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Infectious Disease News

New Research Advances Fight Against Human Metapneumovirus

Human metapneumovirus (hMPV), a virus that infects the upper and lower respiratory systems—leading to bronchitis and pneumonia in some patients—could soon meet its medical match. A scientific team in Texas, in collaboration with biotech companies, has made recent breakthroughs in understanding the virus, and their efforts could lead to everything from the first-ever vaccines against hMPV to new, highly effective therapeutics.

New Era at UT Austin Begins for Famous Long-Term Evolution Experiment

The Long-Term Evolution Experiment began back when a dozen eggs cost 65 cents, the film Rain Man topped the box office and George Michael's song "Faith" ruled the pop charts. The bacteria central to this long-running experiment—descendants of E. coli that were plucked from the wild and have spent some 75,000 generations in captivity—now live on the University of Texas at Austin campus.

Jeff Barrick, director of the Long-Term Evolution Experiment, examines a dish of E.coli bacteria from the LTEE. Credit: Nolan Zunk/University of Texas at Austin.
Scientists Hijack Bacteria To Ease Drug Manufacturing

​For more affordable, sustainable drug options than we have today, the medication we take to treat high blood pressure, pain or memory loss may one day come from engineered bacteria, cultured in a vat like yogurt. And thanks to a new bacterial tool developed by scientists at The University of Texas at Austin, the process of improving drug manufacturing in bacterial cells may be coming sooner than we thought.

Jason McLellan Named Finalist for Blavatnik National Award for Young Scientists

University of Texas at Austin molecular biosciences professor Jason McLellan was selected as a finalist for the 2022 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists.

Lauren Ehrlich Named among The Alcalde’s Texas 10

Lauren Ehrlich, associate professor of molecular biosciences, has been named one of the Texas 10 by The Alcalde, the University of Texas at Austin alumni magazine. Alumni nominate professors who inspired them and went above and beyond for their students.

Dried Bacteria Could Revolutionize Testing, Laboratory Science

When you think of the type of labs driving biomedical discoveries, you may envision beakers and test tubes filled with a rainbow of chemicals, where much of the magic of scientific experimentation takes place. However, those chemicals are expensive. Pure forms can be difficult to manufacture, ship and store, and they often have to be ordered in very large quantities, which creates barriers to scientific experimentation and advancement.

A New Way to Disarm Antibiotic Resistance in Deadly Bacteria An antibiotic resistant bacterium (Klebsiella pneumoniae) is treated solely with the last-resort antibiotic imipenem (right); and with a combination of imipenem and a DsbA inhibitor, causing it to rupture and die. Image credit: Nikol Kadeřábková.

Scientists think they may have uncovered a whole new approach to fighting antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which, if successful, would help address a health crisis responsible for more deaths every year than either AIDS or malaria.

COVID Forecasting Method Proves It Can Reliably Guide City's Response Illustration by Jenna Luecke

Using cellphone mobility data and COVID-19 hospital admissions data, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have reliably forecast regional hospital demands for almost two years, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The forecasting system, which municipal authorities credit with helping Austin maintain the lowest COVID-19 death rate among all large Texas cities, has been built out for use by 22 municipal areas in Texas and can be used by any city to guide COVID-19 responses as the virus continues to spread.

CNS Faculty Elected Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Three College of Natural Sciences faculty members members have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world's largest general scientific society. In total, six faculty members from The University of Texas at Austin were elected this year. The honor recognizes important contributions to ...
Adapting the Frequency of COVID-19 Testing Depending on Transmission Rate and Community Immunity Illustration by Jenna Luecke

Expanding rapid testing stands out as an affordable way to help mitigate risks associated with COVID-19 and emerging variants. Infectious disease researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a new model that tailors testing recommendations to new variants and likely immunity levels in a community, offering a new strategy as public health leaders seek a way out of a pandemic that has so far thwarted the best efforts to end its spread. It is the first study to identify optimal levels of testing in a partially immunized population.