About The Authors


Carolyn Beans

Carolyn, who trained as an evolutionary biologist, enjoys covering the latest research advances and the scientists who make them happen.


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 Bender

Michael is a geneticist who manages research grants related to RNA processing and protein synthesis as well as grants for the Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program. He enjoys teaching different audiences about advances in basic biomedical science


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.

Emily Carlson

Emily Carlson

Emily, who edits this blog and the NIGMS Feedback Loop blog, writes about a wide range of NIGMS-funded research and NIGMS policies. One of her goals is to help people better understand and appreciate basic research and the NIH role in funding it.


Soma Chowdhury

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


Guest Contributor

Science communicators who cover NIGMS-funded research at institutions nationwide occasionally contribute posts to this blog.

Jilliene Drayton

Jilliene Drayton

Jilliene creates a variety of products that encourage students, including those from diverse backgrounds, to pursue careers in biomedical research. In addition, she manages the NIGMS Facebook page and several student-related sections of the NIGMS Web site.


Dr. 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.


Catherine Lewis

Cathy directs the NIGMS division that supports basic research and training in cell biology and biophysics. She has played an active role in developing new NIH initiatives in single molecule biophysics and live cell imaging, and she currently serves as co-chair of the trans-NIH Nanotechnology Task Force.

Zane McHattie

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.

Joe Piergrossi

Joe Piergrossi

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

Shelly Pollard

Shelly Pollard

Shelly writes about a range of NIGMS-funded research, including in the areas of computational and systems biology, modeling and bioinformatics.

Sharon Reynolds

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.


Ruchi Shah

Ruchi, NIGMS’ 2015 summer science writing intern, loves explaining progress in basic biomedical research to help people understand and appreciate it. She plans to be a physician and medical correspondent.


Martin Spiering

Martin, a microbiologist who worked at the lab bench for more than 15 years, appreciates and likes to write about science’s diverse topics and people.


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. She also edits Findings magazine, which aims to stoke students’ interest in biology and research careers.