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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Akkermansia bacteria
    Neuroscience

    Boosting a gut bacterium helps mice fight an ALS-like disease

    Gut bacteria may alter ALS symptoms for good or ill.

  6. protein microscopy
    Genetics

    This gene may help worms live longer, but not healthier

    Antiaging therapies may have trade-offs, research on worms suggests.

  7. fish brain activity
    Neuroscience

    Both fish and humans have REM-like sleep

    Sleeping zebrafish have brain and body activity similar to snoozing mammals, suggesting that sleep evolved at least 450 million years ago.

  8. Massospora cicadina
    Life

    These fungi drug cicadas with psilocybin or amphetamine to make them mate nonstop

    Massospora fungi use a compound found in magic mushrooms or an amphetamine to drive infected cicadas to mate and mate and mate.

  9. Washington state’s Hot Lake
    Life

    Dried Earth microbes could grow on Mars with just a little humidity

    Showing that salt-loving bacteria can double their numbers after absorbing damp air has implications for life on other planets.

  10. beluga, hybrid and narwhal skulls
    Genetics

    DNA confirms a weird Greenland whale was a narwhal-beluga hybrid

    DNA analysis of a skull indicates that the animal had a narwhal mother and beluga father.

  11. norovirus strains
    Life

    Norovirus close-ups might help fight stomach flu

    Detailed views of a common stomach virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea could aid vaccine and disinfectant development.

  12. DNA illustration
    Genetics

    Genealogy companies could struggle to keep clients’ data from police

    Police probably won’t stop searching DNA family trees to find crime suspects. New restrictions on database searches could spur more fights over privacy.