Barbara Gastel

2010 John P. McGovern Science and Society AwardGastel

Barbara Gastel, a physician specializing in biomedical writing and editing, is professor of integrative biosciences and of humanities in medicine at Texas A&M University, where she coordinates the master's degree program in science and technology journalism. She earned a B.A. from Yale and an M.D. and an M.P.H. from Johns Hopkins. After medical school, she did an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) mass media fellowship at Newsweek. She then worked at the National Institutes of Health. She also has taught science writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and spent two years as a visiting professor at Beijing Medical University (now Peking University Health Science Center). Before coming to Texas A&M in 1989, she was assistant dean for teaching at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. Gastel is the author of three books: Presenting Science to the Public, Teaching Science: A Guide for College and Professional School Instructors and Health Writer's Handbook. In addition, she co-authored the sixth edition of Robert Day's How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper and is co-authoring the seventh edition. She also has written many articles and chapters on writing, editing, teaching and medical topics. From 1996 through 2007, Gastel directed the U.S. aspect of a program to teach English-language biomedical writing and editing in Asia. Since 2007, she has been Knowledge Community Editor for AuthorAID at INASP (, a program to help researchers in developing countries to write about and publish their work. Gastel is editor of Science Editor, the periodical of the Council of Science Editors. She also is active in the American Medical Writers Association. She has received service awards from these two organizations and is a fellow of the AAAS. In 1996, she was recognized by the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences as an Honored Editor.