Rae Ellen Bichell Rae Bichell is a reporter for NPR's Science Desk.

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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Rat traps are a weapon behind used to fight the plague in Madagascar, since the rodents carry the disease. But getting rid of all the rats would be difficult — and without rats, plague-infected fleas could then turn to humans for a blood meal. RIJASOLO/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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RIJASOLO/AFP/Getty Images

Workers spray to kill fleas in a public school in Antananarivo, Madagascar's capital. A bite from an infected flea can spread the plague, which has stricken 157 people in the island nation since August. Anadolu Agency/Getty Images hide caption

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Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Strike 2: Our second attempt at illustrating the plague story — with what we said was a 15th-century image by Jacopo Oddi from the La Franceschina codex depicting Franciscan monks treating victims of the plague in Italy — is about leprosy. A. Dagli Orti/Getty Images hide caption

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A. Dagli Orti/Getty Images

Although consuming cannabis is legal in Colorado and several other states, driving while under the influence of the drug is not. Nick Pedersen/Getty Images hide caption

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Nick Pedersen/Getty Images

Scientists Still Seek A Reliable DUI Test For Marijuana

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The defensive mucus of the Arion subfuscus slug has inspired materials scientists trying to invent better medical adhesives. Nigel Cattlin/Visuals Unlimited/Getty Images hide caption

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Nigel Cattlin/Visuals Unlimited/Getty Images

Slug Slime Inspires Scientists To Invent Sticky Surgical Glue

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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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