Bio: From Scientist to Journalist to Author

I remember the day in 1990 when the construction workers finished the wall. It was part of a new research building at Northwestern University, where I was finishing my doctorate in molecular biology. As I looked out of my laboratory window, now eclipsed by the formidable concrete next door, I cried. I’d lost my view of downtown Chicago. And the event became a metaphor for what the research lab was doing to my love of science.

I had to find another way to practice science.

And so, I embarked on an odyssey, launched during my postdoc where I studied the calcification of kids’ replacement heart valves at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. I stumbled upon a gig as a stringer for the Southtown Daily, a local newspaper. I wrote about local tax bills and Veterans' Day parades. After a year, I won an American Association for the Advancement of Science Mass Media Fellowship, which placed me as a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. I learned journalism on the job, from three great mentors. I covered anything remotely related to science, from O.J. Simpson’s DNA analysis to head injuries in sports to deer overpopulation in River Forest, Illinois.

In 1995, I became a new mother and so left the paper and Chicago to devote my attentions to family life in Cleveland, Ohio. I picked up freelance writing as a supposed stopgap to my next “real” job. But as seven years passed, freelancing fit me so well that I stayed with it. I wrote for technical publications such as Science, Nature, and Scientific American. As a testament to versatility, I also crafted stories for magazines such as Child, Health, Self and the Yoga Journal.

In 2002, I earned a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at MIT and Harvard, which brought me to Boston. That experience lead to my first book, Lying in Weight; the Hidden Epidemic of Eating Disorders (Harper Collins, May 2007) and also a Visiting Scholar position at Brandeis University in Waltham. I currently freelance, writing technical and popular content for print and multimedia. I live in the community of Brookline, MA with my daughter, now 11.