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From the College of Natural Sciences
Chemistry Graduate Student Awarded Prestigious Spanish Fellowship

Chemistry Graduate Student Awarded Prestigious Spanish Fellowship

Queen Letizia of Spain presents Orhi with his award certificate.

Orhi Esarte Palomero, a chemistry graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, has been awarded a prestigious "la Caixa" postgraduate fellowship. Sponsored by the "la Caixa" Banking Foundation, these fellowships are granted each year to Spanish graduate students studying abroad.

Dave Thirumalai Awarded Langmuir Prize in Chemical Physics

Dave Thirumalai Awarded Langmuir Prize in Chemical Physics

A chemist at the University of Texas at Austin has been awarded the top prize for chemical physics, given biennially by the American Physical Society. Davarajan Thirumalai received the Irving Langmuir Prize in Chemical Physics for his groundbreaking work in developing "analytical and computational approaches to soft-matter systems" and applying these approaches to "the transitional behavior of supercooled fluids and glasses, folding dynamics of protein and RNA biopolymers, and functioning of molecular motors."

‘Honey, I Shrunk the Cell Culture’: Scientists Use Shrink Ray for Biomedical Research

‘Honey, I Shrunk the Cell Culture’: Scientists Use Shrink Ray for Biomedical Research

Using a new kind of "shrink ray", UT Austin scientists can alter the surface of a hydrogel pad in real time, creating grooves (blue) and other patterns without disturbing living cells, such as this fibroblast cell (red) that models the behavior of human skin cells. Rapid appearance of such surface features during cell growth can mimic the dynamic conditions experienced during development and repair of tissue (e.g., in wound healing and nerve regrowth). Credit: Jason Shear/University of Texas at Austin.

From "Fantastic Voyage" to "Despicable Me," shrink rays have been a science-fiction staple on screen. Now chemists at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a real shrink ray that can change the size and shape of a block of gel-like material while human or bacterial cells grow on it. This new tool holds promise for biomedical researchers, including those seeking to shed light on how to grow replacement tissues and organs for implants.

New Protein Sequencing Method Could Transform Biological Research

New Protein Sequencing Method Could Transform Biological Research

An ultra-sensitive new method for identifying the series of amino acids in individual proteins (a.k.a. protein sequencing) can accelerate research on biomarkers for cancer and other diseases. Credit: David Steadman/University of Texas at Austin.

A team of researchers at The University of Texas at Austin has demonstrated a new way to sequence proteins that is much more sensitive than existing technology, identifying individual protein molecules rather than requiring millions of molecules at a time. The advance could have a major impact in biomedical research, making it easier to reveal new biomarkers for the diagnosis of cancer and other diseases, as well as enhance our understanding of how healthy cells function.

MacArthur Foundation Fellows Include UT Austin’s Inventor of ‘Cancer Pen’

MacArthur Foundation Fellows Include UT Austin’s Inventor of ‘Cancer Pen’

Livia S. Eberlin, chemistry professor at the University of Texas at Austin has won a MacArthur "genius award." Photo credit: Wyatt McSpadden/Univ. of Texas at Austin.

Livia Schiavinato Eberlin, an assistant professor of chemistry at The University of Texas at Austin, has won a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, sometimes called a "genius" award. The prestigious, no-strings-attached five-year fellowship awards $625,000 to each recipient.

Four to Receive Major Awards from Chemical Societies

Four to Receive Major Awards from Chemical Societies

Four chemists (from left to right): Eric Anslyn, Jennifer Brodbelt, Hung-Wen (Ben) Liu, Jonathan Sessler receive major awards. Image Credit: University of Texas at Austin

Four UT Austin faculty members have won major awards for 2019 from the American Chemical Society (ACS) and the International Conference on Calixarenes for their contributions to an array of research areas.

Making Cancer’s Metabolism More Normal Blocks Drug Resistance

Making Cancer’s Metabolism More Normal Blocks Drug Resistance

Updated on August 31, 2018: This release was updated to correct mistakes in descriptions of the way cancer cells develop drug resistance and the way that anti-cancer drug DCA affects the metabolism of cancer cells.

