Copy of journalist + Editor

Kat McGowan


I’m a California-based journalist and editor focused on medicine and science, with recent stories in Audubon, Popular Science, Scientific American, Stat, Wired, and Aeon.

I believe the zone where science, money, business and power connect is a great place to do journalism.




How Much is Your DNA Worth?

Neo.Life, September 2017 The price of DNA sequencing is falling. The value of the data is increasing. The result: Some new companies will pay youor give you something goodfor access to your data. Can the DNA-for-dollars business model work?

Brain-invading tapeworm that eluded doctors spotted by new dna test

Scientific American, June 2017 For years, the man kept coming back to the hospital with blinding headaches, his face partly paralyzed. Finally, a new DNA-based test caught the culprit: A worm in his brain.

when psuedosex.png

When Pseudosex Is Better Than the Real Thing

Nautilus, November 2016 For a long time, biologists didn’t want to talk about parthenogenesis: Having babies without having sex. It seemed to break all the rules of evolution. Now, a few adventurous researchers are finding that this bizarre form of sex is quite effective.

Our Medical Data Must Become Free

Backchannel, February 2016 Why is it so difficult to get your own health data—and how do so many other people make money off of it? Meet the data dissidents: a young man with cancer who dissected his own brain tumor, then built a web site to host all his data. A mother who unearthed her baby’s mystery illness in his medical files. A security expert who can't trust the code that runs her own pacemaker.

Sci Am 2.JPG

One Test May Spot Cancer, Infections, Diabetes and More

Scientific American, September 2017 Sequencing the short scraps of DNA floating around in your blood could become a stethoscope for the future, detecting mystery infections, tiny tumors, maybe even strokes and autoimmune disease.

More research volunteers.png

A Radically Simple Idea Will Let Us Catch Cancer Before It’s Cancer

Backchannel, December 2016 Some of the greatest minds in cancer research now say the same thing: It's time to stop fighting the war on cancer, and stop the disease before it starts.


welcome back, otters

Bay Nature, Fall 2016  These sneaky little carnivores were wiped out in the San Francisco Bay decades ago. Without any help or protection, they've quietly come back. Will they stay?

Prenatal testing is about to make being pregnant a lot more stressful

Quartz, March 2016 New genomics-based non-invasive pregnancy tests promise peace of mind. But as the tests add more and more extremely rare conditions, their accuracy plummets. Expecting mothers are left baffled and worried about the confusing results they get.

Pop Sci.JPG

A new finding raises an old question: Where and when did life begin?

Popular Science, September 2017 While origins-of-life researchers still fight about how life got started, they now agree upon when: Very very early. The implication: Life is quick and easy—and it just might be everywhere.

More research volunteers are getting their medical test results. Should we cheer — or worry?

Stat News, December 2016 People who volunteer for medical research provide buckets of data, but they can’t access it themselves. An unlikely mix of grassroots activists and big pharma pioneers is changing that equation.

Meet the Bird Brainiacs: American Crow

Audubon, March-April 2016
Urban ecologist John Marzluff is one of the world’s foremost experts on the minds—and brains—of crows. How can these birds remember individual people for so many years? Why do they hold funerals? And what’s with the Cheetos, anyhow?

This Scientist Might End Animal Cruelty—Unless GMO Hardliners Stop Him

Mother Jones, Sept-Oct 2015 Scott Fahrenkrug and his startup Recombinetics are using gene editing to make farm animals’ lives better. He believes biotech can create healthier piglets, more contented cows, and cheerier chickens. Will anti-GMO activists crush his hopes?



get in touch: