Donna Jackson Nakazawa
Donna Jackson Nakazawa is an award-winning journalist and internationally-recognized speaker whose work explores the intersection of neuroscience, immunology, and human emotion. Her mission is to translate emerging science in ways that help those with chronic conditions find healing.
She is the author of six books, including her newest, The Angel and The Assassin: The Tiny Brain Cell That Changed the Course of Medicine (Random House/Ballantine, January 2020), which illuminates the newly-understood role of microglia – an elusive type of brain cell capable of Jekyll and Hyde behavior. When triggered, microglia can morph into destroyers and take down synapses, causing depression, anxiety, and Alzheimer’s. But under the right circumstances, they can be angelic healers, repairing the brain in ways that can help alleviate symptoms and prevent disease. Hailed as “riveting,” “stunning,” and “visionary,” The Angel and the Assassin elucidates the biological basis behind the mind-body connection and offers us a radically reconceived picture of human health.
Donna’s other books include Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal (Atria / Simon & Schuster, 2015), The Last Best Cure (Hudson Street Press / Penguin, 2013), The Autoimmune Epidemic (Touchstone / Simon & Schuster, 2009), and Does Anybody Else Look Like Me? A Parent’s Guide to Raising Multicultural Children (Perseus, 2003).
Her writing has been published in Wired, The Boston Globe, Stat, The Washington Post, Health Affairs, Aeon, More, Parenting, AARP Magazine, Glamour, and elsewhere.
In addition to her work as a science journalist, Donna has been a speaker at numerous universities, conferences and hospitals. Her lectures include the 2020 Harvard Division of Science and Harvard Cabot Science Library Series, 2019 Care Plus Annual Conference, 2018 Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care Conference, 2018 Golisano Children’s Hospital Annual Pediatric Conference, 2017 Royal Society of Medicine SIRPA Conference on Chronic Pain and Emotion, 2017 Learning and the Brain Conference, 2016 Johns Hopkins Conference on Trauma-Informed Healing, and the 2012 International Congress on Autoimmunity. She has appeared on The Today Show, National Public Radio, NBC News, and ABC News.
Donna’s book, Childhood Disrupted was a finalist for the 2016 Books for a Better Life Award, and for her written contributions to the field of immunity, she has received the international AESKU Award, which recognizes leaders who advocate for science, as well as and the National Health Information Award, which recognizes the nation’s best magazine articles on health.
Donna has been the recipient of writing-in-residence fellowships at the Corporation of Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Duke University and is a graduate of the Radcliffe Publishing Procedures Program.
She lives with her family in Maryland.