Lisa's research addresses the rhetorics of science, medicine, and bioethics, with publications covering topics such as biomedical controversies, end-of-life communication, and biodefense. For a curriculum vita detailing her education and academic record, click here.


Her first book, Scientific Characters: Rhetoric, Politics, and Trust in Breast Cancer Research, appears in the University of Alabama Press's award-winning series on Rhetoric, Culture, and Social Critique. Scientific Characters chronicles the contests over character, knowledge, trust, and truth in a politically charged scientific controversy that erupted after a 1994 Chicago Tribune headline: "Fraud in Breast Cancer Research: Doctor Lied on Data for Decade." The book addresses what happens when scientists, patients, and advocates are called to speak in public concerning complex technical matters with direct implications for human life, and sheds light on the challenges faced by scientists and citizens as science becomes more bureaucratized, dispersed, and accountable to varied publics. To learn more, click here.

Lisa is currently writing her second book, tentatively titled Envisioning Viral Apocalypse: A Rhetorical History of Biological Weapons from World War II to the War on Terror. The volume chronicles the rise of biological weapons across technical, public, and popular imaginaries from the United States' installation of its first germ laboratory in Camp Detrick, Maryland, during World War II to the present post-9/11 "bioterrorism bonanza," which is characterized by unprecedented spending on both civil and military biodefense. Tacking back and forth between scientific reports, declassified government documents, public speeches, and popular entertainment, the book charts the ascendance of viral apocalypse as a recurrent and recognizable cultural form that drives biodefense research and development in ways that reconfigure the relationship between biology and the state.

Lisa's other essays concerning topics such as medical rhetoric, bioethics, and terrorism appear in places such as Academic Medicine, Accountability in Research, Argumentation & Advocacy, Communication Yearbook, Cultural Studies-Critical Methodologies, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Journal of Medical Humanities, the Quarterly Journal of Speech, and edited books about the rhetoric of science and medicine.

Lisa serves on the editorial boards of Health Communication, the Journal of Medical Humanities, and the Western Journal of Communication, is part of the medical humanities working group at the University of Colorado Denver, and is a faculty affiliate of the Center for Science & Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Scientific Characters

Rhetoric, Politics, and Trust in Breast Cancer Reseach

Recipient of the 2011 Marie Hochmuth Nichols Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Public Address from the Public Address Division of the National Communication Association.

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University of Alabama Press