Tina Hesman Saey

Tina Hesman Saey

Senior Writer, Molecular Biology

Senior writer Tina Hesman Saey is a geneticist-turned-science writer who covers all things microscopic and a few too big to be viewed under a microscope. She is an honors graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she did research on tobacco plants and ethanol-producing bacteria. She spent a year as a Fulbright scholar at the Georg-August University in Göttingen, Germany, studying microbiology and traveling.  Her work on how yeast turn on and off one gene earned her a Ph.D. in molecular genetics at Washington University in St. Louis. Tina then rounded out her degree collection with a master’s in science journalism from Boston University. She interned at the Dallas Morning News and Science News before returning to St. Louis to cover biotechnology, genetics and medical science for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. After a seven year stint as a newspaper reporter, she returned to Science News. Her work has been honored by the Endocrine Society, the Genetics Society of America and by journalism organizations.

All Stories by Tina Hesman Saey

  1. tardigrade

    How tardigrades protect their DNA to defy death

    Tardigrades encase their DNA in a cloud of protective protein to shield from damage by radiation or drying out.

  2. William Kaelin, Gregg Semenza and Peter Ratcliffe
    Health & Medicine

    Discovery of how cells sense oxygen wins the 2019 medicine Nobel

    Understanding the molecular switch that lets cells cope with oxygen has implications for everything from metabolism to wound healing.

  3. monarch butterfly and fruit fly

    Gene editing can make fruit flies into ‘monarch flies’

    Just three molecular changes can make fruit flies insensitive to milkweed toxins.

  4. Stanley Qi

    Stanley Qi gives CRISPR a makeover to redefine genetic engineering

    By adapting CRISPR/Cas9, Stanley Qi has given genetic engineers a plethora of new tools.

  5. hand muscles

    Human embryos have extra hand muscles found in lizards but not most adults

    In developing human embryos, muscles are made, then lost, in a pattern that mirrors the appearance of the structures during evolution.

  6. salad and vegetables

    Personalized diets may be the future of nutrition. But the science isn’t all there yet

    How a person responds to food depends on more than the food itself. But what exactly is still a confusing mix of genes, microbes and other factors.

  7. mouse and clock
    Health & Medicine

    A mouse’s metabolism may follow circadian rhythms set by gut bacteria

    While animals’ circadian clocks control functions from sleep to hormone release, gut bacteria dictate when mice’s small intestines take up fat.

  8. orca jumping

    Losing genes may have helped whales’ ancestors adapt to life under the sea

    Jettisoning genes tied to saliva and the lungs, among others, could have smoothed ancient cetaceans’ land-to-water transition 50 million years ago.

  9. Klebsiella pneumoniae

    Alcohol-producing bacteria could cause liver disease in some people

    A majority of patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease also had gut bacteria churning out medium to high levels of ethanol.

  10. hand sanitizer
    Health & Medicine

    Mucus prevents hand sanitizers from quickly killing the flu

    Flu viruses can hold out for minutes against ethanol when encased in wet mucus.

  11. administering a polio vaccine
    Health & Medicine

    50 years ago, polio was still circulating in the United States

    The world has never been closer to eradicating polio, but the disease could come roaring back where vaccination is spotty.

  12. gay couple

    There’s no evidence that a single ‘gay gene’ exists

    Many genetic factors with small effects combine with one’s environment to influence sexual behavior, researchers say.