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From the College of Natural Sciences
Grad Students at Forefront of Efforts to Create Belonging in Science

Grad Students at Forefront of Efforts to Create Belonging in Science

Who gets encouraged to become a scientist or mathematician -- and who is given the tools and support to succeed on the path to becoming one? These are some of the questions graduate students across the College of Natural Sciences are asking and working to address together with faculty, administrators, staff and fellow students across the college.

Like Their Domestic Cousins, Native Bees are Hurt by Pesticides

Like Their Domestic Cousins, Native Bees are Hurt by Pesticides

Image of a Mason Bee or Blueberry Bee (Megachilidae, Osmia sp.) by Alejandro Santillana, Insects Unlocked

Because they are critical in maintaining our food supply, a lot of research and public attention has been focused (rightly) on the health of domesticated honey bees. On the other hand, native bees also play critical roles in their environments, including pollinating flowers and agricultural crops. Unfortunately, hundreds of North American native bee species are in decline, due to a variety of factors including loss of habitat, nutritional stress, climate change and exposure to pathogens and agrochemicals.

Nurdle Patrol Expands its Citizen Scientist Effort to Fight Plastic Pollution on Beaches

Nurdle Patrol Expands its Citizen Scientist Effort to Fight Plastic Pollution on Beaches

Recent funding support from the NOAA Marine Debris Program will allow for expansion of Nurdle Patrol into Mexico and increased data and surveys of nurdle pollution. Map show survey locations and number of nurdles collected, as of September 2021. The basemap was created using ArcGIS® software by Esri.

PORT ARANSAS, Texas – Plastic pollution in marine environments has no border. The waters of the United States and Mexico are inextricably linked through currents of the Gulf of Mexico and with them flow marine debris. One source of marine debris of concern are plastic pellets, or nurdles. Now with new support from the NOAA Marine Debris Program and the Matagorda Bay Mitigation Trust, the Nurdle Patrol citizen science program is expanding across the United States and into Mexico.

McLellan Honored for Contributions to COVID-19 Vaccines

McLellan Honored for Contributions to COVID-19 Vaccines

Photo by Vivian Abagiu

Jason McLellan, UT Austin molecular biosciences professor, has received the 2021 Shirley Bird Perry Longhorn Citizenship Award, recognizing the wide-reaching impact of his work with viral proteins, especially his contributions to COVID-19 vaccines. The award is given annually by UT Austin's Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life.

Announcing the 2021 Stengl-Wyer Scholars, Fellows and Grant Awardees

Announcing the 2021 Stengl-Wyer Scholars, Fellows and Grant Awardees

Funded by the Stengl-Wyer Endowment, the Stengl Wyer Postdoctoral Scholars Program provides up to three years of independent support for talented postdoctoral researchers in the broad area of the diversity of life and/or organisms in their natural environments. The endowment also supports year-long fellowships for doctoral candidates pursuing dissertation research in the same area.

Computer Scientist Named to President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology

Computer Scientist Named to President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology

William H. Press, a computer scientist and computational biologist at The University of Texas at Austin, will provide scientific perspective to the White House, as a recently named member of President Biden's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).

Technological Leaps Help Biologists Study Quickly Changing Landscapes

Technological Leaps Help Biologists Study Quickly Changing Landscapes

Biologists, naturalists and ecologists are typically known for conducting boots-on-the-ground field research, whether it is hiking through the jungles of Costa Rica to study rare frogs, paddling along Arctic coastlines to study sources of carbon or studying endangered birds in South Texas. But increasingly, technology is expanding the work these scientists can do beyond where their feet alone can take them.

Loss of Picky-Eating Fishes Threatens Coral Reef Food Webs

Loss of Picky-Eating Fishes Threatens Coral Reef Food Webs

Coral reefs all over the world, already threatened by rising temperatures brought about by climate change, also face serious challenges from the possibility of fish species extinctions. According to a paper out today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the networks of predator fish and their prey found on coral reefs all over the world are remarkably similar, and those predator fish are pickier eaters than previously thought. These delicate ecosystems become even more vulnerable when these specialized hunters go extinct.

As AI Becomes Ubiquitous, There are Risks, Says New AI100 Report

As AI Becomes Ubiquitous, There are Risks, Says New AI100 Report

Artificial intelligence has reached a critical turning point in its evolution, according to a new report by an international panel of experts assessing the state of the field for the second time in five years.

Innovative Cancer Research Bolstered by Grants from CPRIT

Innovative Cancer Research Bolstered by Grants from CPRIT

A slice through a cluster of about 20 human cells with mitochondria highlighted as green and red dots. Image courtesy of Lulu Cambronne/University of Texas at Austin.

The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) recently awarded grants to six faculty members at The University of Texas at Austin, including Xioalu "Lulu" Cambronne in the Department of Molecular Biosciences. The funding will support ongoing, innovative cancer research at UT Austin and enable advances in immunotherapy, drug development and cancer prevention efforts.