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. hand muscles
    Humans

    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.

  2. salad and vegetables
    Humans

    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.

  3. 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.

  4. orca jumping
    Life

    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.

  5. Klebsiella pneumoniae
    Humans

    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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. gay couple
    Genetics

    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.

  9. DNA scissors
    Life

    CRISPR enters its first human clinical trials

    The gene editor will be used in lab dishes in cancer and blood disorder trials, and to directly edit a gene in human eyes in a blindness therapy test.

  10. gluten free bread
    Life

    Why people with celiac disease suffer so soon after eating gluten

    In people with celiac disease, some T cells release immune chemicals within hours of encountering gluten, triggering the fast onset of symptoms.

  11. mice
    Life

    Immune system defects seem to contribute to obesity in mice

    Subtle defects affecting T cells altered the animals’ microbiome and fat absorption, providing hints of what might also be going on in people.

  12. marine symbiosis
    Life

    This is the first fungus known to host complex algae inside its cells

    In the lab, an alga and a fungus teamed up to exchange food, similar to lichens. But instead of staying outside, the alga moved into the fungal cells.