Human genetics is finally transitioning from academic life science to applied health science. The new (11th) edition of Ricki Lewis’s Human Genetics: Concepts and Applications (McGraw-Hill Education) captures and celebrates all that has happened in the field in the past few years, with historical asides and compelling cases that provide the uniquely human perspective of this highly readable classic.
Between revising human genetics and two human anatomy and physiology textbooks, Ricki wrote “The Forever Fix: Gene Therapy and the Boy Who Saved It” (St. Martin’s Press), which chronicles the history and recent explosion of success in this biotechnology, through the eyes of the families and researchers who have made it happen. Other books include Human Genetics: The Basics (Routledge Press), the essay collection Discovery: Windows on the Life Sciences (Blackwell Science), and the novel Stem Cell Symphony, based on her experiences working with a man who had Huntington disease.
Ricki was founding author of the intro biology textbook Life. Since 1980 she has published thousands of popular articles (real journalism, not blog posts) in all sorts of magazines and journals, from Discover to Scientific American to The Scientist and even Playgirl, and also technical reports on biotechnologies and genetic disease.
Today Ricki writes the popular weekly DNA SCIENCE blog at Public Library of Science (http://blogs.plos.org/dnascience/), health news for Medscape Medical News, and articles for the MS Discovery Forum. She teaches “genethics” at the Alden March Bioethics Institute of Albany Medical College, is a genetic counselor at CareNet Medical Group, and a frequent public speaker.
Ricki earned her PhD in genetics in 1980 from Indiana University, working with flies that had legs growing out of their heads and mouths. Not seeing a bright future in healing insect appendages, and loving writing since childhood, Ricki took a graduate science journalism course, and her life changed.
After grad school, Ricki did a stint as an assistant professor at Miami University, where they needed a person under 80 with two X chromosomes to teach human genetics. She also began writing breaking medical news stories for the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Sunday magazine. Shortly before leaving Ohio for upstate New York 18 months later, about to burst forth her first F1 (genetics-speak for offspring), Ricki encountered five academic publishers waving contracts for college textbooks in her face. She signed her life away. Oh have times changed!
Ricki grew up in Brooklyn, NY. She attended James Madison High School and SUNY Stony Brook. She is married to Larry Lewis, a chemist retired from GE, and they live near Schenectady, NY and sometimes on Martha’s Vineyard. They have three grown daughters and many felines. Ricki loves hippos and drives a royal blue mini-Cooper named Tawanda.