News

From the College of Natural Sciences

Biologist Studies Evolution of HIV

AUSTIN, Texas--Dr. Sara Sawyer, an evolutionary biologist, will use a $120,000 grant from the Foundation for AIDS Research (amFAR) to study how the HIV virus and the cells it attacks have evolved together over time. The goal of her research is to discover new targets for drugs. When HIV infiltrates cells, the virus hijacks its host's genetic m...

The Bacteria Diet

How Pseudomonas proves so tenacious, and why it acts so differently in Cystic fibrosis-afflicted lungs than in normal human lungs, are puzzles that Whiteley has been working to solve for more than a decade.

Dudley Elected Fellow of American Academy of Microbiology

Dr. Jaquelin Dudley, professor of molecular genetics and microbiology, has been elected a fellow in the American Academy of Microbiology.
Why Hybrids Grow Bigger

Why Hybrids Grow Bigger

AUSTIN, Texas—Hybrid plants, like corn, grow bigger and better than their parents because many of their genes for photosynthesis and starch metabolism are more active during the day, report researchers from The University of Texas at Austin in a new study published in the journal Nature. Their research has relevance in many areas of agriculture, a...

Chemist Mahal Receives NIH New Innovator Award

AUSTIN, Texas—Dr. Lara K. Mahal, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, is one of 31 researchers nationally to receive a 2008 New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She will use the 5-year, $1.5 million grant to decode how sugar molecules on cell surfaces encode information such as cell type and health. This m...
Discovery Opens Door For Drugs To Fight Bird Flu, Influenza Epidemics

Discovery Opens Door For Drugs To Fight Bird Flu, Influenza Epidemics

AUSTIN, Texas—Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and Rutgers University have reported a discovery that could help scientists develop drugs to fight avian flu and other virulent strains of influenza. The researchers have determined the three-dimensional structure of a site on an influenza A virus protein that binds to one of the human...

Network Fever

Edward Marcotte is using networks—like those that could be used to illustrate the connections among users of the Web sites MySpace and Facebook—to study life itself.

Genes Evolve to Minimize Protein Production Errors

AUSTIN, Texas--Genetic evolution is strongly shaped by genes’ efforts to prevent or tolerate errors in the production of proteins, scientists at The University of Texas at Austin and Harvard University have found. Their study also suggests that the cost of errors in protein production may lie in the malformed proteins themselves, rather than in th...

Microbiologist Receives Support for Studying Bacterial Communication and Disease

Dr. Marvin Whiteley, assistant professor of molecular genetics and microbiology, recently received a 2008 Investigators in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease (PATH) award from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund for his work to understand the interaction between human hosts and infectious bacteria. Whiteley will use the $500,000 PATH award for researc...

Paull Becomes HHMI Investigator

AUSTIN, Texas—Biologist Tanya Paull has become the first faculty member at The University of Texas at Austin to be named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator, joining 55 of the nation's most creative biomedical scientists in this year’s group. The institute commits more than $600 million to the 56 scientists over their first term...
New Source for Biofuels Discovered

New Source for Biofuels Discovered

AUSTIN, Texas--A newly created microbe produces cellulose that can be turned into ethanol and other biofuels, report scientists from The University of Texas at Austin who say the microbe could provide a significant portion of the nation’s transportation fuel if production can be scaled up. Along with cellulose, the cyanobacteria developed by Profe...
Saliva Can Help Diagnose Heart Attack

Saliva Can Help Diagnose Heart Attack

AUSTIN, Texas—Early diagnosis of a heart attack may now be possible using only a few drops of saliva and a new nano-bio-chip, a multi-institutional team led by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin reported at a recent meeting of the American Association for Dental Research. The nano-bio-chip assay could some day be used to analyze a pa...

Visualizing Synapses

A 3-D reconstruction of a dendrite and its spines created by serial section transmission electron microscopy (ssTEM), a technique pioneered by Kristen Harris. Neurobiologist Kristen Harris recently joined the Center for Learning and Memory (CLM), and she brings with her a pioneering technique to study how neurons change and how the changes relat...A 3-D reconstruction of a dendrite and its spines created by serial section transmission electron microscopy (ssTEM), a technique pioneered by Kristen Harris.

Directing Evolution

Andy Ellington uses evolution to create new therapeutics, train the next generation and ask questions about the origin of life. When Andy Ellington looks at the living world, he sees what most of us do: giant trees of green, birds chirping, dogs walking and people smiling. He also, however, sees the world from the bottom up, as collections of mil...infectious_ellington2
Gene Discovery Made Easier

Gene Discovery Made Easier

AUSTIN, Texas—The identification of disease-causing genes will be much easier and faster using a powerful new gene-networking model developed by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin. Edward Marcotte and his colleague, postdoctoral researcher Insuk Lee, used the gene network technique to identify new genes that regulate life span and ar...