Anna Fiorentino

Anna is an award-winning storyteller with a strong grasp of human interest specializing in science, outdoors, and travel. She applies journalistic principles to promote brands, boil down research, and narrate stories. Her work has appeared in National Geographic online, Outside Magazine online, Maine Magazine, the Boston Globe Magazine, the Boston Globe Travel, and the Portland Press Herald, as well as publications at leading research institutes including MIT, Harvard University, Harvard Medical School, the Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard, Partners In Health, Dartmouth College, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and the Society of Automotive Engineers International. 

Travel and Culture

Your love for fresh oysters can help the planet

We drop anchor and I learn the trick to the perfect shuck—gently work the knife into the back hinge—and slurp the freshest oyster I’ve ever tasted. The mollusk was harvested minutes earlier from the lineup of floating cages beside our boat in this secluded section of Maine’s Casco Bay. “There’s a freshwater spring off Upper Goose Island that drains out right into the farm and cuts the salinity, so our oyster is much more bright and balanced, with a light cucumber finish,” says Cameron Barner, a

Portraits on Monhegan

The salt air fills my lungs, awakening memories my mom shared of sailing in a small wooden boat on this same route from Port Clyde with her family as a child. I learned for myself, seven years ago, that it was everything she’d promised. On the coastline ahead, each new view of lobster boats, umbrellas over open-air easels, the jagged cliffs, and wild rambling gardens emerges more beautifully than the last. And again, I grab my bag and walk off the ferry up the dusty path to Monhegan’s Island Inn.

Underwater Exposure

There must have been 50 of them, staring straight at us like they expected a treat—their slippery, barrel-shaped bodies beaching on the rocks and playfully bobbing up and down on the choppy saltwater. “You can identify seals by the shape of their heads. The harbor seal’s is smaller and looks more like a dog,” says Brian Skerry. “The grey seal’s looks more like a horse.” He would know. Skerry has spent a good chunk of his adult life on or under the water, photographing aquatic animals. Short of having gills, he belongs in the ocean.

How to save a lighthouse? Sleep in one.

At moonrise, Lorraine Coyle likes to climb the five flights of stairs to the gallery deck of the lantern room at Borden Flats Lighthome located 1,500 feet off the coast of Massachusetts. “The flag is flapping in the wind, seagulls fly by at eye level, and there’s nothing like the sound of a foghorn,” says Coyle, a New Yorker and frequent guest at this offshore lighthouse at the mouth of the Taunton River. Built in 1881, Borden Flats once guided steamships into the bustling textile mill port of

Celebrating Natalie Rines Terry, Sugarloaf’s Most Beloved Instructor

In a ski lodge basement at Sugarloaf Mountain, Maine, the contents of Natalie Rines Terry’s locker sit exactly as they were left last spring after she passed away from natural causes, on April 22, 2020, at 96 years old. There’s a snowflake beanie, a fleece, and a commemorative pin. Not far away, her official gravestone reads “Sugarloafer Since 1951, Lifetime Member of PSIA (Professional Ski Instructors of America).” Beginning in the late 1930s, Rines Terry skied with grit through a time when gi

All is not lost at The Lost Kitchen, as chef Erin French adjusts and reinvents, yet again

She tells me everything’s riding on this tiny house and two more tucked a stone’s throw away along a pond in the woods of Maine, since her world-renowned 44-seat restaurant , named one of Time Magazine’s Greatest Places in 2018, hasn’t reopened in COVID. Private cabin dining will start this spring, and eventually transition into overnight glamping, as part of French’s COVID plan to keep business going. Over the past year, outdoor patio lunches and a few dinners, and popular farmer’s and online m

New life for old school buses (and their owners)

I first met the roadies walking back to my old Honda Accord, which at that time last fall was stuffed to the gills with clothes, my bike, and whatever else I’d shoved in for those two-week trips between my Maine crashpad and my Boston apartment, and on assignment in between. It was becoming less clear which was home, and, there in the parking lot of The Rack ski bar passing through Carrabassett Valley, I heard Rackley holler over, “Come say hi!” Making two new friends at that time was like hitti

Backcountry Legends

Seth Wescott glides off the chairlift into whipping winds above the frosted treeline. He releases his boots and slings a snowboard emblazoned with an old-school insignia over his shoulder. You could make out that Winterstick trident from the top of Sugarloaf’s nearby ice-covered tower. Wescott trudges up the Snowfields to the summit and back down over rocks and between tree stumps until he’s standing alone in a quiet playground of natural snow, and his only friend around is the wild and remote side-country terrain of Burnt Mountain and Brackett Basin. He straps back in, and he flies.

Camp Has Made All the Difference

They were half-siblings pulled apart as kids and placed in separate households, one winding through a reel of foster parents, the other living with her grandmother. For the most part, they went about their separate lives—until they met at summer camp. Their story isn’t as lighthearted as the one we watched in The Parent Trap, but it ends well. It unfolds at a place where waiting lists don’t apply, and a bigger paycheck won’t get you in.

Inheriting the Craft

“The most important tool when you’re building boats is your eye. The same goes for writing,” says Temple, who earned an English degree from Bates College in 2002. “In both cases you can really tell whether it feels right.” Why Temple chose the boat building side of the family business is written on a plank nailed onto the barn: “If a man must be obsessed by something, I supposed a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most. A small sailing craft is not only beautiful, it is seductive and full of strange promise and the hint of trouble.” The words are borrowed from “The Sea and the Wind That Blows,” an essay by Temple’s great-grandfather and longtime Mainer, the late, great writer E.B. White. Joel White is E.B White’s son, and Martha White is his granddaughter.

Seed Money

What has the mob in the paddock so docile isn’t entirely clear at first: it could be Eleanor Kinney, or the white bucket she is swinging in front of the flock. The 13 sheep crowd in as Kinney reaches for a handful of oats, a treat on Hart Farm in Bremen. “They are very vocal; they talk to me all the time,” says Kinney, who is flaxen-haired and petite. “Luna is my bottle baby. As a lamb, she wasn’t nursing so I’d come out every night with a headlamp on to feed her, and she’d come running. Lily is the matriarch, and Agora is the friendliest. Winter is the most beautiful.”In a week, Winter’s coat, like the others’, will be shorn and dyed with marigolds and indigo from the yard so Kinney’s daughter, Eloise Kelly, can weave scarves and blankets from the yarn while away at college. Kinney sets down the bucket of feed by the gate, walks toward the barn, and the flock follows. For six years this loyal, collective “carbon neutral lawn mower” has been roaming her 650 acres—the land that’s not conservation forest—overlooking Biscay Pond.

A Peak At Sunday River

Just off the access road, not far from ski-bum meccas and rental shops, across a bridge over river rock, a dormer peaks up from a bend in Vista Road. Only upon turning down the driveway on the flipside of that curve does it become clear that the humble roof attaches to a 4,500-square-foot contemporary log chalet. Inside that peak, 23-foot ceilings and a wall of windows provide a prime view of the main attraction off the backside of the hidden house: Sunday River. Framed by white birch trees and pines, which were also used throughout construction of the five-bedroom log cabin, sit sweeping views of the mountain’s gnarliest run, White Heat, on the most westerly of its eight peaks, Whitecap. In the winter the barren view extends to trails on Locke and Barker. But the mountain, just two miles away, is only half of the draw of this Newry home.

Science and Technology

Filters & Sorting

New genetic test for heart attack risk launched for patients at Mass General

The original paper co-authored by Khera and others, published in 2018 in Nature Genetics, showed how polygenic scores can accurately estimate genetic risk for five common diseases and identify high-risk individuals who would otherwise go undetected. The researchers then expanded the concept to obesity in a follow-up paper in Cell in 2019, noting that inborn risk begins to affect health as early as four years of age. In both papers, the researchers showed that an algorithm they developed could es

Researchers eye flashy coats of peacock spiders in pursuit of new solar products

What makes their colors pop — almost glow — is the contrast with the tiny spider’s super-black velvet patches, according to a recent paper in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B by Dakota McCoy, a Ph.D. student in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and a researcher in the lab of George Putnam Professor of Biology David A. Haig. McCoy’s research is the first to suggest that the highly absorbent, anti-reflective black surface is characterized by an array of bumps known as “microlenses,” reminiscent of those found in man-made anti-reflective materials.

Combination Immunotherapy Holds Promise for Patients with Rare Bladder Cancer | Dana-Farber

A woman recently came to Bradley McGregor, MD, an oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, in severe pain with extreme fatigue. Her squamous cell bladder cancer, a rare type for which traditional treatment is generally less effective, had advanced, and it appeared that she had no other options. But timing is everything. McGregor was conducting a 16-month clinical trial exploring the effectiveness of an immunotherapy combination drug in patients with advanced rare genitourinary cancers. She b

Resurrecting an Alternative Treatment for NER-Deficient Bladder Cancer Patients | Dana-Farber

Discovering new cancer treatment can sometimes be a matter of connecting the dots between new pathways and old drugs. That was the case in a new paper in the TKTK issue of Clinical Cancer Research co-authored by Kent Mouw MD, PhD, co-director of Dana-Farber’s Bladder Cancer Center. Mouw and his team found a promising way to treat a subset of bladder cancers for patients who can’t tolerate the standard of care — cisplatin chemotherapy. His preclinical findings could lead to a new treatment option

GYN Cancer Report

Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Susan F. Smith Center for Women's Cancers has grown its basic research, early clinical studies, and combination trials to improve outcomes for all patients with gynecologic cancers. Our investigators are exploring the cutting edge of cancer science, studying how to overcome drug resistance, designing a blood test to detect ovarian cancer at its earliest stages, investigating new ways of attacking disease subtypes through targeted treatments, and more. With Dana-Farber’s unique position as a world leader in both cancer research and clinical care, your support is helping put these important scientific findings into action.

Broad pilots childcare center so Broadies can focus on work

Broad postdoctoral fellow Inbal Benhar had been balancing her work as a neuroimmunology researcher with being a parent of three young children, when COVID-19 cases began rising in Massachusetts. Her Broad lab shut down, along with most labs in the Boston area. The Somerville public school, where her five-year-old daughter attended pre-kindergarten, was also closed, and her twin two-year-old sons were at home with her as well. Suddenly, juggling life became a lot more challenging. Finally, in ea

Early seismic waves hold the clue to the power of the main temblor

Scientists will be able to predict earthquake magnitudes earlier than ever before thanks to new research by Marine Denolle, assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences (EPS). “For large-strike slip earthquakes like those that occur on the San Andreas Fault, which are likely to rupture for about 50 seconds, we would be able to predict the final magnitudes 2 to 5 seconds after getting the first seismic wave,” said Denolle, senior author of the study that appeared recentl

Rapamycin reverses some autism behaviors in mice, if given early

New research on autism has found, in a mouse model, that drug treatment at a young age can reverse social impairments. But the same intervention was not effective at an older age. The study is the first to shed light on the crucial timing of therapy to improve social impairments in a condition associated with autism spectrum disorder. The paper, from Boston Children’s Hospital, the University of Texas, Harvard Medical School and Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, was published today in Cell

Hearing Class | Harvard Medical School

A new study by Harvard Medical School researchers sheds light on the molecular repertoire of neurons responsible for encoding sound in the inner ear, which could inform efforts to develop therapeutic strategies to treat or protect against hearing loss. Reporting in Cell on Aug. 2, a team led by Lisa Goodrich, professor of neurobiology at HMS, shows that the class of neurons responsible for transmitting information from the inner ear to the brain is composed of three molecularly distinct subtype

News | New gene therapy strategy for sickle cell disease shows early promise in humans - Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center

Patient with severe disease is symptom-free after gene therapy knocks down BCL11A, restoring fetal hemoglobin production Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center reports positive results treating sickle cell disease in its first patient, using a novel gene therapy approach that induces production of fetal hemoglobin while silencing production of the abnormal sickle form of adult hemoglobin. The research team, led by David A. Williams, MD, will share findings in the trial’

Sensory Refinement | Harvard Medical School

As a child’s growing brain responds to environmental cues such as light or sound, the connections between neurons are strengthened or weakened. Until now, scientists have been in the dark about the molecular mechanisms involved during this largely uncharted period of brain development. Reporting in a study published online in Neuron, researchers at Harvard Medical School have identified the essential role that a protein called Fn14 plays in strengthening or weakening neural connections in mice

EU to Deploy UAV Traffic Management System By 2019

In 2019, U-space will register UAVs and UAV operators, their e-identification, and geo-fencing, with the goal of ultimately leveraging the full economic potential of UAVs (Image source: skyguide). The Geneva-based body that navigates international air services for Switzerland and certain bordering countries, skyguide, joined forces with AirMap unmanned traffic management (UTM) to develop and deploy Europe’s premier national drone traffic management system. The endeavor will be the first national deployment of Europe’s vision for the digital infrastructure to support safe and secure access to European skies for millions of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), in an effort called U-space.

A surgical approach to acute flaccid myelitis | Boston Children's Hospital

In May 2017, a 12-year-old female fell off her bicycle with no immediate signs of injury. A day later, she began complaining of shoulder pain on her left side, where she’d fallen. X-rays taken at an ER near her home in North Carolina were normal. Clinicians diagnosed the patient with a possible sprain and sent her home in a sling. Over the next few months, the patient’s pain persisted despite multiple follow-up appointments with a local orthopedist. With no prognosis, her arm grew weaker and sh

NASA picks Lockheed to build low-boom X-plane

In April, NASA took another major step toward reintroducing supersonic flight with an award to Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company to design, build, and test a supersonic aircraft to reduce sonic boom. This Low-Boom Flight Demonstration (LBFD) mission, set for 2021 completion followed by testing, is leading a government-industry team collecting data that could make supersonic flight over land possible for the first time since the 1973 Federal Aviation Administration ban—and dramatically reducing travel time anywhere in the world.
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Global Health

Need To Know: Social Support

Community health worker supervisor Dyson Francis Seven, left, sits with Nelesi Phirimoni, her sister Agness Dyson and Nelesi's son Charles Phirimoni, during a visit to the family's home in Kalimezako Village in Malawi. Nelesi had an extended stay at PIH-supported Neno District Hospital following the birth of her seventh child, and PIH has continued to accompany the family with food and financial support. Partners In Health staff often talk about the five “S’s” essential to quality health care:

Research: Maternal Care Methods Can Save Lives, Reduce Infection Amid Ebola

Lessons from an innovative Ebola screening and isolation unit for pregnant women, created five years ago in West Africa, could inform maternity care and save lives during the current outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a new study shows. A Partners In Health team opened the groundbreaking isolation unit in November 2014 at Princess Christian Maternity Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone, in collaboration with the country’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation. The need for the unit

Symposium tackles the effects of genes and environment in childhood

October 29, 2019 – Fine particulate matter in the air. Prescription drugs taken by pregnant women. Radiation from CT scans. From before people are born to the time they reach adulthood, they are exposed to countless environmental factors that can influence their long-term health—and possibly the health of their children. Scientists are just starting to piece together the genetic and biological effects of these exposures across generations. On October 18, dozens of experts gathered in the Snyder

