University of Texas at Austin

Author Archive


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Folic acid one of several discoveries that made Esmond Snell world-renowned

Biochemist Esmond Snell, a researcher at The University of Texas at Austin and the University of California, Berkeley, left a legacy that continues to affect people’s lives.

Part of his legacy is that fewer babies are born with neural tube defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly because of one of his discoveries.

In 1941 Snell, who died in 2003, and Texas colleague Herschel Mitchell discovered folic acid, a B vitamin needed to make DNA and RNA and that enables red blood
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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Biologist Aims to Hunt Down and Destroy Viruses Where They Hide

Although his goal is to someday help destroy HIV and other viruses and retroviruses that form persistent, lifelong infections, biologist Chris Sullivan can’t help but admire the strategies that many of these viruses have evolved to evade our defenses.

Chris Sullivan, associate professor of molecular genetics and microbiology.

Chris Sullivan, associate professor of molecular genetics and microbiology.

“It’s brilliant,” says Sullivan, associate professor of molecular genetics and microbiology. “Take Herpes simplex virus 1, for instance, which is one of the masters. It goes in and infects very long-lived neurons, and then
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Friday, December 7, 2012

Developers of Manufacturing Technology Named Inventors of the Year at UT Austin

The University of Texas at Austin honored two researchers whose collaboration led to a company that aims to change how electronics are made.

Professors C. Grant Willson and S.V. Sreenivasan received the Inventor of the Year award Thursday (Dec. 6, 2012) for developing a nanolithography process used for manufacturing computer chips, hard drives and other electronic components.

They took their research beyond the laboratory in co-founding Molecular Imprints Inc., an Austin-based company with more than 100 employees.

“I congratulate Professor Sreenivasan and Professor Willson for
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Friday, November 30, 2012

Eavesdropping on the Secret Lives of Fish

There’s a problem for scientists trying to understand why populations of southern flounder have been in such decline in the waters of the Texas Gulf.

“They live underwater,” says Benjamin Walther, assistant professor of marine science in the College of Natural Sciences. “We can’t just follow them from birth to death. You can tag a fish with acoustic or satellite tags when it’s an adult, but typically the young are too small and fragile. So you’re missing that whole big piece
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Friday, November 16, 2012

Silver Tsunami brings crest of Alzheimer’s Disease

It’s called the “Silver Tsunami” – the swelling number of baby boomers surpassing age 65. As medical advancements extend their lives, they’re expected to live well into their 80s and 90s – outlasting any generation in American history.

But among Americans over 80 – who represent the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population – half are debilitated with a neurodegenerative disorder. Of this group, 5.4 million now have Alzheimer’s Disease. By year 2050, that number is expected to balloon to
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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The White Widow Model: A New Scenario for the Birth of Type Ia Supernovae

Supernova remnant 0509-67.5 was searched for a left-behind partner star without success. (NASA)

Supernova remnant 0509-67.5 was searched for a left-behind partner star without success. (NASA)

J. Craig Wheeler has studied the exploding stars called supernovae for more than four decades. Now he has a new idea on the identity of the “parents” of one of the most important types of supernovae — the Type Ia, those used as “standard candles” in cosmology studies that led to the discovery of dark energy, the mysterious force causing the universe’s expansion to speed up.

Wheeler lays out
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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Stopping Cancer in its Tracks

Dr. Kevin Dalby, professor of Medicinal Chemistry, and Scarlett Ferguson, a postdoctoral fellow in the College of Pharmacy, at work in Dalby’s lab.  (Marsha Miller)

Dr. Kevin Dalby, professor of Medicinal Chemistry, and Scarlett Ferguson, a postdoctoral fellow in the College of Pharmacy, at work in Dalby’s lab. (Marsha Miller)

Cancer researcher Kevin Dalby says he thinks scientists are on track to find a cure for cancer one day.

Make that cures for cancers.

There are so many ways for cells to go bad and become cancerous that anti-cancer therapies will need to include customized agents to modify various cancer-causing targets. Dalby, a professor in the College of
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Thursday, October 18, 2012

New physics professor finds Higgs Boson, then Austin

Peter Onyisi is a new assistant professor in the Department of Physics. He was part of the team working with the Large Hadron Collider that confirmed the existence of the Higgs boson particle.

Peter Onyisi is a new assistant professor in the Department of Physics. He was part of the team working with the Large Hadron Collider that confirmed the existence of the Higgs boson particle.

Physicist Peter Onyisi arrives as a new assistant professor in the College of Natural Sciences with an extraordinary feather already in his cap. He was part of the team at CERN working with the Large Hadron Collider that confirmed the existence of the Higgs boson particle.

Daniel Oppenheimer in
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Monday, October 1, 2012

Bench to Bedside: Translational Science

Pictured are Kelly Daniels, Christopher Frei, assistant professor, and Julieta Scalo

Pictured are Kelly Daniels, Christopher Frei, assistant professor, and Julieta Scalo

It takes an average of 24 years for a discovery in a scientist’s laboratory to become a medication at a patient’s bedside.

To speed up that process, the College of Pharmacy at The University of Texas at Austin and three other University of Texas System institutions have begun a Translational Science Ph.D. program to spur communication between the basic scientist and the physician and points in between.

“This program will lead to well-trained
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Monday, September 24, 2012

Community Lost: The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina is still teaching lessons seven years after it struck the Gulf Coast.

The hurricane upended the lives of thousands of New Orleans residents. It forced people from their homes and neighborhoods and the city where families had lived for generations.

In one of the most extensive examinations of the aftermath of the hurricane, a team of researchers at The University of Texas at Austin tracked a group of hurricane survivors evacuated to Austin and their experiences with service organizations from
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