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In-Depth Reporting

Featured Articles


Charles Schmidt

I live in the bustling, coastal town of Portland, Maine, where I make my living as a science writer. I specialize in health, but I've got wide-ranging interests, and over the years I've written about coral reefs, energy policy, climate change, and much more.

The National Association of Science Writers recognized my reporting skills with its top prize—the science-in-society journalism award—for my coverage of electronic waste exports to China.

Prior to being a science writer I worked as a toxicologist with an environmental consulting firm. More than the narrow focus on research, it was always the big picture in science that attracted me. That's still the case today.

Apart from journalism, my big passions are music and playing the guitar, skiing, and traveling to far-flung places around the world.

I grew up in Argentina and Connecticut, graduated with a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Connecticut, and then received a master's degree in public health from the University of Massachusetts. I now work out of an office on Commercial Street, in Portland's Old Port, a stone's throw from Casco Bay.





International Health



Breaking the Mold: New Strategies for Fighting Aflatoxins

Woman Harvesting Corn

Pervasive in the developing world, moldy crops threaten millions with cancer and other illnesses.

Environmental Health Perspectives
September 2013

Modernizing Artisanal Brick Kilns: A Global Need

Workers Shaping Bricks By Hand

Brick making supplies jobs and pollutes the air in the world's poorest economies.

Environmental Health Perspectives
August 2013

Quicksilver and Gold: Mercury Pollution from Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining

Man Mining Gold

Photo © 2012, Shawn Hawkey

Environmental Health Perspectives
November 2012


Cancer



Cancer Research: Evaluating the Sequester's Impact

A gridlocked congress cuts funding to cancer research.

Journal of the National Cancer Institute
July 2013

Conflicting Clinical Guidelines

Who's right? Who's wrong? Clinical guidelines for cancer treatment often give conflicting advise. This article investigates.

Journal of the National Cancer Institute
December 2012

Increasing Efforts to Regulate Computed Tomography Scans

More than 80 million people in the US get computed Tomography (CT) scans every year. This article investigates possible cancer risk from their radiation exposure.

Journal of the National Cancer Institute
April 2012

Coral Reefs

Corals thrive only in a narrow temperature range. These stories explore how corals respond to a changing climate.

As Threats to Corals Grow, Hints of Resilience Emerge

Corals

Some reefs are showing a surprising ability to resist or bounce back from damage. Could such resilience help corals survive in a rapidly changing ocean?

Science Magazine
March 2013

Trees of Life: Corals are Thriving in a Unique Habitat

Corals are threatened all over the world. So why are these corals so healthy?

Audubon
January 2011

In Hot Water: Global Warming Takes a Toll on Coral Reefs

In 2005, more than half the corals in the US Virgin Islands National Park were wiped out by disease after a sudden spike in water temperature. This article explains the biology of coral disease; an ecological threat that scientists have only begun to understand.

Environmental Health Perspectives
July 2008

A Former Surgeon General Lends His Support for E-Cigarettes

An ex-Surgeon General, Richard Carmona now chairs the science advisory board of a company that manufactures electronic cigarettes. In this interview, he explains why.

Science Magazine
February 2014

Severe Autism, Often Slighted, Now Targeted for Study

Classroom

Children with the most severe forms of autism have been long neglected in research. A new consortium plans to reverse that.

Science Magazine
October 2013

Uncertain Inheritance: Transgenerational Effects of Environmental Exposures

Imagine getting cancer from chemicals that your great grandparents were exposed to. Scientists now speculate that some chemicals induce toxic effects that span generations. This article investigates the underlying evidence.

Environmental Health Perspectives
October 2013

Charlie in Myanmar

Last April, I spent three weeks reporting from Myanmar, also called Burma, a South East Asian country emerging from years of military dictatorship. These two stories look at future prospects for the country's iconic forests and wildlife.


As Myanmar Opens to World, Fate of Its Forests Is on the Line

Yale Environment 360
November 2012


As Isolation Ends, Myanmar Faces New Ecological Risks

Science Magazine
August 2012



The Startup Bugs

Can the drug industry exploit the good bugs in your gut? This article investigates clinical opportunities from targeting the "microbiome."

Nature Biotechnology
April 2013

Nature & Environment

Health

Biotechnology

Clients


Offshore Exploration in the Arctic: Can Shell's Oil-Spill Response Plans Keep Up?
Environmental Health Perspectives
May 2012

Drilling in an Arctic Frontier

Chemical & Engineering News
January 2011

Out of Equilibrium? The World's Changing Ice Cover

Environmental Health Perspectives
January 2011

Arctic Oil Drilling Plans Raise Environmental Health Concerns

Environmental Health Perspectives
March 2011

Despite Data Gaps, U.S. Moves Closer to Arctic Drilling
Science Magazine
August 2011

Blind Rush? Shale Gas Boom Proceeds Amid Human Health Questions

Environmental Health Perspectives
August 2011

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: Dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico

Environmental Health Perspectives
August 2010

Microbes to the Rescue

Chemical & Engineering News
August 2010

Closer Look at Climate Skepticism

Environmental Health Perspectives
December 2010

Swine CAFOs & Novel H1N1 Flu: Separating Facts From Fears

Environmental Health Perspectives
September 2009

Telescope May Find Light From Earliest Galaxies

The Washington Post
April 2006


Colonoscopy vs Sigmoidoscopy: New Studies Fuel Ongoing Debate

Journal of the National Cancer Institute
September 2012

Unraveling the Prostate Genome

Journal of the National Cancer Institute
May 2011

How Do You Tell if a Cancer is HER2 positive?

Journal of the National Cancer Institute
January 2011

BRCA2, Purified, Reveals Some of its Secrets

Journal of the National Cancer Institute
October 2010

Can Some DCIS Patients Avoid Adjuvant Therapy? Still Unknown

Journal of the National Cancer Institute
April 2011

TB Superstrains

Harvard School of Public Health
Fall 2008

Better Than Tea Leaves

HHMI Bulletin
May 2009

Dying to Live

Proto
Spring 2008

Can Schizophrenia Be Cured Before It Starts?

Discover
July 2008

An Evolving Threat

Nature Medicine
September 2008


Amgen Spikes Interest in Live Virus Vaccines for Hard-To-Treat Cancers

Nature Biotechnology
April 2011

GSK/Sirtris Compounds Dogged by Assay Artifacts

Nature Biotechnology
March 2010

Meta-Analysis Torpedoes Blood Substitutes

Nature Biotechnology
July 2008

Regulators Weigh Risks of Consumer Genetic Tests

Nature Biotechnology
February 2008

Debate Re-ignites on Contribution of Public Research to Drug Development

Nature Biotechnology
June 2011

Negotiating the RNAi Patent Thicket

Nature Biotechnology
March 2007

Discover Magazine

The Washington Post

Audubon

Science Magazine

Environmental Health Perspectives

Journal of the National Cancer Institute

Environmental Science and Technology

Chemical Engineering News

Nature Biotechnology

Nature Medicine

Wyss Institute at Harvard University

Harvard Medical School

Harvard Department of Cell and Molecular Biology

Harvard University School of Public Health Review

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Bulletin

Popular Science Magazine

Proto Magazine - Massachusetts General Hospital