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From the College of Natural Sciences
Five Natural Sciences Faculty Receive NSF CAREER Awards

Five Natural Sciences Faculty Receive NSF CAREER Awards

Five faculty in The University of Texas at Austin's College of Natural Sciences have recently received distinguished Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Awards from the National Science Foundation. The CAREER award recognizes junior faculty for their potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.

7 Insights About Aging from College of Natural Sciences Researchers

7 Insights About Aging from College of Natural Sciences Researchers

In less than 15 years, the U.S. Census Bureau projects older adults (over 65) will outnumber children for the first time in history. Research on the relationships, health and well-being of the elderly has traditionally lagged behind research on children, adolescents and young adults. With its Center on Aging and Population Sciences (CAPS) and Texas Aging and Longevity Center (TALC) and its status in the Age-Friendly University (AFU) Global Network, The University of Texas at Austin is working to advance understanding about and support for older populations.

Mini Robots Reveal Links Between Bird Flocks and General Relativity

Mini Robots Reveal Links Between Bird Flocks and General Relativity

When self-propelling objects or living things interact with each other, interesting phenomena can occur. Birds align with each other when they flock together. People at a concert spontaneously create vortices when they nudge and bump into each other. Fire ants work together to create rafts that float on the water's surface.

Two small robots move on a stretchy, trampoline-like surface.
Maggie Miller Receives Maryam Mirzakhani New Frontiers Prize

Maggie Miller Receives Maryam Mirzakhani New Frontiers Prize

Maggie Miller, a UT Austin alumna in mathematics who will soon return to join the faculty, has been awarded a Maryam Mirzakhani New Frontiers Prize, an early career award for women in mathematics that is part of the annual Breakthrough Prizes. She is being honored for her work on fibered ribbon knots and surfaces in 4-dimensional manifolds.

Visualizing Science 2022: Illuminating the Intrinsic Beauty in Academic Research

Visualizing Science 2022: Illuminating the Intrinsic Beauty in Academic Research

This past spring, the College of Natural Sciences invited our University of Texas at Austin faculty, staff and students to send in the top images from their research for our Visualizing Science competition. The images they produced nourish both the mind and the soul, offering not only food for thought but a feast for the eyes as well.

Cancer Agency Awards Grant to Recruit New Faculty in Chemistry

Cancer Agency Awards Grant to Recruit New Faculty in Chemistry

The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) Oversight Committee recently awarded a recruitment grant for Ku-Lung "Ken" Hsu, a chemist joining The University of Texas at Austin. The CPRIT Scholar recruitment grant program attracts established and up-and-coming researchers to Texas institutions to advance their cancer-related research.

New Research Advances Fight Against Human Metapneumovirus

New Research Advances Fight Against Human Metapneumovirus

Human metapneumovirus (hMPV), a virus that infects the upper and lower respiratory systems—leading to bronchitis and pneumonia in some patients—could soon meet its medical match. A scientific team in Texas, in collaboration with biotech companies, has made recent breakthroughs in understanding the virus, and their efforts could lead to everything from the first-ever vaccines against hMPV to new, highly effective therapeutics.

Cognitive Impairment in Hispanic Adults Linked to Discrimination Experiences

Cognitive Impairment in Hispanic Adults Linked to Discrimination Experiences

Black and Latino people experience higher rates of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias than non-Hispanic white people, but scientists have never known why. Now a new study shows that experiences with discrimination may be playing a role in disproportionate experiences of cognitive decline.

Potential New Drug Target Could Boost Effectiveness of Chemotherapy Drugs

Potential New Drug Target Could Boost Effectiveness of Chemotherapy Drugs

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have discovered that a large family of reverse transcriptases (RTs)—enzymes that are found in all organisms and have been extensively studied for more than 50 years—have the previously unsuspected ability to repair DNA damage. The discovery makes them a potential new drug target that might be exploited to block cancer cells from developing resistance to radiation and chemotherapy drugs. The findings were published today in the journal Cell.

Enzymes in a large family called group II intron-like RTs have 3D structures that are remarkably similar, which suggests they share the ability to help repair double-strand DNA breaks. This image is a superposition of two of these enzymes: G2L4 and GsI-IIC RT. Their shared (or conserved) structures are in alternating green and gray. Credit: University of Texas at Austin.
Steven Weinberg’s Test of Quantum Mechanics Might Soon Be Realized

Steven Weinberg’s Test of Quantum Mechanics Might Soon Be Realized

About six years ago, Mark Raizen got a phone call from his University of Texas at Austin colleague, the Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg.

"He had a lot of questions for me about atomic clocks," Raizen said. "He had this idea for testing quantum mechanics, and he asked me if I could come up with a realistic system to do it in."

An ytterbium lattice atomic clock at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. NIST physicists combined two of these experimental clocks to make the world’s most stable single atomic clock. Credit: N. Phillips/NIST