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From the College of Natural Sciences
How Electric Fish Were Able to Evolve Electric Organs

How Electric Fish Were Able to Evolve Electric Organs

UT Austin researchers confirmed that the genetic control region they discovered only controls the expression of a sodium channel gene in muscle and no other tissues. In this image, a green fluorescent protein lights up only in trunk muscle in a developing zebrafish embryo. Image credit: Mary Swartz/Johann Eberhart/University of Texas at Austin.

Electric organs help electric fish, such as the electric eel, do all sorts of amazing things: They send and receive signals that are akin to bird songs, helping them to recognize other electric fish by species, sex and even individual. A new study in Science Advances explains how small genetic changes enabled electric fish to evolve electric organs. The finding might also help scientists pinpoint the genetic mutations behind some human diseases.

Jason McLellan Named Finalist for Blavatnik National Award for Young Scientists

Jason McLellan Named Finalist for Blavatnik National Award for Young Scientists

University of Texas at Austin molecular biosciences professor Jason McLellan was selected as a finalist for the 2022 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists.

Assistant Professor Lief Fenno is Developing New Tools to Treat Addiction

Assistant Professor Lief Fenno is Developing New Tools to Treat Addiction

A lot of excitement in recent years has centered around a new set of tools that allow researchers to turn neurons on and off in the brains of living animals using light. These tools, called optogenetics, hold promise for a better understanding of how memory and learning work in healthy brains and might lead to new treatments for a host of disorders, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, depression and addiction.

Students Share Passion for Science at Undergraduate Research Forum

Students Share Passion for Science at Undergraduate Research Forum

Each spring, the College of Natural Sciences holds its annual Undergraduate Research Forum, and last month's event showcased over 250 individual and team research presentations. Faculty, alumni, staff, graduate student and industry judges examined the myriad ways student researchers made progress in their research. 

Undergraduate Research Forum 2022
Inderjit Dhillon Named AAAI Fellow

Inderjit Dhillon Named AAAI Fellow

Inderjit Dhillon, Gottesman Family Centennial Professor in Computer Science and a member of the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences, has been named a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI).

Undergraduate Research Played Role in Paper Tied to Early Career Award

Undergraduate Research Played Role in Paper Tied to Early Career Award

Alex Bard, Joe Espinoza and Tyler King with two other FRI students (Margaret Tran and Emily Reynolds) in the Luminators research stream at the annual FRI picnic in 2014.

​When they joined the Luminators stream of the Freshman Research Initiative, alumni Tyler King, Alex Bard, Joe Espinoza, Desmond Schipper and Ohri Esarte Palomero all expected to have experiences in chemistry research that would serve them well in their future. What they may not have predicted was that they all would contribute to a paper that the Journal of Coordination Chemistry singled out for special recognition for being among its highest quality articles of the year.

Living Laboratories: Field Stations Offer Opportunities for Real-World Science

Living Laboratories: Field Stations Offer Opportunities for Real-World Science

Professor of Integrative Biology Tom Juenger conducts research on switchgrass at biological field stations in Texas and other parts of the country.

On a recent spring Saturday at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, families strolled along paths surrounded by a riotous mix of bluebonnets, winecups and evening primrose. Avid gardeners stood in line for a chance to shop the center's annual native plant sale. And a teen in a glittering dress posed for quinceañera pictures beside a pond.

Meet the Dean's Honored Graduates of 2022

Meet the Dean's Honored Graduates of 2022

Each year, the College of Natural Sciences bestows its highest honors for graduating seniors on a select group of students during graduation week. Students across the college are singled out for College of Natural Sciences Distinctions and celebrated at a special Graduates of Distinction event. Among the distinction winners is an even smaller group of students, known as Dean's Honored Graduates. 

UT Researchers Aim to Change the Cancer Equation

UT Researchers Aim to Change the Cancer Equation

During the past 50 years, clinical advances have substantially reduced the mortality rate for people with cancer, but new breakthroughs often require years of trial and error in the lab. An innovative partnership between The University of Texas at Austin's Machine Learning Lab, Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences and Dell Medical School aims to speed up those discoveries, saving lives in the process.

Student Employee of the Year Helps Community Through Her Research

Student Employee of the Year Helps Community Through Her Research

Since her time as a freshman, biochemistry graduating senior Tanvi Ingle was focused on two activities that, at first, seemed unrelated: doing research and helping community members who were experiencing homelessness. When the pandemic caused the clinic where she was volunteering to close temporarily in 2020, she soon found a chance to do both at once.