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From the College of Natural Sciences
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Eleven Faculty Members Honored with Teaching Excellence Awards

Eleven Faculty Members Honored with Teaching Excellence Awards

The Teaching Excellence Award in the College of Natural Sciences seeks to promote and recognize excellent teaching in the College of Natural Sciences by honoring faculty members who have had a positive influence on the educational experience of our students. Read on to meet this year's winners.

Longhorn Students, Researchers in the Pandemic Fight

Longhorn Students, Researchers in the Pandemic Fight

​College of Natural Sciences undergraduate and graduate students are working alongside faculty scientists to unlock the secrets of the current coronavirus and combat the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Faculty Members Named to Professorships and Endowed Chairs

Faculty Members Named to Professorships and Endowed Chairs

Several College of Natural Sciences faculty members have been newly appointed to special professorships and endowed chairs at The University of Texas at Austin. These world-class researchers and excellent teachers are helping to shape the future of their fields in a variety of ways.

Coronavirus Mutation May Have Made It More Contagious

Coronavirus Mutation May Have Made It More Contagious

The number of virus strains present in each zip code in Houston during the second wave of COVID-19 cases in summer 2020. Number of strains is represented by a spectrum of colors from blue (0 strains) to red (50 strains). Credit: Houston Methodist/University of Texas at Austin.

A study involving more than 5,000 COVID-19 patients in Houston finds that the virus that causes the disease is accumulating genetic mutations, one of which may have made it more contagious. According to the paper published in the peer-reviewed journal mBIO, that mutation, called D614G, is located in the spike protein that pries open our cells for viral entry. It's the largest peer-reviewed study of SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences in one metropolitan region of the U.S. to date.

7 Emerging Scientific Leaders Among Recipients of Stengl-Wyer Research Support

7 Emerging Scientific Leaders Among Recipients of Stengl-Wyer Research Support

The College of Natural Sciences has recently recruited and supported top leaders among a new generation of scientists through the Stengl-Wyer Endowment – the largest endowment in the college's history. These postdoctoral scholars and graduate students are working on research projects that will promote a deeper understanding of climate change, protect natural habitats and maintain biodiversity in Texas and beyond.

Science Faculty Featured in Newspaper’s Black in Academia Series

Science Faculty Featured in Newspaper’s Black in Academia Series

Over the summer, five faculty members in the College of Natural Sciences were spotlighted in a series by the Austin American-Statesman called Black in Academia. The purpose of the series was to explore the scientific research done by Black scientists at The University of Texas at Austin, as well as highlight the challenges they face in the academic world.

Is Coronavirus Mutating Amid its Rapid U.S. Spread?

Is Coronavirus Mutating Amid its Rapid U.S. Spread?

A new study, currently awaiting peer review and involving more than 5,000 COVID-19 patients in Houston, finds that the virus that causes the disease is accumulating genetic mutations, one of which may have made it more contagious. According to the paper posted this week to the preprint server medRxiv, that mutation, called D614G, was also implicated in an earlier study in the UK in possibly making the virus easier to spread. The Washington Post was among several outlets reporting the findings this week.

Why Some Cancers May Respond Poorly to Key Drugs Discovered

Why Some Cancers May Respond Poorly to Key Drugs Discovered

Patients with BRCA1/2 mutations are at higher risk for breast, ovarian and prostate cancers that can be aggressive when they develop – and, in many cases, resistant to lifesaving drugs. Now scientists at The University of Texas at Austin and Ajou University in South Korea have identified a driver of the drug resistance that can make a life or death difference for patients with these cancers.

Antibody Test Developed for COVID-19 That is Sensitive, Specific and Scalable

Antibody Test Developed for COVID-19 That is Sensitive, Specific and Scalable

An antibody test for the virus that causes COVID-19, developed by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin in collaboration with Houston Methodist and other institutions, is more accurate and can handle a much larger number of donor samples at lower overall cost than standard antibody tests currently in use. In the near term, the test can be used to accurately identify the best donors for convalescent plasma therapy and measure how well candidate vaccines and other therapies elicit an immune response.

Researchers Discover Key Mechanism Cells Use to Harness Energy

Researchers Discover Key Mechanism Cells Use to Harness Energy

Scientists have known for some time that NAD+ (oxidized nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide), a key molecule involved in the function of all cellular life, is needed to help cells harness energy. What scientists didn't fully understand until now is how human cells compartmentalized intracellular NAD+ or that – as a new paper out today in the journal Nature suggests – the process may be able to be controlled to help address aging and diseases, from neurodegeneration to cancer.