About the Authors

Current Contributors

Headshot of Kathryn Calkins.

Kathryn Calkins, a long-time reporter for a weekly biotechnology newsletter, is always looking for the best way to share her enthusiasm for the biological sciences.

Headshot of Viviane Callier.

Viviane is a freelance science writer based in San Antonio, Texas. A former NIGMS F32 trainee, her background is in physiology and evolutionary developmental biology. Through her writing, she loves to share the excitement of basic discovery with broad audiences.

Headshot of Joe Gindhart.

Joe is a cell biologist who manages grants involving cytoskeletal motor proteins, cell motility, intracellular transport, and bacterial chemotaxis. He says the great part about his job is learning something new about science every day.

Headshot of Pam Morrison.

Pam is a registered nurse with experience in health care and plain language communications. She enjoys translating complex health and science information into engaging content to help improve public health and share scientific research.

Headshot of Leslie Quander Wooldridge.

Leslie is a writer and editor. She enjoys providing general audiences with timely science and health information about research and more.

Headshot of Christa Reynolds.

Christa works on expanding the Diversity Program Consortium’s outreach through social media, blogs, and other communication approaches.

Headshot of Juli Rose.

Juli enjoys using plain-language writing to inform readers about NIGMS-funded science projects and resources.

Headshot of Megan Snair.

Megan is a science writer and public health consultant based in Cleveland, Ohio. She enjoys informing people about emerging science and complex issues in health care.

Headshot of Alisa Zapp Machalek.

Alisa, who’s trained in biochemistry, writes articles, fact sheets, and publications about a variety of areas that include genetics, pharmacology, chemistry, and the body’s response to traumatic injury.


Former Contributors

Beth Azar

Beth Azar is a long-time science writer who enjoys the challenge of explaining complex scientific concepts and likes to share her excitement about science with others.

Hunter Barrat

Hunter enjoys the collaborative process of writing about biomedical research topics.

Carolyn Beans

Carolyn, who trained as an evolutionary biologist, enjoyed covering the latest research advances and the scientists who make them happen while she worked at NIGMS.

Elia Ben-Ari

As a former science writer for NIGMS, Elia enjoyed describing and, in the process, learning about the latest scientific advances.

Michael Bender

Michael is a geneticist who handles grants in the areas of RNA processing, protein synthesis, mRNA metabolism and translational control, and regulatory RNAs as well as grants for the Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program. He enjoys teaching different audiences about advances in basic biomedical science.

Emily Carlson

As a former NIGMS science writer, Emily liked writing stories about science to help different audiences understand and appreciate basic research and NIGMS’ role in funding it.

Soma Chowdhury

Soma, who trained in infectious diseases and immunology, wrote about a range of research fields, especially ones she’s less familiar with! For every article, she tried to present a fresh perspective that helped the reader understand the topic and enjoy learning about it.

Jilliene Drayton

While at NIGMS, Jilliene created a variety of products that encourage students, including those from diverse backgrounds, to pursue careers in biomedical research. In addition, she managed the NIGMS Facebook page and several student-related sections of the NIGMS website.

Susanne Hiller-Sturmhoefel

Susanne has been a science writer for more than 20 years. She enjoys learning about new areas of the biomedical sciences and describing their relevance to a diverse range of audiences.

Dan Janes

Dan is an evolutionary biologist who manages grants in the areas of genetic variation, evolutionary genetics, and modeling for infectious diseases. His favorite part of the job is hearing about new and creative ways to answer interesting questions by considering evolutionary principles.

Roya Kalantari

Roya is a molecular biologist who spent a few months at NIGMS analyzing its biomedical technology programs to find ways to make them more efficient. She enjoys learning fun and exciting science facts that she can share with everyone.

Catherine Lewis

Until her retirement in January 2017, Cathy directed the NIGMS division that supports basic research and training in cell biology and biophysics. She played an active role in developing new NIH initiatives in single molecule biophysics and live cell imaging, and served as co-chair of the trans-NIH Nanotechnology Task Force.

Zane McHattie

Zane contributed to this blog in a variety of ways when he worked for NIGMS.

Chidinma Okparanta

While at NIGMS, Chidinma helped produce and disseminate a variety of educational materials for students and educators interested in learning more about basic biomedical research.

Anne Oplinger

Anne loves to learn and write about all sorts of biomedical science fields. She has a special interest in infectious diseases, including understanding how the body combats pathogens. During her detail with NIGMS, she wrote about DNA, electron microscopy, and Cell Day.

Chris Palmer

Before leaving NIGMS in August 2018, Chris communicated about funded research through blog posts and videos.

Laura Perry

Laura is the director of communications for the UCLA School of Nursing. She is a writer and storyteller committed to championing the portrayal and image of nursing.

Joe Piergrossi

As the NIGMS summer science writing intern in 2013, Joe profiled researchers, produced videos, and wrote articles about topics ranging from the structure of HIV to the source of pain and itch.

Shelly Pollard

Shelly wrote about a range of NIGMS-funded research, including in the areas of computational and systems biology, modeling, and bioinformatics, before moving to another part of NIH.

Sharon Reynolds

As a former science writer for NIGMS, Sharon drew on her training in molecular biology and experience working in a lab to prepare articles for this blog.

Erin Ross

As NIGMS’ 2016 summer science writing intern, Erin used her experience in writing, multimedia, and informal science education to share stories about biomedical research and the scientists who conduct it.

Eric Sarlin

Eric was a writer and editor who covered science for a range of outlets, including research journals, educational blogs, and online newsletters.

Ruchi Shah

Ruchi, NIGMS’ 2015 summer science writing intern, loved explaining progress in basic biomedical research to help people understand and appreciate it.

Martin Spiering

Martin, a microbiologist who worked at the lab bench for more than 15 years, liked writing about science’s diverse topics and people when he worked at NIGMS.

Ashley Swanson

Ashley Swanson is a former NIH Postdoctoral Research Associate Training (PRAT) Fellow. She obtained her Ph.D. in environmental toxicology at the University of California, Riverside.

Rachel Tompa

Rachel Tompa is a science writer at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Reach her by email at rtompa@fredhutch.org or follow her on Twitter at @Rachel_Tompa Link to external web site.

Barbara Vann

Barb loves telling the story behind the science. She strives to make research findings relevant and engaging for all audiences—from the researcher in the field to the student in the classroom.

Stuart Wolpert

Stuart Wolpert has covered research in the life sciences and physical sciences at UCLA for more than 30 years. Stuart is committed to communicating effectively and accurately about important scientific developments through the news media and other channels.