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From the College of Natural Sciences
HIV Hidden in Patients’ Cells Can Now Be Accurately Measured

HIV Hidden in Patients’ Cells Can Now Be Accurately Measured

This human T cell (blue) is under attack by HIV (yellow), the virus that causes AIDS. The virus specifically targets T cells, which play a critical role in the body's immune response against invaders like bacteria and viruses. Credit: Seth Pincus, Elizabeth Fischer and Austin Athman, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health.

Until now, researchers haven't been able to accurately quantify a latent form of HIV that persists in patients' immune cells. This hampers doctors' ability to assess the effectiveness of a particular treatment and select better alternatives.

Want Healthier Eating Habits? Start with a Workout

Want Healthier Eating Habits? Start with a Workout

In the latest evidence that it's worth sticking to your health-focused New Year's resolutions, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have found that exercising regularly is linked to better eating habits.

Two in CNS Receive President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Award

Two in CNS Receive President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Award

​Astronomer Keely Finkelstein and data scientist Kristin Harvey are among eight University of Texas at Austin faculty members named as recipients of the 2018-19 President's Associates Teaching Excellence Award. The award recognizes the university's educational innovators who demonstrate exceptional undergraduate teaching in the core curriculum, including signature courses, and engage with curriculum reform and educational innovation.

Scientists Uncover RNA Silencing Technique to Change Seed Size in Plants

Scientists Uncover RNA Silencing Technique to Change Seed Size in Plants

In a development with promising implications for crop farmers in the U.S. and around the world, scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have figured out how to get some plants to produce nearly one-third bigger seeds.

Treisman Receives Gung and Hu Award from Mathematical Association of America

Treisman Receives Gung and Hu Award from Mathematical Association of America

Uri Treisman, a professor in the Department of Mathematics, has received the 2019 Yueh-Gin Gung and Dr. Charles Y. Hu Award for Distinguished Service to Mathematicsthe most prestigious award for service offered by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA).

New Material Might Lead to Higher Capacity Hard Drives

New Material Might Lead to Higher Capacity Hard Drives

Over the past few decades, the cost of storing data on hard disk drives (HDDs) has fallen dramatically, enabling revolutions in personal, scientific and cloud computing and allowing for storage of ever-greater amounts of data. But even as data collection continues to skyrocket, the cost-per-bit trend has been flattening out, leading to calls for new innovations in technology.

Central Texas Salamanders, Including Newly Identified Species, At Risk of Extinction

Central Texas Salamanders, Including Newly Identified Species, At Risk of Extinction

This newly identified, unnamed salamander lives near the Pedernales river west of Austin, Texas. Photo credit: Tom Devitt.

Biologists at The University of Texas at Austin have discovered three new species of groundwater salamander in Central Texas, including one living west of Austin that they say is critically endangered. They also determined that an already known salamander species near Georgetown is much more endangered than previously thought.

Scientists Coax Proteins to Form Synthetic Structures with Method that Mimics Nature

Scientists Coax Proteins to Form Synthetic Structures with Method that Mimics Nature

As a proof of concept, a team of researchers at the University of Texas at Austin built tiny structures that resemble two doughnuts stacked on top of each other by applying electrical charges to specific spots on naturally occurring proteins. Credit: University of Texas at Austin.

Scientists have long dreamed of creating synthetic structures out of the same raw material that nature uses in living systems — proteins — believing such an advance would allow for the development of transformative nanomachines, for example, molecular cages that precisely deliver chemotherapy drugs to tumors or photosynthetic systems for harvesting energy from light. Now a team of biologists from The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Michigan have invented a way to build synthetic structures from proteins, and just as in nature, the method is simple and could be used for a variety of purposes.

Allen Bard Wins King Faisal International Prize in Science

Allen Bard Wins King Faisal International Prize in Science

Allen Bard, a professor of chemistry at The University of Texas at Austin, was announced as the winner of the 2019 King Faisal International Prize in Science. The major international award, which comes with $200,000 and a gold medal from the King Faisal Foundation, is given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions in physics, chemistry, biology or mathematics through original scientific research that brings "major benefits to humanity."

Bacteria Help Scientists Discover Human Cancer-Causing Proteins

Bacteria Help Scientists Discover Human Cancer-Causing Proteins

Researchers genetically modified E coli bacteria to fluoresce red when DNA was damaged. Then, they overexpressed each of the bacteria’s 4,000 genes individually and determined which proteins made bacteria glow red. With these bacterial proteins as a guide, they identified more than 100 analogous human proteins that are now implicated in DNA damage and initiation of cancer. Image credit: Jun Xia.

A team led by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and Baylor College of Medicine has applied an unconventional approach involving bacteria to discover human proteins that can lead to DNA damage and promote cancer. This could lead to new tests to identify people who are likely to develop cancer. Reported in the journal Cell, the study also proposes biological mechanisms by which these proteins can damage DNA, opening possibilities for future cancer treatments.