Richard is a trained neuroscientist with more than a decade of research experience. He attended Harvard College, graduating cum laude with high honors in neurobiology, and obtained his doctorate in neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University. He has studied the effects of antidepressants on fighting fruit flies, dissected fly brains as a visiting scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology in Martinsried, Germany, and measured neural activity in mice as they ran on treadmills. His work led to an improved understanding of how the cerebellum, a brain structure traditionally thought to be involved only in movement, also unexpectedly influences the brain’s auditory system.
A passion for writing prompted Richard to leave academia to pursue a career in science journalism. He has written about the complexity of elephant trunks, optical illusions, the mental health benefits of reading and what a giant lily pad can teach us about building design. His work has appeared in the New York Times, National Geographic, Scientific American, Discover Magazine and New Scientist. He has co-authored academic papers published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Plos One and the Journal of Community Psychology.
Richard has worked as a fact-checker for Vox podcasts, including the award-winning science podcast “Unexplainable.” He was a researcher for National Geographic’s Brain Games: On the Road TV show and served as a communications specialist at the International Arts + Mind Lab at Johns Hopkins’s Brain Science Institute.
Richard is the president of the D.C. Science Writers Association and co-founder of the Johns Hopkins Science Policy Group, which advocates for evidence-based policies that advance science and safeguard public health.
Richard grew up in East Amherst, N.Y. He lives in Baltimore with his partner, a medical illustrator, and in his spare time enjoys rock climbing, playing board games and spending time with their cats, Bruce and Richard (who, he is quick to note, was already named before they met.)
Richard’s first day is Monday, Aug. 29.