The way I see it, science is full of fascinating stories worth sharing. Unfortunately, this idea is often misunderstood and contested. I’ve written about this before, so I won’t do it again here. But I will say this much:

there is no effective science communication without narrative structure.

Science is not a disembodied entity that runs itself. It’s a human-driven endeavor. People conduct science. Subject. Verb. Noun.
Over the years, I took every opportunity to explore the intersection between science and the humanities. As an undergraduate student at the University of Texas at Dallas, I majored in neuroscience and minored in the Medical and Scientific Humanities (MaSH) with the brilliant Professor Pamela Gossin. I spent my mornings learning about axon guidance and the neurophysiological properties of neurons and my afternoons reading and discussing pieces by Charles Dickens, Michael Pollan, and Gretel Ehrlich.
As a post-baccalaureate at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), I studied the molecular underpinnings of mood disorders while also volunteering at the NIH Radio, interviewing scientists, and writing clips for the Association of Women in Science (AWIS) newsletter.
As a neuroscience graduate student at the University of California, Davis, I spent my days in the Center for Neuroscience with mice and lasers, investigating the neural basis for remote memory retrieval. I also blogged for science conferences and startups and wrote research summaries for the Kavli Institute of Systems Neuroscience (KISN) Annual Report.
At every turn, I was looking for the story in the science.
As a post-doc in Steve Ramirez’s lab at Boston University, I studied the relationship between social learning and memory by day. At night, I sat in on the science news writing classes in the building across the way.
Now, as a Communications & Outreach Manager at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard with David R. Liu’s research group, I assist graduate students and post-docs in improving their science communication skills. I work closely with students on a wide variety of academic documents ranging from fellowship applications to grant proposals and scientific manuscripts. I’ve also served as a science communications instructor for the Broad Summer Research Program (BSRP) and currently serve as a Broad CommLab Fellow.
Writing is a skill that academics often neglect to train or hope to learn on the job. There’s no need to wait. If you want to polish your proposal, increase your odds of getting funded, or write about your science for a more general audience: I can help. Get in touch.


Base Editing Rescue of Spinal Muscular Atrophy in Cells and in Mice.

 Arbab, M. Matuszek, Z.; Kray, K. M.; Du, A.; Newby, G. A.; Blatnik, A. J.; Raguram, A.; Richter, M. F.; Zhao, K. T.; Levy, J. M.; Shen. M. W.; Arnold, W. D.; Wang, D. ; Xie, J.; Gao, G.; Burghes, A. H. M.; Liu, D. R. Science in press, online (2023).

“Designing and Executing Prime Editing Experiments in Mammalian Cells.” 

Doman, J. L.*; Sousa, A. A.*; Randolph, P. B.; Chen, P. J.; Liu, D. R. Nat. Protocols 17, 2431–2468 (2022).

“Generating Experimentally Unrelated Target Molecule-Binding Highly Functionalized Nucleic Acid Polymers Using Machine Learning.” 

Chen, J. C.; Chen, J. P.; Shen M. W.; Wornow, M.; Bae, M.; Ywh, W.-H.; Hsu, A.; Liu, D. R. Nat. Commun. 13, 4541 (2022).

“Enhanced Prime Editing Systems by Manipulating Cellular Determinants of Editing Outcomes.” 

Chen, P. J.; Hussmann,J. A.; Yan, J.; Knipping, D.; Ravisankar, P.; Chen, P.-F.; Chen, C.; Nelson, J. W.; Newby G.A.; Sahin, M.; Osborn, M.J.; Weissman, J. S.; Adamson, B.; Liu, D.R. Cell. 22, 5635–5652 (2021).


“Reconstruction of Evolving Gene Variants and Fitness from Short Sequencing Reads.” 

Shen, M.W.; Zhao, K.T.; Liu, D.R. Nat. Chem Bio. 17, 1188–1198 (2021).

“Engineered pegRNAs Improve Prime Editing Efficiency.” 

Nelson, J.W.; Randolph, P.B.; Shen, S.P.; Everette, K.A.; Chen, P.J.; Anzalone, A.V.; An, M.; Newby, G.A.; Chen, J.C.; Hsu, A.; Liu, D.R. Nat. Biotechnol. 40, 402-410 (2022).

“Laboratory Evolution of a Sortase Enzyme that Modifies Amyloid β-protein.”

 Podracky, C. J.; An. C.; DeSousa, A.; Dorr, B. M.; Walsh, D. M; Liu D. R. Nat. Chem. Biol. 317-325 (2021) .

Precision Genome Editing Using Cytosine and Adenine Base Editors in Mammalian Cells.” 

Huang, T. P.; Newby, G. A.; Liu, D. R. Nature Protocols 16, 1089-1128 (2021).

“Programmable m6A modification of cellular RNAs with a Cas13-directed methyltransferase.” 

Wilson, C*; Chen, P.J.;* Miao, Z; Liu, D.R. Nat. Biotechnol 38, 1431-1440 (2020)

“Determinants of Base Editing Outcomes from Target Library Analysis and Machine Learning.”

Arbab, M.; Shen, M. W.; Mok, B.; Wilson, C.; Matuszek, Z.; Cassa, C. A.; Liu, D. R. Cell. 182, 463-480 (2020).

