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From the College of Natural Sciences
DNA Repair Findings Shed Light on Pathways Affecting Cancer Progression

DNA Repair Findings Shed Light on Pathways Affecting Cancer Progression

For healthy cells to become cancerous cells, they have to lose several systems that regulate healthy function such as cell growth and division and DNA repair. New findings from University of Texas at Austin researchers about how one such regulatory system works could aid in efforts to develop personalized treatments for cancer.

Flu Vaccine’s Effectiveness Can Be Improved, New Findings Suggest

Flu Vaccine’s Effectiveness Can Be Improved, New Findings Suggest

Via CDC/ Judy Schmidt. Credit: James Gathany.

A team of engineers and scientists at The University of Texas at Austin is reporting new findings on how the influenza vaccine produces antibodies that protect against disease, research that suggests that the conventional flu vaccine can be improved. The findings were reported in the journal Nature Medicine on Nov. 7.

A Trio of Flu Studies Point the Way to Better Treatment and Prevention

A Trio of Flu Studies Point the Way to Better Treatment and Prevention

As we head into flu season, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin are announcing the results of three flu studies: One suggests a possible new target for drugs to combat the flu; another study forecasts how effective this year's flu vaccine might be; and a third looks at ways to improve the process of identifying flu strains in the wild and thus improve how strains are selected for inclusion in each year's vaccine.

New Faculty, New Technology to Strengthen Disease Research at UT Austin

New Faculty, New Technology to Strengthen Disease Research at UT Austin

A $2 million recruitment grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) has paved the way for The University of Texas at Austin to welcome a scientist experienced in cutting-edge molecular biology technologies that are used to study disease and DNA repair.

Bacteria Show Capacity for Rapid, Beneficial Mutations

Bacteria Show Capacity for Rapid, Beneficial Mutations

Scientists studying how microbes evolve have long assumed that nearly all new genetic mutations get passed down at a predictable pace and usually without either helping or hurting the microbe in adapting to its environment. In a new study published in the journal Nature, an international team of researchers studying tens of thousands of generations of E. coli bacteria report that most new genetic mutations that were passed down were actually beneficial and occurred at much more variable rates than previously thought.

Cross-respiration Between Oral Bacteria Leads to Worse Infections

Cross-respiration Between Oral Bacteria Leads to Worse Infections

Researchers from The University of Texas at Austin and elsewhere have determined that two bacterial species commonly found in the human mouth and in abscesses, cooperate to make the pathogenic bacterium, Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, more infectious. Key to the cooperation is that the harmless partner provides the pathogen with an oxygen-rich environment that helps it flourish.

Fix for 3-Billion-Year-Old Genetic Error Could Dramatically Improve Genetic Sequencing

Fix for 3-Billion-Year-Old Genetic Error Could Dramatically Improve Genetic Sequencing

Visual representation of laboratory manipulation RNA in water droplets; Jared Ellefson

For 3 billion years, one of the major carriers of information needed for life, RNA, has had a glitch that creates errors when making copies of genetic information. Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a fix that allows RNA to accurately proofread for the first time.

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.

Rare Evolutionary Event Detected in University of Texas Lab

Rare Evolutionary Event Detected in University of Texas Lab

It took nearly a half trillion tries before researchers at The University of Texas at Austin witnessed a rare event and perhaps solved an evolutionary puzzle about how introns – noncoding sequences of DNA located within genes – multiply in a genome.

Mutation in Gene Leads to Variety of Poorly Understood Birth Defects

Mutation in Gene Leads to Variety of Poorly Understood Birth Defects

Scientists have identified genetic mutations that appear to be a key culprit behind a suite of birth defects called ciliopathies, which affect an estimated 1 in 1,000 births. In a paper published online this week in Nature Genetics, a team of researchers led by The University of Texas at Austin's John Wallingford reveals that these mutations prevent certain proteins from working together to smooth the way for cells to communicate with one another.

Unlocking the Mysteries of Life-Changing Hepatitis C Drugs

Unlocking the Mysteries of Life-Changing Hepatitis C Drugs

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have for the first time revealed how a group of drugs that are being developed to treat hepatitis C works. Pharmaceutical companies might be able to apply these new insights to future drugs designed to address a deadly disease.

See 22 Ways UT Researchers Apply DNA, Genomics to Understanding Life

See 22 Ways UT Researchers Apply DNA, Genomics to Understanding Life

In honor of National DNA Day, we take a look at the myriad ways that researchers in the College of Natural Sciences use deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and genomic information to fight disease, improve agriculture and illuminate the wonders of the natural world.

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).

Podcast: Jekyll and Hyde Bacteria

Podcast: Jekyll and Hyde Bacteria

To study diseases, biologists often make models, for example, a rat with a disorder similar to Alzheimer's. With a good model, they can tinker with different variables and see if anything halts the disease, without the ethical limits of experimenting on actual humans. But scientists studying an especially nasty bacterium that tends to invade and breed out of control in the lungs of people with cystic fibrosis (CF) kept hitting dead ends in their search for a good model.

Scientists Study How DNA Repairs Itself Through Single Molecule Imaging

Scientists Study How DNA Repairs Itself Through Single Molecule Imaging

​A group of scientists from UT Austin's Finkelstein Laboratory, headed by assistant professor in Molecular Biosciences Ilya Finkelstein, have imaged proteins which repair DNA and gained new insights into how the body regulates DNA repair. The research, which uses novel single-molecule imaging techniques partially developed by Finkelstein, could lead to a better understanding of how cancerous cells repair their DNA.