Rae Ellen Bichell

Reporter, Science Desk

Rae Ellen Bichell is a reporter for NPR's Science Desk. She first came to NPR in 2013 as a Kroc fellow and has since reported Web and radio stories on biomedical research, global health, and basic science. She won a 2016 Michael E. DeBakey Journalism Award from the Foundation for Biomedical Research. After graduating from Yale University, she spent two years in Helsinki, Finland, as a freelance reporter and Fulbright grantee.

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Story Archive

Crew members on one of the simulated Mars missions this spring included Pitchayapa Jingjit (from left), Becky Parker, Elijah Espinoza and Esteban Ramirez. Community college students and teachers in real life, the team members spent a week in the Utah desert, partly to experience the isolation and challenges of a real trip to Mars. Rae Ellen Bichell/NPR hide caption

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Rae Ellen Bichell/NPR

To Prepare For Mars Settlement, Simulated Missions Explore Utah's Desert

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A double set of fences topped with barbed wire circles this outdoor decomposition site outside Grand Junction, Colo. The barrier thwarts prying eyes and protects the curious from an unpleasant surprise. Rae Ellen Bichell/NPR hide caption

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Rae Ellen Bichell/NPR

To Solve Gruesome Desert Mysteries, Scientists Become Body Collectors

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Sonia Vallabh lost her mother to a rare brain disease in 2010, and then learned she had inherited the same genetic mutation. She and her husband, Eric Minikel, went back to school to study the family of illnesses — prion diseases — in the hope of finding a cure for Sonia. Kayana Szymczak for NPR hide caption

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Kayana Szymczak for NPR

A Couple's Quest To Stop A Rare Disease Before It Takes One Of Them

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Kamni Vallabh helps her daughter Sonia get ready for her wedding, a few months before Kamni started showing symptoms of the prion disease that would kill her. Courtesy of Sonia Vallabh hide caption

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Courtesy of Sonia Vallabh

A Mother's Early Death Drives Her Daughter To Find A Treatment

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An artist's rendering of the newly named Parker Solar Probe spacecraft approaching the sun. Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory hide caption

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Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

NASA Plans To Launch A Probe Next Year To 'Touch The Sun'

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Say what you will about naked mole-rats, but their bodies have a trick that lets them survive periods of oxygen deprivation. Roland Gockel/Max Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine hide caption

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Roland Gockel/Max Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine

Researchers Find Yet Another Reason Why Naked Mole-Rats Are Just Weird

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Researchers found that a protein in human umbilical cord blood plasma improved learning and memory in older mice, but there's no indication it would work in people. Mike Kemp/Rubberball/Getty Images hide caption

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Mike Kemp/Rubberball/Getty Images

Human Umbilical Cord Blood Helps Aging Mice Remember, Study Finds

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Young European eels (Anguilla anguilla) are called "glass eels" at that stage because they're transparent except for a dark spine down the middle. Philippe Garguil/Science Source hide caption

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Philippe Garguil/Science Source

Eels May Use 'Magnetic Maps' As They Slither Across The Ocean

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In 2003, Acanthamoeba polyphaga mimivirus, also known as mimivirus, was the first giant virus to be described. It's larger than many bacteria, and was found in a water sample from a hospital cooling tower in England. Didier Raoult/Science Source hide caption

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Didier Raoult/Science Source

In Giant Virus Genes, Hints About Their Mysterious Origin

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State and federal policies now limit the use of lead in gasoline, paint and plumbing, but children can still ingest the metal through contaminated soil. The effects of even fairly small amounts can be long-lasting, the evidence suggests. Christin Lola/Getty Images/iStockphoto hide caption

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Christin Lola/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Childhood Exposure To Lead Can Blunt IQ For Decades, Study Suggests

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NASA astronaut Kate Rubins floats in the International Space Station in September 2016, wearing a spacesuit decorated by patients recovering at the MD Anderson Cancer Center. NASA Johnson/Flickr hide caption

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NASA Johnson/Flickr

A Microbe Hunter Plies Her Trade In Space

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Memory athletes like Sue Jin Yang — competing here in the 17th annual USA Memory Championship in New York City in 2014 — wear headphones to block out distractions as they memorize the order of decks of cards. Carolyn Cole/LA Times via Getty Images hide caption

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Carolyn Cole/LA Times via Getty Images

Maybe You, Too, Could Become A Super Memorizer

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