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

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

More than 30 ambassadors to the U.S. from around the world were in Pittsburgh this week, touring research laboratories at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. They also rubbed elbows with local luminaries at the Andy Warhol Museum, including Mayor Bill Peduto and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

Susan Walsh / AP

Katie Horowitz is making dinner at her home in Morningside. On this night, it’s sautéed spinach with chicken breasts boiled in broth.

“One of the hardest parts of this diet is that you have to cook everything,” Horowitz said. “I have a really busy job, and it’s really challenging to find time.”

Horowitz was diagnosed last year with Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel condition, and is now on a very restrictive diet. She’s been hospitalized several times, and her doctor said she’ll likely need surgery someday.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

One in five people who undergo a popular weight loss surgery is likely to develop an alcohol use disorder within five years, according to a new study from the University of Pittsburgh.

Marc Levy / AP

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is looking for ways to reduce the recidivism rate among formerly incarcerated individuals in the commonwealth.

“When you have two out of every three prisoners recidivate, meaning they commit crimes once they’re released from prison and end up back in prison, I think it tells you we need a much smarter approach when dealing with these returning citizens,” Shapiro said.

Ewa Krawczyk / National Cancer Institute via AP

University of Pittsburgh researchers have found a gene editing technique that could be used to treat aggressive forms of cancer.

Flickr user University of Exeter

For the first time, scientists have created a three-dimensional map of a vertebrate brain on a nanometer scale.

A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter, and at this level, one can see individual neurons and how they connect to each other.

Dr. David Hildebrand said the project represents a step forward in brain imaging, particularly at a small scale.

“We are now able to leverage modern technologies, both imaging technology and computer technology, to image at nano-meter scale resolutions,” Hildebrand said. “Small brains, but entire vertebrate brains.”

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Life expectancies in southwestern Pennsylvania are on par with the national average, according to a new study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Life expectancies in the region ranged from 77 years in Fayette County to 79 years in Butler County.

Both the state and national averages are close to 79 years.

The study, authored by researchers at the University of Washington, also looked at historical data.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Nesra Yannier said, growing up in Turkey, school was kind of boring.

“The education system was based on memorization, so I always thought it should be different and should be helping kids understand the reasons rather than memorizing facts,” she said.

When Yannier was working on her Ph.D. at Carnegie Mellon University, she sought ways to make learning more engaging and struck upon the idea of pairing digital applications with real-word educational toys.

Flickr user nicdalic

Thirty separate water systems in Southwestern Pennsylvania violated the federal Safe Drinking Water Act in 2015, according to a new report from the National Resources Defense Council.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Uber is launching its food delivery service in Pittsburgh starting Thursday.

UberEATS general manager Casey Verkamp said the service will be faster, more reliable and more convenient than other delivery services, such as Postmates and Grubhub.

“We don’t think anyone else has cracked, to date, that problem so we’re really excited to be doing that, in Pittsburgh especially,” Verkamp said Wednesday at Franktuary in Lawrenceville.

Franktuary is one of the more than 100 Pittsburgh-area restaurants that had partnered with the app at its launch this week.

Flickr user Nick Normal

Pittsburgh City Councilmen Daniel Lavelle and Ricky Burgess on Tuesday introduced bills to finance the city’s affordable housing trust fund.

One of the bills proposes a 1 percentage point increase in the total realty transfer tax buyers would pay. But that increase, from 4 to 5 percent, wouldn’t go directly to the fund.

Flickr user A.

Hospital policies that restrict how pharmaceutical companies may market their drugs to doctors change physician prescribing behavior, according to a new study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study, a joint effort of Carnegie Mellon University and six other higher education institutions, showed that when such policies were in place, marketed drugs were prescribed 8.7 percent less often while non-marketed drugs were prescribed about 6 percent more often.

Spencer Neuharth via USFWS Mountain-Prairie / Flickr

Lead isn’t the only harmful substance that can make its way into drinking water.

Chemicals from pharmaceuticals, pesticides and personal care products can all end up in the water supply.

Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority board of directors on Friday approved a cooperation agreement with the City of Pittsburgh to enter into a contract for consulting on the potential restructuring of the authority.

midquel / Flickr

New data suggests that Pittsburgh sewer overflows may be 15 percent greater than prior estimates, which were based on data from 2003. A new report from the RAND Corporation analyzes data collected by ALCOSAN between 2004 and 2013.

 

Furthermore, the volume of water overflowing from local sewers could rise in coming decades, according to Jordan Fischbach, co-director of RAND’s Water & Climate Resilience Center.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

 

State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Delaware, Montgomery) said he expects that medical marijuana will be available in plant form in dispensaries next year. Leach made the comments Friday afternoon during a panel discussion at the World Medical Cannabis Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburghers rallied in Oakland Saturday, in a satellite to the larger March for Science taking place in Washington, D.C. The city hasn’t released official crowd estimates, but organizers said thousands attended the march.

 

The local march itself was short, just seven-tenths of a mile around the block that houses the Cathedral of Learning on the University of Pittsburgh campus. Speeches, however, lasted more than an hour, as around a dozen scientists, academics and activists explained their work and its importance for people and the earth.

Susan Walsh / AP

Thousands of people are expected to take to the streets in Pittsburgh and cities around the world Saturday, as part of the March for Science.

The main march takes place in Washington, D.C. on the National Mall and coincides with Earth Day celebrations.

The organizers behind the national march say they are trying to bring attention to government “policies that ignore scientific evidence and endanger both human life and the future of our world.”

They’re also speaking out against proposed budget cuts for research.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

Flowers from Easter services still adorned the altar at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Oakland Tuesday, as nearly 2,000 mourners gathered to remember late Steelers chairman Dan Rooney.

NRG Energy

When Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt visited a Greene County coal mine last week, he said, to applause, “the war on coal is done.”

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Residents asked questions about the effects of lead poisoning, the cost of lead line replacement and the responsibilities of local landlords at a panel discussion about water issues Tuesday night.

Marc Levy / AP

A federal task force is walking back a 2012 recommendation that men between ages 55 and 69 not be screened for prostate cancer.

That brings federal guidelines in step with recommendations from a state task force, released last week.

Both the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force and the Pennsylvania Prostate Cancer Task Force now advise men to talk with their doctors about whether they should be screened.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Jennie Dorris’s four music students each stood, mallets in hand, behind a marimba, which looks a little like a xylophone. They were getting one last look at the original melody they wrote before Dorris erased it from the dry erase board and they had to play it from memory.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have discovered that a seemingly harmless virus might be a trigger for celiac disease.

Reovirus infects most humans within the first five years of life, according to Dr. Terry Dermody, Chair of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Gene J. Puskar / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Pirates became one of 12 Major League Baseball teams to install LED sports lighting, just in time for the team's home opener Friday against the Atlanta Braves.

Bruce Damonte / Chatham University

Chatham University is inching closer to divesting its $80 million endowment fund of investments in the fossil fuel industry.

At a recent meeting of the investment committee of the Board of Trustees, members voted to approve two new investment opportunities that are specifically aimed at excluding fossil fuels and supporting sustainable energy.

Chatham’s Senior Vice President of Finance, Walt Fowler, said reducing the university’s support of fossil fuel companies is in line with its goal of pursuing sustainability in every part of its operations.

The DeMoe family

"The Inheritance" is a new book by Pittsburgh-based writer Niki Kapsambelis. It tells the story of the DeMoe family from North Dakota, who carry a rare genetic mutation that guarantees they will get Alzheimer’s disease at a young age.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The remaining tenants of East Liberty’s Penn Plaza apartment complex are moving out Friday, one day after Whole Foods announced it will not build a store on the site.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Sen. Wayne Fontana, D-Allegheny, on Wednesday announced plans to introduce three bills that would authorize the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority to replace private water and sewer lines.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Every day, multiple times a day, Jesse Perkins runs the water in his kitchen sink for about a minute-and-a-half, until it runs cold, indicating that it’s fresh water from the main in the middle of his street. He does it before he fills up a glass of water or a pot for cooking.

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