Mayer 2017

Melissa Mayer

Freelance Science Writer. Ocassional Editor.

Location icon United States

I have been science blogging and writing since 2010 when I began covering the proteomics, microbiology, and biotechnology spheres.

I love cell biology, all the -omics, neuroscience, microbiology, and occasional forays into policy. Oxford comma and singular they for life.


Science Writing

Can Ebola Really Combat Brain Cancer?

You can tell right away that Margaretta Page is someone you want by your side in a battle against brain cancer. The clinical nurse specialist has been working with brain tumor patients and their families at the UCSF Medical Center for the past 30 years.

Entomology Today
Cattle Fever Ticks: Outbreaks Driven by Unique Landscape, Exotic Antelope

By Melissa Mayer Southern cattle fever ticks ( Rhipicephalus [Boophilus] microplus, SCFT) carry disease-causing pathogens with the potential to ravage livestock. Back in 1906, cattle production losses were so serious-a staggering $3 billion from babesiosis alone, adjusted for inflation-that it prompted the introduction of the USDA-APHIS Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program.

Entomology Today
There's an App for That! Digital Image Analysis Counts Flies

If you've ever found yourself staring at a ginormous pile of insects that need counting, good news: There's an app for that. It was precisely that sort of situation that inspired Christine Parker, doctoral candidate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and graduate research assistant with the Illinois Natural History Survey, to try something new.

Stevens Institute of Technology
Stevens Seniors Streamline Platform for Child Abuse Case Management

Within the US alone, nearly 700,000 children are victims of abuse and neglect each year. Children's advocacy centers provide critical interventions and case management, yet they reach less than half of these child victims-an estimated 311,000 in 2014.

Stevens Institute of Technology
Stevens Professor Hopes to Give Donor Lungs a Second Chance

For the 210 million people worldwide with chronic respiratory conditions, progressing to end-stage lung disease-the point where lung function becomes seriously impaired, causing breathing difficulties, fatigue, and confusion-means the only clinical option is lung transplantation. Many of those patients face long waits due to a critical shortage in donor lungs.

Entomology Today
Filming Insects in 4K: A Look Inside KQED's Deep Look Video Series

From revealing how crickets chirp to spotlighting the way mosquitoes suck blood, San Francisco PBS affiliate KQED's award-winning video series is changing the way viewers see the world. Deep Look uses ultra-HD (4K) macro cinematography and video microscopy to uncover the wonder of tiny things-and that means insects frequently take center stage.

Stevens Institute of Technology
Stevens Seniors Tackle Antibiotic Resistance, Gain Resilience

When Sesha Alluri began looking into the issue of antibiotic resistance, the statistics she read were shocking. "In the United States alone, there are almost 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections each year," explained Alluri, who is a lecturer and senior design advisor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Stevens Institute of Technology.

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
Behavioral Economics

FHWA fact sheet looking at traffic modeling and public safety through a behavioral economics lens.

Society for Neuroscience's Brainfacts
The Neurobiology of Family Separation

Over the phone, Merida Grant’s voice sounds heavy as she lists the possible outcomes of early-life trauma like family separation: mood and anxiety disorders, substance abuse and addiction, even a shortened lifespan.

BRCA Gene Mutation Risks: Ethnicity, Genetics, and More

Your DNA is like a blueprint that can be broken down into pieces called genes. These genes tell your body how to build important molecules like proteins. Permanent changes in the DNA sequence of a gene are called mutations. These may affect the way your body reads the blueprint.

Entomology Today
Don't Poop Where You Eat: Bee Defecation on Flowers May Explain Disease Transmission

For most people, flowers call to mind many things-romance, appreciation, well wishes-but probably not ... bee poop. Insect pollinators are crucial to maintaining biodiversity and crop yields but face global declines. Clues that may help save these important insects might come from an unexpected place: apian fecal matter.

Entomology Today
A Promising New Parasitoid Drills Down on Emerald Ash Borers

The wasp flies through the forest, heavy with eggs, following the scent of beetle infestation. She locates a promising tree and lands, using sensory organs on her legs to detect beetle larvae feeding below the surface. She drills through the bark and deposits her clutch.

Stevens Institute of Technology
Stevens Students Mix Up a Win at International Symposium on Ultra-High Performance Concrete

A team of civil engineering students from Stevens Institute of Technology brought home a 1st place win at an international student competition focusing on ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) this month. The competition, which was part of the 2nd International Interactive Symposium on UHPC, was held June 2-5 in Albany, New York.

Stevens Institute of Technology
Stevens Students Float Prototype to Combat Effects of Climate Change

For one member of the Stevens Institute of Technology SeaWork team, the guiding principle of sustainable ocean farming has always just made sense. "There's not enough land in the world for people and farming, so one of them has to go toward the ocean," says Alexandria Austin.

Science Editing & Fact-Checking

What Your Family History Can't Tell You

Thanks to the National Human Genome Research Institute for supporting this episode. If you're interested in learning more about the human genome and the latest in polygenic risk score research, head to #polygenicriskscores #science The first time you visit a new doctor, they'll probably ask you about your family history - but it turns out that family history doesn't tell you everything about the risks that can be hidden in your genes.

3 Ridiculously Extreme Black Holes

Get 10% off today -WITH FREE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING-by going to and use code "SCISHOW" at check out. Black holes are some of the most extreme astronomical objects out there, but there are some that really standout. Let's look at black holes that grow larger, consume more, and spin faster than the rest.

Clinical Lab Products

Interim Associate Editor, edited non-feature items, included Tech Guides, Product News, Product Spotlights, Lab Products

Clinical Lab Products

Interim Associate Editor, edited non-feature items, included Tech Guides, Product News, Product Spotlights, Lab Products

Clinical Lab Products
Multiple Sclerosis Mechanism - Clinical Lab Products

While an individual's DNA sequence remains the same throughout their life, expression of the encoded genes may change over time and contribute to disease development in genetically predisposed individuals. Researchers at the Karolinska Institute have discovered the mechanism of a major risk gene for multiple sclerosis (MS) that triggers disease through epigenetic regulation.

Science Books

Capstone Library
Why We Worry: The Science of Anxiety

Can't sleep? Too many things to worry about? Or do you get lost in your mind thinking about all the ways tomorrow could go wrong? Why does this happen? The

Ulysses Press
Jump Start Autophagy

Activate Your Body’s Cellular Healing Process to Reduce Inflammation, Fight Chronic Illness and Live a Longer, Healthier Life

Other Writing

Coping with Date Rape and Acquaintance Rape

Coping The statistics associated with date rape and acquaintance rape are staggering, especially for teens and young adults, who are at the highest risk. With warmth and candor, this straightforward guide offers frank advice and insightful context to demystify concepts like rape and consent, and provides advice for what to do after experiencing date rape or acquaintance rape.

Political Research Associates
Bringing Bad Sex Ed Back

A shocking thing happened at a closed-door United Nations meeting in March, during the annual meeting of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). In a private session intended to set language for gender equality policies and to brief non-governmental organizations on U.S. priorities for women's issues, a senior advisor from the U.S.

What Is 'Free-Range' Parenting, and How Does It Affect Kids?

On a recent sunny day in Portland, Oregon, Dana Hoffman Ellis waited at a stop for the light rail train that crisscrosses the city. Ellis wasn't riding herself. Instead, she was waiting for the arrival of her 9-year-old child, Salmon, who had just embarked on a solo adventure across town using public transit.

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