Pien Huang

Pien Huang is NPR's first Reflect America Fellow, working with shows, desks and podcasts to bring more diverse voices to air and online. She's a former producer for WBUR/NPR's On Point and was a 2018 Environmental Reporting Fellow with The GroundTruth Project at WCAI in Cape Cod, covering the human impact on climate change. As a freelance audio and digital reporter, Huang's stories on the environment, arts and culture have been featured on NPR, the BBC, and PRI's The World.

Huang's experiences span categories and continents. She was executive producer of Data Made to Matter, a podcast from the MIT Sloan School of Management, and was also an adjunct instructor in podcasting and audio journalism at Northeastern University. She worked as a project manager for public artist Ralph Helmick to help plan and execute The Founder's Memorial in Abu Dhabi, and with Stoltze Design to tell visual stories through graphic design. Huang has traveled with scientists looking for signs of environmental change in Cameroon's frogs, in Panama's plants, and in the ocean water off the ice edge of Antarctica. She has a degree in environmental science and public policy from Harvard.

Every day, as many as 500 babies in sub-Saharan Africa are born with HIV. Standard practice in many of these countries is to give them treatment if they test positive, but not for weeks or even months after they're born. The concern is that newborns can't tolerate the powerful drugs.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Every day, as many as 500 babies in sub-Saharan Africa are born with HIV. Now a study out of Botswana finds that if newborns are given treatment right away, the virus becomes almost undetectable. NPR's Pien Huang reports.

You'd think that as a poor country grows wealthier, more of its children would get vaccinated for preventable diseases such as polio, measles and pneumonia.

But a review published in Nature this month offers a different perspective.

You might think that the more you clean, the less germy your home is.

That's what Laura-Isobel McCall, a biochemist at the University of Oklahoma, thought she'd find when she started comparing microbes between rural and urban homes in Peru and Brazil.

"We expected that all the microbes would actually become less diverse with urbanization, and that's not at all what we found for the fungi," she says.

Alexandra Chen was a trauma specialist working in Lebanon and Jordan when she noticed that a specific group of kids were struggling in schools.

Chen kept getting referrals for refugee students who had fled the war in Syria. They were having trouble focusing and finishing schoolwork. Some had even dropped out of school.

Better vaccines, nutrition and disease control have cut the global death rate for children in half over the past 20 years. But even within countries that have made major progress, children can face greatly different fates.

"Where you're born substantially impacts your probability of surviving to 5," says Simon Hay, an epidemiologist at the University of Washington who is the lead author of a new study on childhood mortality in Nature.

Viktoriia Radchuk, an evolutionary ecologist at Berlin's Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, wanted to know how animals were responding to climate change.

So she scoured the results of more than 10,000 animal studies — on species from frogs to snakes, from insects to birds to mammals — looking for information on how changing environments were affecting animal behavior. Based on the available data, she decided to focus on birds in the Northern Hemisphere.

Precision medicine is the field of dreams for human health. Drugs and treatments that would take into account a person's individual DNA configurations, as well as lifestyle and environment, would presumably be better tailored to each person's needs. Still, while the goal of precision medicine is to help everybody, the current research available has a major flaw. It's largely based on the genes of people who are predominantly of white and European descent.

Brian Lapointe, a research professor at Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, has spent his career studying corals at the Looe Key Reef, in a National Marine Sanctuary in the Florida Keys.

Over that time, he's witnessed an alarming trend. In the past 20 years, half of Florida corals have died off.

The world's glaciers are melting faster than before, but it still takes decades to see changes that are happening at a glacial pace.