Véronique LaCapra

Science Reporter

Science reporter Véronique LaCapra first caught the radio bug writing commentaries for NPR affiliate WAMU in Washington, D.C. After producing her first audio documentaries at the Duke Center for Documentary Studies in N.C., she was hooked! She has done ecological research in the Brazilian Pantanal; regulated pesticides for the Environmental Protection Agency in Arlington, Va.; been a freelance writer and volunteer in South Africa; and contributed radio features to the Voice of America in Washington, D.C. She earned a Ph.D. in ecosystem ecology from the University of California in Santa Barbara, and a B.A. in environmental policy and biology from Cornell. LaCapra grew up in Cambridge, Mass., and in her mother’s home town of Auxerre, France.

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HIV Photography Project
6:15 am
Thu March 24, 2011

Photography project gives women new perspective on living with HIV

Tamika Taylor Jackson decided to participate in Michelle Teti’s photography project to show how she has transformed her life since her HIV diagnosis.
(Véronique LaCapra/St. Louis Public Radio)

More than a million Americans are living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. About a quarter of them are women, and in St. Louis and throughout the country, African-American women are disproportionately affected.

An HIV diagnosis can lead not just to debilitating medical problems, but to social stigma and isolation. But as St. Louis Public Radio’s Véronique LaCapra reports, a photography project is giving some HIV-positive women a new way to look at their disease and its challenges.

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Health Research
5:48 pm
Mon March 21, 2011

Lab-grown gut microbes could help combat malnutrition, gastrointestinal diseases

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis were able to grow and manipulate individual collections of human intestinal microbes, like these E. coli, in the laboratory. (Wikimedia Commons/Rocky Mountain Laboratories/NIAID/NIH)

Scientists have taken another step toward understanding human nutrition.

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine have shown they can grow entire collections of human intestinal microbes in the laboratory.

Washington University microbiologist Dr. Jeffrey Gordon says his team then transplanted the bacterial communities into previously germ-free mice, to see how the lab-grown bacteria would respond to a human diet.

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Nuclear Energy
4:48 pm
Fri March 18, 2011

Callaway is prepared for "worst case" disasters, says Ameren

View Callaway nuclear power plant in a larger map

Missouri’s sole nuclear power plant was built to handle “worst case” natural disasters.

That’s what Ameren officials told reporters Friday morning, at a press conference called in response to the nuclear crisis in Japan.

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EPA / Air Pollution
4:05 pm
Wed March 16, 2011

EPA proposes first-ever national air pollution standards for power plants

Ameren’s 2,400-megawatt plant near Labadie, Missouri, is the state’s largest coal-fired power plant.
(Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed the first-ever national standards for air pollution from power plants.

The new rules would require many power plants to install technologies to control mercury, arsenic and other toxic air pollutants.

Environment Missouri's Ted Mathys says the new standards would help protect the health of Missourians.

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Ameren Missouri lawsuit
5:27 pm
Tue March 15, 2011

Ameren to U.S. district court: dismiss EPA lawsuit

Ameren's Rush Island power plant near Festus, Missouri. (Google Maps)

Ameren Missouri is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed against the company by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

The suit filed in January alleges that Ameren violated the Clean Air Act by making multi-million-dollar modifications to its coal-fired power plant in Festus without installing required pollution controls and obtaining the necessary permits.

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Superfund - Lead Pollution
4:24 pm
Tue March 8, 2011

EPA lists Washington County Lead District-Furnace Creek as Superfund site

Southeast Missouri lead district. (Wikimedia Commons user Kbh3rd)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has added the Washington County Lead District-Furnace Creek site in Washington County, Missouri, to the federal Superfund National Priorities List (NPL).

The NPL is a list of the nation's hazardous waste sites with the highest priority for cleanup.

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Biotech Agriculture
12:32 pm
Tue March 8, 2011

Monsanto and Sapphire Energy to collaborate on algal gene research

Flasks of Algae at the Sapphire Energy Lab in San Diego. (Sapphire Energy, Inc.)

Monsanto is entering a multi-year research collaboration with San Diego-based Sapphire Energy.

Sapphire specializes in genetically-engineering algae with the goal of producing drop-in replacements for fuels like gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

The collaboration between Sapphire and Monsanto will focus on identifying genes that positively affect growth in algae and that might also increase agricultural crop yields.

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Missouri River Study
3:51 pm
Mon March 7, 2011

Corps seeks public input about report on future of Missouri River

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released a new report about its planned re-evaluation of the future use of the Missouri River, and is looking for more public input on the study.

The draft report summarizes the more than 1,200 comments received by the Corps last year during the study scoping period.

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High School Sports Brain Injury
5:12 pm
Fri March 4, 2011

St. Louis medical professionals supporting High School Sports Brain Injury legislation

Missouri Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger (R-Lake St. Louis) is sponsoring HB300, the High School Brain Injury Prevention Act. He spoke to the press about the bill today at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
(Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis area medical professionals are throwing their support behind a bill making its way through the Missouri legislature. The bill would help protect high school athletes from concussions.

Among other measures, the High School Sports Brain Injury Prevention Act would require student athletes to be cleared by a doctor before returning to play or practice.

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Food Deserts
6:35 am
Mon February 28, 2011

"Food deserts" and nutrition: a Q&A with USDA's Roger Beachy

The Old North St. Louis Grocery Co-op brings fresh, local produce to an underserved neighborhood of the city. (Art Chimes)
(Art Chimes)

“Food deserts” – places without access to fresh produce and other healthy foods – continue to be a problem throughout the U.S.

Here in St. Louis, the Old North Grocery Co-op opened last summer, in an effort to increase healthy food options in an underserved part of the city. It’s the first co-op in Missouri to serve a predominantly low-income neighborhood.

The director of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Roger Beachy was in St. Louis recently visiting the Old North co-op and discussing the issue of nutrition.

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