News

From the College of Natural Sciences
Scientist to Chair Molecular Biosciences Department

Scientist to Chair Molecular Biosciences Department

A new chair has been selected for the Department of Molecular Biosciences. Dan Leahy, a structural biologist and Professor of Biophysics & Biophysical Chemistry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, will assume the role in January.

Chemistry in Mold Reveals Important Clue for Pharmaceuticals

Chemistry in Mold Reveals Important Clue for Pharmaceuticals

​In a discovery that holds promise for future drug development, scientists have detected for the first time how nature performs an impressive trick to produce key chemicals similar to those in drugs that fight malaria, bacterial infections and cancer.

Researchers Build Nanoscale Autonomous Walking Machine from DNA

Researchers Build Nanoscale Autonomous Walking Machine from DNA

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a nanoscale machine made of DNA that can randomly walk in any direction across bumpy surfaces. Future applications of such a DNA walker might include a cancer detector that could roam the human body searching for cancerous cells and tagging them for medical imaging or drug targeting.

Illustration: Jenna Luecke
Promising New Target in War Against Flu

Promising New Target in War Against Flu

Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have discovered that a protein produced by the influenza A virus, which causes flu, can overcome one of our body's natural defense mechanisms. That makes this flu protein a potentially good target for antiviral drugs directed against the flu virus

Image credit: Pixabay, via Creative Commons CC0 license.
Alum Recognized for Cancer Research Breakthrough

Alum Recognized for Cancer Research Breakthrough

Jim Allison, a College of Natural Sciences alumnus and cancer researcher, has been named the 2015 recipient of the prestigious Lasker Award for clinical medical research.

Study Shows Common Molecular Tool Kit Organisms Share Across Tree of Life

Study Shows Common Molecular Tool Kit Organisms Share Across Tree of Life

Researchers created the world’s largest protein map, identifying nearly 1,000 protein complexes that are shared across the tree of life. This image shows a small portion of that map.

In one of the largest and most detailed studies of animal molecular biology ever undertaken, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Toronto discovered the assembly instructions for nearly 1,000 protein complexes shared by most kinds of animals, revealing their deep evolutionary relationships. Those instructions offer a powerful new tool for studying the causes of diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and cancer.

Graduate Student Selected for International Research Fellowship

Graduate Student Selected for International Research Fellowship

Yoori Kim

Biochemistry graduate student Yoori Kim is one of two students from The University of Texas at Austin selected by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to receive a prestigious international research fellowship.

Freshman Researchers Receive Grand Challenges Explorations Grant

Freshman Researchers Receive Grand Challenges Explorations Grant

University of Texas at Austin freshmen, working to develop do-it-yourself health care diagnostics, make up a research group that was announced today as a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, through an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Audio: Beauty and the Yeast

Audio: Beauty and the Yeast

Despite a billion years of evolution separating us from the baker's yeast in our refrigerators, hundreds of genes from an ancestor that we share live on nearly unchanged in us both, say biologists at The University of Texas at Austin. Read more about Edward Marcotte and his team's research: Partly Human Yeast Show A Common Ancestor's Lasting Legacy

Partly Human Yeast Show A Common Ancestor’s Lasting Legacy

Partly Human Yeast Show A Common Ancestor’s Lasting Legacy

Humanized Yeast illustrationDespite a billion years of evolution separating humans from the baker’s yeast in their refrigerators, hundreds of genes from an ancestor that the two species have in common live on nearly unchanged in them both, say biologists at The University of Texas at Austin. The team created thriving strains of genetically engineered yeast using human genes and found that certain groups of genes are surprisingly stable over evolutionary time.

Genetic Road Map May Bring About Better Cotton Crops

Genetic Road Map May Bring About Better Cotton Crops

A University of Texas at Austin scientist, working with an international research team, has developed the most precise sequence map yet of U.S. cotton and will soon create an even more detailed map for navigating the complex cotton genome.

New Cystic Fibrosis Research Examines Deadly Pathogen

New Cystic Fibrosis Research Examines Deadly Pathogen

A new method of testing the most common cause of life-threatening infection in people with cystic fibrosis could improve efforts to study and combat the illness.

Nature May Produce Reaction thought Earlier to Be in Only Synthetic Chemists' Power

Nature May Produce Reaction thought Earlier to Be in Only Synthetic Chemists' Power

Discovered nearly a century ago, the Diels-Alder reaction has been used by synthetic chemists in many industries to produce everything from morphine to plastics. It turns out nature, too, may be performing Diels-Alder-like reactions, researchers have found. 

New Protein Booster May Lead to Better DNA Vaccines and Gene Therapy

New Protein Booster May Lead to Better DNA Vaccines and Gene Therapy

Scientists have discovered a new way to manipulate how cells function, a finding that might help advance an experimental approach to improving public health: DNA vaccines, which could be more efficient, less expensive and easier to store than traditional vaccines.

Cyanobacterium Found in UT Algae Collection Holds Biotech Promise

Cyanobacterium Found in UT Algae Collection Holds Biotech Promise

A fast-growing bacterial strain found on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin in the 1950s might ultimately prove useful for carbon sequestration, biofuel production, biosynthesis of valuable chemicals and the search for novel pharmaceuticals, scientists announced in newly published paper.