Nell Greenfieldboyce

Nell Greenfieldboyce joined NPR News in January 2005 to cover the media organization's newly created technology beat for NPR's science desk. The Johns Hopkins alumna has reported on topics such as pet cloning, gene therapy, ballistics, and federal laws surrounding new technology. Her primary interest is researching how applied science and technology connects with people and culture.

Greenfieldboyce's features can currently be heard on Morning Edition and All Things Considered, but before her life at NPR she worked for magazines including U.S. News & World Report and New Scientist. After working in print for ten years, Greenfieldboyce is excited to explore the field of radio and the added effects sound can bring to a piece.

In addition to receiving her B.A. in social sciences and a M.A. in science writing from Johns Hopkins, Greenfieldboyce also taught science writing for four years at the university. Greenfieldboyce was honored for her talents with the Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award for Young Science Journalists.

Greenfieldboyce lives with her husband in Washington, D.C., and does a bit of rug-hooking in her free time, creating complicated geometric patterns out of burlap and scraps of wool.

 

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12:18pm

Wed May 7, 2014
Shots - Health News

Chemists Expand Nature's Genetic Alphabet

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 7:59 am

Being able to insert the two man-made letters into DNA, alongside the usual four-letter alphabet, could teach old cells new tricks and lead to better drugs, researchers say.
courtesy of Synthorx

For the first time, scientists have expanded life's genetic alphabet, by inserting two unnatural, man-made "letters" into a bacterium's DNA, and by showing that the cell's machinery can copy them.

The advance means that scientists have a new tool for exploring how life encodes information, which could help them understand life's origins.

What's more, this is a step towards giving living cells new abilities, like being able to make more and better medicines, cheaper and faster.

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6:41pm

Mon April 21, 2014
Shots - Health News

Who's Protecting Whom From Deadly Toxin?

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 9:06 pm

Questions are swirling around a science journal's decision last year to publish a description of a newly discovered botulinum toxin while omitting key genetic details that researchers would normally disclose.

The unusual case highlights important unresolved issues in how to balance scientific openness with the worry that biological information could potentially be misused.

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1:06pm

Thu April 10, 2014
Shots - Health News

Scientists Publish Recipe For Making Bird Flu More Contagious

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 1:13 pm

Street vendors sell chickens at a market in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in early 2013. Last year Cambodia reported more cases of H5N1 bird flu than any other country.
Mak Remissa EPA /LANDOV

The Dutch virologist accused of engineering a dangerous superflu a few years ago is back with more contentious research.

In 2011, Ron Fouchier and his team at Erasmus Medical Center took the H5N1 flu virus and made it more contagious. Now the team has published another study with more details on the exact genetic changes needed to do the trick.

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9:23am

Wed April 2, 2014
Shots - Health News

Ethicists Tell NASA How To Weigh Hazards Of Space Travel

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 5:55 am

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide makes a space walk outside the International Space Station in 2012.
NASA Getty Images

NASA is hoping to soon venture out farther into space than ever before. But these long journeys mean astronauts could face greater risks to their physical and mental health than the space agency currently allows.

Now, an independent group of experts convened by the Institute of Medicine, the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences, has weighed in on how NASA should make decisions about the kinds of risks that are acceptable for missions that venture outside low Earth orbit or extend beyond 30 days.

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5:10am

Tue March 18, 2014
Space

Space Thief Or Hero? One Man's Quest To Reawaken An Old Friend

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 5:56 pm

Early days: NASA's International Sun-Earth Explorer C (also known as ISEE-3 and ICE) was undergoing testing and evaluation inside the Goddard Space Flight Center's dynamic test chamber when this photo was snapped in 1976.
NASA

More than 30 years ago, Robert Farquhar stole a spacecraft.

Now he's trying to give it back.

The green satellite, covered with solar panels, is hurtling back toward the general vicinity of Earth, after nearly three decades of traveling in a large, looping orbit around the sun.

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