Who we are

HELIX is both an online magazine and a training program to support skills development for early-career scientists. Our content is primarily created by researchers, with the support of our professional editorial staff. At HELIX, we work to bridge the gap between the lab and lay audience by teaching scientists how to communicate effectively with the public and share their fascinating stories. 

Content on HELIX is authored by Northwestern faculty, students and staff across a range of disciplines from nanotechnology to epigenetics to psychology. The articles and blog posts aim to shed light on the incredible research being conducted at Northwestern and throughout the world, and provide a platform for scientists and researchers to hone their writing and storytelling skills.

HELIX Magazine is produced by Science in Society, a Northwestern University research center dedicated to science outreach and public engagement. Find out about the center's other science education and communication initiatives (like science writing courses and community outreach) here. To receive updates from the center and the magazine, sign up for our monthly newsletter.

We welcome any questions or comments you may have about the site. Please feel free to email the site administrators at scienceinsociety@northwestern.edu.


Members of the scientific research community at Northwestern (including the social sciences) are welcome to become magazine contributors. Many of our contributors are graduate students, but undergraduates, postdocs, and research faculty and staff are welcome, too!

All contributors receive one-on-one guidance in writing for the public over multiple drafts, culminating in publicly accessible (and widely publicized) articles and blog posts published online.

Writers can stay for one piece or for years, and after at least three published pieces may apply to become regular contributors with monthly assignments like those folks below. Since starting in 2008, we've worked with hundreds of contributors (take a look!). We welcome any Northwestern scientists interesting in writing about their own work as well as those looking to write (and think!) about something other than life in the lab.

Interested? First, read a few pieces and get a feel for HELIX. If you like what you see, Northwestern affiliates interested in contributing to the magazine can meet with the editor to discuss the process and their potential involvement anytime. Often, there is a waitlist but we host information sessions and briefings throughout the academic year and take on new writers at the beginning of each academic quarter (including summer).


Sara Grady is an editor, author, and teacher of science writing. She regularly gives talks and workshops on storytelling in science and the science OF storytelling. She grew up wanting to be Bill Nye but found a much more rewarding career training scientists to tell their own stories widely and well. sara.grady@northwestern.edu

Editorial Assistant

Paige Edmiston loves science history and writing and supports HELIX with website management, publication calendars, and permissions. She's currently a member of the communications teams at Science in Society and MATTER, where she shares contemporary science with the public in all sorts of ways.

Regular Contributors

Alane Lim Alane is a materials science graduate student at Northwestern University, making stretchy compounds that conduct electricity. She has always loved writing in its many incarnations—from science articles to poetry—and is interested in the intersection of science and the humanities. As such, she has edited and/or written for a number of venues, from an undergraduate public health journal to a team aiming to send a robot to the moon. She began writing for HELIX in 2016 and often writes on physical science and psychology. 


Unless otherwise stated, the HELIX content is owned by its author and used with exclusive permission for a time-limited period. If you'd like to syndicate or link to HELIX work, feel free to get in touch with our editor (we don't charge, we just track permissions). Photos are credited and used with permission or under creative commons. If you see an error or would like to submit a correction, please email the editor. 

The opinions expressed are those of their author and not necessarily those of HELIX magazine, Science in Society, Northwestern University or our affiliates and partners.

Interested in writing for HELIX?
We take on new writers a few times a year. Submit this form to express your interest. 

Who we are

Sara Grady
Editor & Publisher

Sara Grady’s public engagement work with museums, libraries, festivals and cultural centers has taken her all over the world. Her interest lies in the intersections between science and culture, from public discourse and policy to art-science collaborations. 

As a teacher, publisher and... expand

Rebecca Daugherty, PhD
Assistant Director

Rebecca earned her PhD in cell biology from Northwestern University in 2011. While a graduate student, Rebecca volunteered with the after school science program, Science Club, at the Pedersen-McCormick Boys & Girls Club, where she developed a passion for working with at-risk youth. She has... expand

Michael Kennedy, PhD

Michael Kennedy received his bachelor's degree in chemistry from Saint John's University in 1991, followed by his doctorate in biochemistry from the Mayo Clinic in 1997. He then moved to Northwestern University, where his postdoctoral work focused on the biophysical properties of cationic lipids... expand

Susmitha Kowligy
Science Education Fellow

Susmitha Kowligy recently graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign with a BS in Molecular and Cellular Biology and minors in Chemistry and Social Work.  Her interests include global health, neuroscience, and integrating science with the humanities. A passion for science... expand

Brett Pepowski
Science Education Fellow

Brett Pepowski recently graduated from the University of Chicago with a BA in Biology. Brett is especially interested in science communication, microbiology, public health, and ecology and other hobbies include hiking, technical theatre, and playing percussion in a band.

Joe Frumkin
Science Education Fellow

Joe Frumkin recently graduated with his M.S. in Biology from DePaul University where his research focused on shark hunting behavior. Although he has researched a multitude of organisms from salamanders to bats, his passion is getting youth active in science and engaging them in research through... expand

Allison Grecco
Science Education Fellow

Allison Grecco received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from DePaul University, with a concentration in Ecology and Evolution. She is passionate about science outreach, STEM education, and citizen science initiatives. In her spare time, Allison enjoys hiking, playing piano, and exploring... expand

Ben Smith
Science Education Fellow

Ben Smith recently graduated from Northwestern with a degree in Economics and is beginning medical school at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern next fall. In addition to the sciences, he is interested in the economics of healthcare and community health, especially within Chicago. He... expand

SiS Design and Programming Team:


Harlan Wallach, Architect for Media Technologies, NUIT Academic Technologies
Rodolfo Viera, Web and Mobile Applications Developer, NUIT Academic Technologies
Alex Miner, Web and Mobile Applications Developer, NUIT Academic Technologies
Nick Gertonson, Web and Mobile Applications Developer, NUIT Academic Technologies

Science in Society is supported by Northwestern University’s Office for Research.