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From the College of Natural Sciences

Florida Lizards Evolve Rapidly, Within 15 Years and 20 Generations

Florida Lizards Evolve Rapidly, Within 15 Years and 20 Generations

Acarolinensis LeftFoot Stuart G063 sm-300x275Scientists working on islands in Florida have documented the rapid evolution of a native lizard species — in as little as 15 years — as a result of pressure from an invading lizard species, introduced from Cuba.

Silent Ebola Infections Could Be Key to Controlling Outbreak

Silent Ebola Infections Could Be Key to Controlling Outbreak

In a letter published in the Lancet medical journal on October 14, Steve Bellan and Lauren Ancel Meyers, speculate that Ebola may be silently immunizing large numbers of people who never fal ill or infect others. If so, they might bolster front-line health care responses to the ongoing outbreak. Learn more in our press release.

Cancer Awareness and the Role of Natural Sciences at UT

Cancer Awareness and the Role of Natural Sciences at UT

Bicycling many miles through the Texas Hill Country in support of one of the world’s most well-known cancer-fighting charitable organizations probably sounds like a great way to spend an October day, no matter who you are. Here at the College of Natural Sciences (CNS), members of our community have yet another reason to support LIVESTRONG, the nonprofit organization that’s based in Austin and that serves cancer patients and their families the world over. 

Mental Rest and Reflection Boost Learning, Study Suggests

Mental Rest and Reflection Boost Learning, Study Suggests

A new study, which may have implications for approaches to education, finds that brain mechanisms engaged when people allow their minds to rest and reflect on things they've learned before may boost later learning.

As Ebola Kills Some, It May Be Quietly Immunizing Others

As Ebola Kills Some, It May Be Quietly Immunizing Others

Ebola virus

As Ebola continues to spread in West Africa, it may be silently immunizing large numbers of people who never fall ill or infect others, yet become protected from future infection. If such immunity is confirmed, it would have significant ramifications on projections of how widespread the disease will be and could help determine strategies that health workers use to contain the disease, according to a letter published Tuesday in the Lancet medical journal.

Staying on the Grid: Placing a Nobel-prize Winning Neuroscience Discovery in a UT Austin Context

Staying on the Grid: Placing a Nobel-prize Winning Neuroscience Discovery in a UT Austin Context

Yesterday, three scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery of two types of brain cells involved in keeping track of where we are when moving around. Called place cells and grid cells, they may hold the key to understanding aspects of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's. Laura Colgin, who did research with two of the prize-winning scientists awarded this year’s Nobel Prize, is now an associate professor of neuroscience in the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Natural Sciences who continues to investigate the role of place cells in spacial memory tasks and more.

The Math of the Ebola Outbreak

The Math of the Ebola Outbreak

Dr. Lauren Ancel Meyers, a professor in the Department of Integrative Biology, was interviewed by the Huffington Post Science editor David Freeman. Meyers, a pioneer in the mathematical modeling of infectious diseases, discusses Ebola and how outbreaks of infectious diseases are governed by complex mathematics.

How 'Green' is Your Coffee?

How 'Green' is Your Coffee?

With more and more eco-friendly coffee on grocery store shelves in the U.S. and with major outlets like Starbucks and McDonald's getting into the act in recent years, you might think the coffee industry is becoming greener. But think again. 

Plants: The Future of Energy?

Plants: The Future of Energy?

Can we use plants for energy instead of oil? That's the question one group of intrepid students is trying to answer as part of an innovative program that plugs first year students into real-world research projects with top notch faculty and research scientists.

Fish Eggs Turn Conventional View of Ocean Food Webs Upside Down

Fish Eggs Turn Conventional View of Ocean Food Webs Upside Down

Do you remember in fifth grade science class learning about food webs? Plants absorb energy from the sun, plants are eaten by animals, and smaller animals are eaten by bigger animals. Generally speaking, the flow is from smaller to larger organisms. An analysis by researchers at The University of Texas Marine Science Institute and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute reveals how the flow of nutrients in the ocean can also go in reverse, from larger animals to smaller ones. This new understanding has implications for conservation and fisheries management.