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From the College of Natural Sciences
Professor Layla Parast Aims to Improve Healthcare Using Biostatistics

Professor Layla Parast Aims to Improve Healthcare Using Biostatistics

New faculty members in the College of Natural Sciences take on the important roles of mentor and researcher, always pushing the limits of science and inspiring their pupils. This academic year, we gained faculty members whose compelling character and work are worth learning about. Meet new statistics and data science professor, Layla Parast, whose work in biostatistics aims to improve medical treatments and trial outcomes.

Alumna Earns Top Honor Linked to Stable Isotope Research

Alumna Earns Top Honor Linked to Stable Isotope Research

Marilyn Fogel, an alumna of The University of Texas at Austin, was selected for the Victor Moritz Goldschmidt Award, the highest honor in geochemistry given annually to one scientist by the Geochemical Society.

Wildflower Center Executive Director Selected

Wildflower Center Executive Director Selected

Lee Clippard at the Wildflower Center. Credit: John W. Clark

Lee Clippard has been selected to serve as executive director of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, the official botanic garden and arboretum of Texas. Clippard has been interim director since May and previously worked for seven years in Center leadership, serving as deputy director and the head of communications and guest experience.

AI Bests Expert Human Players at Video Game

AI Bests Expert Human Players at Video Game

A still from the video game Gran Turismo Sport. Credit: Jamie Wynder /Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

An artificial intelligence system made history recently by beating a human world champion in Sony's popular video racing game, Gran Turismo Sport. The technological feat, which made the cover of the journal Nature, involved an AI system designed in part by three University of Texas at Austin computer science Ph.D. alumni and professor Peter Stone.

Remembering and Celebrating UT Austin’s First Black Math Ph.D.s

Remembering and Celebrating UT Austin’s First Black Math Ph.D.s

For decades, the number of Black students pursuing STEM degrees has been increasing nationally, but in the 1960s in UT Austin graduate programs, it was a different story. The small group of African Americans pursuing science and math doctoral degrees then were true trailblazers. This month, the College of Natural Sciences learned of the recent passing of one of them, doctoral mathematician Llayron Clarkson, who was 97. In addition to being an alumnus of The University of Texas at Austin's mathematics Ph.D. program, Clarkson was a former top academic leader at Texas Southern University.

Longhorns Make the Forbes 30 Under 30 List in Science

Longhorns Make the Forbes 30 Under 30 List in Science

An astrophysicist writer, a new assistant professor and an entrepreneur seeking to address the challenges of aging are among the latest additions to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list with University of Texas at Austin ties.

The Hearts and Minds Behind AI

The Hearts and Minds Behind AI

Austin tech entrepreneurs and devoted Longhorns Amir and Zaib Husain. Photo: Sloan Breeden

​“Zaib and I chose to make this gift because we believe artificial intelligence will one day help elevate the human condition.”

— ​​​Amir Husain

At the age of four Amir Husain fell in love with computers — in his words, he "became obsessed" with them. In his teens he began writing to his heroes, computer scientists like Niklaus Wirth, who created the Pascal programming language, and Nicholas Negroponte, a pioneer in the study of how humans interact with computers. They all wrote back. Amir left his home of Lahore, Pakistan to attend The University of Texas at Austin 8,000 miles away, drawn by the work of one of UT's computer science labs. While at UT, he found a kindred spirit in his wife Zaib, who was also from Lahore and a student at the McCombs School of Business.

Alumna Lisa Piccirillo Solves Famous 50-year-old Math Problem

Alumna Lisa Piccirillo Solves Famous 50-year-old Math Problem

Image courtesy of Ian MacLellan.

During her graduate studies at The University of Texas at Austin, Lisa Piccirillo solved a problem that had bedeviled mathematicians for five decades. Her discovery, published in the Annals of Mathematics, excited the math world and drew coverage from The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Quanta, Popular Mechanics and more.

Alum Prem Mahendroo and the Research Bug

Alum Prem Mahendroo and the Research Bug

Prem Mahendroo at home in Arlington. Photos on this page by: Vivian Abagiu, Sloan Breeden, Tara Trujillo-Smith

As a young boy, Prem Mahendroo loved to fly kites near the Ganges River in his hometown of Haridwar, India. He has a vivid memory of climbing up the side of his house to free one that had been trapped. A fall could have been deadly, but he was determined to grasp what was just beyond reach.

That moment provides a glimpse of Mahendroo's life and work. Throughout his career as a physicist, he reached beyond. He would become a pioneer in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) research and is admired by Nobel Prize winners in the field.

Film Tells Incredible Story of Alum Jim Allison

Film Tells Incredible Story of Alum Jim Allison


How does a poor kid from tiny Alice, Texas grow up, go to a top research university, patiently pursue a new treatment for cancer that all the experts call crazy, and end up leading a revolution in cancer therapeutics that has already saved countless lives? Oh, and somehow manage to play harmonica with Willie Nelson and win a Nobel Prize too?