Liz Reid

Health & Science Reporter

Liz Reid's initials spell EAR, and she’s just enough of a mystic to believe that working with sound is her destiny. Liz came to 90.5 WESA from KRPS public radio in Southeast Kansas, where she was a Feature Producer and the local host of All Things Considered. Previously, Liz interned and freelanced at KQED public radio in San Francisco. She has an MA in Broadcast & Electronic Communication Arts from San Francisco State University, where she also taught audio production classes. She’s done stints working in academia and the music industry, but she’s happiest in a public radio setting. When Liz is not reporting and hosting at 90.5 WESA, she likes to sing and play guitar, ride her bike, camp with her partner and puppy, and watch science and nature documentaries.

Ways to Connect

Best Robotics

The national robotics education nonprofit Best Robotics is moving its headquarters to Pittsburgh.

Thousands of students participate in Best Robotics competitions annually, spending six weeks building robots with real world potential.

“Every year there's an industry theme for the competition,” said executive director Rosemary Mendel. “Last year, it was agriculture; this year, it's fire and rescue.”

The idea is to train the future tech workforce and get more kids excited about pursuing careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

For the first time since Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro took office in January, his office has filed charges of drug delivery resulting in death against an Allegheny County resident.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Every year in the U.S., 200,000 people get pacemakers, 600,000 get knee replacements and 2.5 million have surgery to implant artificial eye lenses to fix cataracts. But the medical community knows little about how the aging process affects these implantable medical devices.

Bryan Brown wants to change that.

He’s a professor of bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh, and he’s trying to figure out how to harness the immune system’s natural inflammatory response to better integrate these devices into the body.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

The meeting space was standing-room-only at the Carnegie Library branch in East Liberty at Monday’s launch of Pittsburgh’s Human Library project.

A library is, essentially, a collection of information and stories that live inside books, on tape or via DVD. In a human library, the stories are told aloud by the people who lived them. The idea started in Denmark in 2000, as a way to break down stereotypes and has since made its way around the world.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

The San Francisco Chronicle published an article in July detailing why the Bay Area is the new king in self-driving automotive technology.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

A ceremonial groundbreaking took place Thursday afternoon for a medical cannabis growing and processing facility coming to McKeesport.

Occurence of Trihalomethanes in the Nation's Ground Water and Drinking Water Supply Wells, 1985-2002 / United States Geological Survey

Lead isn't the only potential water contaminant Pittsburgh residents should worry about, according to researchers at the nonprofit Environmental Working Group.

The Washington, D.C.-based research and lobbying group this week launched a website that allows residents to look up which contaminants are present in the local drinking water supply, at what levels they exist and how those levels compare with state and national averages.

eggrole / Flickr

Physicians in Pennsylvania can now register to participate in the state’s forthcoming medical marijuana program.

Carnegie Mellon University

John Essey and his wife Adrienne recently sold their house in Dormont and moved to Allison Park to be closer to family.

Essey said his “excessive” collection of sensors in his Dormont home was both a selling point and a drawback for potential buyers.

“They were impressed, and it was nice for someone who was tech minded, but some people were still kind of put off as far as why all these sensors were in your house? Do you have cameras? What’s the purpose of these things?” Essey said.

National Energy Technology Laboratory

Researchers at the National Energy Technology Laboratory south of Pittsburgh are discovering valuable rare earth elements in coal waste.

Irina Zhorov / Keystone Crossroads

Pittsburgh City Council on Wednesday gave preliminary approval to a bill that would allow the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority to replace the private side of residential lead service lines when it is also replacing the public side.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Nearly seven months after Pittsburgh City Council voted to create a fund for affordable housing and neighborhood rehabilitation, it’s still not clear where the money will come from.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority announced Tuesday that it is now in compliance with Environmental Protection Agency standards for lead levels in drinking water.

Carlos Guisti / AP

More than a dozen experts have developed an ethical framework for clinical trials for a Zika vaccine, including UPMC Magee-Women’s Hospital’s chief medical officer Richard Beigi.

