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From the College of Natural Sciences
New Telescope Coming Soon to McDonald Observatory

New Telescope Coming Soon to McDonald Observatory

FORT DAVIS, Texas — A new 1-meter telescope is coming to The University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory in the next two years. The Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO) global network is expanding, and will build a second 1-meter telescope at McDonald.

Astronomers Solve Mystery of Formation of First Supermassive Black Holes

Astronomers Solve Mystery of Formation of First Supermassive Black Holes

Gas density distribution around the newborn protostar. The left-to-right supersonic gas motion results in the non-spherical, compressed density structure. (Credit: Shingo Hirano)

An international team of researchers has successfully used a supercomputer simulation to recreate the formation of a massive black hole from supersonic gas streams left over from the Big Bang. The study will be published tomorrow in the journal Science, in a paper led by astronomer Shingo Hirano of The University of Texas at Austin.

UT Marine Science Institute Awarded Grant to Complete Gulf Oil Spill Research

UT Marine Science Institute Awarded Grant to Complete Gulf Oil Spill Research

DROPPS scientists use lasers to investigate how plumes of oil and dispersant move through a water column. That movement changes when other animals, such as this marine invertebrate called a ctenophore, are present. Photo by Jeffery Cordero.

A consortium led by The University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute (UTMSI) is receiving $4.5 million in the third multi-million-dollar grant since 2012 supporting research on the impact of oil spills and dispersants on the Gulf of Mexico. Coming less than a month after Hurricane Harvey caused significant damage on the UTMSI campus, the announcement was made by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, a $500 million research program funded by British Petroleum in the wake of the Deep Water Horizon oil spill.

Why Poison Frogs Don’t Poison Themselves

Why Poison Frogs Don’t Poison Themselves

The phantasmal poison frog, Epipedobates anthonyi, is the original source of epibatidine, discovered by John Daly in 1974. Epibatidine has not been found in any animal outside of Ecuador, and its ultimate source, proposed to be an arthropod, remains unknown. This frog was captured at a banana plantation in the Azuay province in southern Ecuador in August 2017. Credit: Rebecca Tarvin/University of Texas at Austin.

Don't let their appearance fool you: Thimble-sized, dappled in cheerful colors and squishy, poison frogs in fact harbor some of the most potent neurotoxins we know. With a new paper published in the journal Science, scientists are a step closer to resolving a related head-scratcher — how do these frogs keep from poisoning themselves? And the answer has potential consequences for the fight against pain and addiction.

Scientist Battling Invincible Microbes Takes Fight to the Silver Screen

Scientist Battling Invincible Microbes Takes Fight to the Silver Screen

Bryan Davies is an assistant professor in molecular biosciences and biotechnologist at the University of Texas at Austin, leading research into how to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria and develop new antimicrobials to fight infection.

Neuroscientists Join Virtual Mega-laboratory to Probe the Brain’s Deepest Secrets

Neuroscientists Join Virtual Mega-laboratory to Probe the Brain’s Deepest Secrets

To understand how billions of neurons work together to guide decision-making in a single brain, twenty-one laboratories will join forces under the umbrella of the newly-formed International Brain Laboratory (IBL) to conduct a unique joint experiment.

Victimization of Transgender Youths Linked to Suicidal Thoughts, Substance Abuse

Victimization of Transgender Youths Linked to Suicidal Thoughts, Substance Abuse

In two peer-reviewed papers, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have found that transgender adolescents are twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts as the general population, and they are up to four times as likely to engage in substance use. Depression and school-based victimization factored heavily into the disparities in both cases.

UT Austin Launches $15.6 Million Center for Materials Research

UT Austin Launches $15.6 Million Center for Materials Research

Researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering and the College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin have received a $15.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to discover and advance new types of materials for use in many applications including energy storage, medical devices and information processing.

Couples Weather Bickering With a Little Help from Their Friends

Couples Weather Bickering With a Little Help from Their Friends

Every couple has conflict, and new research finds that having good friends and family members to turn to alleviates the stress of everyday conflict between partners. In fact, according to the study led by The University of Texas at Austin's Lisa Neff, social networks may help provide protection against health problems brought about by ordinary tension between spouses.

Update from the Marine Science Institute after Hurricane Harvey

Update from the Marine Science Institute after Hurricane Harvey

The message below is an update from University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute Director and Marine Science Department Chair Dr. Robert Dickey.