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New science writer for LA Times *

It's an internal hire: Geoff Mohan, who has recently been the editor for state bureaus and the immigration beat. He was previously the paper's environment editor, among other jobs. Here is today's email to the newsroom.

To: The Staff
From: Ashley Dunn, Assistant Managing Editor

The Science Desk is happy to welcome Geoff Mohan as its newest reporter. In his 12 years at the paper, he has covered wildfires in California and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Geoff has served as an assignment editor on the Foreign and Metro desks for the past seven years. He is eager to leave his desk job behind and get back into the reporting trenches.

Growing up on Staten Island, N.Y., Geoff tinkered with a chemistry lab in his basement and aspired to be a physicist at Cornell University before being seduced by journalism. Now he'll have a chance to combine both loves. He will report to Science & Medicine Editor Karen Kaplan.

This fills an opening posted Jan. 9.

According to the online staff roster, he will join staff writers Eryn Brown, Melissa Healy, Amina Khan, Rosie Mestel and Monte Morin on the science and medicine desk. [* Update: The Times roster doesn't reflect it, but Mestel left the paper two weeks ago to become chief news editor at Nature News in London.]

Here's what they said about Mohan when he got the environment job in 2007, from the LA Observed archive:

Geoff brings broad experience to this assignment. He first came to the Times as a stringer in the eastern San Fernando Valley in 1992. He briefly worked for the Spanish-language edition, Nuestro Tiempo, before leaving for Newsday, where he covered immigration and became the bureau chief in Mexico City. He returned to the Times in 2001. Once back, he covered a statewide roaming beat as well as the 2003 wildfires, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan before heading the Sense of Place team on Metro. Since 2005, he has been an assistant foreign editor, with duties that include supervising Latin American coverage. He also worked for the Tampa Tribune and his hometown newspaper, the Staten Island Advance. He's a graduate of Cornell University and was a fellow at the U.S.C. Center for International Journalism.

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