Rob Stein

Rob Stein is a correspondent and senior editor on NPR's science desk.

An award-winning science journalist with more than 25 years of experience, Stein mostly covers health and medicine. He tends to focus on stories that illustrate the intersection of science, health, politics, social trends, ethics, and federal science policy. He tracks genetics, stem cells, cancer research, women's health issues and other science, medical, and health policy news.

Before NPR, Stein worked at The Washington Post for 16 years, first as the newspaper's science editor and then as a national health reporter. Earlier in his career, Stein spent about four years as an editor at NPR's science desk. Before that, he was a science reporter for United Press International (UPI) in Boston and the science editor of the international wire service in Washington.

Stein is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He completed a journalism fellowship at the Harvard School of Public Health, a program in science and religion at the University of Cambridge, and a summer science writer's workshop at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass.

Stein's work has been honored by many organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Association of Health Care Journalists.

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Shots - Health News
3:23 pm
Tue June 9, 2015

The Hard Work Of Waiting For A Hand Transplant

Kevin Lopez makes breakfast with his sister Jenny. He is waiting for a donor hand to remedy a genetic defect.
Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Originally published on Wed June 10, 2015 2:09 pm

Kevin Lopez remembers exactly when he knew he wasn't like his friends and family.

"It just hit me one day," he says. It was the morning he was picking out a shirt to wear for his first day of sixth grade. "I just looked at myself and I realized I was different."

Kevin was born missing the fingers on his right hand. His arm and wrist are fully developed, and he has most of a regular palm. But he just has nubs where his fingers should start.

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Shots - Health News
10:01 am
Thu June 4, 2015

Advisers To FDA Recommend Agency Approve Drug To Boost Female Libido

The experimental drug flibanserin, made by Sprout Pharmaceuticals, is at the center of a regulatory controversy.
Allen Breed AP

Originally published on Fri June 5, 2015 3:13 pm

Update 4:40 p.m.: The panel of advisers to the Food and Drug Administration voted 18 to 6 to recommend that the agency approve flibanserin, as long as there are measures in place to make sure that women are aware of its risks, including low blood pressure and fainting. The FDA doesn't have to follow the recommendations of its advisory panels but usually does.


A committee of medical advisers meets Thursday to consider whether to recommend that the Food and Drug Administration approve the first drug that aims to boost a woman's libido.

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Shots - Health News
2:08 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Seasons May Tweak Genes That Trigger Some Chronic Diseases

Originally published on Thu May 14, 2015 2:26 pm

The seasons appear to influence when certain genes are active, with those associated with inflammation being more active in the winter, according to new research released Tuesday.

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Shots - Health News
3:59 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

DNA 'Printing' A Big Boon To Research, But Some Raise Concerns

Cambrian Genomics says that what it calls a DNA printer is essentially a DNA sorter — it quickly spots and collects the desired, tailored stretch of DNA.
Courtesy of Cambrian Genomics

Originally published on Wed June 17, 2015 8:40 pm

Here's something that might sound strange: There are companies now that print and sell DNA.

This trend — which uses the term "print" in the sense of making a bunch of copies speedily — is making particular stretches of DNA much cheaper and easier to obtain than ever before. That excites many scientists who are keen to use these tailored strings of genetic instructions to do all sorts of things, ranging from finding new medical treatments to genetically engineering better crops.

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Shots - Health News
2:10 pm
Mon April 27, 2015

Feds Say It's Time To Cut Back On Fluoride In Drinking Water

iStockphoto

Originally published on Sun May 3, 2015 7:56 pm

Federal health officials Monday changed the recommended amount of fluoride in drinking water for the first time since 1962, cutting by almost half the maximum amount of fluoride that should be added to drinking supplies.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommended 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water instead of the long-standing range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams.

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