Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I wrote about artificial sweeteners for the LA Times Health section. My article was a follow-up to a widely reported study in rats that found aspartame-eating rats ate more food and gained more weight than sucrose-eating rats. The study's authors say it's Pavlovian conditioning, a topic near and dear to my heart. I talked to researchers who study obesity in humans for their take on the study and how it might--or might not--apply to us.

I profiled the new head of a new academic consortium in Scotland for Nature. Mike Tyers moved from Canada to lead the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance (SULSA), one of several "pooling" initiatives whereby the universities and the Scottish government fund new research positions and core facilities to foster collaborative research.

Friday, March 7, 2008

I wrote an article for the Los Angeles Times that digs a little deeper into the science of influenza and the flu vaccine. After hearing about the new recommendations for vaccinating all US children for flu every year, as proposed by an advisory panel at the Centers for Disease Control, I wondered, who really dies from flu? As a parent, do I have to worry about this for my relatively healthy kids? I was assigned to write A Closer Look, a column that regularly takes a look at the facts and opinions about topics in the news. With epidemiology -- the main science here -- estimates substitute for facts and opinions are mixed.

I have another careers piece in Science, about drug discovery and development called A Complex Team Sport . It's an overview of what kind of skills and mindset are best suited for a job in drug discovery and development, and what's needed to get hired. Typically these careers are in the pharmaceutical industry, but I also included some government and university programs that train and hire scientists.