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Research on Language Learning Yields Mitchell Prize for UT Austin Statisticians

Research on Language Learning Yields Mitchell Prize for UT Austin Statisticians

A cross-disciplinary team including University of Texas at Austin statisticians Giorgio Paulon and Abhra Sarkar have received the Mitchell Prize, a top prize in the field, for their study modeling what happens in the brains of nonnative English speakers learning another language's tonal differences.

First Glimpse of Brains Retrieving Mistaken Memories Observed

First Glimpse of Brains Retrieving Mistaken Memories Observed

Scientists have observed for the first time what it looks like in the key memory region of the brain when a mistake is made during a memory trial. The findings have implications for Alzheimer's disease research and advancements in memory storage and enhancement, with a discovery that also provides a view into differences between the physiological events in the brain during a correct memory versus a faulty one.

Chemist Receives NIH Outstanding Investigator Award

Chemist Receives NIH Outstanding Investigator Award

The National Institutes of Health has awarded Carlos Baiz, assistant professor of chemistry at The University of Texas at Austin, an Outstanding Investigator Award. The award comes with $1 million over five years to fund basic research that could, among other things, help scientists better understand how our brains encode memories and reveal the causes of some neurological and cardiovascular diseases.

Forgetting Uses More Brain Power Than Remembering

Forgetting Uses More Brain Power Than Remembering

Choosing to forget something might take more mental effort than trying to remember it, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin discovered through neuroimaging.

Manipulating Neurons

Manipulating Neurons

Illustrations: Jenna Luecke

With a flash of light, neuroscientists can now turn individual brain cells on or off. They do so using a set of tools, pioneered in part by UT Austin neuroscientist Boris Zemelman, called optogenetics.

Learning Expands the Brain’s Capacity to Store Information

Learning Expands the Brain’s Capacity to Store Information

Kristen Harris and her team used an electron microscope to make 3D images of brain structures like this one to understand how learning alters the structures. They discovered that learning causes some synapses (red) to grow and others to shrink, leading to an increase in their capacity to store information. In this image, axons (green) carrying signals from multiple brain cells connect via synapses to the shaft-like input of a single brain cell, called a dendrite (yellow). Credit: Univ. of Texas at Austin.

The act of learning causes connections between brain cells, called synapses, to expand their capacity to store information, according to a new discovery from neuroscientists at The University of Texas at Austin, the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences and The University of Otago in New Zealand.

Neuroscientist Receives Grant to Advance Understanding of Brain Structure

Neuroscientist Receives Grant to Advance Understanding of Brain Structure

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Kristen Harris, a professor in the Department of Neuroscience at The University of Texas at Austin, a $9 million grant to explore the brain in microscopic detail and understand the cell biology of the nervous system. Harris plans to image and map synapses, the tiny points of contact between neurons throughout the brain, in detail and to model synapse function and share the data publicly for use by colleagues throughout the world.

Brain image from an electron micrograph through a single section plane illustrating spiny dendrites (yellow), nonspiny dendrites (orange), excitatory axons (green), excitatory synapses (red), astroglia (light blue), microglia (dark brown). Image credit: Kristen Harris
Unlocking the Mind's Mysteries

Unlocking the Mind's Mysteries

It's been called the most complicated object in the known universe. But, as UT scientists are learning, the human brain offers five important clues for understanding its wonders.

UT Austin Researchers Map Neurological Process of Learning, Deciding

UT Austin Researchers Map Neurological Process of Learning, Deciding

Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin can now map what happens neurologically when new information influences a person to change his or her mind, a finding that offers more insight into the mechanics of learning.

Neuroscientist Weighs How Realistic Bourne Character's Memory Loss Is

Neuroscientist Weighs How Realistic Bourne Character's Memory Loss Is

This week, Matt Damon returns to the big screen as Jason Bourne, a secret agent who has forgotten his entire life and is piecing it back together while confronting political and economic conflicts. We wondered how realistically the series depicts brain science.