The 11th edition of Human Genetics: Concepts and Applications will be published in September 2014.

Ricki next to "The Forever Fix: Gene Therapy and the Boy Who Saved It," 3/13/12, in a place called a bookstore.

Ricki and a pile of hippos on Martha's Vineyard


Ricki Lewis is a science writer with a PhD in genetics. Some years she writes textbooks, and will do so for as long as they exist. In between, she writes genetics news for a number of publications, including the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Lancet Oncology, Reuters, and most frequently, Medscape Medical News. She will be a contributing writer to CureForward, a website about cancer debuting May 2015. Every Thursday she posts at the popular weekly DNA SCIENCE blog at Public Library of Science (http:/​/​​dnascience/​).

The new (11th) edition of 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.

Ricki is still lecturing often about her 2012-2013 narrative nonfiction book, “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. She is a co-author of the Hole's Human Anatomy & Physiology texts and 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.

Ricki teaches “Genethics” at the Alden March Bioethics Institute of Albany Medical College, is a genetic counselor at CareNet Medical Group in Schenectady, NY, and is 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.

Selected Works

Project to engage students in helping families with rare genetic diseases
Book Club Reader's Guide
Many challenging questions to stimulate thought and discussion.
Instructor's Guide
38 discussion questions to get students thinking and talking about gene therapy, including the science, ethical issues, and the drug approval process.
Narrative science
The Forever Fix is the uplifting true story of 8-year-old Corey Haas, who was cured of hereditary blindness just 4 days after gene therapy.
College Textbooks
A spectacularly-illustrated, clearly written human anatomy and physiology textbook, used in pre-health profession programs throughout the U.S.
A highly engaging, clearly written, beautifully illustrated introduction to the science of human genetics for the non-scientist. Now in its 10th edition.
DNA reflects who we are -- but it isn’t the whole story.

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