Toby Talbot / AP

Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced plans to supply nearly 300,000 drug deactivation and disposal pouches to a dozen counties hardest hit by the opioid epidemic.

Everyone receiving a schedule II narcotic such as Percocet, oxycodone and fentanyl at a participating pharmacy will be offered a free Deterra disposal pouch, beginning August 1, Shapiro said.

“To be honest with you, at first I couldn’t believe it worked," Shapiro said of the drug disposal technology.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

For the fourth week in a row, Pittsburgh City Council will not discuss a pair of lead-related bills at its committee meeting this week.

Chris Squier / 90.5 WESA

The general manager of TechShop Pittsburgh is hopeful the community workshop space can stay open beyond the anticipated closing date of Sept. 1.

“I don’t want to set any expectations that we can’t deliver on, but that’s what we’re working on,” said Gadsden Merrill, who was part of the original staff at TechShop Pittsburgh when it opened in Bakery Square in 2013.

San Jose-based TechShop announced June 1 it planned to close its Pittsburgh location.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Andrea Rosso thinks, in the future, doctors who work with older adults will regularly time them walking down hallways. But it won’t be to find out if they’re slowing down for physical reasons; it will be to determine if they are in the early stages of cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Scientists have known for about five years that slower walking speeds are linked to cognitive decline. Now researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are starting to figure out why, and they believe that the connection lies in a region of the brain called the right hippocampus.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County Council approved on Wednesday a proposed mandate to perform blood lead level testing on all children between 9 and 12 months of age and again at age two.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County Council is expected to vote Wednesday evening on a proposed mandate for blood lead testing for all children between nine and twelve months of age, and again at age 2.

NASA

Next month, 12 new astronaut trainees will arrive in Houston, Texas for two years of intense training to prepare them for future missions into outer space.

One of those people, Warren “Woody” Hoburg, grew up in Pittsburgh and graduated from North Allegheny High School.

90.5 WESA’s Liz Reid spoke with Hoburg, from his office at MIT, where he teaches aeronautics and astronautics.

Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

LIZ REID: What does it mean to be a part of the astronaut candidate class? What does that involve?

Keith Srakocic / AP, file

Carnegie Mellon University researchers have taught a computer to “read minds,” so to speak.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

The city of Pittsburgh is dealing with a slight hiccup in its water filter distribution program.

A truck carrying Zero Water filtration pitchers from El Paso, Texas to Pittsburgh broke down, causing a delay in the distribution of the pitchers.

Pitchers will be distributed at fire stations in the north and west regions of the city on Friday, June 30; in the eastern neighborhoods on Wednesday, July 5; and in southern neighborhoods on Thursday, July 6.

Molly Riley / AP

An organ transplant can be a life-saving procedure for people with serious medical conditions, but the drugs used to ensure the patient’s immune system doesn’t reject the organ can have severe side effects.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority board of directors on Friday approved the appointment of Robert Weimar as interim executive director for one year.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports Weimar, formerly the acting director of engineering, will earn up to $350,000 in the role.

Flickr user Global Panorama

PurePenn and AGRiMED Industries have been awarded licenses to grow and process medical marijuana in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

PurePenn is located in McKeesport; AgriMed is in Carmichaels in Greene County.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Fifty military cybersecurity experts are defending the online infrastructure of their imaginary nations at the Cyber Endeavor X Games this week.

Now in its sixth year, the five-day competition is being held at Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute.

Rusty Blazenhoff

Governor Tom Wolf said Thursday that Pennsylvania doesn’t need the federal government interfering with the state’s developing medical marijuana program.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

The City of Pittsburgh is working to address the issue of lead in drinking water "on every front," according to Mayoral spokesman Tim McNulty.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny Health Network and Highmark are partnering to invest $200 million in a 50,000 square-foot academic cancer center on the North Side and satellite cancer care offices throughout the region.

Allegheny General Hospital president Jeff Cohen said the satellite centers are meant to improve access and make health care more affordable and convenient for patients.

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