Author Biography

Leslie Mertz

Leslie Mertz (lmertz@nasw.org) is a freelance science, medical, and technical writer, author, and educator living in northern Michigan.

Author Articles

mHealth to the Rescue

In rural areas, it is not unusual for patients to travel 50 miles or more to reach their doctors’ offices or for doctors to refer patients to specialists whose offices are 80, 100, even 200-plus miles away.

What Can Big Data Tell Us About Health?

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data,” said Sherlock Holmes creator and author Arthur Conan Doyle in 1887. In this era of big data, and especially the crush of medical information becoming available through new technologies and bulging databases, Doyle’s quote could be updated to: “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data and understands what they mean.”

The Case for Big Data

Why do people start smoking in the first place? That is one of the many complex, interdisciplinary questions behind the Kavli HUMAN Project, a massive data-collection endeavor with the goal of learning how everything—from biology to behavior and environment—affects the human condition.

Thumbs Up for Stem Cells

Researcher Jeanne Loring thinks she has a good method for reversing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, and she believes this method—a stem-cell therapy—will find its way to clinics in as little as twoand- a-half years. Although the work has progressed very smoothly, one thing has

A Better View

Approximately 2% of Americans have a visual disability, and in developing countries where infectious disease or untreated cataracts are more common, the percentage is often higher.

Cover Story

The Foundry: Scaling Up Biological Design

Above: Depicted, from left to right: Chris Voigt, Ben Gordon, Rob Nicol. Photo by Lillie Paquette / MIT School of Engineering.
Living organisms are amazing feats of engineering: By following instructions encoded entirely in DNA, living systems can sense and respond to their environment, build intricate structures