University of Texas at Austin

Archive for the ‘biology’ Category


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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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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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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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, 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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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Appearing in the Lab Lounge: Singing Mice and the Genes

Singing mice are not your average lab rats. Their fur is tawny brown instead of the common white albino strain; they hail from the tropical cloud forests in the mountains of Costa Rica; and, as their name hints, they use song to communicate.

A male singing mouse. Photo courtesy of Bret Pasch.

A male singing mouse. Photo courtesy of Bret Pasch.

Steven Phelps, an associate professor in the Section of Integrative Biology at The University of Texas at Austin, is examining these unconventional rodents to gain insights into the genes that
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Friday, June 22, 2012

Research Roundup: Spring 2012

We’ve rounded up some of the research highlights of the spring 2012 semester at The University of Texas at Austin.

utresearch_fb5One piece of news, growing support for a medical school at the university, isn’t exactly current research, but it could lead to vast research opportunities in health and medicine for years to come.

Noteworthy research included authoritative reports on the process of hydro-fracturing in mining natural gas, water resources in the important food-producing regions of California’s Central Valley and the Great Plains,
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