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From the College of Natural Sciences
Scientists Unveil the Most Comprehensive Genomic Tree of Life

Scientists Unveil the Most Comprehensive Genomic Tree of Life

An international team of researchers, including Brett Baker from The University of Texas Marine Science Institute, has made the most comprehensive tree of life based on genomes, greatly expanding our view of the diversity of life on the planet. Using genetic data collected in recent years, the researchers found a group of bacteria that are so diverse genetically that they represent half of all the diversity of bacteria on the planet.

In Case You Missed It: The Hook Covers CNS Research

In Case You Missed It: The Hook Covers CNS Research

The Hook, a weekly video series by the Texas Exes alumni association, has covered three CNS research stories in the past couple of months. ​The research spotlights feature scientists from diverse areas such as computer science and marine biology.

Jekyll and Hyde Bacteria (Audio)

Jekyll and Hyde Bacteria (Audio)

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.

Natural Sciences Alum Invests in Neurodegenerative Research

Natural Sciences Alum Invests in Neurodegenerative Research

Dr. John Doran (Microbiology, Chemistry, 1969) has established an endowment with the intention of advancing science in neurodegenerative diseases.

Saving the Bees, Two Perspectives (Audio)

Saving the Bees, Two Perspectives (Audio)

As bees sharply decline around the world, two researchers are taking very different approaches to understand -- and potentially reverse -- this troubling trend. One is studying the microbes that live inside bees and help protect them against infections. The other is studying the links between changing landscapes and bee health.

Sociable Chimps Harbor Richer Gut Microbiomes

Sociable Chimps Harbor Richer Gut Microbiomes

Two chimpanzees interact in Gombe National Park, Tanzania. Photo by Steffen Foerster, Duke University

Spending time in close contact with others often means risking catching germs and getting sick. But being sociable may also help transmit beneficial microbes, finds a multi-institutional study of gut microbiomes in chimpanzees.

Engineering Bacterial Communities Improves Plant Growth

Engineering Bacterial Communities Improves Plant Growth

University of Texas at Austin scientists say there's a simple way for home gardeners and small farmers to give plants a pesticide-free boost: by harnessing the power of often helpful bacterial communities known as the microbiomes of plants.

Alum Recognized for Cancer Research Breakthrough

Alum Recognized for Cancer Research Breakthrough

Jim Allison, a College of Natural Sciences alumnus and cancer researcher, has been named the 2015 recipient of the prestigious Lasker Award for clinical medical research.

Chink Found in Armor of Invasive Crazy Ant

Chink Found in Armor of Invasive Crazy Ant

Tawny crazy ants are taking hold in the United States, swarming in explosive numbers and displacing other wildlife. But scientists from the University of Texas at Austin recently discovered a chink in the insect's armor that could help control the spread of this invasive species.

Partly Human Yeast Show A Common Ancestor’s Lasting Legacy

Partly Human Yeast Show A Common Ancestor’s Lasting Legacy

Humanized Yeast illustrationDespite a billion years of evolution separating humans from the baker’s yeast in their refrigerators, hundreds of genes from an ancestor that the two species have in common live on nearly unchanged in them both, say biologists at The University of Texas at Austin. The team created thriving strains of genetically engineered yeast using human genes and found that certain groups of genes are surprisingly stable over evolutionary time.