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New Faculty, New Technology to Strengthen Disease Research at UT Austin

New Faculty, New Technology to Strengthen Disease Research at UT Austin

​Update, October 2017: ​The 2017 Nobel Prize for Chemistry was awarded to three researchers who developed cryo-electron microscopy, a method that allows biochemists to "freeze biomolecules mid-movement and visualize processes they have never previously seen." This fall, UT Austin has opened its own cryo-EM facility, where researchers are beginning to explore new insights into the chemistry of life. Read on to learn about one of the faculty members involved with the new Sauer Laboratory for Structural Biology, and work planned within the College of Natural Sciences. 

Mastering Science through Games and Everyday Art

Mastering Science through Games and Everyday Art

This week, the College of Natural Sciences celebrates Discovery Education Week, which focuses on teaching, curriculum and science communication at UT Austin. In this post, Yan Jessie Zhang, an associate professor in the Department of Molecular Biosciences, and Tyler Stack, a biochemistry graduate student, reflect on ways to "instill passion and mastery" in science students.

A Peek Into the Minds of Award-Winning Educators

A Peek Into the Minds of Award-Winning Educators

The College of Natural Sciences is currently celebrating Discovery Education Week to promote and discuss science education throughout the college.

Bacteria Show Capacity for Rapid, Beneficial Mutations

Bacteria Show Capacity for Rapid, Beneficial Mutations

Scientists studying how microbes evolve have long assumed that nearly all new genetic mutations get passed down at a predictable pace and usually without either helping or hurting the microbe in adapting to its environment. In a new study published in the journal Nature, an international team of researchers studying tens of thousands of generations of E. coli bacteria report that most new genetic mutations that were passed down were actually beneficial and occurred at much more variable rates than previously thought.

Cross-respiration Between Oral Bacteria Leads to Worse Infections

Cross-respiration Between Oral Bacteria Leads to Worse Infections

Researchers from The University of Texas at Austin and elsewhere have determined that two bacterial species commonly found in the human mouth and in abscesses, cooperate to make the pathogenic bacterium, Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, more infectious. Key to the cooperation is that the harmless partner provides the pathogen with an oxygen-rich environment that helps it flourish.

Fix for 3-Billion-Year-Old Genetic Error Could Dramatically Improve Genetic Sequencing

Fix for 3-Billion-Year-Old Genetic Error Could Dramatically Improve Genetic Sequencing

Visual representation of laboratory manipulation RNA in water droplets; Jared Ellefson

For 3 billion years, one of the major carriers of information needed for life, RNA, has had a glitch that creates errors when making copies of genetic information. Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a fix that allows RNA to accurately proofread for the first time.

Making Virus Sensors Cheap and Simple: New Method Detects Single Viruses

Making Virus Sensors Cheap and Simple: New Method Detects Single Viruses

Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a new method to rapidly detect a single virus in urine, as reported this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Rare Evolutionary Event Detected in University of Texas Lab

Rare Evolutionary Event Detected in University of Texas Lab

It took nearly a half trillion tries before researchers at The University of Texas at Austin witnessed a rare event and perhaps solved an evolutionary puzzle about how introns – noncoding sequences of DNA located within genes – multiply in a genome.

Mutation in Gene Leads to Variety of Poorly Understood Birth Defects

Mutation in Gene Leads to Variety of Poorly Understood Birth Defects

Scientists have identified genetic mutations that appear to be a key culprit behind a suite of birth defects called ciliopathies, which affect an estimated 1 in 1,000 births. In a paper published online this week in Nature Genetics, a team of researchers led by The University of Texas at Austin's John Wallingford reveals that these mutations prevent certain proteins from working together to smooth the way for cells to communicate with one another.

Unlocking the Mysteries of Life-Changing Hepatitis C Drugs

Unlocking the Mysteries of Life-Changing Hepatitis C Drugs

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have for the first time revealed how a group of drugs that are being developed to treat hepatitis C works. Pharmaceutical companies might be able to apply these new insights to future drugs designed to address a deadly disease.