Browsing: Bioscience

As the seasoned mom of three grown children, I’m happy to say that they all made it through babyhood without any major health issues. While I worked as an analytical chemist at NIST during their baby years, I wasn’t working on reference materials for measuring nutrients in the foods that they ate or, even worse to think about, toxic elements in them. I mention this because recently I was asked about an article that reported traces of lead had been found in baby food. While feeding my babies I just assumed, and expected, the baby food they were eating was safe for them. After all, I thought, they are just babies, and we live in the land of milk and…

Like a lot of scientists, I am very goal-oriented, so after I got my PhD in toxicology, I set out to become a leader in my field by the time I was 40. To get there, I knew I had to be acknowledged by the top researchers in my field, get invited to speak at important conferences, organize conferences, and publish in top journals. I’m happy to say that, with the support of my mentors, colleagues, family and friends, I was able to achieve my goal. It wasn’t without interesting blips along the way. When I was in my 30s, I was invited to my first committee meeting full of senior researchers, and I was put into a small group…

I’m a graphic designer, or, in the language of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, a “Visual Information Specialist.” For the past 18 years I’ve been working at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a federal laboratory where some of the best and brightest scientists, engineers, IT specialists, and mathematicians come together to do basic research, develop standards, create new methods of measurement, and win the occasional Nobel prize. In addition to designing exhibits, infographics, and brochures, one of my regular tasks has been to evaluate and process thousands of images created by NIST researchers to accompany the news articles my colleagues in the Public Affairs Office write. These images, which include micrographs made with scanning electron microscopes,…

Have you ever wondered if the things inside your house that you consider safe and harmless actually are? The perfume that you spray, the plastic food containers that you put in your dishwasher, the carpet that your kids lie on as they watch their favorite TV show, even the wrinkle-resistant clothing you wear — all of them could be potential sources of indoor air pollution. We don’t normally think about stuff inside our homes emitting pollutants, but just about all building materials and consumer products emit organic compounds. When I say “organic compounds” I don’t mean expensive broccoli, though broccoli and all foods are made of organic compounds. No, when I say “organic compounds,” I mean molecules that contain or are…

Right now, scientists all over the world are trying to understand how we get injured when our bodies are subjected to strong, dynamic loads – a hard body-check on the hockey rink, a tackle on the football field, a car crash, or even a bomb blast. Fortunately, I haven’t had any experience with bomb blasts, and I like to think I’m a great driver (don’t we all!), so I haven’t been in any car crashes (so far!), but what I do know something about is hockey. I grew up in Buffalo, New York. We Buffalonians love hockey, so it should come as no surprise that I’ve been playing hockey ever since I could skate under the crossbar. Like any good…

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