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From the College of Natural Sciences
UT Austin Mourns the Death of Former Provost Gerhard Fonken

UT Austin Mourns the Death of Former Provost Gerhard Fonken

A 1985 photo of, from left, newly appointed UT President William Cunningham, former President Peter Flawn and newly appointed Executive Vice President and Provost Gerhard Fonken. Courtesy of Briscoe Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin.

Gerhard Fonken, former executive vice president and provost at The University of Texas at Austin, died this month at the age of 88. Fonken served the university for more than 35 years in various research, teaching and administrative roles, including professor in the Department of Chemistry and vice president of academic affairs and research.

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New Material Could Save Time and Money in Medical Imaging and Environmental Remediation

New Material Could Save Time and Money in Medical Imaging and Environmental Remediation

Chemists at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a material that holds the key to cheap, fast and portable new sensors for a wide range of chemicals that right now cost government and industries large sums to detect. The innovation could lead to major public health gains, as it holds the potential to drastically reduce the costs associated with cleaning-up accidental chemical spills, remediating old industrial sites, detecting radioactive contamination in drinking water, and operating medical and research imaging devices.

Chemistry Professor Receives Award for Research on Natural Compounds

Chemistry Professor Receives Award for Research on Natural Compounds

Stephen Martin, a professor of chemistry at The Univeristy of Texas at Austin, has garnered the American Chemical Society's Ernest Guenther Award in the Chemistry of Natural Products for a career of outstanding work in that area.

Chemistry Professor Wins NSF CAREER Award

Chemistry Professor Wins NSF CAREER Award

Sean Roberts, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry at The University of Texas at Austin, has received the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation to pursue his research on the electrical properties of the surfaces of thin materials, which has long-range potential to inspire more energy efficient solar cells, lighting and electronic displays. The award will also support an outreach program designed to give community college students hands-on experience with research.

Chemistry Outreach Program Promotes Sustainability, Love of Science

Chemistry Outreach Program Promotes Sustainability, Love of Science

Ryan Pekarek, a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the Department of Chemistry, has two passions: renewable energy and science education. Luckily he's found a way to pursue both on the Forty Acres through his involvement in H2fromH20, an outreach program started by Michael Rose, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry.

Chemist Receives CPRIT Award for Tool to Recognize Thyroid Cancer

Chemist Receives CPRIT Award for Tool to Recognize Thyroid Cancer

Image credited to L'Oréal USA For Women In Science video

The Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) awarded an Early Translational Research grant to chemist Livia Eberlin, for the development of a new tool to accurately recognize thyroid cancer. The new tool, utilizing a technology called ambient ionization mass spectrometry, looks for patterns in the abundance of metabolites, or end products of biological processes, to rapidly determine whether cancer is present in a sample.

Sessler Awarded UT Inventor of the Year

Sessler Awarded UT Inventor of the Year

Professor of chemistry Jonathan Sessler has been named the 2016 UT Inventor of the Year for his prodigious work that contributed to groundbreaking new pharmaceuticals to fight cancer and a successful company, sold last year for billions of dollars.

UT Austin Chemist Chosen to Receive Early Career Award

UT Austin Chemist Chosen to Receive Early Career Award

Livia Eberlin of The University of Texas at Austin is one of five leading female scientists chosen to receive a 2017 Marion Milligan Mason Award for Women in the Chemical Sciences from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Evolution Inspires Anthrax Cure (Audio)

Evolution Inspires Anthrax Cure (Audio)

This fall marks the 15th anniversary of the U.S. anthrax letter attacks that sickened dozens of people and killed five. At the time, there was no effective treatment for a late stage infection. The attacks accelerated work already underway at the University of Texas at Austin. Brent Iverson, George Georgiou and Jennifer Maynard borrowed a page from Mother Nature's playbook to develop the world's first treatment for late stage inhalation anthrax.

Chemists Garner New Insights into Protein Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease

Chemists Garner New Insights into Protein Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer's disease, the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, has proven especially thorny for researchers: no cure has been found, nor has there been any treatment proven to slow the progression of the disease once it sets in. In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists have taken a back-to-the-beginning approach, examining what happens at the start of a chain reaction that occurs before onset of the disease.

Low-Temp Production Could Mean Cheaper, Flexible Smart Windows

Low-Temp Production Could Mean Cheaper, Flexible Smart Windows

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have invented a new flexible smart window material that, when incorporated into windows, sunroofs, or even curved glass surfaces, will have the ability to control both heat and light from the sun. Their article about the new material will be published in the September issue of Nature Materials.

A darkened electrochromic film on plastic prepared by chemical condensation.
Making Virus Sensors Cheap and Simple: New Method Detects Single Viruses

Making Virus Sensors Cheap and Simple: New Method Detects Single Viruses

Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a new method to rapidly detect a single virus in urine, as reported this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Chemistry Educator Receives Dads' Association Centennial Teaching Fellowship

Chemistry Educator Receives Dads' Association Centennial Teaching Fellowship

Fatima Fakhreddine of the College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin has been chosen to hold an endowed Dads' Association Centennial Teaching Fellowship for 2016-2017. The fellowship recognizes excellence and commitment in the teaching of undergraduates.

Drug Engineered at UT Austin to Treat Anthrax Gains FDA Approval

Drug Engineered at UT Austin to Treat Anthrax Gains FDA Approval

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin successfully culminated years of work when a drug they engineered for the treatment and prevention of inhalational anthrax — the anthrax antitoxin obiltoxaximab — received approval March 21 from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

New Catalyst Enables Cheaper Production of Hydrogen Fuel

New Catalyst Enables Cheaper Production of Hydrogen Fuel

Imagine a world where cars run on fuel derived from water instead of gasoline. Scientists at the University of Texas at Austin and elsewhere are developing methods for splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen that could someday power hydrogen fuel cells. One key challenge has been the high cost of catalysts, chemicals that shepherd the electrolytic reaction.