McKenzie Prillaman

Science Writing Intern, Spring 2023

McKenzie Prillaman is the Spring 2023 science writing intern at Science News. She holds a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience with a minor in bioethics from the University of Virginia. She also studied adolescent nicotine dependence as a postbaccalaureate fellow at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. After figuring out she’d rather explain scientific research than conduct it, she worked at the American Association for the Advancement of Science and then earned a master’s degree in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her work has appeared in NatureScientific American, Mongabay, Eos and the Mercury News, among other publications.

All Stories by McKenzie Prillaman

  1. An overhead photo of a skeleton.

    The Yamnaya may have been the world’s earliest known horseback riders

    5,000-year-old Yamnaya skeletons show physical signs of horseback riding, hinting that they may be the earliest known humans to do so.

  2. A photo of a boy with an eye drop bottle being held above his eye by his mom in the background.
    Health & Medicine

    Medicated eye drops may delay nearsightedness in children

    Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a growing global health threat. But a Hong Kong study found that medicated eye drops may delay its onset in children.

  3. A microscope image of a nerve cell with colors highlighting special receptors.
    Health & Medicine

    Psychedelics may improve mental health by getting inside nerve cells

    Psychedelics can get inside neurons, causing them to grow. This might underlie the drugs’ potential in combatting mental health disorders.

  4. two 3-D maps of the LRP2 protein
    Health & Medicine

    3-D maps of a protein show how it helps organs filter out toxic substances

    Images of LRP2 in simulated cell environments reveal the structural changes that let it catch molecules outside a cell and release them inside.

  5. Three up close photos of index fingers with purple lines drawn on each to show their fingerprint shape. The first on the left shows the arch shape, the second in the middle shows the loop shape and the third on the right shows the whorl shape.
    Health & Medicine

    How fingerprints form was a mystery — until now

    A theory proposed by British mathematician Alan Turing in the 1950s helps explain how fingerprint patterns such as arches and whorls arise.

  6. A newfound frog, Hyperolius ukaguruensis, which is a mxi of gold and green, looking upwards as it sits on a leaf

    A newfound ‘croakless’ frog may communicate via touch

    A newly discovered frog species in Tanzania joins a rare group of frogs that don’t croak or ribbit.

  7. Two tabby cats play fighting on an apartment floor.

    Are your cats having fun or fighting? Here are some ways to tell

    Certain behaviors indicate if your cats’ interaction is friendly, aggressive or something in between, a new study finds.

  8. gallery of images showing a Lego-like figure liquifying to escape from a prison
    Materials Science

    These shape-shifting devices melt and re-form thanks to magnetic fields

    Miniature machines made of gallium embedded with magnetic particles can switch between solid and liquid states.