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From the College of Natural Sciences
CNS Welcomes 16 New Faculty Members

CNS Welcomes 16 New Faculty Members

The College of Natural Sciences welcomed 16 new faculty members since April. They bring expertise in health, artificial intelligence, biochemistry, data science, coral reefs and much more. 

Like Their Domestic Cousins, Native Bees are Hurt by Pesticides

Like Their Domestic Cousins, Native Bees are Hurt by Pesticides

Image of a Mason Bee or Blueberry Bee (Megachilidae, Osmia sp.) by Alejandro Santillana, Insects Unlocked

Because they are critical in maintaining our food supply, a lot of research and public attention has been focused (rightly) on the health of domesticated honey bees. On the other hand, native bees also play critical roles in their environments, including pollinating flowers and agricultural crops. Unfortunately, hundreds of North American native bee species are in decline, due to a variety of factors including loss of habitat, nutritional stress, climate change and exposure to pathogens and agrochemicals.

Announcing the 2021 Stengl-Wyer Scholars, Fellows and Grant Awardees

Announcing the 2021 Stengl-Wyer Scholars, Fellows and Grant Awardees

Funded by the Stengl-Wyer Endowment, the Stengl Wyer Postdoctoral Scholars Program provides up to three years of independent support for talented postdoctoral researchers in the broad area of the diversity of life and/or organisms in their natural environments. The endowment also supports year-long fellowships for doctoral candidates pursuing dissertation research in the same area.

Computer Scientist Named to President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology

Computer Scientist Named to President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology

William H. Press, a computer scientist and computational biologist at The University of Texas at Austin, will provide scientific perspective to the White House, as a recently named member of President Biden's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).

Technological Leaps Help Biologists Study Quickly Changing Landscapes

Technological Leaps Help Biologists Study Quickly Changing Landscapes

Biologists, naturalists and ecologists are typically known for conducting boots-on-the-ground field research, whether it is hiking through the jungles of Costa Rica to study rare frogs, paddling along Arctic coastlines to study sources of carbon or studying endangered birds in South Texas. But increasingly, technology is expanding the work these scientists can do beyond where their feet alone can take them.

New Tumor Cell Tracking System Aims to Understand Cancer Treatment Resistance

New Tumor Cell Tracking System Aims to Understand Cancer Treatment Resistance

HeLa cells, a cancerous cell line used by researchers around the world to study a large variety of important research questions. Photo credit: Tom Deerinck, National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research. Photo courtesy of NIH.

Despite tremendous advances in medicine, tumors are challenging to cure because they are made up of heterogeneous cells. In other words, like human families, the individual cells of a tumor share some common traits and characteristics, but as the tumor expands, the cells also develop their own identities. And, as a result, some cells are more resistant to therapy than others and quicker to adapt and change.

Combining Agrochemicals More Harmful to Bees than Previously Understood

Combining Agrochemicals More Harmful to Bees than Previously Understood

When multiple agrochemicals are used, their effects on bees can be magnified. Photo courtesy of Emily Bailes.

Bees perform critical services in ecosystems, including by pollinating the plants that humans and other animals rely on for food. According to new research, however, bees exposed to multiple types of agricultural chemicals face much greater risk than previously understood. The finding, published in the journal Nature, has researchers raising the alarm that regulatory approval processes need updating to allow for more consideration of the environmental risks brought about by these chemicals' interactions.

Unlocking Secrets of Some of the World’s Smallest Viruses

Unlocking Secrets of Some of the World’s Smallest Viruses

A typical flu virus is so small that a thousand of them could fit in the width of a human hair.

Study on Climate Change Impacts on Plants Could Lead to Better Conservation Strategies

Study on Climate Change Impacts on Plants Could Lead to Better Conservation Strategies

The three-year study focused on Coyote Ridge, a grassland near San Jose, California, which has several endemic plant species. Credit: Erika Zavaleta/University of California, Santa Cruz.

The loss of plant species that are especially vulnerable to climate change might lead to bigger problems than previous studies have suggested, according to a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. If confirmed, the findings can help inform conservation strategies and lead to more accurate predictions about what ecosystems will look like in the future.

System Linked to Operational Hospitals, Shorter Lockdowns, Lives Saved

System Linked to Operational Hospitals, Shorter Lockdowns, Lives Saved

COVID-19: Risk-Based Guidelines with 7 Day Moving Averages for New Admissions were made available for the Austin metropolitan area as part of a staged alert system. Shown is the City of Austin dashboard for June 16. Credit: City of Austin

A staged alert system, designed by scientists and public health officials to guide local policies, helped one city prevent hospital surges and long lockdowns, according to new research published in the journal Nature Communications.