Science Journalism


The tale of the domesticated horse

The beloved animal has shaped human history over millennia, just as people have influenced its evolution—but only recently have scientists discovered exactly when and where it went from wild to tame.

Knowable, May 4, 2022 


The truth about gain-of-function research


Granting new abilities to pathogenic microbes sounds dangerous, but what has the research told us?

Nature, October 28, 2021

Pencils down: The year pre-college tests went away


Many colleges and universities stopped requiring the SAT and ACT during Covid. Will they go back to testing in the future? Select (a) Yes (b) No (c) Depends (d) Not enough information.

Knowable, July 13, 2021

ASJA Excellence in Reporting Award

TEM of avian infectious bronchitis virus

The incredible diversity of viruses

They’re everywhere virologists look, and they’re not all bad. Scientists are beginning to identify and classify the nonillions of viruses on the planet and their contributions to global ecosystems.

Nature, July 1, 2021

ASJA Honorable Mention, Trade

Chlamydomonas TEM 07

The mysterious microbes at the root of complex life

As scientists learn more about enigmatic archaea, they’re finding clues about the origin of the complex cells that make up people, plants and more.

Nature, May 20, 2021

Embryo, 8 cells

Life Force

Scientists are pushing forward their understanding of mechanical forces in the body, from embryo to adult.

Nature, January 14, 2021

Hear this story aloud on the Nature podcast.

102-0245 IMG

The Race to Deliver the Hypoallergenic Cat

Researchers are looking beyond allergy shots to help people whose pets make them sneeze.

Nature Outlook, December 2, 2020

I Got the Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccine. Or Maybe Not.

OPINION: Many Americans say they won’t take a vaccine. As a trial volunteer, I am not one of them.

Knowable, November 10, 2020

The New Neuroscience of Stuttering

After centuries of misunderstanding, research has finally tied the speech disorder to certain genes and brain alterations—and new treatments may be on the horizon.

Knowable, September 2, 2020

COVID-19 Vaccines Get Biotech Boost

Advances in vaccine technology are accelerating the race to stop the coronavirus—and other pathogens, too.

Nature Technology, July 23, 2020

Barbed and Tanged Arrowhead

The FBI’s Repatriation of Stolen Heritage

When the bureau’s Art Theft Program teamed up with a cultural anthropologist to investigate one man’s private collection, they belong a yearlong project to return cultural objects and human remains to their rightful homes.

Sapiens, June 24, 2020

Baby wearing hat and babygrow

Survival of the Littlest

Babies born before 28 weeks of gestation are surviving into adulthood at higher rates than ever. What are the consequences, in later life, of being born so early?

Nature, June 4, 2020

Mouse white background

Manipulating Memory

Strategies to make lab animals forget, remember, or experience false recollections probe how memory works and may inspire treatments for neurological diseases.

The Scientist, May, 2020

ASJA Award, Trade

Chromosome X

The Great Escape

Genes that avoid X inactivation have roles in cancer and autoimmune disease.

The Scientist, March, 2020


Regeneration: The Amphibian’s Opus

Certain salamanders can regrow lost body parts. How do they do it? And could people someday do the same?

Knowable, January 29, 2020

The Unexpected Diversity of Pain

It comes in many types that each require specialized treatment. Scientists are starting to learn how to diagnose the different varieties.

Knowable, January 16, 2020

Feel the Force

After decades of puzzling over how cells sense touch and pressure, scientists are zooming in on the proteins responsible.

Nature, January 9, 2020

Staghorn coral

Hope for Coral Reefs

The ocean is warming and reefs are fading. But optimistic marine scientists are working to keep some corals alive until the climate stabilizes.

Nature, November 28, 2019

Cells Nibble One Another

Trogocytosis—a word derived from the Greek for “gnaw” or “nibble”—entails one cell nipping bits off another. Researchers are seeing it in a diverse set of organisms and processes.

PNAS Front Matter, September 3, 2019

Loom Israel

Threads of Time

Archaeologists are learning how ancient clothing, shrouds and even Viking sails might have been made.

Science News, August 31, 2019

Trichomonas Giemsa DPDx

A Tricky Parasite

Trichomonas vaginalis enlists helpers to battle the immune system.

Science News, April 27, 2019

I discuss this story on the Scienced! podcast.

Night Visions

Many animals once thought to have poor sight in low light use nervous-system tricks to see brilliantly in the dark.

Scientific American, May 2019 (paywall)

The Pain Gap

After decades of assuming that pain works in the same way in all sexes, scientists are finding that different biological pathways can produce an ‘ouch!’.                                       

Nature,  March 28, 2019

I discuss this story on the Nature podcast.

© Amber Dance 2016