Shafaq Zia

Shafaq Zia

Shafaq Zia is a freelance science journalist and a graduate student in the Science Writing Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Previously, she was a reporting intern at STAT, where she covered the COVID-19 pandemic and the latest research in health technology. Read more of her work here.

Articles by Shafaq Zia
Microscopy image of blue stained cohesin proteins.
Mutated Cohesin Throws DNA Splicing out of Whack, Resulting in Cancer
Shafaq Zia | Mar 3, 2023 | 2 min read
Cohesin mutations cause dysregulations in alternative splicing, contributing to tumor initiation and progression, a study finds. 
Artist's rendering of rod-shaped bacteria
Gut Microbiomes Offer Insights into Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Shafaq Zia | Feb 21, 2023 | 2 min read
Levels of health-promoting gut bacteria are linked with severity of fatigue symptoms, a study finds.
Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pumpkin pie and sides on a table
The Smell of Food Affects Metabolism in Fasting Mice
Shafaq Zia | Nov 18, 2022 | 3 min read
The odor prompted the animals’ fat cells to release lipids into circulation.
two glowing neuronlike macrophages
Immune Cells Imitating Neurons Cause Pain in Mice with Tumors
Shafaq Zia | Oct 18, 2022 | 3 min read
Whether the finding of a novel mechanism for cancer-related pain can lead to better treatments for neuropathic pain in people remains to be seen.
Squiggly green cilia on blue human beta cells
Pancreatic Cell Cilia Wiggle to Control Insulin Release
Shafaq Zia | Oct 6, 2022 | 3 min read
Tiny hairlike structures on pancreatic cells have long been considered static sensors. Now, researchers say they move and help regulate insulin secretion.
illustration of blue cells with exosomes budding off of them and floating away
Nanoparticles Spur Mouse Immune System to Attack Cancer
Shafaq Zia | Sep 13, 2022 | 2 min read
A study finds that engineered exosomes are effective in mice, but their potential use in humans raises safety questions.  
Four study participants in t shirts and shorts sit around a table in a stainless steel chamber. All four are looking at personal electronics and wearing a breathing mask connected to a nearby machine via blue tubing.
A New Culprit in Air Pollution: Reactions Triggered by Human Skin
Shafaq Zia | Sep 2, 2022 | 4 min read
Oil on human skin reacts with ozone to produce highly reactive radicals that can generate toxic airborne chemicals in indoor spaces.
A jar full of artificial sweetener packets.
Artificial Sweeteners Alter Gut Bacteria in Humans
Shafaq Zia | Aug 19, 2022 | 4 min read
When consumed for as little as two weeks, common alternatives to sugar affect intestinal bacterial communities, with some reducing the body’s ability to regulate blood glucose levels, a study finds.
Fluorescent microscopy of a healthy intestinal organoid and a tumor spheroid
Internal Clock Disruptions Increase Colon Cancer Risk in Mice
Shafaq Zia | Aug 19, 2022 | 3 min read
Disturbing circadian rhythms in organoids and mice increases intestinal tumor growth, findings that may explain a recent rise in colon cancer among young adults, the researchers behind the work say.
Artist’s rendition of light blue monkeypox viruses in front of a black background.
FDA To Stretch Monkeypox Vaccine Supply via Intradermal Injection
Shafaq Zia | Aug 12, 2022 | 4 min read
The newly authorized intradermal vaccination only requires one-fifth of the usual vaccine dose. This will help stretch out the limited vaccine supply, experts say, but only if healthcare personnel receive sufficient training.