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From the College of Natural Sciences
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The neuroscience of learning and memory

​Dear Students, In addition to serving as interim undergraduate dean, I'm a neuroscientist, who, from time to time, uses this space to discuss how neuroscience connects to our lives. Today, I focus on one of my favorite phenomena in the neuroscience of learning and memory: the trial spacing effect.​The trial spacing effect demonstrates that we lear...

Plan some time for yourself

Dear Students,Congratulations on making it to the home stretch of another unusual semester. Over the past year and half, you've faced challenges that few students before you faced. The pandemic changed how we go to class, how we interact with each other, how we do science, how we explore the world around us and many other aspects of our profes...

Show some love to your deadlines

Dear Students,Over the holiday weekend I had the chance to watch some of the new documentary "The Beatles: Get Back." As we approach the end of the semester, and the many deadlines it brings, the film had a special resonance to me.​It documents an amazing few weeks in 1970. The Beatles had committed to doing a live TV special during which they woul...

Thanksgiving offers a special opportunity

Dear Students,Congratulations on your hard work this semester and on making it to Thanksgiving break. I hope this email finds you in a relaxed space, with some free time to do something fun and recharge.In addition to being a time to enjoy a good meal and connect with loved ones, Thanksgiving offers a special opportunity for us scientists and mathe...

Guiding You On Your Path

​Dear Students,Are you pursuing a career in the health professions? Did you know that the College of Natural Sciences houses The Health Professions Office (HPO), which has peer advisors and coaches who are here to guide you on your path to professional school? If you're thinking of a career in medicine, dentistry, optometry, occupational therapy or...

What A Wonderful World

Dear Students,In early January 2020, Dr. Nianshuang Wang, who was then a UT Austin postdoctoral scientist in the lab of Professor Jason McLellan, did some fast thinking that may well have saved lives. He had been working on coronavirus research for years and knew the importance of a protein called spike, and he learned how to work with it to make r...

Who's First?

​Dear Students,Many Longhorns—more than 20%—are the first in their family to go to college. Possessing all the skills and abilities they need to succeed, our first-gen students still can encounter some unique challenges. As first-gen graduate Maria Alvarez said in a UT News article, being a first-generation college student for her meant regular dro...

4 Tips for Right Now

Dear Students,After more than a year and a half of very few in-person activities, it's great to see the campus looking so alive. Most of our classes are back to meeting in-person. At class changes, Speedway is crowded with people. And, once again, bicycles and skateboards are zooming down the hill on 24th Street.For many of us, this feels like a we...

On Civil Discourse

​Dear Students, As a science community, we spend a lot of time thinking about and doing science-y stuff, like coding, titrating, solving and graphing. But the success of scientific endeavors also depends on social-interpersonal skills that enable people to collaborate across diverse perspectives, expertise and experience. Indeed, studies show that ...

Explore Your Options

​Dear Students,As a neuroscience faculty member, faculty advisor and now a student dean, I frequently hear from students looking for guidance. About what? Truth be told, the most common issue is the functional anatomy of the basal ganglia. (It really is complicated.) But the second-most common issue is careers.We tend to focus a lot on the career o...