News

From the College of Natural Sciences
C. Grant Willson Receives ACS Award in Polymer Chemistry

C. Grant Willson Receives ACS Award in Polymer Chemistry

Photo of Dr. C. Grant Willson by Tamir Kalifa.

C. Grant Willson, professor of chemistry and chemical engineering and the Rashid Engineering Regents Chair at UT Austin, has been awarded the 2018 ACS Award in Polymer Chemistry.

Project Explores Fate of Coral Reefs and Related Life

Project Explores Fate of Coral Reefs and Related Life

An international team of coral experts, including Misha Matz, an associate professor of integrative biology at The University of Texas at Austin, have published a set of urgent research recommendations, related to the ability of coral to respond to rapid environmental change caused by climate change.

How a Tech Sector Friendlier to Women Can Start in the Classroom

How a Tech Sector Friendlier to Women Can Start in the Classroom

Photo by Marsha Miller.

With recent talk of a "bro culture" in Silicon Valley and accusations of sex discrimination in the technology sector, some in the College of Natural Sciences' Department of Computer Science are taking it upon themselves to build a culture of inclusion.

College Welcomes New Faculty at Start of the Academic Year

College Welcomes New Faculty at Start of the Academic Year

CNS welcomes new tenured and tenure-track faculty members this fall. Whether searching for insight into the fundamental nature of spacetime, studying cellular mechanisms that lead to disease, or determining ways to strengthen disadvantaged families, these industrious and trailblazing scientists build on the college's reputation in research and teaching.

Periodic Table of Ecological Niches Could Aid in Predicting Effects of Climate Change

Periodic Table of Ecological Niches Could Aid in Predicting Effects of Climate Change

A Thorny Devil (Moloch horridus) in the reptile house at Alice Springs Desert Park, Alice Springs, Australia. Credit: Stu’s Images. Used via a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

A group of ecologists has started creating a periodic table of ecological niches similar to chemistry's periodic table. And just as chemists have used their periodic table as a point of reference to understand relationships among elements, the emerging table for ecologists shows relationships over time among animals, plants and their environments — acting as a critical resource for scientists seeking to understand how a warming climate may be spurring changes in species around the globe.

UT Marine Scientists to Relocate Temporarily to Texas A&M’s Corpus Christi Campus

UT Marine Scientists to Relocate Temporarily to Texas A&M’s Corpus Christi Campus

University of Texas Marine Science Institute staff members Alicia Walker and Andrew Orgill release a pair of green sea turtles that had been recently rehabilitated on site and survived Hurricane Harvey. Credit: U. of Texas at Austin.

PORT ARANSAS, Texas — Dozens of displaced researchers, students and staff members from The University of Texas at Austin's Marine Science Institute (UTMSI) will spend the coming weeks at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi's Harte Research Institute, allowing research and educational activities to continue.

From Student to Philanthropist: Abell’s Transformational Gift Creates New Opportunities

From Student to Philanthropist: Abell’s Transformational Gift Creates New Opportunities

On her way to the library, part-time marine science student Mary Abell stumbled upon the bustle of arrangements being made for a Marine Science Advisory Council meeting.  At that time, little did she know that she and her husband, Joe would go on to have a lasting connection to The University of Texas Marine Science Institute (UTMSI) which would become as strong and lasting as the granite jetties that border the Institute.

Scientists Discover Powerful Potential Pain Reliever

Scientists Discover Powerful Potential Pain Reliever

Stephen Martin (left) and James Sahn have discovered a new pain reliever that acts on a previously unknown pain pathway. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Stephen Martin.

A team of scientists led by chemists Stephen Martin and James Sahn at The University of Texas at Austin have discovered what they say is a powerful pain reliever that acts on a previously unknown pain pathway. The synthetic compound, known as UKH-1114, is as effective at relieving neuropathic pain in injured mice as a drug widely used for pain relief called gabapentin, but it works at a much lower dose, with longer duration of action.

Ancient Microbes Folded their DNA Similarly to Modern Life Forms

Ancient Microbes Folded their DNA Similarly to Modern Life Forms

Archaea wrap their DNA (yellow) around proteins called histones (blue). The wrapped structure bears an uncanny resemblance to the eukaryotic nucleosome, a bundle of eight histone proteins with DNA spooled around it. But unlike eukaryotes, archaea wind their DNA around just one histone protein, and form a long, twisting structure called a superhelix. Credit: Francesca Mattiroli

As life evolved on Earth, from simple one-celled microbes to complex plants, animals and humans, their DNA grew. And that created a problem: how do you pack more and more DNA into roughly the same-sized cellular compartment? Life's solution: fold it up into a ball. Reporting in the August 10 edition of the journal Science, researchers have discovered that microbes called archaea started folding their DNA in a way very similar to that of modern plants and animals, long before complex life evolved.

Neuroscientist Receives Grant to Advance Understanding of Brain Structure

Neuroscientist Receives Grant to Advance Understanding of Brain Structure

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Kristen Harris, a professor in the Department of Neuroscience at The University of Texas at Austin, a $9 million grant to explore the brain in microscopic detail and understand the cell biology of the nervous system. Harris plans to image and map synapses, the tiny points of contact between neurons throughout the brain, in detail and to model synapse function and share the data publically for use by colleagues throughout the world.

Brain image from an electron micrograph through a single section plane illustrating spiny dendrites (yellow), nonspiny dendrites (orange), excitatory axons (green), excitatory synapses (red), astroglia (light blue), microglia (dark brown). Image credit: Kristen Harris