Jon Hamilton 2010 i
Doby Photography/NPR
Jon Hamilton 2010
Doby Photography/NPR

Jon Hamilton

Correspondent, Science Desk

Jon Hamilton is a correspondent for NPR's Science Desk. Currently he focuses on neuroscience, health risks, and extreme weather.

Following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Hamilton was part of NPR's team of science reporters and editors who went to Japan to cover the crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.

Hamilton contributed several pieces to the Science Desk series "The Human Edge," which looked at what makes people the most versatile and powerful species on Earth. His reporting explained how humans use stories, how the highly evolved human brain is made from primitive parts, and what autism reveals about humans social brains.

In 2009, Hamilton received the Michael E. DeBakey Journalism Award for his piece on the neuroscience behind treating autism.

Before joining NPR in 1998, Hamilton was a media fellow with the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation studying health policy issues. He reported on states that have improved their Medicaid programs for the poor by enrolling beneficiaries in private HMOs.

From 1995-1997, Hamilton wrote on health and medical topics as a freelance writer, after having been a medical reporter for both The Commercial Appeal and Physician's Weekly.

Hamilton graduated with honors from Oberlin College in Ohio with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. As a student, he was the editor of the Oberlin Review student newspaper. He earned his master's degree in journalism from Columbia University, where he graduated with honors During his time at Columbia, Hamilton was awarded the Baker Prize for magazine writing and earned a Sherwood traveling fellowship.

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By measuring activity in different parts of the brain, neuroscientsts can get a sense of how some people will respond to treatments. John Lund/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption John Lund/Getty Images

Barotrauma can cause a fish's eyes to pop out of its head and its stomach to be pushed out of its mouth, according to Chris Lowe, a marine scientist at California State, Long Beach. Jon Hamilton/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Jon Hamilton/NPR

Katie Clapp shares a laugh with her son Andy Tranfaglia, 25, at their home in West Newbury, Mass. Andy has a rare genetic condition called fragile X syndrome. Ellen Webber for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Ellen Webber for NPR

Bob Smithson, 79, can now hold his head upright and breathe on his own, thanks to a medication for myasthenia gravis. M. Scott Brauer for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption M. Scott Brauer for NPR

By increasing the amount of serotonin in the spinal cord, an experimental drug helps nerve connections work better. Bee Smith/Ocean/Corbis hide caption

itoggle caption Bee Smith/Ocean/Corbis

In sighted people, the part of the brain that recognizes faces is linked to the brain's visual system. But in blind people it seems wired to circuits that process sound. Tina Zellmer/Ikon Images/Corbis hide caption

itoggle caption Tina Zellmer/Ikon Images/Corbis

A tangle of protein (green) in this scanning electron micrograph of a brain cell of an Alzheimer's patient lies within the cytoplasm (blue) of the cell. The tangle consists of clumps of a toxic form of tau. Thomas J. Deerinck/Corbis hide caption

itoggle caption Thomas J. Deerinck/Corbis

Mariama and Fomba Kanneh play in an open space in Barkedu, Liberia. With schools closed across the country, many kids spend their time playing outside every day. Tommy Trenchard for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Tommy Trenchard for NPR

The nursing staff get a break at the Ebola care center run by Doctors Without Borders in Foya, Liberia. The center has helped stop the spread of the virus. Michealeen Doucleff/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Michealeen Doucleff/NPR