University of Texas at Austin

Archive for the ‘biology’ Category


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Getting Started: Biologist John Wallingford

Biologist John Wallingford

Biologist John Wallingford

In the Getting Started series, Further Findings highlights the paths that some researchers at The University of Texas at Austin took to the laboratory, the library, the field—wherever they do their work.

Biologist John Wallingford’s early interest in science was nurtured by a teacher.

“Alice Kagi,” he says. “She was just fantastic. She was so enthusiastic and so excited.”

Wallingford, an associate professor in the Section of Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology at The University of Texas at Austin, had Kagi for seventh
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Monday, May 17, 2010

Updated: Research round up: Spring 2010

The northern ice cap of Mars, showing spiral troughs and Chasma Boreale.

The northern ice cap of Mars, showing spiral troughs and Chasma Boreale.

Catch up on University of Texas at Austin research from the spring 2010 semester when these questions were answered.

How were two curious features in the northern ice cap of Mars — a chasm larger than the Grand Canyon and a series of spiral troughs formed?

Jack Holt and Isaac Smith of The University of Texas at Austin’s Institute for Geophysics and their colleagues used radar data collected by NASA’s Mars
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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

When brain scans weigh in on body weight

Images from functional magnetic resonance imaging scans.

Images from functional magnetic resonance imaging scans.

The latest edition of Raw Science at the College of Natural Sciences website provides answers to the questions:

Can weight gain be predicted from looking at your brain with an fMRI?

Are “green” building materials more susceptible to destructive fungal growth?

It also dives into the genomes of radically different species in search of candidate genes for human diseases and tracks the lives of Pakistani paper wasps.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Spotlight on “fantastic” computational biology

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It’s been 44 years since “Fantastic Voyage.” That’s the movie in which Raquel Welch and a team of scientists were shrunk to a microscopic size and injected into a man’s bloodstream.

We still can’t do that, but we can model what’s happening inside the human body–and other living things–using powerful computers like the ones at the Texas Advanced Computing Center.

The work of some of the researchers who use the center’s resources to study biology is highlighted on the TACC website.

The scientists
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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Reading ahead: The Dell Pediatric Research Institute

Janet Walkow, , director of the College of Pharmacy Drug Dynamics Institute, will work with the Dell Pediatric Research Institute.

Janet Walkow, , director of the College of Pharmacy Drug Dynamics Institute, will work with the Dell Pediatric Research Institute.

Some University of Texas at Austin researchers are moving into brand new laboratories at the Dell Pediatric Research Center with the expressed aim of turning research into treatments for childhood health problems.

Nancy Neff, who handles public affairs for the College of Pharmacy and the Schools of Social Work and Nursing, talked to several of those researchers about their work in anticipation of
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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Scientist and surgeon collaborating to find better ways to prevent, treat birth defects

Scientist John Wallingford, left, and surgeon Tim George are teaming up to develop ways to prevent and treat birth defects.

Scientist John Wallingford, left, and surgeon Tim George are teaming up.

John Wallingford and Tim George work at different ends of the biomedical-health-care spectrum.

Wallingford is a scientist doing basic research at The University of Texas at Austin. Using frogs and mice as models, he studies how embryos develop and what can go wrong in development.

George is a pediatric neuro-surgeon at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas. Among his patients are children with birth defects.

The scientist and the surgeon have teamed up to find
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Monday, March 15, 2010

What’s new in the science journals

Elops smithi, a new species of ladyfish. Claudia R. Rocha, a graduate student at the Marine Research Institute, was part of the team making the case for its existence in Zootaxa.

Elops smithi, a new species of ladyfish. Claudia R. Rocha, a graduate student at the Marine Research Institute, was part of the team making the case for its existence in Zootaxa.

Before you can have Further Findings, you have to have findings, or, as my colleagues in the College of Natural Sciences call it, Raw Science.

What that means is that they have posted summaries of research papers involving its faculty and links to the papers.

The first round of research in this
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Monday, March 1, 2010

Game for evolution

Risto Miikklulainen

Risto Miikklulainen

Part of The University of Texas at Austin’s role in a $25 million “evolution in action” project called BEACON involves a computer game.

This game was developed to research artificial intelligence and it shows evolution in action. The game is NERO, which stands for Neuro-Evolving Robotic Operatives. In the game, the characters evolve to improve their performance of tasks.

It’s based on the neural network research in the laboratory of Risto Miikkulainen, a professor in the Department of Computer Science and a
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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The flies have it

Janice Fischer

Janice Fischer

As a graduate student in biology, Janice Fischer had rotated through four laboratories and nothing had grabbed her imagination.

In the fifth lab, she found the fruit fly.

“That was it,” she says. “I wanted to stay there and, luckily, they let me.”

For 22 years, Fischer, a professor in the Section of Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology, has been working with the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, as her model organism.

This is the first of a series of Further Findings posts
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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Texas research film festival: Part III

John Wallingford

John Wallingford

For this installment of University of Texas at Austin researchers on video, check out John Wallingford’s talk to the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

Wallingford, a biologist, studies how cells communicate in the early embryo. His CASW talk centers on cilia and its renewed importance.

Note Wallingford’s use of resources. He cites a paper written about cilia in the 1890s.

Find the video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6S6i6DVW0LM.