“In Vivo Base Editing Restores Sensory Transduction and Transiently Improves Auditory Function in a Mouse Model of Recessive Deafness.” 

Yeh, W.-H.; Shubina-Olenik, O.; Levy, J. M.; Pan, B.; Newby, G. A.; Wornow, M.; Burt, R.; Chen, J.C.; Holt, J. R.; Liu, D. R. Sci Trans. Med. 12(546):eaay9101 (2020).

“Continuous Evolution of Base Editors with Expanded Target Compatibility and Improved Activity.” 

Thuronyi, B.W.; Koblan, L.W.; Levy, J.M.; Yeh, W.; Zheng, C.; Newby, G.A.; Wilson, C.; Bhaumik, M.; Shubina-Oleinik, O.; Holt, J.R.; Liu, D.R. Nat. Biotechnol. 37, 1070-1079 (2019).

“High-Resolution Specificity Profiling and Off-Target Prediction for Site-Specific DNA Recombinases.” 

Bessen, J. L.; Afeyan, L. K.; Dančík, C.; Koblan, L. W.; Thompson, D. B.; Leichner, C.; Clemons, P. A.; Liu, D.R. Nat. Commun. 10, 1937 (2019).


(Former last name: Hamidi)

Finkelstein AB, Leblanc H, Cole R, Gallerani T, Vieira A, Zaki Y, Ramirez, S. Social Reactivation of Fear Engrams Enhances Recall and Reinstatement. PNAS 119 (12) e2114230119

Hamidi AB and Ramirez S. Memory: The Majestic Case of an Amnestic Trace. Current Biology. 2018. 28, R784-R802.

Chen B, Murawski NJ, Hamidi AB, Merfeld E, Doucette E, Grella SL, Shpokayte M, Zaki Y, Cincotta C, Fortin A, Ramirez, S. Artificially enhancing and suppressing hippocampus-mediated memories. Current Biology. 2019 June; 29(11): 1885-1894.e4.

Conklin Q, King BG, Zanesco AP, Hamidi AB, Pokorny JJ, Alvarez-Lopez MJ, Cosin-Tomas M, Kaliman P, Epel ES, Saron CD. The Effects of Intensive Insight Meditation on Telomere Dynamics and the Moderating Role of Personality. Brain, Behavior and Immunology. 2018 May; 70: 233-245.

Tanaka KZ, Pevzner A, Hamidi AB, Nakazawa Y, Graham J, Wiltgen BJ. Cortical representations are reinstated by the hippocampus during memory retrieval. Neuron. 2014 Oct; 84(2): 347-54.

Creson TK, Hao Y, Engel S, Shen Y, Hamidi A, Zhuo M, Manji HK, Chen G. The anterior cingulate ERK pathway contributes to regulation of behavioral excitement and hedonic activity. Bipolar Disorders. 2009 Jun; 11(4): 339-50.

Wang Y, Hamidi AB, Zhou R, Guitart X, Chen G, Manji HK, Kaddurah- Daouk R. Stable Isotope-resolved metabolomic analysis of lithium effects on glial-neuronal metabolism and interactions. Metabolomics. 2010 Jun; 1;6(2):165-179.

O Malkesman, DR Austin, T Tragon, G Wang, G Rompala, AB Hamidi, Z Cui, WS Young, K Nakazawa, CA Zarate Jr., HK Manji, G Chen. Acute D-serine treatment produces antidepressant-like effects in rodents. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology. 2012 Sep; 15 (08): 1135-1148.

Poster Presentations

Finkelstein A, Hamidi AB, Zaki Y, Merfeld E, Doucette E, Grella SL, Murawski NJ, Shpokayte M, Ramirez S. Mechanisms of Social Modulation of Fear Reinstatement. Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, CA, 2018.

Murawski NJ, Chen B, Hamidi AB, Grella SL, Shpokayte M, Merfeld E, Zaki Y, Doucette E, Ramirez S. Artificially enhancing or suppressing hippocampus-mediated fear memories. Society for Neuroscience, Washington, DC, 2017.

Doucette E, Merfeld E, Zaki Y, Grella SL, Shpokayte M, Murawski NJ, Hamidi AB, Ramirez S. Chronically reactivating positive and negative memories to modulate hedonic and social behaviors. Society for Neuroscience, Washington, DC, 2017.

Hamidi AB, Ota Y, Mardini D, Suarez SL, Wiltgen BJ. Interactions between the hippocampus and cortex during remote memory retrieval. Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, California, 2016.

Hamidi AB, Wiltgen BJ, Pevzner A. The influence of environmental parameters on hippocampal reactivation. Society for Neuroscience, Chicago, Illinois, 2015. 355.23/CC40

Hamidi AB, Pearson B, Malkesman O, Martinowich K, Hunsberger JG, O’Donnell K, Schloesser R, Dold G, Chen G, Manji HK. Temporal Profile of Imipramine and Ketamine in the Learned Helplessness Paradigm. Society of Biological Psychiatry, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 2008

AY Taha, HW Kim, AB Hamidi, T Tragon, E Ramadan, G Chen, SI Rapoport, J.S Rao: Chronic N-methyl D- aspartate Administration Induces “Bipolar-like” Behavioral Changes in Rats. International Brain Research Organization, Florence, Italy. July 2011.