun to play with: it might inspire new ways to store and detect information, and possibly even help patients monitor their medical conditions.

U.S. Commerce Department Invests in Recovery of UT Marine Science Institute

U.S. Commerce Department Invests in Recovery of UT Marine Science Institute

The Economic Development Administration is funding the establishment of a new Center for Coastal Ocean Science at UT Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, Texas. Photo credit: Jace Tunnell

The U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded a $5 million grant to The University of Texas at Austin to repair a large laboratory building on the UT Marine Science Institute campus in Port Aransas and help establish a new Center for Coastal Ocean Science.

Experimental Vaccine Against Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Elicits Strong Immune Response

Experimental Vaccine Against Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Elicits Strong Immune Response

An experimental vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), one of the leading causes of infectious disease deaths in infants, has shown early promise in a Phase 1 human clinical trial. A team of researchers, including The University of Texas at Austin's Jason McLellan, report today in the journal Science that one dose of their vaccine candidate elicited large increases in RSV-neutralizing antibodies that were sustained for several months.

Two Natural Sciences Faculty Receive 2019 Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards

Two Natural Sciences Faculty Receive 2019 Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards

David Laude and Alison Norman are recipients of the 2019 University of Texas Regents' Outstanding Teaching Awards.

Two faculty members from The University of Texas at Austin, both from the College of Natural Sciences, have been chosen to receive 2019 Regents' Outstanding Teaching Awards by the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System. The recipients are David Laude, a Distinguished Teaching Professor in chemistry, and Alison Norman, associate professor of instruction in computer science.

Keck Foundation Awards Chemists Grant to Squeeze More Energy from Sunlight

Keck Foundation Awards Chemists Grant to Squeeze More Energy from Sunlight

The W.M. Keck Foundation has awarded a $1 million grant to a team led by University of Texas at Austin chemists to develop an innovative new coating for silicon-based solar cells that could boost their efficiency by as much as 20%. It's a bold research challenge that, so far, no one else has figured out how to do — but if successful, could make solar power generation cheaper.