Button to scroll to the top of the page.

Updates

Campus health and safety are our top priorities. Get the latest from UT on COVID-19.

Get help with Zoom and more.

News

From the College of Natural Sciences
International Project to Provide Detailed View of New Complexities Linked to Synapses

International Project to Provide Detailed View of New Complexities Linked to Synapses

Synapses are the tiny structures that form trillions of intersections between nerve cells in the brain, allowing us to think, sense, learn, act and remember. Because new research has found these nanostructures to be far more varied and nuanced than neuroscientists believed even five years ago, a new project will examine what is known as synaptic weight or strength, which has significant implications for understanding human brain health.

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin will lead an ambitious new project with 10 other U.S. institutions and global partners that has significant implications for understanding human brain health.

Tags:
Brain’s Immune Cells are a Central Driver of Alcohol Use Disorder

Brain’s Immune Cells are a Central Driver of Alcohol Use Disorder

The brain's primary immune cells play a fundamental role in alcohol use disorder, according to a new study from Scripps Research and The University of Texas at Austin. The scientists are the first to link these cells—known as microglia—to the molecular, cellular and behavioral changes that promote the increased drinking that's associated with alcohol dependence.

Scientists Discover Molecular Culprits Linked to Alcohol Use Disorders

Scientists Discover Molecular Culprits Linked to Alcohol Use Disorders

An unanswered question in alcoholism research has been what drives the transition from moderate alcohol consumption to alcohol dependence. Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin set out to discover if a molecule that regulates gene expression in the brain called Lim-only 4 (Lmo4) could facilitate this transition. In doing so, they discovered a molecular mechanism in the brain that is critical to the development of alcoholism, providing potential new targets for treatment.

Social Support Aids Recovery from Drug Addiction, Study Suggests

Social Support Aids Recovery from Drug Addiction, Study Suggests

Having an option to receive social support rather than use drugs is better at reducing relapse than cutting out drugs completely, and this behavior has its own control circuit in the brain, according to research co-authored by University of Texas neuroscientist Robert Messing. The research, done in partnership with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides evidence supporting existing recovery offerings and has implications for developing new drug-addiction treatments.

The Next 50 Years: Thinking Outside the Brain

The Next 50 Years: Thinking Outside the Brain

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. For this installment, we hear from Professor Adron Harris, M. June and J. Virgil Waggoner Chair in Molecular Biology, a professor of neuroscience, pharmacology and psychiatry, and the associate director of the Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research.

What Neuroscience Suggests to Better Your Study Habits

What Neuroscience Suggests to Better Your Study Habits

Every student has their own style of studying for exams. Some hold marathon study sessions, others endlessly review their notes. But scientists right here on campus say there are right ways and wrong ways to study, according to neuroscience.

Improving Brain Imaging with Deep Learning

Improving Brain Imaging with Deep Learning

An image showing the side by side versions of electron microscope captures. Credit: Salk Institute

Textbook descriptions of brain cells make neurons look simple: a long spine-like central axon with branching dendrites. Taken individually, these might be easy to identify and map, but in an actual brain, they're more like a knotty pile of octopi, with hundreds of limbs intertwined. This makes understanding how they behave and interact a major challenge for neuroscientists.

Tags:
UT Researchers Honored at Neuroscience 2019 Conference

UT Researchers Honored at Neuroscience 2019 Conference

The Society for Neuroscience honored two University of Texas at Austin researchers at its annual conference, Neuroscience 2019. The conference is an opportunity for neuroscientists to present research findings, connect with experts and explore new technologies.

Neuroscientists Win University Teaching Awards

Neuroscientists Win University Teaching Awards

Neuroscience professors Nace Golding (left) and Michael Mauk (right) both won university-wide teaching awards.

Within days of each other, two professors of neuroscience and one undergraduate teaching assistant have won University of Texas at Austin teaching awards.

How the Brain Fights Off Fears That Return to Haunt Us

How the Brain Fights Off Fears That Return to Haunt Us

AUSTIN, Texas – Neuroscientists at The University of Texas at Austin have discovered a group of cells in the brain that are responsible when a frightening memory re-emerges unexpectedly, like Michael Myers in every "Halloween" movie. The finding could lead to new recommendations about when and how often certain therapies are deployed for the treatment of anxiety, phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Tags:
Forgetting Uses More Brain Power Than Remembering

Forgetting Uses More Brain Power Than Remembering

Choosing to forget something might take more mental effort than trying to remember it, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin discovered through neuroimaging.

Advance is a Key Step Toward Treatment of Neurological Disorders

Advance is a Key Step Toward Treatment of Neurological Disorders

A technique neuroscientists use to view neurons in the brain and to turn them on and off with light, called optogenetics, is a promising strategy that could eventually treat a wide range of disorders, from chronic pain to conditions such as epilepsy and Parkinson's disease. However, scientists faced a major hurdle: It has not been possible to access specific groups of brain cells in animals that have not been genetically manipulated for testing purposes, limiting mammalian research primarily to mice. Until now.

Tags:
Ali Preston Has A View Into Memory

Ali Preston Has A View Into Memory

Alison Preston is the Dr. A. Wilson Nolle and Sir Raghunath P. Mahendroo Professor of Neuroscience in the College of Natural Sciences. She also holds appointments in the in the College of Liberal Arts' department of psychology and the Dell Medical School's department of psychiatry. She spoke with The Texas Scientist about her work. 

Why Do our Eyes Move as They Do? UT Scientists Have New Answers to That

Why Do our Eyes Move as They Do? UT Scientists Have New Answers to That

Humans move their eyes about two or three times a second, even when we're concentrating on a particular object or image, but the reason for these tiny eye movements has never been very clear.

Tags:
Fish’s Use of Electricity Might Shed Light on Human Illnesses

Fish’s Use of Electricity Might Shed Light on Human Illnesses

Brienomyrus brachyistius, commonly known as the baby whale.

Deep in the night in muddy African rivers, a fish uses electrical charges to sense the world around it and communicate with other members of its species. Signaling in electrical spurts that last only a few tenths of a thousandth of a second allows the fish to navigate without letting predators know it is there. Now scientists have found that the evolutionary trick these fish use to make such brief discharges could provide new insights, with a bearing on treatments for diseases such as epilepsy.