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From the College of Natural Sciences
Graduating Seniors Help Identify Scientific Solutions in Coronavirus Fight

Graduating Seniors Help Identify Scientific Solutions in Coronavirus Fight

As confirmed cases of COVID-19 began to appear in the U.S., graduating seniors at the University of Texas at Austin looked for ways to apply their scientific expertise toward slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus. In the midst of their own academic careers and personal lives being turned upside down by a pandemic, their work yielded potential solutions to the shortage of coronavirus tests and medical-grade facemasks.

Antibodies from Llamas Could Help in Fight Against COVID-19

Antibodies from Llamas Could Help in Fight Against COVID-19

The hunt for an effective treatment for COVID-19 has led one team of researchers to find an improbable ally for their work: a llama named Winter. The team — from The University of Texas at Austin, the National Institutes of Health and Ghent University in Belgium — reports their findings about a potential avenue for a coronavirus treatment involving llamas on May 5 in the journal Cell.

Genomes Assembled from Five Cotton Species Could Lead to Better Varieties

Genomes Assembled from Five Cotton Species Could Lead to Better Varieties

Researchers assembled the genomes of five cotton varieties, revealing their evolutionary history and new insights for breeding. Flower images by Atsumi Ando (UT Austin) and field of cotton by James Frelichowskin (USDA-ARS, College Station).

Cotton producers in Texas, elsewhere in the US and around the world are looking for new varieties that can better withstand droughts, pests and pathogens, yet yield higher-quality fibers for the textile industry.

Researchers Create Largest Ever Map of Plant Proteins and Their Assemblies

Researchers Create Largest Ever Map of Plant Proteins and Their Assemblies

In a new paper in Cell, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin offer the largest survey to date of proteins in plants, examining 13 different species across 1.1 billion years of plant evolution. Their findings could have practical applications such as increasing crop yields, understanding disease and stress resistance in plants and informing biofuel production.

New Method Could Transform Vaccine Distribution to Remote, Developing Areas

New Method Could Transform Vaccine Distribution to Remote, Developing Areas

Access to vaccines around the world could get easier thanks to scientists at The University of Texas at Austin who have developed an inexpensive and innovative vaccine delivery method that preserves live viruses, bacteria, antibodies and enzymes without refrigeration.

Breakthrough in Coronavirus Research Results in New Map to Support Vaccine Design

Breakthrough in Coronavirus Research Results in New Map to Support Vaccine Design

Researchers from The University of Texas at Austin and the National Institutes of Health have made a critical breakthrough toward developing a vaccine for the 2019 novel coronavirus by creating the first 3D atomic scale map of the part of the virus that attaches to and infects human cells.

How Chromosomes Organize and Genes Interact Needs Rethinking, Study Finds

How Chromosomes Organize and Genes Interact Needs Rethinking, Study Finds

The organization of genetic information in most bacteria – long thought to occur in a single ordered, segmented ring – turns out to more closely mimic a spaghetti noodle: shifting, balling up and twisting in ways scientists previously had not grasped. The finding by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin, appears today in Cell, with implications for cancer and bacterial infectious disease research, as well as our most basic understanding about the structure of all living cells.

Graduate Researcher Studies Cells that Fight Autoimmunity

Graduate Researcher Studies Cells that Fight Autoimmunity

T-cells are crucial to our immune systems, recognizing viruses, bacterial infections and even cancer cells and triggering immune responses that help kill off these and other dangerous invaders.

Bacteria Engineered to Protect Bees from Pests and Pathogens

Bacteria Engineered to Protect Bees from Pests and Pathogens

A Varroa mite, a common pest that can weaken bees and make them more susceptible to pathogens, feeds on a honey bee. Photo credit: Alex Wild/University of Texas at Austin.

Scientists from The University of Texas at Austin report in the journal Science that they have developed a new strategy to protect honey bees from a deadly trend known as colony collapse: genetically engineered strains of bacteria.

Discovering a Genetic Mechanism that Affects Birth Defects, Some Cancers

Discovering a Genetic Mechanism that Affects Birth Defects, Some Cancers

Scientists have understood for some time that proper embryonic development depends in large part on transcriptional repressors, proteins that prevent genes from being expressed at inappropriate times. Steven Vokes, associate professor of molecular biosciences at the University of Texas at Austin, and his team focus on a set of proteins called GLI (glioma-associated oncogene) and how they control gene expression in response to what is known as the Hedgehog pathway.

Researchers Solve Decades-Old DNA Mystery

Researchers Solve Decades-Old DNA Mystery

A team of researchers from The University of Texas at Austin and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have solved a decades-old mystery about how DNA organizes itself in the cell. In doing so, the researchers have potentially unlocked clues about a set of rare genetic conditions.

Three Natural Sciences Professors Win UT Invent & Innovate Awards

Three Natural Sciences Professors Win UT Invent & Innovate Awards

Eric Anslyn, Edward Marcotte and George Georgiou were honored at an event this month honoring the top innovations and inventions of the year to come out of The University of Texas at Austin.

An Experimental Anti-Cancer Drug Has an Unexpected Method of Attacking Cancer

An Experimental Anti-Cancer Drug Has an Unexpected Method of Attacking Cancer

Researchers were surprised to find that BET inhibitors have a second mechanism of attacking cancer cells, namely damaging the cell's DNA. Credit: iStock.

A widely used class of chemotherapy drugs, called topoisomerase inhibitors, come with some serious downsides: bone marrow damage, reduced blood cell production, diarrhea and heart damage. And some cancers can quickly develop resistance. A new discovery about a second class of drugs might lead to combination therapies that are just as effective, but with fewer downsides.

Biologist Awarded Grant to Study Effects of Chemicals in the Environment on Embryos

Biologist Awarded Grant to Study Effects of Chemicals in the Environment on Embryos

An associate professor of molecular biosciences at the University of Texas at Austin is one of two individuals this year to receive a Sustaining Outstanding Achievement in Research (SOAR) award from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Johann Eberhart was awarded the eight-year, $7.6 million grant to study the genetic and environmental causes of human birth defects of the head and face, which now occur in up to 5% of all births.

Urbain Weyemi Looks for the Unexpected to Better Understand Cancer

Urbain Weyemi Looks for the Unexpected to Better Understand Cancer

A noted researcher at the intersection of cancer biology, neurodegeneration and epigenetics, Urbain Weyemi is joining the Department of Molecular Biosciences with the help of a recruitment grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). We connected with Weyemi as he makes the move from Johns Hopkins University to The University of Texas at Austin.