I am a native of Brooklyn, NY where my father was a physician (OB-GYN), and medical topics were table talk at home. I majored in biology at Barnard College, and wavered between planning a career in medicine or in research. After two summers of research (in Massachusetts and Israel), I decided on this career path, with a focus on reproductive endocrinology and physiology. I received a masters in biology from Boston University, and did coursework towards a Ph.D. in Environmental, Population and Organismic Biology at University of Colorado, Boulder. I then chose to switch my field to pathology, eventually completing my Ph.D. at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver. I did post-doctoral/research asssociate level research int he cellular and molecular processes of disease for 11 years before switching to medical writing and communication.
I have been working as a medical writer, communicator, and consultant for 12 years. I am the owner/manager of Barbara T. Zimmerman Consulting, LLC d/b/a Biomedical Communication and Consulting. I am also an active member of AMWA, the American Medical Writers Association, and I am currently serving my 4th term as president of the Rocky Mt. Chapter.
In 1999, I met the editor of a series, Understanding Health and Sickness, published by the University Press of Mississippi. She was seeking an author to write about breast cancer genetics and I volunteered. My book, Understanding Breast Cancer Genetics, was published in 2004. It explains the complexities of genetics, cancer, and the role of genetics in breast cancer in language targeting an educated non-medical audience.
In 2001, I was hired by the Department of Institutional Planning at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center to write specialty grants for the completion of shell space in the new research towers being built at the Fitzsimons campus in Aurora. I successfully obtained funding for the School of Dentistry's research department to be housed in the facility. The department chair then hired me to write grants for an NIH/NIDCR initiative to improve the research infrastructure of the school by hiring new faculty. I obtained funding for a required self-study and successfully wrote the major grant leading to the hiring of 3 new faculty members. I was hired to be project manager overseeing the search, and did all the necessary reporting to the NIH. I was also promoted to Assistant Research Professor in the department of Craniofacial Biology. I worked there until 2006 when funding ran out, and have worked freelance ever since.
As a freelance writer, I have written an assortment of articles for consumer magazines and for CME as well as slide kits for specific medical procedures. I have also given lectures on medical topics such as breast and colon cancer to non-medical audiences.