Patrick Skahill


Patrick Skahill is a reporter at WNPR. He covers science with an emphasis on health care and the environment. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of WNPR's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009 and won a PRNDI award in 2011. 

He writes about science for The Beaker. 

Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He worked for two years as a print reporter at Stonebridge Press in Massachusetts where he covered crime and education. 

A graduate of Villanova University, Patrick holds a bachelor's degree in history with a concentration in Arab & Islamic Studies and a minor in Classical Studies. He holds a master's degree in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago. He knows way too much about Seinfeld and is a devoted fan of comedian Hannibal Burress.

He can be reached by phone at 860-275-7297 or by email:

Jhonnathas Trindade

The failure of two mining dams in southeastern Brazil earlier this month killed around a dozen people and left hundreds displaced. It's also created major environmental and humanitarian fallout in the country, which is being watched by people in Connecticut who hail from this region of Brazil. 

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A nationwide shortage of saline solution, a fluid commonly used in I.V. bags in hospitals, is prompting response from the U.S. Senate. 

Saline solution is, essentially, sterile salt water. It's used in hospitals to hydrate patients and to mix and dilute medication.

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When it comes to giving birth, white women have better health care outcomes than black and Hispanic women. That's according to a new study, which examined hospital re-admission rates following delivery in Connecticut. 

©Signed, Sealed & Undelivered Team, 2015. Courtesy of the Museum voor Communicatie, The Hague, The Netherlands

Deadbeat husbands, horrible bosses, and unplanned pregnancies are just a few of the topics written about in a recently-rediscovered chest found in the Netherlands containing hundreds of late-17th century letters.

A researcher at Yale is examining this "postal treasure trove," which is packed with all sorts of historical artifacts. 

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Governor Dannel Malloy's Council on Climate Change is expected to issue its first report in January. The panel has the goal of helping the state reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 2001 levels over the next 35 years. 

This week, the Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs issued a new report examining how that goal could impact job creation in the state. 

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 A group of doctors, scientists, and engineers announced an ambitious new medical goal this week in Hartford: they'll attempt to re-generate a human knee and a human limb. 

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Let's face it: in Connecticut, even the biggest farms are small. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

The Connecticut Hospital Association launched a new digital campaign this week decrying Governor Dannel Malloy's proposed cuts to hospitals.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

A little after 9 p.m., Joe Ganim took to the stage at Testo's Restaurant in Bridgeport to declare victory.

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A new federal plan for Long Island Sound aims to protect thousands of acres of open space and reduce beach closures caused by sewage leaks.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

An ex-convict could be elected mayor when voters in Bridgeport head to the polls on Tuesday. The city's former Mayor Joe Ganim spent seven years in a federal prison for corruption. Now he's staging a dramatic comeback. He won the city's Democratic primary against a two-term incumbent last month. 

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Cancer that spreads to the brain often results in a terminal diagnosis, but new research out of Yale University School of Medicine says that's not always the case and is pointing toward an even more promising future for genetic testing and personalized medicine.

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A new wood product used in construction could help create greater demand for materials from local forests. Some tree buffs say more desire for New England timber could actually be a good thing for preserving Connecticut woodlands. 

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Look around Connecticut. We don't have fracking for natural gas. There aren't underground oil deposits, and solar energy is just now starting to get popular. All that means when it comes to managing energy that’s often produced out-of-state, Nutmeggers have historically been pretty thrifty. 

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Environmental officials in Connecticut are trying to preserve 21 percent of the state's land as open space in the next eight years. So far, the state is making ample progress toward the goal.

Carter Roberts / NASA

A star in the direction of the constellations Cygnus and Lyra has some astronomers scratching their heads. It's pretty run-of-the mill by stellar standards, but what appears to be passing in front of the star is a bit of a mystery.

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The price to put a solar panel on your home has dropped in recent years, spurring a growth in residential solar energy installations. But at least one researcher said consumers still need to be diligent before deciding to put a panel on their house.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Follow a stream in Connecticut and eventually, you're likely to encounter a dam.

Patrick Lynch/Yale University

Earth is home to thousands of different species of birds with an amazing array of behaviors, body types, and colors. For biologists studying evolution, that diversity has presented a fundamental question: How did so many different types of birds evolve? And how do they relate? 

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As NASA contemplates more voyages exploring our inner solar system, it’s tapping the talents of some scientists here in Connecticut. One scientist hopes to send a probe to Venus.

Wesleyan University / Canada Gairdner Global Health Award

One of the three recipients of the Nobel Prize in Medicine refined his award-winning discovery while studying at Wesleyan University in Middletown. Satoshi Omura won the prize for his work unearthing a compound later developed into the drug Ivermectin.

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Agricultural developments in the mid-20th century catapulted the farming industry to new levels of production. But that "green revolution" also fostered a population boom that's once again forcing farmers to innovate. 

Consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader recently opened a museum filled with items like defective toys and unsafe machines all tied together under a unifying theme: tort law.

Unless you're a lawyer, you might not quite know the exact meaning of the word tort.

"It's a wrongful injury," Nader says. "It's a wrongful act that injures people and deserves a remedy."

Office of John Boehner

Politicians from across Connecticut have been listening to the message of Pope Francis this week and now they're reacting to a world leader whose message seeks to avoid the partisanship endemic to Washington, D.C. 

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In an ambitious goal, the EPA said it would like to reduce the amount of food tossed into trash bins 50 percent by 2030. It's looking like one big byproduct of that goal will be a growing market for methane in Connecticut. 

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Americans could be throwing away a lot more trash than government officials estimate according to a new study out of Yale University. 

Meagan Racey / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A partnership to protect Connecticut's only native rabbit appears to be working, which means the New England cottontail will not need protection under the Endangered Species Act. 

TASER International

A lot of scientific research has focused on what police Tasers physically do to the body, but little has looked at how they impact the way people think. Now, results from a new study out of Arizona State University suggest police officers should look more carefully at how quickly they question a suspect after a Taser deployment. 


Deep underwater, about 150 miles off the coast of New England, lie majestic mountains and rock formations deeper than Arizona's Grand Canyon. The area is home too lots of marine life, and now, there's a new effort afoot to preserve that space. 

Carl Safina

What, exactly, do animals think and feel? That's the question at the heart of a new book by Carl Safina, an ecologist who traveled to Kenya, the Pacific Northwest, and Yellowstone to research his latest work, Beyond Words.