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Welcome Food Matters – a big new group blog at #SciAmBlogs

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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You are probably aware that this is the Food Week on our blog network, following in the fooststeps of the publication of the special Food issue of the Scientific American magazine.

Today, I am super-excited to introduce the brand new group blog at the network, fully devoted to the topic of Food – the “Food Matters“.

Food is an exciting topic. And food is also a topic that we are all emotional and passionate about. There are many wonderful food writers out there, but some were already tied with other media organizations, while others – in their zeal and excitement – may not always abide by the best practices in fact-checking and accuracy. I wanted to hire the best of the best that I could possibly get, people who have different backgrounds and different interests, cover different aspects of food, nutrition and agriculture, but all write with the highest standards of accuracy and all write beautifully and engagingly.

So I started the fishing expedition almost a year ago (also), dug around the archives of various food blogs, asked people I trust, discussed articles on Twitter to see what people think, “tested” potential candidates on the Guest Blog, and discussed the choices with my colleagues in the editorial newsroom at SciAm. Frankly, I made the final decision two weeks ago! It wasn’t easy – there were so many great candidates! But I am very happy with the decision – I think you will agree that we have gathered the best of the best: three active researchers and four journalists with different yet relevant scientific backgrounds, all passionate about food and all passionate about the truth. And all wonderful writers. Let me introduce them….

Pamela Ronald (homepage, old blog, Twitter) received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley. She is a Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and the Genome Center at the University of California, Davis. She is one of the world’s leading experts on GMO crops and, together with her husband who is an organic farmer, has written a wonderful book “Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics and the Future of Food“. Apart from various aspects of GMO-s, she will probably write about botany, evolution, domestication, molecular biology, biotechnology, modern agricultural practices and more, all as related to food. You have seen Dr.Ronald on our pages before, including on the Guest Blog: Genetically Engineered Crops—What, How and Why.

Patrick Mustain (Twitter) is a Communications Manager at the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. He received his MPH from The University of Minnesota School of Public Health and an MA in health and science reporting from the University of North Carolina. His interests are in agricultural business, marketing, media, policy and politics, from food labeling to new food-production technologies, as well as public health aspects of food. He also produces excellent multi-media – podcasts, videos and animations. You have seen Patrick’s work on the Guest Blog three times recently: Dear American Consumers: Please Don’t Start Eating Healthfully. Sincerely, the Food Industry and The Decline and Fall of Food: How Our Greatest Fuel Source Became Our Greatest Health Threat and What Space People Can Teach Us about Healthy Living.

Kathleen Raven (homepageblogTwitter) has an M.S. in Conservation Ecology and Sustainable Development, and an M.A. in Health & Medical Journalism from UGA. She’s interested in putting together all of the disparate pieces involving the environment, human and ecology health and agriculture to build the Big Picture. Kathleen started her career at a weekly newspaper at age 16. She has recently written for Reuters Health (e.g., Distracted eaters likely to take in more calories and Caffeine-diabetes link still unresolved: study), Nature Medicine (e.g., Turning down the heat revs up brown fatScientific American (e.g., David Blaine’s Electrical Stunt Could Create Harmful Ozone ) and Scientific American Guest Blog (e.g. Staten Island’s “Bluebelt” Doesn’t Fight Superstorms, but Plays Crucial Role in Managing Excess Rainfall

See Arr Oh (other blog, Twitter) is not a dog (though one never knows on the Internet!) but a synthetic chemist. He will cover the chemistry aspects of every part of the food process, from growing to processing to selling to cooking to digesting. He also regularly guest-posts at The Haystack and Chemistry Blog. You have seen See on the Guest Blog before: Pink Slime, Deconstructed and Cochineal Dye Bugs Starbucks Customers.

Layla Eplett (old blog, Twitter) has an M.S. in Social Anthropology of Development from The University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, and her interests lie in global development issues revolving around food. She spends much of her time in developing countries, especially Egypt, where she can study it first-hand. Oh, and she ends each post with a recipe! You have seen her work numerous times on the Guest Blog over the past couple of years, e.g, Food Fights: Reconsidering Famine and War in the Horn of Africa, Talk “Dirty” to Me: Blood, Purity and Cuisine, When Sparks Fly: Aphrodisiacs and the Fruit Fly, Viral Videos and Infectious Disease–Healing in Northern Uganda, Fava–the Magic Bean, Exploring the DromeDairy: Camels and Their Milk, Second Helpings: Recycling Cairo’s Food Waste, Rub a Dub Dub, Is It Time to Eat Grubs? and The Fast and the Not Necessarily Furious Ramadan Mood and Circadian Rhythms.

Kevin Bonham (old blog, the other blog, Twitter), a veteran blogger, is a graduate student at Harvard University studying immunology, specifically Toll-like receptors (TLRs). His interests are in physiology, nutrition, and health aspects of food, especially food allergies and auto-immune diseases, in science communication, as well as the recent GMO controversies. You have seen Kevin on the Guest Blog before as well: Allergic to Science–Proteins and Allergens in Our Genetically Engineered Food and Boston Lockdown–Fear, Uncertainty and Bias.

Julianne Wyrick (homepage, Twitter) has a B.A. in biochemistry from Asbury University and is currently a M.S. student in health and medical journalism program at University of Georgia in Athens. She has recently been publishing at Georgia Health News (e.g., An innovative way to aid the uninsured while reducing ER costs), Athens Patch (e.g., The Costs of a Hip Replacement Vary From Hospital to Hospital), Alltech’s Innovations Blog (e.g., Building Trust as a Food Brand, Today’s Equine Industry, Not Just What You Feed, But When You Feed, and Agriculture Is Human Health Business), Symmetry magazine (e.g., Physics and the birth of the emoticon and The tale of Fermilab’s ‘elephant doors’), and LCC Newsline (e.g., ILC Ink, Hydrides: the nemesis of high-quality SRF cavities?, Take two for cryomodule 2 and On the way to SiD: testing a novel calorimeter). Her interests are in biochemistry, physiology, digestion and nutrition, as well as in the public health and medical aspects of food. You have seen her work on the Guest Blog recently as well: Gluten Sensitivity: What Does It Really Mean? and Can Synthetic Biology Keep Your Food Safe?.

So, this is going to be fun! The blog just went live. Go say Hello to the new bloggers in the comments of their first introductory post, and make sure to bookmark and subscribe to the new blog. You should follow all of the bloggers on Twitter individually, as well as the group blog’s Twitter account @SAfoodmatters. Each of the bloggers will publish the first substantive post some time this week – don’t miss them – there will be something for everyone there!

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  1. 1. LitheLifter 9:09 pm 09/3/2013

    I began taking my diet very seriously around the age of 18, as I entered my second year of studies in Brain and Behavior, and now as a midlife medical professional, I am SO grateful I made this choice! I am, very much, looking forward to such a comprehensive knowledge collective to assist with educating the many people who seek my advice in diet and nutrition. It is ever more powerful when I can refer these people directly to a source where they can read factual, expert information, in common language!

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