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Glenn Nichols, surrounded by his hospice team. The author is in yellow.

Genetic Linkage

Seeking a Second, More Specialized Opinion

March 28, 2012

Tags: osteogenesis imperfecta, brittle bone disease, Ricki Lewis

In osteogenesis imperfecta, the whites of the eyes are bluish-gray. Many genetic diseases are pleiotropic, affecting more than one body part.
A challenge of living with a genetic disease, especially a very rare one, is that the mutation may affect different body parts. A health care practitioner may not consider a patientís inherited condition, especially if the most recognizable symptoms donít fall into his or her specialty.

Shirley Banks discovered the importance of seeking a second, specialized opinion when the doctor sheíd been seeing for many years had a disturbing reaction to a question.

The Long Road to a Diagnosis

The Banks family has osteogenesis imperfecta, (OI) which affects 1 in 20,000 live births. (more…)

In Praise of Mentors

March 25, 2012

Tags: teacher, Drosophila, Genetics Society of America, Stony Brook, Indiana University, Elof Carlson, Ricki Lewis, Hermann Muller, teaching assistant, University of Southern Indiana, Bloomington Indiana

In Praise of Mentors

I found him on Linked In, an unusual but familiar name among the many that the networking website had somehow deduced I should connect to. Elof Carlson, a blast from my past.

Back in fall 1975, when I was at SUNY Stony Brook, he taught Bio 101, and enlisted senior biology majors as his teaching assistants. Dr. Carlson, author of 14 books and a beloved teacher of many, was the first person to teach me how to teach. (more…)

The Forever Fix is Published! A Short Readerís Guide

March 16, 2012

Tags: The Forever Fix: Gene Therapy and the Boy Who Saved It, Ricki Lewis, Corey Haas, gene therapy, medicine, biotechnology, DNA, St. Martin's Press

Great display at Albany Barnes + Noble
Reports are trickling in as people read my new book, The Forever Fix: Gene Therapy and the Boy Who Saved It (St. Martin's Press). Itís been amazing to hear the emotional ups and downs that accompany the experience, taking me back to how I felt writing the book.

For months, the words poured out, seemingly out of my control. Iíd interview parents and researchers, usually late in the day, and be unable to sleep, immersed in their stories. (more…)

Animal Research Saves Lives: A Blast From My Fruit Fly Past

March 9, 2012

Tags: animal research, PETA, Ricki Lewis, #dros2012, The Forever Fix: Gene Therapy and the Boy Who Saved It, Drosophila Research Conference

Gene therapy gave vision to Corey Haas. (photo: Dr. Wendy Josephs)
Chicago Ė I left fruit fly research circa 1982, shortly after earning my PhD in genetics, because I didnít think insects with legs growing out of their heads was of much import to human health.

Although I went on to a rewarding career as a writer, I quickly learned that I was wrong about the (more…)

instruction
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 11th edition, 12th to be published in September 2018.
Nonfiction
An ideal starting point for anyone who wants to know more about genes, DNA, genomes, and the genetic ties that bind us all.

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