February 11, 2019

Whenever Eric Karl Oermann has to tell a patient about a terrible prognosis, their first question is always: “how long do I have?” Oermann would like to offer a precise answer, to provide some certainty and help guide treatment. But although he’s one of the country’s f...

February 10, 2019

A bird hopping outside the window lately is the strangest that Shirley and Jeffrey Caldwell have ever seen.

Its left side is the taupe shade of female cardinals; its right, the signature scarlet of males.

Researchers believe that the cardinal frequenting the Caldwells’ b...

It's the ultimate unanswerable question we all face: When will I die? If we knew, would we live differently? So far, science has been no more accurate at predicting life span than a $10 fortune teller. But that’s starting to change.

The measures being developed will nev...

June 29, 2018

BOSTON — Hoppy,  a young red panda, was the first patient of the day, carried —  and anesthetized — into the exam room so he could get a physical.

Then Mildred, a 24-year-old barnacle goose, wobbled painfully across the floor as veterinarians analyzed her gait. The...

June 20, 2018

Leonid Peshkin calmly strokes his father’s thin, white hair. He gently exercises the old man’s arms to acivate his muscles and get the blood flowing. He speaks, voice raised to reach him through the fog of age, poor hearing, and illness. “Papa,” he asks in their native...

June 7, 2018

For most women, one of the most stressful parts of giving birth is not knowing when it’s going to happen. Roughly 15 million pregnant women face life-threatening spontaneous preterm birth every year. And doctors don’t really understand why some pregnancies — nearly 10...

June 7, 2018

Click here to listen to the piece on WBUR.

Patsy Freeland went to work for a health care startup soon after graduating from college, because she wanted to help addicted people quit their opioid habit. Her idealism didn’t last long.

One day, a little more than a year afte...

June 5, 2018

Click here to listen to the radio piece.

The intersection of Ames and Main streets in Cambridge's Kendall Square is perhaps the best place to stand if you want to see the biotech industry boom that has overtaken this region since the turn of the century.

Little more than...

May 30, 2018

If you can call someone who gets a rare form of cancer lucky, then Deb Graff says she fits the bill.

At age 72, Graff has survived nine years with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer whose life expectancy used to be measured in months.

“I wasn’t ready to go anywhere,” said...

May 24, 2018

Antoni Ribas

Professor of medicine, surgery and molecular and medical pharmacology at the University of California Los Angeles and a director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at U.C.L.A.

In January 2012, R. Stewart Scannell’s doctor flatly informed him th...

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About me



journalist covering

the biological


Regular contributor to The

New York Times, The Washington Post, 

Scientific American.com, WBUR radio and others. 

Journalism educator and book




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