About Liza

Visiting Kuma and Kyla,
rescued from poachers as kittens

I’m a veteran journalist who’s written about topics ranging from cougars and autism to astronomy and particle physics. My broad interests landed me on staff at publications as diverse as Wine Spectator, Parenting, Sierra, and the open-access journal PLOS Biology, where I’m a senior editor for the magazine section.

I spent my formative years at Wine Spectator, where I worked on the magazine and edited books and guides. I served as copy chief at Parenting, before moving on to Sierra, where I specialized in toxics and environmental health and produced a special report on environmental links to breast cancer. There, I discovered a latent love of science, which led me to join San Francisco’s Exploratorium as a staff writer. At the Exploratorium, I experimented with novel approaches to science communication and was the lead writer for a collection of exhibits called Traits of Life. Exploratorium founding director Frank Oppenheimer hoped that giving people the tools to understand science would help them make the world a better place for future generations. His vision continues to inspire my work, now as an investigative reporter, in the humble hope that I might illuminate some of Earth’s most pressing problems.


Backpacking, Carson-Iceburg Wilderness, Sierra Nevada



Tagging eagles at the Chilkat Valley Bald Eagle Preserve with USFWS raptor expert Steve Lewis and ecologist Chris Wilmers.

Fellowships and Awards

*2017 NASW Peggy Girsham Idea Grant to produce The Science Writers’ Investigative Reporting Handbook

*2016 AHCJ Award for Excellence in Health Care Journalism, Investigative Reporting, Small Market

*California Civic Data Coalition NICAR Scholarship, 2016

*Journalist Fellow, North American Congress of Conservation Biology 2016

*2015 AHCJ Award for Excellence in Health Care Journalism, Investigative Reporting, Small Market

*2015-2016 California Health Data Journalism Fellow

*ASJA Honorable Mention, Reporting on a Significant Topic, 2015

*ASJA Outstanding Article Award, 2014

*SPJ NorCal, Excellence in Journalism Award, 2014

*NYU Reporting Award, 2013

*California Endowment National Health Journalism Dennis Hunt Fellowship, 2013

*Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Ocean Science Journalism Fellow

*Symposium for Professional Wine Writers at Meadowood Napa Valley Fellow

Speaking engagements, media training

*Panelist, NASW 2016, Hit the Streets: How to bring nonscientists into science stories

*Moderator, SPJ Western Regional Conference 2015, Science Writing and Covering Controversy

*Panelist, Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program, November 2012

*Speaker, Flame Retardant Dilemma, UC Berkeley symposium, February 2012

*Guest speaker, Bay Area Skeptics, Writing about Vaccines When Evidence Doesn’t Matter

*Trainer, California Fall Fellows’ Retreat Robert & Patricia Switzer Foundation COMPASS training 2011

*Invited participant, The Medialization of Science – Trends in the communication of scientific knowledge and their implications for science and society, 2010

*Invited speaker, Center for Interdisciplinary Research, Bielefeld, Germany, Politicisation of Science, 2009

Professional memberships/training
*National Association of Science Writers
*Northern California Science Writers Association
*Society of Environmental Journalists
*Society of Professional Journalists
*Investigative Reporters and Editors
*American Society of Journalists and Authors
*New England Center for Investigative Reporting, Certificate