Shannon Fischer

Shannon Fischer is a freelance science writer in Boston, Massachusetts. She once had ideas about becoming a scientist herself, but ultimately jumped ship for science writing and never looked back. She now writes about everything from debates over the true nature of human emotion, the life and times of rising mixed martial artists, 3D bioprinting, and the difficulties of putting squirrels on birth control. In addition to Pulse, her work has appeared in various places, including Pacific Standard online, the Smithsonian Zoogoer, and Boston magazine.

Associated articles

IEEE PULSE, Feature September/October 2016
What Lies Within
In 1991, a group of Italian researchers announced that they had isolated a new antibiotic from a chemical soup brewed with a soil-dwelling bacteria called Planobispora rosea. The drug was a type of thiopeptide, effective against grampositive bacteria like Staphylococcus... Read more
IEEE PULSE, Feature September/October 2014
Sleep On It
Every night, around the world, 7 billion people lie down to sleep. Their eyes close, their bodies relax, and their brain waves begin to smooth from the chaos of wakefulness into slower, synchronized waves. As their thoughts begin to lose... Read more
IEEE PULSE, Feature May/June 2015
Retro Reproduction
On a video screen, against a black backdrop, 15 spherical blue-green cells vibrate with a quiet energy. Slowly at first, then faster, they begin to roil and roll. Within the confines of their round membrane cases, they divide, becoming two,... Read more
IEEE PULSE, Feature January/February 2014
Forecast 2014
When it comes to predicting the future, everyone has their own approach. Weather forecasters track changing pressure systems, economists study the markets, and doctors wrestle with patient risk factors. And here at IEEE Pulse? Over the last few months, we’ve talked to... Read more
IEEE PULSE, Feature May/June 2017
Minibrain Storm
Floating in a Petri dish, they look like tiny tapioca pearls in peach broth, a couple dozen in number and none much larger than the tip of a ballpoint pen. But under a microscope, dense, lumpy bodies come into focus,... Read more
IEEE PULSE, Feature November/December 2014
Creative Intelligence
What does intelligence mean for a hospital where the main problems aren’t incompatible computer systems and data overload but a lack of computers, of trained personnel, or even of basic resources such as clean water and pharmaceuticals? There are still many... Read more
IEEE PULSE, Feature September/October 2015
Throw Science to the Dogs
About an hour west of Boston, Tufts University’s bucolic North Grafton hospital is full of back surgery patients today. They lie quietly on their sides, lines of stitches along their spines. “Slipped discs,” explains oncologist Kristine Burgess, as she walks... Read more
IEEE PULSE, Feature March/April 2014
Regulating Nanomedicine
In 1979, a Hebrew University biochemist named Yechezkel ­Barenholz teamed with Alberto Gabizon, a newly minted Ph.D. from the Weizmann Institute of Science, to find a better way to give chemotherapeutic doxorubicin to patients with cancer. Sixteen years later, the result of... Read more
IEEE PULSE, Feature July/August 2017
Sniffing for Cancer
Nearly two decades ago, Hossam Haick was working on a Ph.D. degree in chemical engineering at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology when terrible news hit: his friend and officemate had leukemia. It was Haick’s first close encounter with cancer... Read more
IEEE PULSE, Feature November/December 2014
Nigeria in the Spotlight
As immediate past permanent secretary of the Lagos State Ministry of Health in Nigeria and former chief medical director of one of the country’s top medical centers, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Femi Olugbile has had a close view... Read more
IEEE PULSE, Cover Story January/February 2014
What the Future Holds
When it comes to BME today, innovation might just be the most important buzzword around. That’s not because it happens to be the trend of the day across industries already; it’s because in the face of skyrocketing health care costs, a rapidly... Read more
IEEE PULSE, Feature November/December 2015
It’s All in the Eyes
In a blog post in January 2014, Google unveiled one of its latest forays into the health market—a smart contact lens for diabetics. It was sleek and appealingly futuristic, with a minute microchip equipped with tiny glucose sensors, embedded in... Read more
IEEE PULSE, Feature March/April 2014
At the Interface of Disciplines
Five years ago, Jeffrey Karp sat down to a dinner party with Massachusetts General Hospital dermatologist R. Rox Anderson. The two started talking, and by the end of the evening, Karp—himself a bioengineer at the nearby Brigham and Women’s Hospital—knew... Read more
IEEE PULSE, Feature January/February 2015
State of the ART
In 1997, a science fiction film titled Gattaca premiered in U.S. theaters, depicting a society sometime in the not-so-distant future in which people are crafted for and judged by the quality of their genetic material. Unhealthy genetic predispositions to conditions... Read more
IEEE PULSE, Feature March/April 2016
Cell Break
In 2011, the California-based company Genomatica reported its success in rigging Escherichia coli microbes to convert sugar into the industrial chemical 1,4-butanediol (BDO). It was a feat of metabolic engineering: BDO is a key ingredient in the production of goods... Read more
IEEE PULSE, Feature May/June 2014
The Sugar Spectre
Three hundred eighty-two million people in the world have diabetes today. Of those, roughly 343.8 million have type 2 diabetes—the variant associated with obesity and insulin resistance—3.8 million have type 1, and 175 million don’t even know they have diabetes... Read more
IEEE PULSE, Feature March/April 2015
Inside Tract
When she was 37, Clare developed a tremor down her left side. At 39, she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and put on a series of medications. These helped for a time, but the effect didn’t last. Within a few... Read more