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From the College of Natural Sciences
Undetected Coronavirus Variant Was in at Least 15 Countries Before its Discovery

Undetected Coronavirus Variant Was in at Least 15 Countries Before its Discovery

Illustration: Jenna Luecke

A highly contagious SARS-CoV-2 variant was unknowingly spreading for months in the United States by October 2020, according to a new study from researchers with The University of Texas at Austin COVID-19 Modeling Consortium. Scientists first discovered it in early December in the United Kingdom, where the highly contagious and more lethal variant is thought to have originated. The journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, which has published an early-release version of the study, provides evidence that the coronavirus variant B117 (501Y) had spread across the globe undetected for months when scientists discovered it.

McDonald Observatory Honors Local Businesses, Organizations for Night-Sky-Friendly Lighting

McDonald Observatory Honors Local Businesses, Organizations for Night-Sky-Friendly Lighting

FORT DAVIS, Texas — Just in time for International Dark Skies Week (April 5-12), McDonald Observatory is announcing a new program to honor West Texas businesses and organizations for Night Skies Friendly Lighting practices. These practices keep light on the ground and out of the sky, helping to preserve the exceptional night skies for which far West Texas is famous.

Two Postdocs Receive Fellowships to Study Extrasolar Planets

Two Postdocs Receive Fellowships to Study Extrasolar Planets

Two UT Austin postdoctoral scientists, Brianna Lacy and Yifan Zhou, have received the 51 Pegasi b Fellowship from the Heising-Simons Foundation, which will provide them with support for research focused on planets that orbit a star outside our solar system, known as exoplanets. Zhou is supervised by Brendan Bowler, an assistant professor of astronomy, and Lacy will be supervised by Caroline Morley, also an assistant professor of astronomy.

Sciences, Mathematics at UT Austin Ranked Among Nation’s and World’s Best

Sciences, Mathematics at UT Austin Ranked Among Nation’s and World’s Best

Two lists of academic rankings published this month show that The University of Texas at Austin's programs in the sciences and mathematics are among the best in the country and the world.

Visualizing Science 2021: Finding the Art in College Research

Visualizing Science 2021: Finding the Art in College Research

The College of Natural Sciences again invited its faculty, staff and students to submit the best images from their research for our Visualizing Science competition. The images they delivered are the ones that spoke to their creators, offering both inspiration and information as they conducted their scholarly investigations during a challenging year.

Integrative Biology Professor Wins Early Career Award for Contributions to Ecology

Integrative Biology Professor Wins Early Career Award for Contributions to Ecology

Caroline Farrior, an assistant professor in the Department of Integrative Biology, was elected as one of 10 Early Career Fellows for 2021 by the Ecological Society of America, an organization of professional ecologists.

Twin Study Shows Why Physical Punishment Leads to Child Behavior Problems

Twin Study Shows Why Physical Punishment Leads to Child Behavior Problems

Harsh parenting practices, not genetics, are linked to higher levels of behavior problems in children, according to a new study in the March 2021 volume of Psychological Science, which studied pairs of twins whose parents disciplined them differently.

Collaborative Strengthens Women in STEM Community at UT

Collaborative Strengthens Women in STEM Community at UT

For the first time at UT, student organizations and programs from across the College of Natural Sciences and Cockrell School of Engineering that focus on women in STEM fields are coming together in a formal group to extend support for leadership development in women in STEM. 

Most Flexible 2D Material Discovered at UT Austin

Most Flexible 2D Material Discovered at UT Austin

A new kind of two-dimensional (2D) material with unique properties has been discovered by researchers with The University of Texas at Austin, bringing next-generation flexible electronic devices one step closer.

Accurately Editing Genes in Living Cells Means Grappling with Knots in DNA

Accurately Editing Genes in Living Cells Means Grappling with Knots in DNA

Gene editing with CRISPR enzymes inside living cells could become more effective and accurate after researchers at The University of Texas at Austin unveiled how inner workings can help or hinder the process.