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Bicycling many miles through the Texas Hill Country in support of one of the world’s most well-known cancer-fighting charitable organizations probably sounds like a great way to spend an October day, no matter who you are. Here at the College of Natural Sciences (CNS), members of our community have yet another reason to support LIVESTRONG, the nonprofit organization that’s based in Austin and that serves cancer patients and their families the world over. 

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A new study, which may have implications for approaches to education, finds that brain mechanisms engaged when people allow their minds to rest and reflect on things they've learned before may boost later learning.

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As Ebola continues to spread in West Africa, it may be silently immunizing large numbers of people who never fall ill or infect others, yet become protected from future infection. If such immunity is confirmed, it would have significant ramifications on projections of how widespread the disease will be and could help determine strategies that health workers use to contain the disease, according to a letter published Tuesday in the Lancet medical journal.

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Yesterday, three scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery of two types of brain cells involved in keeping track of where we are when moving around. Called place cells and grid cells, they may hold the key to understanding aspects of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's. Laura Colgin, who did research with two of the prize-winning scientists awarded this year’s Nobel Prize, is now an associate professor of neuroscience in the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Natural Sciences who continues to investigate the role of place cells in spacial memory tasks and more.

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Can we use plants for energy instead of oil? That's the question one group of intrepid students is trying to answer as part of an innovative program that plugs first year students into real-world research projects with top notch faculty and research scientists.

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Do you remember in fifth grade science class learning about food webs? Plants absorb energy from the sun, plants are eaten by animals, and smaller animals are eaten by bigger animals. Generally speaking, the flow is from smaller to larger organisms. An analysis by researchers at The University of Texas Marine Science Institute and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute reveals how the flow of nutrients in the ocean can also go in reverse, from larger animals to smaller ones. This new understanding has implications for conservation and fisheries management.

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This past spring, we asked faculty, staff and students in the College of Natural Sciences community to send us images that celebrated the extraordinary beauty of science and the scientific process. We were looking for that moment where science and art collide and we succeeded.

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In findings of relevance to conservationists and the fishing industry, new research links short-term reductions in growth and reproduction of marine animals off the California coast to increasing variability in the strength of coastal upwelling currents — currents that supply nutrients to the region's diverse ecosystem.

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The College of Natural Sciences welcomes ten new faculty members this fall. Whether studying dwarf spheroidal galaxies, unraveling how a healthy brain processes visual input from the natural environment, or studying the physics of everyday materials, these innovative faculty members build on the college’s reputation for cutting-edge research and research-based teaching.

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The following excerpt is from an article and podcast by Jorge Salazar, published August 12, 2014 on the TACC website: