Journalism, Writing & Digital Content

Virgin Islands (U.S.)


Writer specializing in science and health



Researcher with FSHD Awarded MDA Funding

Like many pre-medical students, Justin Cohen discovered along the way that what he really liked was research. However, unlike others who exchange the stethoscope for a microscope, Justin had a strikingly different motivating factor—he has been living with the disease he studies, facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), for almost as long as he can remember.

Do You Know ALS? Diagnosing the Disease is an Odyssey.

While most visits to the doctor lead to a quick diagnosis, the same is not so for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). On average, getting an ALS diagnosis takes 12 months—a long time, considering that on average, ALS patients live for only two to five years after diagnosis. Some might call the process a diagnostic odyssey, in fact.

The immune system, microglia, and the brain

The immune system is, in a word, a wonderful thing. When activated, the innate immune system produces all sort of molecules that can engulf pathogens (macrophages), tag infectious molecules for destruction (antibodies), and signal cells to become responsive (cytokines).
NNR (LabX Media Group) Link to Story

Microbes, mood, and mental health

Everyone has had a “gut feeling”—some liken it to “butterflies” in the stomach before a stressful event, while others deem it a type of intuition—and scientists are bringing this age-old phenomenon into the present-day lab in order to better understand how mental health disorders arise and how they might be treated better.
NNR (LabX Media Group) Link to Story

Personalized Medicine Is Coming to Addiction Treatment

Most drugs have a significant rate of failure. In the pharmaceutical industry, it is widely understood that some 90% of all medicines work adequately in only 30% to 50% of patients. This results in staggering waste in the quality of care for individuals and and costs to the healthcare system. But for people with addiction, the problem is especially acute because there are so few effective drugs available. In addition, the drugs likely have subpar effectiveness, working in a smaller than average percentage of people and with only modest effects.
Pacific Standard Link to Story

Cut the Stigma

Disease comes with stigma, there’s no denying that. In the 1950s, if you got “The Cancer,” you told no one outside your immediate family. HIV has lost some of its stigma since the 1980s—thanks to tireless advocacy work on behalf of those most affected by it. However, in Africa, it still carries burden. Ebola in West Africa has brought out some of the worst ,and best, in people. So, it’s not surprising that today mental health disorders, including addiction, carry stigma before, during, and after recovery.
The Fix Link to Story

Ten Studies That Shook the Addiction World

Over the past decade, addiction has come out of the shadows and into popular culture as never before. This is a time when the very definition of addiction is hotly contested, and we appear to be a tipping point where the “spiritual” framing of addiction is fast yielding to the “scientific” one. Some of us wonder what has taken so long.
AlterNet Link to Story

Boozy Genes—The Making of an Alcoholic?

Alcoholism has long been known to run in families. In fact, based on previous twin studies, more than 50% of the overall risk can be attributed to inheritance. This suggests that genetics plays a role. But, how?
The Fix Link to Story

Erasing Your Traumas

There are, undoubtedly, many memories that addicts would love to forget. For most recovering addicts and alcoholics, encountering the so-called “people, places, and things” that remind them of using bring on the strongest cravings. Research has shown that repeated exposure to these cues—and then not getting to use—may temporarily ease cravings, but the association returns over time.
The Fix Link to Story

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorders

Statistics don’t lie: co-occurring mental disorders and addiction—also called dual diagnosis—go hand in hand. In fact, according to several long-standing epidemiological studies, 50% of general psychiatric patients also have a substance use disorder. That's a harrowing 8.9 million adults, with only 7.4% of individuals receiving treatment for both conditions, this according to The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
The Huffington Post Link to Story

How to Isolate and Treat Protracted Withdrawal Symptoms

No one said recovery would be easy. And for the majority of addicts and alcoholics, detox is just the beginning. While addiction specialists may know about post-acute withdrawal syndrome (protracted withdrawal syndrome), or PAWS, many addicts and much of the public do not. Understanding the lingering effects of substance abuse can go a long way toward educating addicts about relapse prevention and maybe most importantly, giving them hope that this, too, shall pass.
The Huffington Post Link to Story

A Shot against Breast Cancer

A recently conducted study in mice may someday help doctors develop new treatments for breast cancer. The results, which were published in Science Translational Medicine earlier this month, suggest that it may be possible to stop some abnormal growths from going on to becoming potentially life-threatening tumors.
Scientific American Link to Story



I am a writer who specializes in science and health. Areas I have focused on include addiction, mental health, and neuromuscular disease.

I have written journalistic stories for both consumer and trade publications. I have written and edited technical documents for leading biotechnology companies Thermo Fisher Scientific, Agilent Technologies, and GE Healthcare.

I also have expertise in digital content management. I have written and edited marketing and product content as well as blog posts for biotechnology and interactive agency clients.

I earned my BA in biology from Northwestern University and MS in journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.


Medical content (Muscular Dystrophy Association blog)
FDA Accepts NS Pharma’s NDA for Viltolarsen for the Treatment of DMD Amenable to Exon 53 Skipping
Roche Genentech Announces Positive Results from Pivotal Study of Risdiplam in SMA Type 1
Antisense Therapeutics Announces Positive Results from Phase 2 Study of ATL1102 in DMD

Science journalism
Cornerstone Recovery Center
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
Neuroscience News & Research
Promises Behavioral Health
Scientific American
Scientific American–eBooks
The Fix

Syndicated on:
Pacific Standard
The Huffington Post