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From the College of Natural Sciences
Eleven Faculty Members Honored with College Teaching Excellence Award

Eleven Faculty Members Honored with College Teaching Excellence Award

CNS teaching excellence award winners Aaron Zimmerman, Ann Thijs, Ariel Taylor, Ladia Hernandez, Shinko Harper, Keith Hawkins, Soo Hyun Yang, Sarah Abraham, Kathryn Dabbs, KyongJoo Hong and Fatima Varner

​The Teaching Excellence Award in the College of Natural Sciences seeks to promote and recognize outstanding teaching in the College of Natural Sciences by honoring faculty members who have had a positive influence on the educational experience of our students. In a year marked by having to adapt to teaching during a pandemic, each award winner went above and beyond to deliver their best in the classroom.

Astronomers Discover Strangely Massive Black Hole in Milky Way Satellite Galaxy

Astronomers Discover Strangely Massive Black Hole in Milky Way Satellite Galaxy

McDonald Observatory astronomers have found that Leo I (inset), a tiny satellite galaxy of the Milky Way (main image), has a black hole nearly as massive as the Milky Way's. Leo I is 30 times smaller than the Milky Way. The result could signal changes in astronomers' understanding of galaxy evolution. Credit: ESA/Gaia/DPAC; SDSS (inset)

Astronomers at The University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory have discovered an unusually massive black hole at the heart of one of the Milky Way's dwarf satellite galaxies, called Leo I. Almost as massive as the black hole in our own galaxy, the finding could redefine our understanding of how all galaxies — the building blocks of the universe — evolve. The work is published in a recent issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

Unlikely Partners: Bees and Turtles

Unlikely Partners: Bees and Turtles

An injured sea turtle has had honey from Fennessey Ranch applied to a wound to promote healing.

Honey bees and sea turtles may seem like strange bedfellows, but through two of the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve's (NERR) stewardship programs – Fennessey Ranch and the Amos Rehabilitation Keep (ARK) – these two species are connected through a unique collaboration.

Breakthrough in Fight on Tick-Borne CCHF Virus is Latest Use of New Strategy Against Diseases

Breakthrough in Fight on Tick-Borne CCHF Virus is Latest Use of New Strategy Against Diseases

A 3D atomic map, or structure, of the Gc protein (red and yellow) bound to two antibodies (green, blue and white) produced by a recovered patient. The Gc protein is a key molecule on the surface of the CCHF virus enabling it to infect cells. Credit: Akaash Mishra/University of Texas at Austin

Using the same approach they recently used to create effective vaccine candidates against COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), scientists are tackling another virus: the tick-borne Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF). It causes death in up to 40% of cases, and the World Health Organization identified the disease as one of its top priorities for research and development. The results appear today in the journal Science.

A Celebration of Science and Health Heroes

A Celebration of Science and Health Heroes

The UT Tower shined bright with burnt orange lights in October to honor the researchers who helped create the COVID-19 vaccines.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler, Medical Director Desmar Walkes, world-changing scientists and members of the UT Austin Community are gathering to celebrate the hard-working people on campus and beyond who have contributed to COVID-19 vaccines and vaccinations. The College of Natural Sciences' Vaccination Celebration recognizes the UT Austin connection to vaccine development and the progress that has been made in getting people vaccinated almost one year since the global vaccine rollout began. The event also features a vaccine pop-up, as well as a free concert by Austin-based band Nané.

As We Develop, the Brain Connects Lessons Learned Differently

As We Develop, the Brain Connects Lessons Learned Differently

Members of Alison Preston’s research group study fMRI brain scans. Credit: Vivian Abagiu.

A new study of brain activity patterns in people doing a memory task finds that the way we make inferences — finding hidden connections between different experiences — changes dramatically as we age. The study's findings might one day lead to personalized learning strategies based on a person's cognitive and brain development.

Shacham Receives NSF Grant for Cybersecurity Research

Shacham Receives NSF Grant for Cybersecurity Research

Hovav Shacham

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced four new flagship funding awards through the Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC) program, including for a project focused on securing web browser operations led by Hovav Shacham, professor of computer science at the University of Texas at Austin.

First-Gen Student Navigates Own Path, Helps Others Chart Theirs

First-Gen Student Navigates Own Path, Helps Others Chart Theirs

Guillermo Lezama is a physics major at UT Austin. For First-Generation College Celebration Week this week at UT Austin, Amanda Figueroa-Nieves spoke with the senior about his experiences in UTeach, the university's STEM teacher training program.

National Academy Ranks Giant Magellan Telescope Among Top Astronomy Priorities

National Academy Ranks Giant Magellan Telescope Among Top Astronomy Priorities

A new report out from the National Academy of Sciences, the highly anticipated decadal survey called Pathways to Discovery in Astronomy and Astrophysics for the 2020s, or "Astro2020," has presented recommendations for making federal investments critical to achieving advances in US astronomy over the next decade.

New Gravitational Wave Catalog Reveals Black Holes of ‘All Shapes and Sizes’

New Gravitational Wave Catalog Reveals Black Holes of ‘All Shapes and Sizes’

Today, an international scientific collaboration released the largest catalog ever of collisions involving black holes and neutron stars, raising the total to 90 events. The results suggest that intermediate-mass black holes are more common than scientists previously thought. The catalog also includes the second discovery of an intriguing object that seems too small to be a black hole, yet too large to be a neutron star.