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From the College of Natural Sciences
Climate-friendly Microbes Chomp Dead Plants Without Releasing Heat-trapping Methane

Climate-friendly Microbes Chomp Dead Plants Without Releasing Heat-trapping Methane

Tengchong Yunnan hot springs in China, where some of the newly described Brockarchaeota were collected. Photo credit: Jian-Yu Jiao from Sun Yat-Sen University.

The tree of life just got a little bigger: A team of scientists from the U.S. and China has identified an entirely new group of microbes quietly living in hot springs, geothermal systems and hydrothermal sediments around the world. The microbes appear to be playing an important role in the global carbon cycle by helping break down decaying plants without producing the greenhouse gas methane.

UT Chemistry Researchers Encode Jane Austen Quote in a Polymer

UT Chemistry Researchers Encode Jane Austen Quote in a Polymer

A quote from Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park written in oligourethanes. Image credit: Sarah Moor.

Using a novel molecular data-storage technique, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin encoded a quote from Jane Austen's Mansfield Park in a series of short polymers, which a third party could read back without prior knowledge of the structures that encoded the passage. Polymers are molecules made of repeating subunits strung together like beads on a string, such as synthetic plastics.

Texas Astronomers Lead Major Projects in James Webb Space Telescope’s First Year

Texas Astronomers Lead Major Projects in James Webb Space Telescope’s First Year

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope

Astronomers at The University of Texas at Austin are set to lead some of the largest programs in the first year of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), including the largest project overall. Set to launch this Halloween, the telescope will become operational by mid-2022. Altogether, UT astronomers received about 500 hours of telescope time in JWST's first year.

Inspiring Students the Aim as Nobel Laureates Come to UT Austin for Virtual Celebration

Inspiring Students the Aim as Nobel Laureates Come to UT Austin for Virtual Celebration

This week, students at The University of Texas at Austin will be able to talk with and learn from three Nobel Laureates, who are among the world's top scientists, in a free virtual event April 21-22.

Nutrition Researchers Developing Digital Platform for Teachers

Nutrition Researchers Developing Digital Platform for Teachers

A group of University of Texas at Austin nutrition researchers and educators received a grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas to create a digital platform empowering teachers to include nutrition and gardening lessons in outdoor settings in their curriculum. The premise is that when kids have a direct connection to fresh produce — planting vegetables, tending them and watching them grow — they are more likely to make healthy eating choices.

NSF Awards 13 CNS Students and Alumni Graduate Research Fellowships

NSF Awards 13 CNS Students and Alumni Graduate Research Fellowships

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded 13 Graduate Research Fellowships to College of Natural Sciences students and alumni.

Aaronson Receives ACM Prize in Computing

Aaronson Receives ACM Prize in Computing

The Association for Computing Machinery has awarded Scott Aaronson the 2020 ACM Prize in Computing for groundbreaking contributions to quantum computing. Aaronson is the David J. Bruton Jr. Centennial Professor of Computer Science at The University of Texas at Austin.

Two Natural Sciences Undergraduates Selected as Goldwater Scholars

Two Natural Sciences Undergraduates Selected as Goldwater Scholars

Two University of Texas at Austin undergraduate students, Briana Syed and Teddy Hsieh, have earned the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship, which honors outstanding students in STEM majors.

Cosmic Rumbles: New Faculty Probe Universe for Gravitational Waves

Cosmic Rumbles: New Faculty Probe Universe for Gravitational Waves

Photo credit: Vivian Abagiu.

Pablo Laguna (Ph.D., '87) and Deirdre Shoemaker (Ph.D., '99) study some of the most violent events in the universe, when cosmic heavyweights—black holes and neutron stars—collide, shaking the very fabric of space and time. These gravitational waves were first discovered in 2015. It was also the start of a new era in astronomy. The couple joined the Department of Physics in 2020.

Human Trials Begin for a Low-Cost COVID-19 Vaccine to Extend Global Access

Human Trials Begin for a Low-Cost COVID-19 Vaccine to Extend Global Access

Clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate NDV-HXP-S, which includes a key protein developed at the University of Texas at Austin, began in Thailand in March 2021. Photo courtesy of Thailand’s Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO).

In a major boost to efforts to combat COVID-19 globally, a vaccine that recently entered human trials in Vietnam and Thailand, and is slated for a clinical study in Brazil, holds promise for affordable vaccine manufacturing in countries currently dependent on imported vaccines. The vaccine is the result of a partnership between The University of Texas at Austin, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York and global partners interested in advancing the supply of affordable vaccines to address the pandemic.