Updated May 2024

  • At a Glance Bullets

    For science news stories longer than 600 words, include at the top of the story three to four bullets listing the central findings and key implications of the research described in the story: what was found, why it matters.

    There is now a tool in Drupal that automatically formats this feature.


    Gut Bacteria Produce Hormone Involved in Postpartum Depression

    At a glance:

    • Study shows two related kinds of gut bacteria can modify steroids differently from how human cells do and demonstrates that gas affects which ones gut bacteria produce.
    • Work suggests gut microbiota can act like an endocrine organ, producing hormones that affect human health.
    • Findings provide new evidence that doctors could one day treat certain mental health conditions by manipulating the gut microbiome.

  • Authorship, Funding, Disclosures

    For stories based on research published in peer-reviewed journals, include ALL authors on the paper except those already mentioned in the story. 

    This follows the protocol for news releases and applies to OCER-written news stories and affiliate releases based on research published in a peer-reviewed journal.

    Style applies to original and affiliate content. 

    For large consortium studies with many authors, add this sentence to the end of the story and link to the paper: For a complete list of authors, please reference the paper. 

    There is now a tool in Drupal that automatically formats this feature.


    Resident Physicians' Exam Scores Tied to Patient Survival

    Authorship, funding, disclosures

    Additional authors include Jennifer Stevens of HMS and Rebecca Lipner, Furman McDonald, and Jonathan Vandergrift of the American Board of Internal Medicine.

    Gray, Lipner, McDonald, and Vandergrift reported that they are employees of ABIM. Landon reported receiving consulting fees from ABIM for ongoing work during the conduct of the study. No other disclosures were reported.


  • Bulleted Lists

    Create the bulleted list using the bullet style button in Drupal. This tool will produce crimson bullets with each item aligned and turn lines indented. If you create a bulleted list with Word formatting, it will not conform to style when imported into Drupal.


    • Use periods at the end of each sentence in a bulleted list.  
    • Use no punctuation at the end of a single word or single phrase in each section of a list. Do not use semicolons.
  • Bylines


    Other HMS writers: By KATIE CAVENDER | HMS Center for Primary Care

    Affiliate writers: By HALEY BRIDGER | Brigham and Women’s [use second reference style]


    • NOTE: If an OCER writer has done substantial work on an affiliate news release, such as reading the original paper and/or interviewing the PI or other authors, use the institution's corporate byline. Please note that bylines may be from an individual affiliate hospital, a partnering research institution, or a corporate entity.

    Harvard Gazette writers: By COLLEEN WALSH | Harvard Gazette

    Names with Mac or Mc: McINNIS; MacDONALD

  • Captions and Credits

    All images should have a credit; some images do not require a caption.

    • Text in captions should be regular, not bold; and roman, not italic. No period following credit. Style can be adapted to accommodate different types of content.

    Photo examples:

    How the Body Copes With Airway Closure

    Image: Alex Sholom/iStock/Getty Images Plus

    How Children’s Birthdays Help Show the Best Month for Flu Shots

    Colorized 3D renditions of influenza virus based on a model created by NIH 3D, originally derived using electron microscopy. Image: NIAID

    Video examples:

    Pursuing Three Gene Therapies for Rare Inherited Disease

    Meeting a family affected by Usher syndrome type 1F has sent HMS researchers on a quest to save patients’ vision. Video: Rick Groleau and Catherine Caruso

    Lessons on Human Longevity … From Rockfish

    Analyses of rockfish such as Sebastes miniatus helped researchers home in on genes associated with longevity in humans. Video: CrackerClips/Creatas Video+/Getty Images Plus

    Slideshow examples:

    A 3D Model for Studying Human Spine Development

    Images: Pourquié lab

    Class of 2024 Residency Positions Revealed at Match Day

    caption: MD students celebrate where they will do their clinical training.

    Images and videos: Rachelle Jeanty and Steve Lipofsky. [this appeared at the bottom of the story]

    • For images created using AI tools, use this wording: Image/video: Generated by HM News with NAME OF TOOL


    What Happens in the Brain While Daydreaming?

    Image: Generated by HM News with AI in Adobe Firefly

  • Dean’s Communications

    Messages from the Dean

    For letters to the community:

    Dear Members of the Harvard Medical School Community:

    [Occasionally a letter will be sent to HMS and HSDM faculty, staff, students or one/some of those groups, with this salutation: Dear Members of the Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Dental Medicine Community, using singular “community” in a spirit of being a united community.]



    George Q. Daley
    Dean of the Faculty of Medicine
    Harvard University

    Dean's titles

    HMS decanal titles

    Dean, Harvard Medical School

    Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Harvard University

    Caroline Shields Walker Professor of Medicine

    Past titles

    Former investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

    Former Director of the Stem Cell Transplantation Program, Boston Children’s Hospital or Former Director of the Pediatric Stem Cell Transplantation Program at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center

    Chief resident, Mass General, 1994-95

    Resigned positions

    Robert A. Stranahan Professor of Pediatrics and Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School

    Samuel E. Lux, IV Chair in Hematology/Oncology at Boston Children’s Hospital

  • Half-Staff Emails

    Half-Staff Memorials

    The Office for Faculty Affairs will occasionally request a half-staff email from the dean to note the death of a distinguished faculty member or staff member.

    For these, it is OK to use Dr. and middle initials. Enclose emeritus/a in commas. Include year of death if it's different from the current year. Text is centered.

    [Subject line] Flag at half-staff for Edmond J. Yunis


    Dear Members of the Harvard Medical School Community: 
    Today we lower the HMS flag to half-staff to honor the life
    of our esteemed colleague

    Edmond J. Yunis

    Dr. Yunis, professor of pathology, emeritus,  
    at HMS and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute,
    died on June 7, at the age of 93.
    Please join me in offering his family, colleagues, and friends
    our most heartfelt sympathy.


    George Q. Daley
    Dean, Faculty of Medicine
    Harvard University


  • Heads, Subtitles, and Subheads

    >>Story headlines (H1) should be limited to 70 characters. 

    >>Subtitle (H2) should be limited to 80 characters. 

    For headlines/subtitles:

    • Check news feed for subtitles that are truncated because of exceeding the character count.
    • Capitalize all principal words in headlines; also, capitalize conjunctions and prepositions of four letters or more.
    • Capitalize phrasal verbs in headlines: Home In On; Follow Up [verb]
    • For hyphenated terms, cap both elements: Follow-Up [noun/adjective]
    • In subtitles, capitalize the first word and proper nouns only.
    • Keep search keywords in mind as you write headlines/subtitles.

    >> Insert subheads (H3) in stories 600 words or longer; 70 characters, maximum 7 words. Use sentence case (capitalize only first word and proper nouns). 


    How Does the Brain Make Decisions?

    Mouse study provides insights into communication between neurons during decision-making


    High School Soccer Player Makes Huge Save: Her Coach’s Life

    Harvard Medical School course played decisive role

    Example: How the Body Copes With Airway Closure

    Study in mice reveals novel gasping reflex triggered by cells in the lungs when the airway is restricted

    NOTE: The subhead guideline is flexible: If there are other elements in the story such as related stories, video, images, audio, subheads may not be needed

  • Medical and Grad Student Identification

    Medical students

    Refer to medical students based on context:

    • Jane Doe, an MD student
    • John Doe, a first-year, second-year, etc.
    • MD student / an MD student in their second year

    Joint degree students: an MD/PhD student, an MD/MBA student, an MD/MPP student

    Societies: Use only if relevant to the story.

    • [Name] Society student, e.g., Jane Doe, a Cannon Society student
    • Society names: Cannon, Castle, Holmes, London, Peabody

    Master’s students

    Identify master’s students by the degree program they are enrolled in. When interviewing a student, ask them for their degree program and verify it with master’s administrative staff.


    To Heal the Patient, Get to Know the Person

    Doctoral students

    PhD students at HMS are registered in the Harvard Kenneth C. Griffin Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and do their coursework and lab work within a program of study at HMS. Both entities must be included when identifying to one of these students.

    “QUOTE,” said co-first author NAME, a Harvard Kenneth C. Griffin Graduate School of Arts and Sciences doctoral student in the PROGRAM NAME at Harvard Medical School, working in the lab of PI NAME in the DEPARTMENT NAME in the Blavatnik Institute at HMS.

    Usually PhD students are quoted/named only one time in an article. But if they are mentioned more than once, it's OK to break up the above information in two mentions for better clarity for the reader. In that case, mention the Griffin GSAS first, HMS program/lab second.


    Generating Scientists and Regenerating Lungs

  • Newsletter Signup

    After second or third paragraph in news stories, add Get more HMS news here; no period, bold, link to signup page.

  • News Releases


    Media contacts:
    Ekaterina Pesheva 

    Dennis Nealon

    How the Body Copes with Airway Closure

    Study in mice reveals new gasping reflex triggered by cells in the lungs when the airway is restricted

    At a glance:

    • Researchers identify a new gasping reflex triggered in response to airway closure.
    • Sensory neurons in the lungs signal to the brain through the vagus nerve to initiate the reflex.
    • The findings shed light on how the brain and body are connected to control the respiratory system.

    There is perhaps no bodily function more essential for humans and other mammals than breathing. With each breath, we suffuse our bodies with oxygen-rich air that keeps our organs and tissues healthy and working properly — and without oxygen, we can survive mere minutes.

    Now, researchers at Harvard Medical School have identified a previously unknown way in which the body counteracts restricted breathing — a new reflex of the vagus nerve that initiates deep breathing. The work is published March 6 in Nature

    [remaining text]

    Authorship, funding, disclosures

    Additional authors on the paper include Narendra Joshi, Rachel Greenberg, AbdulRasheed Alabi, Soohong Min, Chuchu Zhang, and Philip Brinn. 
    Funding for the research was provided by the National Institutes of Health (DP1 AT009497; R01 HL132255; F32 HL156583), the Food Allergy Science Initiative, a Damon Runyon Fellowship, and a John S. LaDue Fellowship. Liberles is also an investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

    Release written by Catherine Caruso

    About Harvard Medical School

    Harvard Medical School has more than 12,000 faculty working in the 11 basic and social science departments in the Blavatnik Institute and at the 15 Harvard-affiliated teaching hospitals and research institutes: Baker Center for Children and Families, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Cambridge Health Alliance, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, Hebrew SeniorLife, Joslin Diabetes Center, Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Schepens Eye Research Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, McLean Hospital, Mount Auburn Hospital, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and VA Boston Healthcare System.

  • Publication Link

    Link on the entire phrase: The findings are published April 7 in Science

    The analyses, published March 30 in Nature, included ...

    Please note present tense: are published, not were published.

  • Question & Answer

    For HM News Q&As

    Harvard Medicine News: This is the first question.

    Kasper: This is the first answer.

    HMNews: This is the second question.

    Kasper: This is the second answer.


    Delivering Global Health Solutions Locally in Massachusetts

    For affiliate Q&As:

    This is the first question.

    Patel: This is the first answer.