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:

Flickr Creative Commons / DNA Art Online

Precision medicine includes all the stuff that makes you, you -- your DNA, the stuff inside your gut, your family history -- into medical care.

Now, President Barack Obama wants to funnel $215 million into a "Precision Medicine Initiative," with the hope of one day incorporating things like a person’s genome into everyday medical treatment. 

ramseybuckeye / Flickr Creative Commons

The state is proposing changes to how towns and cities deal with storm water that runs into rivers and streams. The rules would change requirements for some towns around things like street sweeping and catch basin cleanups.

Connecticut Innocence Project

The state of Connecticut has awarded $6 million to a man who was wrongfully imprisoned. Kenneth Ireland served more than two decades in prison --- for a rape and murder that he did not commit.

Wikimedia Commons

Yale researchers have developed a new way to biologically contain genetically modified organisms, a finding that could have future impacts in agriculture and medicine.

Wikimedia Commons

When Art Linares wanted to buy a Tesla, it wasn't as easy as walking into a store and taking a test drive. Instead, he had to go to New York -- because in Connecticut, it's illegal for a car manufacturer to sell directly to a customer.

"It prevents companies like Mercedes and BMW from creating their own stores, so they have to go through a dealership," said Linares, who's no ordinary customer -- he's a state senator for the 33rd District.

Linares wants to change those dealership laws for at least for one company, Tesla, which has a world-wide policy of selling directly to customers. "What we're trying to do here in Connecticut is make an exemption for Tesla to be able to open up their own stores and sell their cars," he said.

Wikimedia Commons

Plum Island, an 840-acre land mass in Long Island Sound, is becoming a focal point for environmentalists. That's because of government plans to sell the island to fund the construction of a new USDA animal-testing center. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

When it comes to space, there’s a lot to be excited about. Telescopes are scanning the farthest reaches of our galaxy and we’re learning more than ever before about the origins of planets.

Kaiser Health News

Open enrollment for the second year of the Affordable Care Act ends in one month, but how many people have signed up so far? 

Weston Observatory / Twitter

Have you been feeling the earth move?

In what's becoming a daily event, a minor earthquake has shaken parts of eastern Connecticut.

Guido Gerding / Wikimedia Commons

Back in 2011, a few things changed for PURA, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. Its staff was cut, and it developed a closer relationship with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Some of PURA's budget and its hiring authority shifted over to DEEP, and the move changed the way the board does its main job: reviewing the performance of power companies.

Mara Lavitt / WNPR

A member of the Kennedy family will now be heading up the state's environment committee. In the upcoming legislative session, Ted Kennedy, Jr., a newly-elected Senator from Branford, said he'll be tackling everything from pesticide use to pollution in Long Island Sound.

Playing Futures: Applied Nomadology / Creative Commons

The reform is the first of its kind in the nation, and it works like this: every time police fire a Taser, they'll have to file a "use of force report."

"It's a very thorough report," said David McGuire with the ACLU of Connecticut. "It goes through the person's race, their age, their height, their weight; how the Taser was used; what mode it was used in; how many times it was fired; whether the person had an injury; whether medical assistance was provided."

Wikimedia Commons

This year's flu shot might not work as well as in previous years, so focus is now on a new vaccine created in Connecticut.

NASA's Earth Observatory/Jesse Allen

We know that technology and price can drive electricity demand, but what about culture?

Creative Commons / angeloangelo

Legislators and lobbyists are calling for the state's largest electric utility to lower its fixed residential charge with a new proposal that would set Connecticut Light and Power's fixed rate at $10.00 a month.

Huntstock / Thinkstock

Meriden-based Protein Sciences has completed work on a preliminary Ebola vaccine, and will ship its creation to the National Institutes of Health on Monday.

A. Marinkovic / Creative Commons

A Wesleyan astronomer has just returned from a conference in Tokyo, Japan, where she discussed research from the ALMA space telescope -- a radio observatory partly funded by the National Science Foundation -- which is just finishing construction.

John Phelan / Creative Commons

Should state regulators be more aggressive in punishing first time violators of environmental law? That's a question the Council on Environmental Quality hopes lawmakers wrestle with in the upcoming legislative session. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

When it comes to space, there’s a lot to be excited about. Telescopes are scanning the farthest reaches of our galaxy and we’re learning more than ever before about the origins of planets.

mrbichel / Flickr Creative Commons

Can playing a game make a person smarter, more alert, and better able to learn? Well, the science on that question isn't clear.

T. Charles Erickson
Hartford Stage

Hartford Stage produced its first-ever "sensory-friendly" performance this week. The staging of "A Christmas Carol" was geared toward audience members on the autism spectrum.


The journal Nature announced last week it will offer free access to a number of its articles online.

U.S. Navy

As the United Nations climate change talks in Lima enter into their second week, one measurement that's coming up a lot is 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Yale University

Over the next year, the giant blue particle accelerator that for years has been at the center of Yale University's Wright Lab, will be scrapped. 

Yale University

America's 39th President Jimmy Carter, 90, was critical of Yale University's handling of sexual assaults during a visit to the campus this week. 

Mystic Aquarium

A new exhibition at Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut is using trash from the ocean to create art. It's an effort to highlight the importance of recycling plastic.

Carter Roberts / NASA

If you're looking for life elsewhere in the universe, there's a lot to look at, and computers are pretty good at it. At least, they're good at analyzing the stuff you tell them -- for example, the brightness of stars in our sky.

State of Connecticut

Nearly two years after the shooting at Sandy Hook, officials are still looking for answers. A new report from the Office of the Child Advocate provides a window in the mental health of the gunman, Adam Lanza. 

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease

Dr. Willy Burgdorfer, the Swiss-born researcher who gained international recognition for discovering the origins of Lyme disease, has died.

Dean Winter

There's only so much history you can learn from books. Sometimes, you just need to go underwater and travel back in time.