Wudan Yan

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I’m an independent journalist based in Seattle, Washington covering global supply chains, misbehaving microbes, and complex environmental issues. My work has appeared in The Daily Beast, Discover Magazine, Hakai Magazine, JSTOR Daily, Matter, Nature Medicine, National Public Radio, The Scientist, Washington Post, among others.

This year, I am a Pulitzer Center grantee, and was selected as a fellow in Michael Pollan’s UC Berkeley-11th Hour Food and Farming Journalism Fellowship.

I grew up in suburban New York, where I spent entirely too much time out in the sun and scraping my knees. As a Biochemistry major in college, I discovered a love for science as I watched spice extracts kill cancer cells in the dish. I graduated thinking I would become a researcher. However, after six years at the bench and a two year stint in a doctoral cancer biology program, I retired my pipettes to become a journalist. I’ve described the leap from academia to journalism in my own words, and also to Chronicle Vitae.

When I’m not reporting or tinkering with words, I’m likely dancing on my yoga mat, climbing on rocks, or somewhere in the wilderness with very poor cell phone reception.

Can mangroves buffer ocean acidification?

New research evaluates the ability of coastal foliage to influence the ocean’s pH


Enhancing vaccine development

Using proteomics methods to inform antigen selection


How regional wind patterns will influence climate change

Climate change is expected to cause wet regions to get wetter and dry regions to get drier, but new research suggests the truth is more complicated


Measuring atmospheric aerosols despite the clouds

Researchers devise ways for remote sensors to integrate aerosol content above clouds into current methods of measurement


A hole in earth’s surface

Could a broken lithosphere underneath Hawai’i explain the island’s patterns of seismic activity?


Why Myanmar jailed mangrove activists

A feature story on why one Burmese activist got arrested for saving the mangroves


Is crowdfunding an OK way to raise money for Zika research?

Lots of researchers want to study Zika, but there’s one problem: money


Modeling the effects of clouds on climate

New research investigates how mixed-phase cloud partitioning and cloud cover compensate each other in global climate models


Only one country offers universal health care to undocumented migrants

Thailand strives to provide equitable health coverage to migrants and refugees, regardless of their legal status


Hitting the slopes

Researchers investigate whether rain droplets alone can cause enough erosion to impact the shapes of hills


Could we have predicted what El Niño would bring?

Researchers take a retrospective look to see if precipitation and flooding due to El Niño could have been predicted a priori


A hope for Thailand’s shrimp farms

A novel closed-loop design seems to be helping one Thai shrimp farmer fend off a deadly disease


Spoiler alert

How to store microbiome samples without losing or altering diversity


Can we predict how volcanic ash disperses after an eruption?

Researchers investigate what factors influence how particles from a plume spread following a volcanic eruption


Krill seekers

How a tiny crustacean reinvigorated Antarctic research


Seattle’s Absurd, Discriminatory Trans Bathroom Panic

A series of bills in the Washington State legislature could make it permissible for anyone to stop transgender people from using the public restroom of their choice


An energetic solution

A boost to bacteria’s metabolism could help thwart antibiotic resistance


Bias against genetic case reports might compromise medicine

When n=1 matters

http://www.nature.com/nm/… | PDF

Starting up and spinning out: the changing nature of partnerships between pharma and academia

A news feature exploring current trends in academia and pharma collaborations

http://www.nature.com/nm/… | PDF

Bomb explodes near busy Bangkok crossroads; at least 19 killed

Contributed reporting to the Washington Post's coverage of Bangkok bombing


Going batty: Studying natural reservoirs to inform drug development

A news feature on what scientists can learn from studying the immune system of bats - and that of other natural reservoirs - to design drugs against infectious diseases

http://www.nature.com/nm/... | PDF

Challenge accepted: Human challenge trials for dengue

A news feature on what scientists can learn from giving healthy volunteers dengue

http://www.nature.com/nm/... | PDF

The promise of sewage

A feature story examining why a team of MIT researchers are using sewage as a possible epidemiological tool


New consent requirements for newborn screening raise concerns

Changes to a law regarding newborn screening could delay detection and treatment of rare diseases in babies

http://www.nature.com/nm/... | PDF

Binding time—not just affinity—gains stature in drug design

The amount of time a drug spends bound to its target impacts its efficacy

http://www.nature.com/nm/... | PDF

I quit grad school and it's ok

I reflect on leaving academia to become a science journalist


In custody

Expert tips for isolating and culturing cancer stem cells


Now you see it, now you don't: Developing an understanding of mass mortality events

What's up with all these animal deaths? Samuel Fey investigated & I interviewed him


The final word? The emergence of the post-publication peer review process

An interview with the founders of Retraction Watch on science publishing


“Making the Unseen Seen”—Plastics in Our Oceans

An interview with a biologist who spent two weeks scoping out plastics in the Atlantic Ocean


Can soil microbes help end world hunger?

In 35 years, we will need a sustainable way to feed a world population of over 9 billion


The Secret to Tracking Ebola, MERS, and Flu? Sewers

Sewers have a huge potential to provide answers for modern epidemiology soon


In New York bay, humpback whales make a dramatic comeback

Whales have not been seen in NYC bay since before Columbus' time. What brings them back?


An “imminent cure” for diabetes? The real story behind the headlines

An interview with a stem cell researcher on a seminal stem cell study.


Stem cells offer hope for treating Type I Diabetes

A look into a study hailed to be as important as the discovery of antibiotics.


How we can finally start outsmarting single-cell attackers

Simply finding new antibiotics will exacerbate the issue of antibiotic resistance. Here are some alternative approaches.


World War E

Life in Liberia before and after Ebola arrived, by the numbers.


Gal Science: On what all those genetic tests actually mean

As genetic tests become more accessible to the public, we should be more curious and skeptical about our results.