#147 CF Series: Bijal Trivedi on "Breath From Salt"

 
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This episode launches DNA Today’s Cystic Fibrosis Podcast Series! Over the next three episodes of the podcast we will be exploring cystic fibrosis’ history, patient experience and ongoing drug development.

Sponsoring this series is Picture Genetics, a unique DNA testing service, with tests designed for every stage of life -- including family planning. With a Picture Parenting carrier test, you can uncover genetic conditions that may be passed on to your kids such as cystic fibrosis. Unlike other companies, this is a clinical grade test where physicians and genetic counselors are involved. It’s easy to order and understand with good looking reports! To order your Picture Genetics test, go to picturegenetics.com and use code “DNATODAY” for 25% off and free-shipping! Get actionable genetic insights today to benefit your family of tomorrow.

To kick off this series our host Kira Dineen is joined by Bijal P. Trivedi, an award-winning journalist specializing in longform narrative features about biology, medicine, and health. She is the Senior Science Editor at National Geographic. Trivedi has just completed her first book, Breath from Salt: A Deadly Genetic Disease, a New Era in Science, and the Patients and Families Who Changed Medicine Forever. Bill Gates reviewed Breath from Salt on his blog and recommended it as one of the top five books for 2020. The book was also on the Longlist for the 2021 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award.

Trivedi’s writing has been featured in The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2012, National Geographic, Scientific American, Wired, Science, Nature, The Economist, Discover, and New Scientist. Her work has taken her from the Mexico-Guatemala border where she covered the use of genetically modified mosquitoes for fighting the dengue virus to the behind the scenes at Massachusetts General Hospital where she watched trauma surgeons test hypothermia to save pigs with life-threatening injuries to Moscow’s Star City where she blasted off with space tourism entrepreneurs on the “Vomit Comet” for astronaut training. She also edited the NIH Director’s Blog and, prior to that, helped launch the National Geographic News Service in partnership with the New York Times Syndicate, which she wrote for and edited. Her undergraduate fascination with biochemistry and molecular biology at Oberlin College compelled her to pursue a master’s degree in molecular/ cell/developmental biology at UCLA. Her love of writing drew her to journalism rather than to a lab bench—and to a second master’s degree in science journalism from New York University.

Trivedi has focused on long-form feature stories on complex scientific topics from genetic testing and art authentication to the carbon footprint of our diet and genetically modified mosquitoes. Her New Scientist story “Slimming for Slackers” won the 2006 Wistar Institute Science Journalism Award. “Life on Hold,” also written for New Scientist, won the 2005-2006 Michael E. DeBakey Journalism Award. “The Rembrandt Code,” published in Wired, was tagged “Outstanding story on any subject: Print” by the South Asian Journalists Association. Trivedi co-authored “A Guide To Your Genome” that won the 2009 National Institutes of Health “Gold” Plain Language Award. Most recently, her feature “The Wipeout Gene” was selected for The Best American Science and Nature Writing: 2012. Trivedi taught in New York University’s graduate Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program from 2007-2012.

On This Episode We Discuss:

Overview of cystic fibrosis

Major cystic fibrosis medical advances and “firsts in medicine”

Revolutionary techniques utilized to find the cystic fibrosis gene, CFTR

Original gene therapy trials obstacles

Two types of CFTR genetic mutations and the effects on the protein

Genetic registry to speed up clinical trials

Drug research and development to treat cystic fibrosis

Venture philanthropy to innovatively fund pharmaceutical research and development

Want to read Breath From Salt? Enter our giveaway to win your own copy! Head over to our Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Stay tuned for the next installment of DNA Today’s Cystic Fibrosis Podcast Series on May 21st! New episodes are released on the first and third Friday of the month. In the meantime, you can binge over 145 other episodes on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, streaming on the website, or any other podcast player by searching, “DNA Today”. Brand new in 2021, episodes are now also produced with video which you can watch on our YouTube channel.

See what else we are up to on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and our website, DNApodcast.com. Questions/inquiries can be sent to info@DNApodcast.com.

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