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From the College of Natural Sciences
New Sensor May Soon Test for Coronavirus and Flu Simultaneously

New Sensor May Soon Test for Coronavirus and Flu Simultaneously

The novel coronavirus has been compared to the flu almost from the moment it emerged in late 2019. They share a variety of symptoms, and in many cases, an influenza test is part of the process for diagnosing COVID-19.

Antibodies from a SARS Patient Could Help Fight Coronaviruses Now and in the Future

Antibodies from a SARS Patient Could Help Fight Coronaviruses Now and in the Future

Scientists from UT Austin and elsewhere found many human antibodies that bind to the spike protein of SARS-like viruses. On the left, two copies of an antibody dubbed ADI-55689 (orange) bind two different sites on the spike protein (white). On the right, a different antibody dubbed ADI-56046 (purple) binds another site on the spike protein. These antibody binding sites are close to sites where the spike protein binds to receptors on the surface of human cells (red) and to another monoclonal antibody dubbed CR3022 (light blue).

As terrifying as the current pandemic is, scientists believe some of the hundreds of other known coronaviruses in bats might also have the potential to make the cross-species leap into humans, as this one probably did. Scientists are already thinking about ways to prevent another coronavirus from spiraling out of control. Basic research published in the journal Science provides evidence that an antibody therapy that's effective against all SARS-like coronaviruses is possible.

Lulu Cambronne Named 2020 Pew Biomedical Scholar

Lulu Cambronne Named 2020 Pew Biomedical Scholar

University of Texas at Austin molecular biosciences assistant professor Xiaolu 'Lulu' Cambronne was one of 22 early career scientists selected to join the 2020 class of Pew Biomedical Scholars.

COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Therapy is Safe, With 76% of Patients Improving

COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Therapy is Safe, With 76% of Patients Improving

The country’s first peer-reviewed study of convalescent plasma transfusion therapy, which uses blood plasma donated by recovered patients to treat currently ill patients, shows 19 out of 25 patients with COVID-19 improving with the treatment. Photo: iStock.

The country's first peer-reviewed study of a COVID-19 treatment that transfuses blood plasma from recovered patients into critically ill patients shows 19 out of 25 patients improving, including 11 discharged from the hospital.

COVID-19 Drug Development Could Benefit from Approach Used Against Flu

COVID-19 Drug Development Could Benefit from Approach Used Against Flu

A new study from researchers at The University of Texas at Austin has found that some antivirals are useful for more than helping sick people get better — they also can prevent thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of virus cases if used in the early stages of infection.

The Next 50 Years: The Future of Cybernetics

The Next 50 Years: The Future of Cybernetics

This semester, the College of Natural Sciences is checking in with faculty experts about developments related to their fields of study that may well affect how we live, work and interact with one another and the world around us over the next 50 years.

Graduating Seniors Help Identify Scientific Solutions in Coronavirus Fight

Graduating Seniors Help Identify Scientific Solutions in Coronavirus Fight

As confirmed cases of COVID-19 began to appear in the U.S., graduating seniors at the University of Texas at Austin looked for ways to apply their scientific expertise toward slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus. In the midst of their own academic careers and personal lives being turned upside down by a pandemic, their work yielded potential solutions to the shortage of coronavirus tests and medical-grade facemasks.

Antibodies from Llamas Could Help in Fight Against COVID-19

Antibodies from Llamas Could Help in Fight Against COVID-19

The hunt for an effective treatment for COVID-19 has led one team of researchers to find an improbable ally for their work: a llama named Winter. The team — from The University of Texas at Austin, the National Institutes of Health and Ghent University in Belgium — reports their findings about a potential avenue for a coronavirus treatment involving llamas on May 5 in the journal Cell.

Genomes Assembled from Five Cotton Species Could Lead to Better Varieties

Genomes Assembled from Five Cotton Species Could Lead to Better Varieties

Researchers assembled the genomes of five cotton varieties, revealing their evolutionary history and new insights for breeding. Flower images by Atsumi Ando (UT Austin) and field of cotton by James Frelichowskin (USDA-ARS, College Station).

Cotton producers in Texas, elsewhere in the US and around the world are looking for new varieties that can better withstand droughts, pests and pathogens, yet yield higher-quality fibers for the textile industry.

Researchers Create Largest Ever Map of Plant Proteins and Their Assemblies

Researchers Create Largest Ever Map of Plant Proteins and Their Assemblies

In a new paper in Cell, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin offer the largest survey to date of proteins in plants, examining 13 different species across 1.1 billion years of plant evolution. Their findings could have practical applications such as increasing crop yields, understanding disease and stress resistance in plants and informing biofuel production.

New Method Could Transform Vaccine Distribution to Remote, Developing Areas

New Method Could Transform Vaccine Distribution to Remote, Developing Areas

Access to vaccines around the world could get easier thanks to scientists at The University of Texas at Austin who have developed an inexpensive and innovative vaccine delivery method that preserves live viruses, bacteria, antibodies and enzymes without refrigeration.

Breakthrough in Coronavirus Research Results in New Map to Support Vaccine Design

Breakthrough in Coronavirus Research Results in New Map to Support Vaccine Design

Researchers from The University of Texas at Austin and the National Institutes of Health have made a critical breakthrough toward developing a vaccine for the 2019 novel coronavirus by creating the first 3D atomic scale map of the part of the virus that attaches to and infects human cells.

How Chromosomes Organize and Genes Interact Needs Rethinking, Study Finds

How Chromosomes Organize and Genes Interact Needs Rethinking, Study Finds

The organization of genetic information in most bacteria – long thought to occur in a single ordered, segmented ring – turns out to more closely mimic a spaghetti noodle: shifting, balling up and twisting in ways scientists previously had not grasped. The finding by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin, appears today in Cell, with implications for cancer and bacterial infectious disease research, as well as our most basic understanding about the structure of all living cells.

Graduate Researcher Studies Cells that Fight Autoimmunity

Graduate Researcher Studies Cells that Fight Autoimmunity

T-cells are crucial to our immune systems, recognizing viruses, bacterial infections and even cancer cells and triggering immune responses that help kill off these and other dangerous invaders.

Bacteria Engineered to Protect Bees from Pests and Pathogens

Bacteria Engineered to Protect Bees from Pests and Pathogens

A Varroa mite, a common pest that can weaken bees and make them more susceptible to pathogens, feeds on a honey bee. Photo credit: Alex Wild/University of Texas at Austin.

Scientists from The University of Texas at Austin report in the journal Science that they have developed a new strategy to protect honey bees from a deadly trend known as colony collapse: genetically engineered strains of bacteria.