black and white photograph of stephanie melchor

Annie Melchor

Stephanie "Annie" Melchor got her PhD from the University of Virginia in 2020, studying how the immune response to the parasite Toxoplasma gondii leads to muscle wasting and tissue scarring in mice. While she is still an ardent immunology fangirl, she left the bench to become a science writer and received her master’s degree in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 2021. You can check out more of her work here.

Articles by Annie Melchor
Photo of John Calhoun crouches within his rodent utopia-turned-dystopia
Universe 25, 1968–1973
Annie Melchor | May 2, 2022 | 3 min read
A series of rodent experiments showed that even with abundant food and water, personal space is essential to prevent societal collapse.
Photo of Romaine River in Quebec
Microbial Analysis of River Reveals Considerable Diversity
Annie Melchor | Mar 1, 2022 | 4 min read
Scientists in Canada trace how aquatic communities change as Quebec’s Romaine River flows into the sea.
Illustration of clear cells with orange nuclei, Toxoplasma gondii, on colorful background
Turning Toxoplasma Against Cancer
Annie Melchor | Jan 3, 2022 | 9 min read
Several research groups have found that Toxoplasma gondii infection can ramp up antitumor immune responses in mice. Can the single-cell parasite be used to develop safe treatments for humans?
In one of the only known photos of Abraham Lincoln taken on the day of the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln can be seen seated, hatless, just below and to the right of the flag. Lincoln began developing symptoms of smallpox on the train home to Washington, DC.
Presidential Pox, 1863
Annie Melchor | Dec 1, 2021 | 3 min read
Researchers continue to debate whether US President Abraham Lincoln was coming down with smallpox as he delivered his famous Gettysburg Address, and if he had been immunized.
Colorized scanning electron micrograph of Salmonella bacteria in intestinal tissue
Gut Infections Help Shield Intestinal Neurons from Future Damage
Annie Melchor | Nov 19, 2021 | 4 min read
In mice, a kind of immune memory appears to protect the cells against future harm, a finding that could provide insight into treatments for irritable bowel syndrome and other inflammatory digestive conditions.
illustration of people of different genders and races
Does Biological Sex Influence COVID-19 Outcomes?
Annie Melchor | Nov 2, 2021 | 10 min read
It’s unclear whether differing odds of dying between men and women reflect inherent differences between male and female immune systems or differences rooted in gender norms.
Image of fruit fly epithelial cells (pseudo colored in this micrograph)
Epithelial Cell Signaling Helps Maintain Tissue Integrity
Annie Melchor | Nov 1, 2021 | 2 min read
Using a transgenic fruit fly model, researchers demonstrate how epithelial barriers are maintained in living organisms despite high levels of cell turnover and death.
Photograph looking up a tree trunk
Contrary to Common Belief, Some Older Trees Make Fewer Seeds
Annie Melchor | Nov 1, 2021 | 2 min read
An analysis of more than half a million trees reveals that many species begin to taper off seed production once they hit a certain size.
Dongsha Atoll in the South China Sea
Ubiquitous Little Earthworms Might Have Got Around on Driftwood
Annie Melchor | Nov 1, 2021 | 5 min read
Researchers also tried placing the worms on pigeons as part of a study aiming to uncover how the tiny invertebrates ended up all around the world.
A Black woman stands in profile with her head turned towards the camera, smiling
Bianca Jones Marlin Traces How Sensory Inputs Shape the Brain
Annie Melchor | Oct 1, 2021 | 3 min read
The Columbia University neuroscientist researches the biology behind some of our most human experiences, including building family relationships.