Ricki Lewis, a science writer with a doctorate in
genetics, is the speaker for the second annual Marlene V. Shaw
Biology Lecture at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 21, in Carter Hall of the
University Center at the University of Southern Indiana.Her topic is
Gene Therapy: A Forever Fix. The lecture is free and open to the
Lewis’ latest book tells the true story of 8-year-old Corey Haas,
who was cured of hereditary blindness in 2008 just four days after
undergoing gene therapy. Called The Forever Fix: Gene Therapy and
the Boy Who Saved It, the book will be published March 13 by St.
Martin’s Press. It provides a brief history of this biotechnology
that nearly disappeared after the death of an 18-year-old who
received gene therapy at the same hospital nine years earlier. The
book is written for a general audience.
“Ricki is gifted at weaving current stories and case studies in
human genetics — making them come alive,” Shaw said. “She engages
her audience with her knowledge of the science and her passion and
compassion for the personal stories of individuals and their
Lewis is author of Human Genetics: Concepts and Applications, the
most widely used college textbook in the field, now in its 10th
edition; and the short book, Human Genetics: The Basics.
She has written more than 2,000 published articles since 1980. Her
work has appeared in The Scientist, Science, Nature, Discover, and
many other publications, including annual reports, newspapers,
blogs, professional journals, and museum exhibits. As an expert
science writer, she is invited to attend technical conferences and
workshops for the purpose of writing reports for professionals
engaged in research. She is frequently sought as a speaker on gene
therapy, stem cells, genetic testing, genomics, bioethics, ancestry
testing, and journalism and publishing.
Lewis is a genetic counselor at CareNet Medical Group in
Schenectady, New York. She teaches courses on human genetics and
bioethics at Union College Academy of Lifelong Learning and at the
Alden March Bioethics Institute of Albany Medical College.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at State University of New
York – Stony Brook. She also holds a master’s degree in zoology and
a doctorate in genetics, both from Indiana University.
Copies of The Forever Fix: Gene Therapy and the Boy Who Saved It
will be available for purchase and signing following the lecture. In
addition to the public lecture, Lewis will speak on genetics to
biology classes and will offer insights on genetic counseling and
science-writing as career choices during her visit to USI.