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From the College of Natural Sciences
When Good RNA Turns Bad

When Good RNA Turns Bad

RNAs are molecules that carry genetic information and control and regulate virtually all processes in our cells. Though RNA is vital, certain kinds can clump together in a way that is correlated with neurological disorders such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Huntington's disease. Biophysicist Dave Thirumalai, Collie-Welch Regents Chair in Chemistry at The University of Texas at Austin, and his team now have developed a computer model that helps explain how this occurs.

Sessler Elected to American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Sessler Elected to American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Jonathan Sessler, a professor of chemistry at The University of Texas at Austin, has been elected to the prestigious American Academy of Arts & Sciences. The Academy has been electing and engaging a cross-section of highly talented and brilliant individuals for more than 240 years.

Zak Page Named a 2022 Cottrell Scholar

Zak Page Named a 2022 Cottrell Scholar

​Zachariah Page, assistant professor of chemistry at The University of Texas at Austin, has been selected as a 2022 Cottrell Scholar by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement.

Yi Lu Honored Among Top Inventors

Yi Lu Honored Among Top Inventors

Yi Lu, a chemist from The University of Texas at Austin, has been selected as a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, a prestigious distinction awarded to a select group of 164 academic innovators around the world for 2021.

Sodium-based Material Yields Stable Alternative to Lithium-ion Batteries

Sodium-based Material Yields Stable Alternative to Lithium-ion Batteries

Scientists at the University of Texas at Austin have developed a new sodium metal anode for rechargeable batteries (left) that resists the formation of dendrites, a common problem with standard sodium metal anodes (right) that can lead to shorting and fires. Images were taken with a scanning electron microscope. Image credit: Yixian Wang/University of Texas at Austin.

University of Texas at Austin researchers have created a new sodium-based battery material that is highly stable, capable of recharging as quickly as a traditional lithium-ion battery and able to pave the way toward delivering more energy than current battery technologies.

New Model Reveals How Chromosomes Get Packed Up

New Model Reveals How Chromosomes Get Packed Up

To scrunch a chromosome (green), a condensin molecule opens and closes like a pair of fingers (light blue) connected by a hinge (dark blue).

One of the most astounding feats of nature is happening right now in cells throughout your body: noodle-like molecules called chromosomes, which carry part of your genetic blueprints and are about two inches (5 centimeters) long when fully stretched out, get stuffed into the cell's nucleus, which is at least 5,000 times smaller, with plenty of room for a bunch of other chromosomes. 

Electrochemistry Pioneer and Texas Science Legend Allen Bard Retires

Electrochemistry Pioneer and Texas Science Legend Allen Bard Retires

Allen J. Bard, a professor holding the Norman Hackerman – Welch Regents Chair in Chemistry and known around the world as "the father of modern electrochemistry," is stepping down in the Department of Chemistry after a 63-year career at The University of Texas at Austin.

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Chemists’ New Effort Aims to Optimize Materials by Exploiting their Defects

Chemists’ New Effort Aims to Optimize Materials by Exploiting their Defects

A multi-university team involving Sean Roberts of The University of Texas at Austin will receive National Science Foundation support to establish the NSF Phase 1 Center for Adapting Flaws into Features (CAFF) at Rice University. The Center's goal is to exploit chemical defects that show the potential for unique reactivity to optimize the structural and electronic properties of materials.

MasSpec Pen Shows Promise in Pancreatic Cancer Surgery

MasSpec Pen Shows Promise in Pancreatic Cancer Surgery

Jialing Zhang demonstrates using the MasSpec Pen on a human tissue sample. Photo credit: Vivian Abagiu/Univ. of Texas at Austin.

A diagnostic tool called the MasSpec Pen has been tested for the first time in pancreatic cancer patients during surgery. The device is shown to accurately identify tissues and surgical margins directly in patients and differentiate healthy and cancerous tissue from banked pancreas samples.

Carlos Baiz and Shelley Payne Earn Prestigious Teaching Awards

Carlos Baiz and Shelley Payne Earn Prestigious Teaching Awards

Two College of Natural Sciences faculty members were named the winners of prestigious national and state teaching awards this spring.

Fight Against Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Has a Glowing New Weapon

Fight Against Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Has a Glowing New Weapon

In the perpetual arms races between bacteria and human-made antibiotics, there is a new tool to give human medicine the edge, in part by revealing bacterial weaknesses and potentially by leading to more targeted or new treatments for bacterial infections.

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Honoring the Life of Marye Anne Fox, Former VP for Research at UT Austin

Honoring the Life of Marye Anne Fox, Former VP for Research at UT Austin

A member of the National Academy of Sciences and recipient of the National Medal of Science, Marye Anne Fox, former chemistry professor and Vice President for Research at The University of Texas at Austin, died at her home in Austin on Sunday, May 9 following a long illness.

Jonathan Sessler Elected to National Academy of Sciences

Jonathan Sessler Elected to National Academy of Sciences

Chemist Jonathan L. Sessler of The University of Texas at Austin has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. The academy is the country's most prestigious scientific organization, and election to it is one of the highest honors for American researchers.

UT Chemistry Researchers Encode Jane Austen Quote in a Polymer

UT Chemistry Researchers Encode Jane Austen Quote in a Polymer

A quote from Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park written in oligourethanes. Image credit: Sarah Moor.

Using a novel molecular data-storage technique, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin encoded a quote from Jane Austen's Mansfield Park in a series of short polymers, which a third party could read back without prior knowledge of the structures that encoded the passage. Polymers are molecules made of repeating subunits strung together like beads on a string, such as synthetic plastics.

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Two Natural Sciences Undergraduates Selected as Goldwater Scholars

Two Natural Sciences Undergraduates Selected as Goldwater Scholars

Two University of Texas at Austin undergraduate students, Briana Syed and Teddy Hsieh, have earned the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship, which honors outstanding students in STEM majors.