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Rob Stein, photographed for NPR, 22 January 2020, in Washington DC.

Rob Stein

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

An award-winning science journalist with more than 30 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's work has been honored by many organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Association for Cancer Research, and the Association of Health Care Journalists. He was twice part of NPR teams that won Peabody Awards.

Stein frequently represents NPR, speaking at universities, international meetings and other venues, including the University of Cambridge in Britain, the World Conference of Science Journalists in South Korea, and the Aspen Institute in Washington, DC.

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.

  • The former vice president is recovering from a heart transplant he received over the weekend. Experts say it's unusual for a 71-year-old to get a transplant, but more and more older people are getting them as the procedures improve and the population ages.
  • These aren't the usual public service announcements. The $54 million "Tips from Smokers" campaign marks the first time the federal government plans to pay to run anti-smoking ads nationwide,
  • For years, doctors have recommended that women start getting Pap smears every year or two to try to catch signs of cancer early, when it's easiest to prevent and treat. But new guidelines say that testing every three years is a better idea for most women.
  • The CDC is urging hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and doctors to step up the fight against the spread of C. difficile. The bacterial infection can cause life-threatening diarrhea and other complications.
  • A series of experiments published in the journal Nature Medicine suggest young adult women have primitive stem cells that could generate new eggs. The findings are generating both excitement and questions.
  • It's been an unusually late and mild flu season this year, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many people have gotten their flu shots, which seems to be helping. But there's still time for the flu to break out.
  • In a reversal, a panel of experts is advising the Food and Drug Administration to approve Qnexa, a weight-loss pill, that was rejected in 2010. The potential benefits for overweight people exceed the risks, such as birth defects and increased heart rates, the panel determined.
  • The Food and Drug Administration will take a second look at a weight-loss drug it rejected in 2010. The decision to review Qnexa comes as the agency is rethinking how it judges weight-loss drugs. Though obesity is at epidemic levels, the FDA hasn't approved any new weight-loss medicines since 1999.
  • The current controversy over insurance coverage of contraceptives is the latest chapter in the long and often bitter history of conflicts between the right to follow one's conscience and the demands of society.
  • Despite raising millions of dollars for breast cancer research, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation hasn't funded any work involving human embryonic stem cells. Other big disease charities have also shied away from funding such science.