Amber Dance

Science Journalist

Member since May 2023

Amber Dance is an award-winning freelance science journalist based in Southern California. She is a contributor at Knowable Magazine and directs the New Horizons science program at the Sciencewriters annual conference for the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. She is the president of the SoCal Science Writing group. She also edits books.

After earning a doctorate in biology, Amber Dance re-trained in journalism as a way to engage her broad interest in science and share her enthusiasm with readers. She mainly writes about life sciences, but also enjoys getting out of her comfort zone with topics such as desert astrophysics or glacial archaeology. She can tailor her work for audiences ranging from high schoolers to scientific experts. Check out some recent favorite clips.

Over the past several years, she trained in editing of articles and books via a variety of courses with UCLA Extension and the Editorial Freelancers Association. As an editor, she strives to help each author meet their own unique goals. She helps writers maintain their own voices while making their story or message clear, concise, and appropriate for the intended audience. Learn more about editing services here.


The tale of the domesticated horse

The beloved animal has shaped human history over millennia, just as people have influenced its evolution—but only recently have scientists discovered exactly when and where it went from wild to tame.

Knowable, May 4, 2022 


The truth about gain-of-function research


Granting new abilities to pathogenic microbes sounds dangerous, but what has the research told us?

Nature, October 28, 2021


Pencils down: The year pre-college tests went away


Many colleges and universities stopped requiring the SAT and ACT during Covid. Will they go back to testing in the future? Select (a) Yes (b) No (c) Depends (d) Not enough information.

Knowable, July 13, 2021

ASJA Excellence in Reporting Award


TEM of avian infectious bronchitis virus

The incredible diversity of viruses

They’re everywhere virologists look, and they’re not all bad. Scientists are beginning to identify and classify the nonillions of viruses on the planet and their contributions to global ecosystems.

Nature, July 1, 2021

ASJA Honorable Mention, Trade


Chlamydomonas TEM 07

The mysterious microbes at the root of complex life

As scientists learn more about enigmatic archaea, they’re finding clues about the origin of the complex cells that make up people, plants and more.

Nature, May 20, 2021


Embryo, 8 cells

Life Force

Scientists are pushing forward their understanding of mechanical forces in the body, from embryo to adult.

Nature, January 14, 2021

Hear this story aloud on the Nature podcast.


102-0245 IMG

The Race to Deliver the Hypoallergenic Cat

Researchers are looking beyond allergy shots to help people whose pets make them sneeze.

Nature Outlook, December 2, 2020



I Got the Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccine. Or Maybe Not.

OPINION: Many Americans say they won’t take a vaccine. As a trial volunteer, I am not one of them.

Knowable, November 10, 2020



The New Neuroscience of Stuttering

After centuries of misunderstanding, research has finally tied the speech disorder to certain genes and brain alterations—and new treatments may be on the horizon.

Knowable, September 2, 2020



COVID-19 Vaccines Get Biotech Boost

Advances in vaccine technology are accelerating the race to stop the coronavirus—and other pathogens, too.

Nature Technology, July 23, 2020


Barbed and Tanged Arrowhead

The FBI’s Repatriation of Stolen Heritage

When the bureau’s Art Theft Program teamed up with a cultural anthropologist to investigate one man’s private collection, they belong a yearlong project to return cultural objects and human remains to their rightful homes.

Sapiens, June 24, 2020


Baby wearing hat and babygrow

Survival of the Littlest

Babies born before 28 weeks of gestation are surviving into adulthood at higher rates than ever. What are the consequences, in later life, of being born so early?

Nature, June 4, 2020


Mouse white background

Manipulating Memory

Strategies to make lab animals forget, remember, or experience false recollections probe how memory works and may inspire treatments for neurological diseases.

The Scientist, May, 2020

ASJA Award, Trade


Chromosome X

The Great Escape

Genes that avoid X inactivation have roles in cancer and autoimmune disease.

The Scientist, March, 2020



Regeneration: The Amphibian’s Opus

Certain salamanders can regrow lost body parts. How do they do it? And could people someday do the same?

Knowable, January 29, 2020


386px-Apósito adhesivo.svg

The Unexpected Diversity of Pain

It comes in many types that each require specialized treatment. Scientists are starting to learn how to diagnose the different varieties.

Knowable, January 16, 2020



Feel the Force

After decades of puzzling over how cells sense touch and pressure, scientists are zooming in on the proteins responsible.

Nature, January 9, 2020


Staghorn coral

Hope for Coral Reefs

The ocean is warming and reefs are fading. But optimistic marine scientists are working to keep some corals alive until the climate stabilizes.

Nature, November 28, 2019


Cells Nibble One Another

Trogocytosis—a word derived from the Greek for “gnaw” or “nibble”—entails one cell nipping bits off another. Researchers are seeing it in a diverse set of organisms and processes.

PNAS Front Matter, September 3, 2019


Loom Israel

Threads of Time

Archaeologists are learning how ancient clothing, shrouds and even Viking sails might have been made.

Science News, August 31, 2019


Trichomonas Giemsa DPDx

A Tricky Parasite

Trichomonas vaginalis enlists helpers to battle the immune system.

Science News, April 27, 2019

I discuss this story on the Scienced! podcast.


Night Visions

Many animals once thought to have poor sight in low light use nervous-system tricks to see brilliantly in the dark.

Scientific American, May 2019 (paywall)



The Pain Gap

After decades of assuming that pain works in the same way in all sexes, scientists are finding that different biological pathways can produce an ‘ouch!’.                                       

Nature,  March 28, 2019

I discuss this story on the Nature podcast.

Suggested journalists

  • Managing Editor
  • United States

Guia Baggi

  • Independent journalist
  • Italy

Farhana Haque Nila

  • Senior Reporter
  • Bangladesh

Max Barnhart

  • Freelance Journalist
  • United States