Life and career 
Kolata was born Gina Bari in Baltimore, Maryland. Her mother, mathematician Ruth Aaronson Bari, was of Jewish descent; and her father, Arthur Bari, a diamond setter, is of Italian heritage. One of her sisters was environmental activist Judi Bari; and the other is art historian Martha Bari.
Kolata studied molecular biology as a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and received a master's degree in mathematics from the University of Maryland. She joined Science magazine as a copy editor in 1973, and wrote for the American Association for the Advancement of Science journal from 1974 until she moved to The New York Times in September 1987. She remains a Health & Science reporter at the newspaper. She is a "self-proclaimed exercise addict (who thinks nothing of a 100-mile bike ride as a reward)," according to a Times advertisement for itself. Kolata has taught writing as a visiting professor at Princeton University and frequently lectures across the country. Her husband, William G. Kolata, has taught mathematics and served as the technical director of the non-profit Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics in Philadelphia, a nonprofit professional society for mathematicians. The couple has two grown children, Therese  and Stefan.
Kolata's book Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus that Caused It was chosen by the Washington State University Common Reading Program in its inaugural year, 2007-2008.
- Clone: The Road to Dolly, and the Path Ahead, ISBN 0-688-16634-2
- Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus that Caused It, ISBN 0-7432-0398-4
- Sex in America: A Definitive Survey, ISBN 0-316-07524-8 (out of print)
- The Baby Doctors: Probing the Limits of Fetal Medicine, ISBN 0-440-21011-9 (out of print)
- Ultimate Fitness: The Quest for Truth about Health and Exercise, ISBN 0-374-20477-2
- Rethinking Thin: The new science of weight loss - and the myths and realities of dieting. Picador. 2007. ISBN 0-312-42785-9.
Other publications 
- Kolata, Gina Bari. Water Structure and Ion Binding: A Role in Cell Physiology, Science, 192 (4254), June 18, 1976, pp. 1220–1222.
- Source Watch. Gina Kolata.
- Advertising supplement (with no title, but part of the "These Times Demand the Times" advertising campaign, as noted on the supplement's back page) to The New York Times, October 31, 2006, page ZK7 of the supplement
- Recent and archived news articles by Gina Kolata of The New York Times.
- Sourcewatch article on Gina Kolata
- Rethinking Thin by Gina Kolata, Official Book site
- Booknotes interview with Kolata on Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus That Caused It, February 27, 2000.