University of Texas at Austin

Archive for 2013

Friday, August 23, 2013

Longhorns in Space, by Jupiter!

Scientists at the University of Texas at Austin’s Institute for Geophysics helped develop a blueprint for a possible future NASA lander mission to Europa, an icy moon of Jupiter that has a global ocean covered by an ice shell.

Europa’s large reservoir of liquid water has long enchanted planetary scientists with the possibility of harboring life. Many experts believe it to be the most likely place in our solar system besides Earth to host life today. The proposed mission is designed
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Friday, August 16, 2013

How UT Austin engineers built 3-D manufacturing

This is the story of the birth of an industry in The University of Texas at Austin’s Department of Mechanical Engineering in the 1980s.

It started when an undergraduate student had an idea while working a summer job. He asked for the help of a young and hungry assistant professor, who managed to get the project funded.

Soon enthusiastic, powerful and hardworking people defended its potential, and with a few strokes of luck, and a lot of just plain hard work, developed a
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Thursday, August 8, 2013

UT Austin researchers develop cancer therapy that slows tumor growth

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a combination of therapies that significantly reduced the rate and size at which human tumors grow in mice.

In mice treated with the combined therapy, tumors took more than 70 days on average to grow as large as they grew in 50 days in mice treated with the next most effective therapy, the researchers reported in a paper published in the journal Molecular Carcinogenesis.

Karen Vasquez, a researcher in the College of Pharmacy.

Karen Vasquez, a researcher in the College of
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Friday, July 19, 2013

The Energy Cost of Water

In recent years, global issues such as drought and the scarcity of natural resources have put a spotlight on two critical resources that make most of life’s daily activities possible: energy and water.

Two researchers from The University of Texas at Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering believe that increasing awareness about water and energy interdependencies — an area referred to as the energy-water nexus — could help regions and communities manage the resources they have more efficiently, as well as help shape
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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Hunting hybrid vigor in corn

Researcher Jeffrey Chen has $2.5 million National Science Foundation grant to investigate hybrid vigor in corn.

Researcher Jeffrey Chen has $2.5 million National Science Foundation grant to investigate hybrid vigor in corn.

In 2008, Jeff Chen caused a stir in the world of plant biology when he identified a key mechanism of “hybrid vigor” in the common experimental plant, Arabidopsis.

Now, thanks to a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation, he and his colleagues are expanding their investigation of hybrid vigor to corn, which is the biggest crop in the United States. Advances in understanding hybrid vigor
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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Neuroscientist conducts deep study of a brain, his own

Early this Tuesday morning, and every Tuesday morning through November 2013, neuroscientist Russell Poldrack will wake up, take off his headband-like sleep monitor, and tell it to wirelessly send data about his night’s sleep to a database.

Then he’ll log in to a survey app on his computer, and provide a subjective report on how well he slept, whether he’s sore, and what his blood pressure and pulse rate are. He’ll step on a scale, which will send his weight and
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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Rock Snot Genomics: The origin of common algae

Diatoms are one of the most common types of phytoplankton and a major group of algae. One species, Didymosphenia geminata, is responsible for creating thick blooms in mountain streams and ponds. It’s a menace to ocean-going vessels, where it causes drag, and in hospitals, where it can coat moist surfaces and promote bacteria.

For researchers in the lab of Edward Theriot at The University of Texas at Austin, diatoms (and their snot) are rich objects of biological research. Read the full
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Monday, April 8, 2013

Building a better battery

It’s been a rough ride lately for the lithium-ion battery. Though practically all of us carry one around — they power everything from cell phones to iPods — the lightweight cells have sparked some high-profile product failures.

It was bad enough when they caused laptop computers to burst into flames, leading to millions of recalled batteries since 2000. Their reputation took another hit in January, when battery fires in two of Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner planes caused airlines to ground their
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Monday, March 18, 2013

My space? Your space? What makes it our space?

Take a look at your bedroom. Is it scattered with laundry? Adorned with photos? Are you only leaving a sliver of space in the closet for your partner’s clothes? These seemingly mundane domestic scenarios may reveal a surprising amount of information about a couple’s relationship, according to a forthcoming study led by Lindsay Graham, a psychology graduate student at The University of Texas at Austin.

In collaboration with Sam Gosling, professor of psychology and author of “Snoop: What Your Stuff Says
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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Engineering immune cells to resist infection from HIV

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and the Stanford University School of Medicine have found a novel way to engineer key cells of the immune system so they remain resistant to infection from HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
The study, which was published this week in Molecular Therapy, describes the use of a kind of molecular scissors to cut and paste a series of HIV-resistant genes into T cells, specialized immune cells targeted by the virus.

The new approach
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