Shahla Farzan

Shahla Farzan is a general assignment reporter and weekend newscaster at St. Louis Public Radio. She comes most recently from KBBI Public Radio in Homer, Alaska, where she covered issues ranging from permafrost thaw to disputes over prayer in public meetings. A science nerd to the core, Shahla spent six years studying native bees, eventually earning her PhD in ecology from the University of California-Davis. She has also worked as an intern at Capital Public Radio in Sacramento and a podcaster for BirdNote. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, combing flea markets for tchotchkes, and curling up with a good book. 

When Lisa and Dan Macheca bought a century-old Methodist church in St. Louis back in 2004, they didn't think much about the cost of heating the place.

Then the first heating bill arrived: $5,000 for a single month.

"I felt like crying," Lisa Macheca said. "Like, 'Oh my gosh, what have I gotten myself into?' "

In the neonatal intensive care unit, keeping fragile infants alive is the number one priority.

But new research from Washington University suggests doctors and parents should also consider the amount of background noise premature babies are hearing.

Destini Hutson spent much of her childhood picturing what life would be like when her dad came home.

Over time, her plans turned to the practical: teach him how to use an iPhone, help him find a job, go to Chick-fil-A together.

“‘It’s a lot that you’re going to have to learn,’” Hutson told her dad, Donald, who went to prison in 1997 when she was still a baby.

Those plans came to a halt last September, when Donald Hutson died of a drug overdose at Missouri Eastern Correctional Center in Pacific. He’s one of more than 430 inmates who have overdosed in state prisons since May 2017, according to internal data from the Missouri Department of Corrections. While there are many ways drugs are smuggled into prisons, DOC employees say internal corruption is a key part of the problem.

As you’re swatting at swarms of mosquitoes this spring, take comfort in this fact: Our bloodsucking foes have their own parasites.

The tiny waterborne parasites only infect mosquitoes — but not every species is susceptible.

The invasive Asian rock pool mosquito, first found in Missouri in 2005, appears to be virtually immune to a protozoan parasite in Missouri. Biologists at Tyson Research Center now say this invasive mosquito acts like a vacuum, sucking up parasites that attack a native mosquito species.

Tim Schroeder is a little bleary-eyed.

He left South Dakota before sunrise and drove 10 hours straight to Missouri — with a few hundred endangered fish in the back of his pickup truck.

Schroeder, who works for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, was tasked with delivering a load of pallid sturgeon to biologists in St. Charles. It’s part of a long-running partnership between federal scientists and the Missouri Department of Conservation to jumpstart recovery of the endangered fish species, which was once common in the Missouri and lower Mississippi rivers.