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Michael S. Altus, PhD, ELS

Michael S. Altus, PhD, ELS


I am a freelance medical writer and editor who has two specialties: preparing and polishing manuscripts to make them suitable for submission for publication, and preparing meeting summaries.

I also work on many sorts of other materials. For example, the client for whom I wrote and edited 40 manuscripts has also asked me to review medical subjects to summarize important treatment approaches and to describe recent developments. I even helped a professor to develop a letter seeking a promotion. Seven years later, the professor returned to me to help write a letter seeking his next promotion.

Of the six workshops that I covered at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), NIH, two were about muscular dystrophy. Two years after I prepared these summaries, a not-for-profit organization contacted me to work on its projects. The organization’s co-founder and executive director and one of its chief scientific advisors were so impressed with my workshop summaries that they went to NINDS to locate me. The organization was pleased with my work.

The work I did on muscular dystrophy for NINDS and the not-for-profit organization required me to become fluent in technical issues with which I had had no previous familiarity. My strong scientific background enabled me to quickly become familiar with a broad range of basic and clinical issues in muscular dystrophy, and my writing ability enabled me to cogently describe these issues. I work carefully and thoroughly. I would like to put my background and ability at your service.


Professional Certification and Certificates

  • Certified Editor in the Life Sciences (ELS), Board of Editors in the Life Sciences, 2000
  • American Medical Writers Association certificates:
    • Advanced (2008)
    • Core Curriculum: Writing and Editing (1996); Freelance (1997); Pharmaceutical (1997)


  • Statistics for Biomedical Scientists (graduate-level course), Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences, NIH, fall semester, 2000, and spring semester, 2001
  • Intramural Research Training Award postdoctoral fellow, Gerontology Research Center, National Institute on Aging, 1990-1992
  • PhD (cell biology, cum laude) 1990, Biocenter, University of Basel, Switzerland
  • MS (basic health science) 1977, State University of New York at Stony Brook
  • BS (biology, cum laude) 1971, State University of New York at Stony Brook

Organizational Leadership

  • American Medical Writers Association
    • President, Mid-Atlantic Chapter, 1998-1999
    • Originator and coordinator, Mid-Atlantic Chapter’s e-mail service, 1998-2010
    • Coordinator, Core Curriculum Workshops, 1996 and 1997


  • American Medical Writers Association (AMWA)
  • Board of Editors in the Life Sciences (BELS)
  • Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)
  • Council of Science Editors (CSE)
  • Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA)
  • World Association of Medical Editors (WAME)

Selected Research Articles

Altus MS, Wood CM, Stewart DA, Roskams AJI, Friedman V, Henderson T, Owens GA, Danner DB, Jupe ER, Dell-Orco RT, McClung JK. Regions of evolutionary conservation between rat and human prohibitin genes. Gene. 1995;158(2):291-294.

Altus MS, Nagamine, Y. Stability of urokinase-type plasminogen activator mRNA studied in cell-free decay reactions. J Biol Chem. 1991;266(31):21190-21196.

Letters to the Editor, Media Review, and Meeting Report

Altus MS. Culture of science and order of authorship [letter]. Science Editor 2001;24:17.

Altus MS.—excellent content but difficult to use [media review]. AMWA Journal 2000(4);15:32.

Altus MS. The journal’s role in educating readers [meeting report]. Science Editor 2002;25:10.