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From the College of Natural Sciences
A UT Austin Spin-Out Beats the Odds, Turning Data into Knowledge

A UT Austin Spin-Out Beats the Odds, Turning Data into Knowledge

Juan Sequeda and Daniel Miranker launched Capsenta, a start-up based on their research at the University of Texas at Austin which was recently acquired by data.world. Photo credit: Vivian Abagiu.

It was 2006 when Juan Sequeda (BS '08, PhD '15), then a new UT Austin computer science transfer student, saw a fellow undergraduate drop a bunch of papers on the floor. When he bent over to help pick up the papers, he was surprised to see that they were research articles about an obscure subfield in computer science that Sequeda himself had recently become obsessed with: the Semantic Web.

Freshman Summer Research Highlights

Freshman Summer Research Highlights

Sophmore Sahran Hashim working with Professor Susan Cameron Devitt at the no mow research site along Lady Bird Lake, west of Lamar Blvd. Photo credit: Marsha Miller.

​Wielding wide nets and rubber boots, students got a taste of what real research is like this summer as they worked with faculty members and graduate students on field projects on or near campus as part of the Freshman Research Initiative (FRI) at UT Austin. UT News featured three different summer projects in their coverage, including the study of insects, zebra mussels and water sampling.

5 Tips to Get the Most Out of Four Years of Undergrad Research

5 Tips to Get the Most Out of Four Years of Undergrad Research

Five graduating seniors share their tips for getting the most out of undergraduate research. Photo credit: Vivian Abagiu.

So you've been accepted to UT Austin's College of Natural Sciences. You've heard that doing research as an undergraduate will give you a leg up academically and in your career (really, research proves it). But how do you find a research lab to work in? How do you maximize the opportunity to work alongside some of the world's leading scientists and mathematicians? What do you do if you're on the brink of a big discovery, and then an overzealous cleaning crew throws out the colony of slugs it took you three months to raise and train in the lab?

Undergraduate-Led Team Discovers Two New Planets Using Artificial Intelligence

Undergraduate-Led Team Discovers Two New Planets Using Artificial Intelligence

Undergraduate astronomy student Anne Dattilo and colleagues used artificial intelligence to discover two exoplanets in data collected by the Kepler space telescope.

Astronomers at The University of Texas at Austin, in partnership with Google, have used artificial intelligence (AI) to uncover two more hidden planets in the Kepler space telescope archive. The technique shows promise for identifying many additional planets that traditional methods could not catch.

Natural Sciences Students Show Off Communication Skills in Video Competition

Natural Sciences Students Show Off Communication Skills in Video Competition

The Texas Student Research Showdown, a competition open to undergraduate researchers at UT Austin across all disciplines and majors, featured a number of winning entries from College of Natural Sciences and Freshman Research Initiative students this year. For this contest, students submit a two minute YouTube video to effectively communicate their research projects while competing for recognition and cash prizes worth up to $2,500.

Advice from a Recent Grad, Since Recruited to a Top MD-PhD Program

Advice from a Recent Grad, Since Recruited to a Top MD-PhD Program

​Ryan Huizar, a recent UT Austin alum, is embarking on a new journey this fall at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine at one of the most competitive MD-PhD programs in the nation. The MD-PhD dual doctoral degree prepares students for careers as physician-scientists, balancing research and clinical care of patients.

Simple Test Detects Disease-Carrying Mosquitoes, Presence of Biopesticide

Simple Test Detects Disease-Carrying Mosquitoes, Presence of Biopesticide

The tool uses a smartphone camera, a small 3D-printed box and a simple chemical test to show whether a dead mosquito belongs to the Aedes aegypti species. Credit: Vivian Abagiu

A new diagnostic tool has been developed by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin that can easily, quickly and cheaply identify whether a mosquito belongs to the species that carries dangerous diseases such as Zika virus, dengue, chikungunya or yellow fever. It can also determine whether the bug has come into contact with a mosquito-control strategy known as Wolbachia.

New Nerve Gas Detector Built with Legos and a Smartphone

New Nerve Gas Detector Built with Legos and a Smartphone

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have designed a way to sense dangerous chemicals using, in part, a simple rig consisting of a smartphone and a box made from Lego bricks, which could help first responders and scientists in the field identify deadly and difficult-to-detect nerve agents such as VX and sarin. The new methodology described in a paper published Wednesday in the open-access journal ACS Central Science combines a chemical sensor with photography to detect and identify different nerve agents — odorless, tasteless chemical weapons that can cause severe illness and death, sometimes within minutes.

8 Undergrads Doing Research You Must Know About

8 Undergrads Doing Research You Must Know About

Each April, the College of Natural Sciences celebrates undergraduate researchers, and this year is no exception. This week, on Wednesday and Thursday during the 40 Hours for the Forty Acres campaign, the College is raising funds to support student researchers in the award-winning Freshman Research Initiative (FRI). 

Undergraduate Experiences in Freshman Research Initiative Deliver Lasting Benefits

Undergraduate Experiences in Freshman Research Initiative Deliver Lasting Benefits

Members of the American Junior Academy of Science visited an FRI lab in February.

Each year, the American Junior Academy of Science invites the nation's top pre-college researchers to tour a premiere university's campus and meet with the people there who are doing cutting-edge research in scientific labs every day. This year, dozens of high-school scientists-in-training took their tours at The University of Texas at Austin, where they met researchers different from whom they might have expected.

Here, many of the pioneering researchers are only a year or two out of high school themselves.