Rob Stein

Rob Stein is a correspondent and senior editor on NPR's science desk.

An award-winning science journalist with more than 25 years of experience, Stein mostly covers health and medicine. He tends to focus on stories that illustrate the intersection of science, health, politics, social trends, ethics, and federal science policy. He tracks genetics, stem cells, cancer research, women's health issues and other science, medical, and health policy news.

Before NPR, Stein worked at The Washington Post for 16 years, first as the newspaper's science editor and then as a national health reporter. Earlier in his career, Stein spent about four years as an editor at NPR's science desk. Before that, he was a science reporter for United Press International (UPI) in Boston and the science editor of the international wire service in Washington.

Stein is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He completed a journalism fellowship at the Harvard School of Public Health, a program in science and religion at the University of Cambridge, and a summer science writer's workshop at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass.

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2:24pm

Mon September 8, 2014
Shots - Health News

Researcher Urges Wider Genetic Screening For Breast Cancer

Originally published on Tue September 9, 2014 10:43 am

Lisa Schlager of Chevy Chase, Md., demonstrates outside of the Supreme Court as arguments were made in a case seeking to determine whether the BRCA breast cancer genes can be patented. The court ruled in 2013 that individual genes can't be patented.
Tom Williams CQ Roll Call/Getty

A prominent scientist has started a big new debate about breast cancer. Geneticist Mary-Claire King of the University of Washington, who identified the first breast cancer gene, is recommending that all women get tested for genetic mutations that can cause breast cancer.

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11:38am

Fri August 29, 2014
Shots - Health News

Experimental Drug Saves Monkeys Stricken With Ebola

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 6:40 pm

A Public Health Agency of Canada worker seen inside the National Microbiology Laboratory's Level 4 lab in Winnipeg.
Public Health Agency of Canada/Nature

Scientists are reporting strong evidence that the experimental Ebola drug ZMapp may be effective for treating victims of the devastating disease.

A study involving 18 rhesus macaque monkeys, published Friday in the journal Nature, found that the drug saved 100 percent of the animals even if they didn't receive the drug until five days after they had been infected. The study is the first to test ZMapp in a primate, which is considered a good model for how a drug might work in humans.

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2:56am

Fri August 22, 2014
World

The Dread Factor: Why Ebola And 'Contagion' Scare Us So Much

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 8:16 am

Jude Law prepares for the looming pandemic in the 2011 movie Contagion. There are huge differences between viruses in movies and Ebola in real life.
Warner Bros/The Kobal Collection

The Ebola outbreak has set off an alarm around the world. Public health leaders say the intense concern is appropriate, given the unprecedented size of the outbreak and the deadliness of the virus.

But experts say the outbreak has also produced a lot of unfounded fears. Even just the word Ebola is kind of terrifying.

Why? Well, Hollywood has a lot to do with it.

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1:35am

Thu August 14, 2014
Shots - Health News

Who Gets First Dibs On Transplanted Liver? Rules May Change

Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 7:21 am

Surgeons at Methodist University Hospital in Memphis prepare to transplant a liver in 2010.
Karen Pulfer Focht The Commercial Appeal/Landov

Vicki Hornbuckle used to play the piano at her church. But that was before her liver started failing.

"I had to give it up because I couldn't keep up," says Hornbuckle, 54, of Snellville, Georgia. "I didn't have the energy to do three services on Sunday. You're just too tired to deal with anything. And so, it's not a life that you want to live."

But Hornbuckle hasn't given up. She's fighting to stay alive long enough to get a liver transplant.

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10:41am

Mon July 28, 2014
Shots - Health News

With Men's Y Chromosome, Size Really May Not Matter

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 11:05 am

The human Y chromosome (left) holds the code for "maleness"; that's the X on the right.
Andrew Syred/Science Source

Basic biology has it that girls are girls because they have two X chromosomes — the things inside cells that carry our genes. Boys are boys because they have one X and one Y. Recently, though, there's been a lot of debate in scientific circles about the fate of that Y chromosome — the genetic basis of maleness.

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