“With humor, insight, and intestinal fortitude, Dr. Bryn Nelson persuades us that a ‘shittier future’ will be happier, healthier, and wealthier. Flush is a fascinating read.”—Michelle Nijhuis, author of Beloved Beasts: Fighting for Life in an Age of Extinction

Bryn Nelson is a Seattle-based freelance writer and editor with an avid interest in biology, biomedicine, ecology, green technology and unconventional travel destinations. After shifting course from a career in microbiology, Bryn accumulated two decades of journalism experience and has written for more than 30 publications ranging from The New York Times to Cancer Cytopathology. Before becoming a journalist, he received his PhD in microbiology from the University of Washington.

Subsequently, Bryn received a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and interned at The Californian in Salinas, California, and at Newsday in Melville, New York. In 2000, he accepted a staff position at Newsday as a member of the science desk, where he spent the next seven years writing extensively about genetics, stem cell research and cloning, evolution, ecology and conservation.

While at Newsday, Bryn was one of four principal writers on the award-winning, 13-part “Long Island: Our Natural World” series, which we converted into a field guide. He also wrote “Saving Bobby,” a multiple award-winning, 12,000-word feature about the frantic effort to save a toddler whose father had accidentally driven over his head.

Since 2007, Bryn has been a freelance writer and editor. In his spare time he enjoy photography, singing and renovating the 1906 Craftsman house where he lives with his husband, Geoff, and their energetic boxador, Piper.

His book Flush: The Remarkable Science of an Unlikely Treasure, is a surprising, witty and sparkling exploration of the teeming microbiome of possibility in human feces. Flush is both an urgent exploration of the world’s single most squandered natural resource, and a cri de coeur (or cri de colon?) for the vast, hidden value in our “waste.”

Bryn's Featured Titles

Flush: The Remarkable Science of an Unlikely Treasure

Grand Central Publishing |

For readers of Giulia Enders’ Gut and Bill Bryson’s The Body, a surprising, witty and sparkling exploration of the teeming microbiome of possibility in human feces from microbiologist and science journalist Bryn Nelson.

The future is sh*t: the literal kind. For most of human history we’ve been, well, disinclined to take a closer look at our body’s natural product—the complex antihero of this story—save for gleaning some prophecy of our own health. But if we were to take more than a passing look at our poop, we would spy a veritable cornucopia of possibilities. We would see potent medicine, sustainable power, and natural fertilizer to restore the world’s depleted lands. We would spy a time capsule of evidence for understanding past lives and murderous ends. We would glimpse effective ways of measuring and improving human health from the cradle to the grave, early warnings of community outbreaks like Covid-19, and new means of identifying environmental harm—and then reversing it.

Flush is both an urgent exploration of the world’s single most squandered natural resource, and a cri de coeur (or cri de colon?) for the vast, hidden value in our “waste.” Award-winning journalist and microbiologist Bryn Nelson, PhD, leads readers through the colon and beyond with infectious enthusiasm, helping to usher in a necessary mental shift that could restore our balance with the rest of the planet and save us from ourselves. Unlocking poop’s enormous potential will require us to overcome our shame and disgust and embrace our role as the producers and architects of a more circular economy in which lowly byproducts become our species’ salvation. Locked within you is a medicine cabinet, a biogas pipeline, a glass of drinking water, a mound of fuel briquettes; it’s time to open the doors (carefully!). A dose of medicine, a glass of water, a gallon of rocket fuel, an acre of soil: sometimes hope arrives in surprising packages.


Seminar: Covering the Green Economy

Bryn’s Science Writing

Bryn’s Medicine Writing

Bryn’s Environmental Writing

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Apex Grand Award for “The case for empathy,” Cancer Cytopathology, 2018

Bricker Award for Science Writing in Medicine, Honorable Mention, 2017

Apex Grand Award for “In debating the right to die, a shift in tone among physicians,” Cancer Cytopathology, 2016

National Institute for Healthcare Management (NIHCM) Foundation,
Health Care Print Journalism Award Finalist, “HM@15” Series, The Hospitalist, 2012

Association of Health Care Journalists Awards,
First Place in Large Newspapers & Wire Services Category for “Saving Bobby,” Newsday, 2007

Deadline Club Award,
Best Feature Reporting in Newspapers & Wire Services Category for “Saving Bobby,” Newsday, 2007

New York Press Club Award,
Best Web Exclusive Content, “Saving Bobby,” Newsday, 2007

Press Club of Long Island Award,
Best Online Multimedia Reporting, “Saving Bobby,” Newsday, 2007

Newsday Publisher’s Award,
Feature Reporting, “Saving Bobby,” Newsday, 2006

Press Club of Long Island Award,
Coverage of West Nile Virus, Newsday, 2005 and 2001

Newsday Publisher’s Award,
Team Enterprise Reporting, “Our Natural World” Series, Newsday, 2003


Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ) Member
Association of LGBTQ Journalists (NLGJA) Member
National Association of Science Writers (NASW) Member
Northwest Science Writers Association (NSWA) Member
Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) Member

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