A Life-Changing, Lifesaving Hospital

Christophe Millien has distinct memories of delivering babies from women laboring on the cement floor of a dilapidated hospital in Lascahobas, Haiti. When he began working there as Partners In Health’s (PIH) medical director in 2008, basic necessities like beds, electricity, and running water were in short supply. An ultrasound machine, NICU, or sterile operating theater were nowhere to be found. When a patient required an emergency cesarean section, the OB/GYN had to refer her to another hospital. Millien recalls at least one patient who died of a hemorrhage en route to surgery—all because the hospital simply didn’t have funds to build the space or buy the supplies clinicians needed. Over time, Millien advocated for his patients and saw conditions improve at Lascahobas. PIH collaborated with Haiti’s Ministry of Health to support staff, purchase equipment, improve the building’s crumbling infrastructure, and create a more organized system for providing care. Finally, Millien had an operating room where he could perform lifesaving surgeries. But it wasn’t until 2013 that Millien saw the most transformative change. That’s when PIH opened University Hospital in Mirebalais, a 30-minute ride south from Lascahobas. The 300- bed state-of-the-art teaching hospital now houses six operating theaters, a maternal health clinic, NICU, reference laboratory, and more—all of which patients access for free. Millien transferred to University Hospital in 2013 and assumed his new role as director of obstetrics and gynecology. It was a world away from where he began in Lascahobas. There, he and his colleagues had the stuff, space, and systems they needed a social justice organization working to make health care a human right

Research: Study Validates Use of Depression Screening Tool in Rural Mexico

Widely used screening tools proved highly effective in identifying patients suffering from depression in rural communities in Chiapas, the poorest state in Mexico, according to a study conducted by clinicians and volunteers working with , as Partners In Health is known locally. The 2014 study was the first time such tools, known in the mental health field as the PHQ-2 and the PHQ-9, had been used in a rural, marginalized community in Mexico, and indicates how powerful these brief screening tool

Research: Clinic Visits, Diagnoses Increase When Patients Access Free Care in Malawi

A mother recently carried her feverish 3-year-old boy two hours into Dambe Health Center in the hills of the remote district of Neno in southern Malawi. She left with medication for his new diagnosis, one Malawians hear often: Malaria. They’d caught it early this time. If the boy had been sick several years earlier, before the clinic’s opening, the scenario would have played out much differently. The mother might not have been able to take her son to the doctor in the first place. It would’ve t

Research: Hepatitis C Trial Shows Strong Results in Rwanda

A recently published study showed strong success for treating hepatitis C with new antiviral medicine in Rwanda, potentially creating a model for broader treatment plans across the region. Several of the study’s co-authors are affiliated with Partners In Health, which is locally known as and has worked in Rwanda since 2005. The 2017, PIH-led study tracked 300 patients who had 12 weeks of treatment at Rwanda Military Hospital in the nation’s capital, Kigali, and resulted in successful treatment

Research: Health Systems, Like Patients, Can Suffer From Misdiagnosis

As HIV care advanced following the introduction of antiretrovirals, clinicians observed a curious phenomenon: Some patients’ health unexpectedly got worse, rather than better, shortly after they began treatment. It seemed that HIV treatment awakened patients’ immune systems, allowing them to fight ailments that previously had lain dormant, or unchallenged, because HIV had suppressed their body’s ability to respond. This led some doctors to think patients were getting sicker, when actually, they

No Longer Lost in Translation

None of her fellow students teased Maria Smolina, 13, just because she had to sound out simple test words, or because she confused her pronouns. They didn't think it unusual that she still can't get used to the taste of peanut butter or macaroni and cheese. Inside this classroom at Milford's Stacey Middle School, filled exclusively with "English language learner" students, Smolina was enough at ease to share an essay she wrote about her arrival in the United States two years ago. "My mother wa

Older Stories

At its best, IoT for healthcare bolsters data integration

Thanks to more smartphone penetration, improved Wi-Fi capabilities, more built-in sensors and an increased number of wireless devices -- including diagnostic instruments -- IoT is growing into a success story in healthcare organizations. IoT for healthcare is already yielding more efficient, often-automatic data collection and documentation, which could be good news for nurses bogged down with electronic paperwork. Nurses may spend 20% of their time on a shift documenting patient care in electr

Future of AI With Bots

The race is on for software vendors to improve user experiences with chatbots -- a new wave of computer programs that conduct conversations through auditory or text methods. Chatbot development is one frontier confronting artificial intelligence in CRM, as is better lead scoring and automated data entry into CRM records from outside sources, such as email and other back-office systems. Vendors are rushing to improve chatbots before customers tire of their still somewhat unreliable self-service

The Power of Small Cures

When a dog named Carmen was diagnosed with an oral melanoma, there was both bad news and good news. The bad news was that the aggressive tumor could kill her within a few months. The good news was that the black Lab could join a clinical trial of magnetic hyperthermia, a new treatment being developed by the Dartmouth Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence (DCCNE), a collaborative research initiative involving engineers from Thayer School and clinicians from Geisel School of Medicine and Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth.

Colbert Tackles Robotic Dummy

Last month, former Dartmouth football player Elliot Kastner '13 Th'14 mistook an email inviting him and his invention, the “Mobile Virtual Player” (MVP), to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert for spam. He wondered how a germ of an idea by Dartmouth Football Coach Eugene “Buddy” Teevens to eliminate player-on-player contact could manifest into an appearance on the popular CBS TV show—the same week Cate Blanchette, Bill Clinton and Oprah were scheduled. But a few weeks later, there Kastner and Tee

Our Place

Our non-departmental structure and collaborative culture enable faculty to draw on multiple areas of expertise, including entrepreneurship , to address critical human needs. Kelsey Kittelsen ’17 may have been the only girl in her high school class to compete in an egg drop contest, and she’s likely to enter an engineering workforce that skews heavily toward men. But as an undergraduate at Dartmouth, she’s not facing a boys’ club when it comes to engineering. That’s because for the first time i

Device for Climate Change

Early next year, Dartmouth engineering professor Rachel Obbard and her team will become the first to transport sea ice cores from the Arctic to the lab at their original temperature—an important achievement in the effort to better understand climate change. Sea ice, which can be as much as five meters thick, controls the exchange of heat, fluid, gases and chemicals between the ocean and the atmosphere. The loss of thick multiyear sea ice has important implications for the Earth’s climate. “Sea

Mastering Engineering Management

In 1989 Shailesh Chandra Th’91 enrolled as one of four students in Dartmouth’s inaugural Master of Engineering Management (MEM) class with a plan to bring his engineering know-how to a technical management role within a business environment. Did he ever. “The payoff has been very rewarding in the sense that I have undertaken many roles in different organizations that are both within and outside the engineering function,” says Chandra, now senior director of strategy and transformation at Cisco

Fluorescence Guides Tumor Removal

A team from Thayer School of Engineering and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center is among the first to harness fluorescence to prevent tissue damage during brain surgery. Over a decade ago, a group of German doctors discovered that if a patient is given an oral dose of a 5-aminolevulinic acid solution before brain surgery, a chemical reaction will cause certain cells, including cancer cells, to appear fluorescent, allowing them to identify tumors for removal during surgery. But it was Dartmouth

Room to Operate

Imagining what life would be like if medical technologies never advanced is not hard. “We would be dying sooner and of many more diseases if we hadn’t put money and effort into research,” says Keith Paulsen, Thayer’s Robert A. Pritzker Professor of Biomedical Engineering. The value of medical research is why Paulsen and Dr. Sohail Mirza, chair of Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Department of Orthopaedics, have worked together to create the Center for Surgical Innovation (CSI), the nation’s first surgical

BBQ King DennyMike

When people in the Northeast talk about barbecue, they think of putting a burger on a gas grill long enough for it to look like a hockey puck. And while Yankee pot roast may be a few dashes of cayenne pepper away from traditional smoked barbecue brisket, Mainers aren't about to spend 15 hours in front of a barbecue smoker. "New Englanders are in a hurry and that's why barbecue — I mean real barbecue cooking — never caught on," says Dennis Michael Sherman, owner of DennyMike's, a specialty produ
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