The chemical structure of C1, a drug combining two active elements: Doxorubicin (Dox), a powerful cancer chemotherapy agent that's been used for decades; and a dichloroacetic acid (DCA) subunit, which reverses a cell's metabolism to aerobic. Credit: University of Texas at Austin

A new drug lead shows promise that it could reduce the size of cancerous tumors much more effectively than current treatments.

Three Chemists’ Lifetime Achievement Celebrated this Summer

Three Chemists’ Lifetime Achievement Celebrated this Summer

Chemists Stephen Martin, Jonathan Sessler and Dave Thirumalai have won lifetime achievement awards.

Three UT Austin chemistry professors—Jonathan Sessler, Dave Thirumalai and Stephen Martin—were awarded lifetime achievement awards this summer.

Scientists Map a Complicated Ballet Performed in Our Cells

Scientists Map a Complicated Ballet Performed in Our Cells

For years, scientists have looked at human chromosomes, and the DNA they carried, poring over the genetic code that makes up every cell for clues about everything from our eye color to congenital diseases. In a new study, however, scientists have demonstrated the movement of chromosomes within cells also may play a role in human traits and health.

Remembering Joanne Ravel, UT Austin Biochemistry Professor

Remembering Joanne Ravel, UT Austin Biochemistry Professor

Joanne Ravel (PhD '54), Ashbel Smith Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin, passed away on June 28, 2018 just shy of her 94th birthday. She was a lifelong resident of Austin, Texas.

New Nerve Gas Detector Built with Legos and a Smartphone

New Nerve Gas Detector Built with Legos and a Smartphone

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have designed a way to sense dangerous chemicals using, in part, a simple rig consisting of a smartphone and a box made from Lego bricks, which could help first responders and scientists in the field identify deadly and difficult-to-detect nerve agents such as VX and sarin. The new methodology described in a paper published Wednesday in the open-access journal ACS Central Science combines a chemical sensor with photography to detect and identify different nerve agents — odorless, tasteless chemical weapons that can cause severe illness and death, sometimes within minutes.

Anti-Alcoholism Drug Shows Promise in Animal Models

Anti-Alcoholism Drug Shows Promise in Animal Models

Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have successfully tested in animals a drug that, they say, may one day help block the withdrawal symptoms and cravings that incessantly coax people with alcoholism to drink. Photo credit: Shutterstock.

Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have successfully tested in animals a drug that, they say, may one day help block the withdrawal symptoms and cravings that incessantly coax people with alcoholism to drink. If eventually brought to market, it could help the more than 15 million Americans, and many more around the world who suffer from alcoholism stay sober.

The Physics of Rapidly Spreading Cancer

The Physics of Rapidly Spreading Cancer

Using a computer simulation that models the physical and chemical interactions of cancerous cells (colored dots), researchers discovered that over time, tumors develop a distinctive two-part structure: slow moving cells moving randomly in a dense core (blue and purple), surrounded by a band of cells moving faster and more directly outward (green, yellow, red). Arrows indicate direction of motion. The image at right is the same tumor cut in half to reveal the inner structure. Image credit: Anne Bowen, Texas Advanced Computing Center at the University of Texas at Austin.

Scientists have recently discovered a method in cancer's madness. Before now, they've been perplexed by how cancer cells, growing alongside healthy cells, often spread much faster into surrounding tissue than randomness would dictate. It's as if cancerous cells are intentionally moving directly outward, invading healthy tissue.

Pen-Like Device That Detects Cancer Takes Prize at SXSW

Pen-Like Device That Detects Cancer Takes Prize at SXSW

A University of Texas at Austin professor and her team were honored with a prestigious SXSW Interactive Innovation Award for the MasSpec Pen, a device that will allow surgeons to identify cancerous tissue in seconds.

A Score to Settle with Cancer (Audio)

A Score to Settle with Cancer (Audio)

Jonathan Sessler was a college student when he was first diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. Fortunately, he was also a chemistry major. After surviving radiation therapy, relapsing and then surviving extremely high doses of what he calls "rat poison" (a.k.a. chemotherapy), his oncologist challenged him: "You're a chemist. Find new cancer drugs."