Button to scroll to the top of the page.

News

From the College of Natural Sciences
This tag contain 1 private blog which isn't listed here.
Adapting the Frequency of COVID-19 Testing Depending on Transmission Rate and Community Immunity

Adapting the Frequency of COVID-19 Testing Depending on Transmission Rate and Community Immunity

Illustration by Jenna Luecke

Expanding rapid testing stands out as an affordable way to help mitigate risks associated with COVID-19 and emerging variants. Infectious disease researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a new model that tailors testing recommendations to new variants and likely immunity levels in a community, offering a new strategy as public health leaders seek a way out of a pandemic that has so far thwarted the best efforts to end its spread. It is the first study to identify optimal levels of testing in a partially immunized population.

Ancient Cousins, New AI Could Reveal Clues About Causes of Birth Defects

Ancient Cousins, New AI Could Reveal Clues About Causes of Birth Defects

Editor's note: Each December, the journal Science identifies one scientific discovery as its "Breakthrough of the Year." For 2021, this recognition went to AlphaFold and RoseTTA-fold—artificial intelligence software that accurately predicts the 3D structure of proteins. Guest writer and microbiology graduate student Colleen Mulvihill reports on one example of how UT Austin scientists are using the new technology to solve longstanding questions in human health.

Potential New Gene Editing Tools Uncovered

Potential New Gene Editing Tools Uncovered

Scientists have found over a thousand versions of a natural gene editor in bacteria, which could lead to better gene editing tools to treat diseases. Image courtesy: National Human Genome Research Institute.

Few developments have rocked the biotechnology world or generated as much buzz as the discovery of CRISPR-Cas systems, a breakthrough in gene editing recognized in 2020 with a Nobel Prize. But these systems that naturally occur in bacteria are limited because they can make only small tweaks to genes. In recent years, scientists discovered a different system in bacteria that might lead to even more powerful methods for gene editing, given its unique ability to insert genes or whole sections of DNA in a genome.

UT Austin Harnesses Power of Biology in Partnership with Army Research Laboratory

UT Austin Harnesses Power of Biology in Partnership with Army Research Laboratory

Jimmy Gollihar at work in the "biological foundry." Photo credit: Callie Richmond.

Early last year, Jimmy Gollihar was deep into building a unique facility on the Forty Acres, what he calls "the biological foundry" – a turbo-charged, biotech playground with a focus on rapid scientific discovery. The foundry was to be a key element of a partnership in synthetic biology research between The University of Texas at Austin and the U.S. military. Then, as fate would have it, COVID-19 would change everything.

UT COVID-19 Experts Offer Pro Tips for Holiday Gatherings

UT COVID-19 Experts Offer Pro Tips for Holiday Gatherings

Many of us can't wait to catch up with friends and loved ones this holiday season, COVID-19 experts included.

"I look forward to connecting with family that I haven't seen in over 18 months," says Lauren Ancel Meyers, director of the UT COVID-19 Modeling Consortium. "Since we are not out of the woods with COVID-19 yet, we will take precautions so that we can enjoy being together with peace of mind."

Breakthrough in Fight on Tick-Borne CCHF Virus is Latest Use of New Strategy Against Diseases

Breakthrough in Fight on Tick-Borne CCHF Virus is Latest Use of New Strategy Against Diseases

A 3D atomic map, or structure, of the Gc protein (red and yellow) bound to two antibodies (green, blue and white) produced by a recovered patient. The Gc protein is a key molecule on the surface of the CCHF virus enabling it to infect cells. Credit: Akaash Mishra/University of Texas at Austin

Using the same approach they recently used to create effective vaccine candidates against COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), scientists are tackling another virus: the tick-borne Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF). It causes death in up to 40% of cases, and the World Health Organization identified the disease as one of its top priorities for research and development. The results appear today in the journal Science.

A Celebration of Science and Health Heroes

A Celebration of Science and Health Heroes

The UT Tower shined bright with burnt orange lights in October to honor the researchers who helped create the COVID-19 vaccines.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler, Medical Director Desmar Walkes, world-changing scientists and members of the UT Austin Community are gathering to celebrate the hard-working people on campus and beyond who have contributed to COVID-19 vaccines and vaccinations. The College of Natural Sciences' Vaccination Celebration recognizes the UT Austin connection to vaccine development and the progress that has been made in getting people vaccinated almost one year since the global vaccine rollout began. The event also features a vaccine pop-up, as well as a free concert by Austin-based band Nané.

McLellan Honored for Contributions to COVID-19 Vaccines

McLellan Honored for Contributions to COVID-19 Vaccines

Photo by Vivian Abagiu

Jason McLellan, UT Austin molecular biosciences professor, has received the 2021 Shirley Bird Perry Longhorn Citizenship Award, recognizing the wide-reaching impact of his work with viral proteins, especially his contributions to COVID-19 vaccines. The award is given annually by UT Austin's Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life.

Bacterial Warfare Provides New Antibiotic Target

Bacterial Warfare Provides New Antibiotic Target

Pseudomonas bacteria use a kind of harpoon to attack nearby bacteria, injecting them with a toxin that targets a critical molecular machine called the transamidosome complex. Credit: Despoina Mavridou/University of Texas at Austin.

Antibiotic resistance, where disease-causing bacteria evolve resistance to drugs that usually kill them, is a rising problem globally, meaning new antibiotics need to be found. However, it is difficult for researchers to know which parts of bacterial cells to target with new drugs.

Simulation Reveals How a SARS-CoV-2 ‘Gate’ Opens to Allow COVID Infection

Simulation Reveals How a SARS-CoV-2 ‘Gate’ Opens to Allow COVID Infection

Despite more than a year and a half of research, there are still many unknowns about how the virus that causes COVID-19 infects human cells. A deeper understanding could lead to new treatment approaches.