About


Find The Informed Parent: A Science-Based Resources for Your Child's First 4 Years, which I co-authored with Tara Haellehere and view the book website here


You can find my writing at the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, Forbes, Slate, Everyday Health, and Discover, among other delightful places. 

About me

The business of my life has been writing and science. My work as a research scientist has led me to many cool things, including ultrasound and surgery on a spotted hyena, plastic casting of the inside of the mammalian penis, chasing tiny blazing-fast lizards around in the desert, and innumerable activities involving gonads. My work as a writer has done the same, from stories about the black bears of Big Bend to one of my all-time favorites, a piece on zombie grasshoppers. There are hundreds of adventures in between, and I wouldn't trade in the science or the writing for anything else.

I have been a dedicated writer since about 1972 and engaged in doing science since 1996. My background, as I say in cover letters, includes a bachelor's degree in English and a PhD in biological sciences, both from The University of Texas at Austin, with a completed postdoctoral fellowship in pediatric urology at the University of California, San Francisco. Throughout, my focus was vertebrate development, physiology, and genetics, specifically how gonads and penises develop and work and how the brain might be involved. Talking about my work has always carried a frisson of the risque. 

Once upon a time, I was on the tenure track as a biologist, which is certainly a journey if you're a woman. I have hidden in dark places in my own lab to pump, dumped milk at an airport because the Iraq War started, and given up academia for my family, something I would do again under the same circumstances. I have gone into labor on Wednesday afternoon while teaching, gone home, given birth, and been back teaching again on the following Monday because as an adjunct, I had no other choice. 

I have always combined my degrees by writing about science or editing science writing. For 15 years, I also was a university instructor and have taught biology (developmental bio, physiology, genetics, general bio, physics, and chemistry) to thousands of university students in Texas and California. 

Now, I am a committed journalist, my original ambition, my early career, and a job I've never let go. I've worked the health, science, and medicine news beats for a local paper and online health sites, writing hundreds of pieces, and written features for newspapers and magazines. You can find my work at places like the New York Times, Scientific American, Spectrum, Forbes, the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, Slate, Discover, and others. 

My deep past includes serving as a public affairs officer, writer, editor, and media campaign manager at a large state agency for four years, where we produced a 16-page tabloid newspaper for the department's 26,000 employees, and interning at Texas Monthly Magazine. You can find the books that feature my writing listed here, some of my writing samples here, and my ongoing writing and editing gigs here.

I have minors in German, history, and philosophy, speak and write Spanish, and play the piano and violin. I love the Gray Man series and just about anything written in the Victorian era, and am a huge fan of action movies.

All writing here represents my opinion and is in no way a reflection of the opinions or influence of any of my clients, employers, or associates.

You can follow me on Twitter @ejwillingham, and see my LinkedIn profile here, my Google scholar profile here, and my Google+ profile here. I also am the topic leader for the Association of Health Care Journalists' social determinants of health topic area.