University of Texas at Austin

Archive for the ‘biology’ Category


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Research Round Up Fall 2011: New planets, a bigger black hole, more effective solar cells and more

It seems that the only time astronomers at The University of Texas at Austin took a break from finding new planets and bigger black holes during the fall 2011 semester was when university geologists edged in with evidence of a lake under the surface of Saturn’s moon, Europa.

As busy as those researchers were, the semester also brought discoveries in green energy, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, concealed handguns and the relationship between children’s happiness and their parents.

Here’s a look at
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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Texas collaboration started with lunch in Wisconsin

Adela Ben-Yakar, an engineering professor, and Jon Pierce-Shimomura, a neurobiology professor, have teamed up develop technology to test drugs for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's.

Adela Ben-Yakar, an engineering professor, and Jon Pierce-Shimomura, a neurobiology professor, have teamed up to develop technology to test drugs for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Scientific collaborations across disciplines can be great when they happen.

Researchers bring different skills, expertise and perspectives that can illuminate hard problems.

But just bringing different disciplines together can be a hard problem in itself, despite work being done by universities to break down the siloes that contain them.

So we wondered how Adela Ben-Yakar, a professor in the
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Engineer, biologist team up to reverse aging

Cockrell School of Engineering Associate Professor Adela Ben-Yakar and College of Natural Sciences Assistant Professor Jon Pierce-Shimomura received a competitive $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. The grant will fund research that aims to prevent degeneration of the nervous system, which occurs through natural aging and diseases like Alzheimer's. Photo by Marsha Miller

Cockrell School of Engineering Associate Professor Adela Ben-Yakar and College of Natural Sciences Assistant Professor Jon Pierce-Shimomura received a competitive $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. The grant will fund research that aims to prevent degeneration of the nervous system, which occurs through natural aging and diseases like Alzheimer’s. Photo by Marsha Miller

This article originally appeared on the Cockrell School of Engineering Web site. It was written by Melissa Mixon.

Technology developed by researchers at The University of
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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Research Roundup Spring 2011: Black holes, subsurface fjords, early mammal brains and more

In the last few months, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin dealt with black holes, dead zones and ice kilometers under the surface of Antarctica.

They found that early mammals evolved bigger brains for the sense of smell. They found that alcohol helps a brain to remember.

They made a carbon “sponge” that could store energy and a $1 biosensing diagnostic device that’s self-powered.

They found that teenagers who don’t fit in are less likely to go for higher education.

To help
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Your brain, on drugs, learns too much

Hitoshi Morikawa want to find ways to interfere with the brain's capability to "overlearn" drug-associated behavior.One of the most famous science experiments is the one involving Pavlov and his dog in which Ivan Pavlov conditioned the dog to salivate at the sound of a bell.

Addictive drugs affect the brain in a similar but more powerful way, says Hitoshi Morikawa, a neurobiologist in the Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research.

“We think addiction is a form of pathological overlearning in which the brain remembers too much the association between certain environmental stimuli and drug-seeking or drug-taking
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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Research Round Up: Fall 2010

Penguin fossil found in Peru showed surprising evidence of feathers and their colors.

Penguin fossil found in Peru showed surprising evidence of feathers and their colors.

During the fall semester of 2010, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin revealed:

An ancient penguin with surprising colors

Honey bees with a failure to communicate

Criminal virus spreaders using evolutionary forensics

An electron switch between molecules with cool battery potential

That as biological clock ticks down, libido rises

A dinosaur who thrived when its competition died

Ways the earth moves

That’s not all.

A team of students launched two satellites, which they built, into
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Inside science: How to build and name the insominator

A close up of the insominator, the device that keeps bees awake.

A close up of the insominator, the device that keeps bees awake.

Researchers wanted to find out if sleep-deprived bees have trouble communicating just like sleep-deprived people do.

First, they had to keep the bees from getting too many Zs.

They couldn’t give the bees a buzz with shots of espresso or gulps of Red Bull. Nor could they keep the lights on and play loud music as if the bees next door were having a party.

Their answer was the insominator.

It sounds like
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Friday, November 12, 2010

High School Biological: In the field with virus hunters

Laura, a high school student from Austin, hunts for nematode viruses in one of the micro-environments at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Laura, a high school student from Austin, hunts for nematode viruses in one of the micro-environments at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Daniel Oppenheimer from the College of Natural Sciences has a story about a UTexas researcher who fielded a team of high school biologists to help him find a nematode virus.

Read the first two graphs here:

In his race to be the first scientist in the world to find a nematode virus, Chris Sullivan had an unusual team of field biologists aiding him
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Thursday, September 30, 2010

YouTube – Tungara Frogs and Sexual Selection

Michael Ryan

Michael Ryan

Prof. Michael Ryan’s work with tungara frogs is highlighted in this video from the College of Natural Sciences. The video is posted on the university’s YouTube channel. Click below to watch — and listen.

YouTube – Tungara Frogs and Sexual Selection.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The university has an app for that

You could call it The University of Texas at Austin’s app store.

Bugao Xu developed a way to make a three dimensional body scan.

Bugao Xu developed a way to make a three dimensional body scan.

It’s the list of technologies developed by university researchers that are available for commercialization.

Want to give a drop of blood to see if you have cancer? There’s an app for that.

Want a three dimensional scan of your body? Hey, there’s an app for that.

Want to speed up the growth of your tomatoes? There’s an app for that.

Need a flexible e-reader or
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