Biography

Douglas Starr is co-director of the graduate Program in Science and Medical Journalism at Boston University.

His most recent book, The Killer of Little Shepherds: A True Crime Story and the Birth of Forensic Science, tells the story of the 19th century pioneers of forensic science and the notorious serial killer who was caught and convicted with their new scientific techniques. Published in several languages, the book won Gold Dagger award in the U.K., was a finalist for the Edgar Allen Poe award in the U.S., and was an “Editor’s Choice” in the New York Times Book Review.

Starr’s previous book, BLOOD: An Epic History of Medicine and Commerce, tells the four-century saga of how human blood became a commodity -– from the first experimental transfusions in the 17th century, through the collection and mobilization of blood in modern wars, to a tragic denouement during the AIDS epidemic. The book was published in seven languages, won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize (science and technology category) and was named to the “Best Books of the Year” lists of Publishers Weekly, Booklist and Library Journal. A PBS series based on the book, Red Gold, aired on more than 300 PBS stations in the U.S. and internationally.

Starr’s writings about science, medicine, public health and the environment have appeared in The New YorkerSlate, Discover, The New Republic, Science, Smithsonian, Public Television, National Public Radio, The Los Angeles Times, Sports Illustrated, The Christian Science Monitor, Boston Sunday Globe Magazine and other media outlets.

Prof. Starr lectures on the subjects of his books and on broader questions of science in the mass media, science and ethics, and the history of science. He has appeared as a commentator on ABC’s Nightline, the BBC, CNN and NPR.  He has lectured at venues as diverse as Harvard Medical School, Yale Medical School, the Royal College of Physicians in London, the U.S. Department of Justice; and at book festivals, corporate functions and scientific and public health colloquia in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia.