I am a scientist, a writer, a skeptic, and an optimist. I'm also a parent, a hiker, a sketcher, and a writer of haikus. I live in Albany, New York, and spend as much time as possible in the Adirondack mountains.
I've worked as a freelance science journalist for 16 years now, writing for newspapers, magazines, and online publications. Before that I was a research scientist who studied psychoactive drugs and behavior both in academia (New York University) and industry (Johnson&Johnson).
There is another arc to my intellectual life -- from generalist to specialist back to generalist. In college I explored a variety of subjects, including field botany, Eastern European film, etymology, Egyptian art and architecture, modern dance, and the physiological basis of behavior. I graduated with a bachelor's of general studies (B.G.S. from the University of Michigan) and stayed on campus working as a research assistant in a behavioral pharmacology lab. That led me to graduate school (Ph.D. in pharmacology from Emory University) and a postdoctoral fellowship (Temple University).
Once I left the laboratory for good, I started writing for science trade publications such as The Scientist and Nature. Again I began exploring -- textbook writing, alumni magazine writing, and local news reporting for a suburban newsweekly. Eventually I landed a column with the Los Angeles Times health section, where I reported on the health effects of marijuana — the pros and the cons.
Currently I am a columnist at the Washington Post, where I write about everyday health – rashes, sleep, and cough, over-the-counter drugs, and changes that come with age. I venture into life stages: the health consequences of high school senioritis or retirement, and supportive care for older adults coming home from the hospital or those who call assisted living facilities home.
I love to write about nature and environmental issues. I reported on people who chase dragonflies and damselflies for Audubon magazine, keeping life lists like birders do. I wrote about a Maine scientist who forges collaborations in environmental conservation, and thereby avoiding the more common standoffs, for Science magazine.