Author Biography

Mary Bates

Mary Bates is a freelance science writer based in Boston, Massachusetts. Her work has been published by National Geographic News, New Scientist,, and other print and online publications.

Author Articles

Tracking Disease

Advances in automated data processing and machine learning now allow epidemiologists to meticulously sift through the millions of digital traces we collectively leave behind each day as we conduct our lives online—through Internet searches, social media posts, or the use of our mobile phones.

Cover Story

Feeling No Pain

As a growing epidemic of opioid abuse in the United States can attest, pain, and how to treat it effectively and without serious side effects, is one of the foremost challenges in medicine today.

The CRISPR Conundrum

We are in the midst of a CRISPR craze. The last five years have seen the publication of over 1,000 scientific papers, the allocation of millions of research dollars, and the establishment of four start-up companies in the United States alone.

The Present and Future of Low-Cost Diagnostics

Imagine you’re in a rural health clinic in a Kenyan village. A child comes in with a fever. It could be any one of a number of life-threatening infectious diseases. There’s no refrigeration, no access to sophisticated laboratory equipment, and no highly trained personnel. How do you go about diagnosing and treating this child?