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July 1, 2010

Biomedical Writer to Receive John McGovern Science & Society Award

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC - Barbara Gastel, a physician specializing in biomedical writing and editing, will receive Sigma Xi's 2010 John P. McGovern Science and Society Award.

She is professor of integrative biosciences and of humanities in medicine at Texas A&M University, where she coordinates the master's degree program in science and technology journalism. The McGovern Award has been presented annually since 1984.

Gastel earned a B.A. from Yale and an M.D. and an M.P.H. from Johns Hopkins. After medical school, she did an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) mass media fellowship at Newsweek. She then worked in communication and administration at the National Institutes of Health.

She also has taught science writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and spent two years as visiting professor of technical communication at Beijing Medical University (now Peking University Health Science Center).

Before coming to Texas A&M University in 1989, Gastel was assistant dean for teaching at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. Gastel is the author of three books: Presenting Science to the Public, Teaching Science: A Guide for College and Professional School Instructors and Health Writer's Handbook.

In addition, she co-authored the sixth edition of Robert Day's How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper and is co-authoring the seventh edition. She also has written many articles and chapters on writing, editing, teaching and medical topics.

From 1996 through 2007, Gastel directed the U.S. aspect of a program, funded by the China Medical Board of New York, to teach English-language biomedical writing and editing in Asia. Since 2007, she has been Knowledge Community Editor for AuthorAID at INASP, a program to help researchers in developing countries to write about and publish their work.

Gastel is editor of Science Editor, the periodical of the Council of Science Editors. She also is active in the American Medical Writers Association. She has received distinguished service awards from these two organizations, and she is a fellow of the AAAS.

In 1996, she was recognized by the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences as an Honored Editor. She is only one of four editors to be so honored in the nearly 20 years of the organization's existence.

About Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
Founded in 1886, Sigma Xi is the international honor society of research scientists and engineers, with more than 500 chapters at colleges and universities, government laboratories and industry research centers. Membership is by invitation, in recognition of research potential or achievement. Over the years, more than 200 Sigma Xi members have received the Nobel Prize. In addition to publishing American Scientist magazine, the non-profit Society awards hundreds of grants annually to student researchers and sponsors a variety of programs that support science and engineering.


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