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 individuals find new layers of 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, 2020), which illuminates recent groundbreaking discoveries that elucidate the biological link between our physical and mental health. Hailed as “riveting,” “stunning,” and “visionary,” The Angel and the Assassin 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 WiredThe Boston GlobeStatThe Washington PostHealth AffairsAeonMoreParentingAARP The Magazine, and Glamour. She has appeared on The Today ShowNational Public RadioNBC News, and ABC News.

Donna is a regular speaker at universities, conferences, and hospitals, including the 2020 Harvard Division of Science and Harvard Cabot Science Library Series, 2019 CarePlus 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 is also the founder and creator of Creating Your Healing Narrative: A Writing to Heal and Neural Re-Narrating™ Program. In this workshop—drawing upon her 30 years as a journalist eliciting interviewees’ most deeply felt emotions and insights, coupled with science-based expressive writing and mindfulness techniques—Donna teaches participants the process of “Neural Re-Narrating™.” She has offered this trauma-healing course to thousands of health care workers, physicians, practitioners, educators, and individuals facing high levels of stress on the front lines of the global pandemic.

Donna’s book, Childhood Disrupted, was a finalist for the 2016 Books for a Better Life Award. For written contributions to the field of immunity, she has received the international AESKU Award, which recognizes leaders in science communication; as well as 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 Yaddo, MacDowell, 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.