CAREER: Science writer. Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, researcher/writer, Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, 1992–97, managing editor and newsletter writer for Institute for Cell Engineering.
(With Joanne Zurlo and Alan M. Goldberg) Animals and Alternatives in Testing: History, Science, and Ethics, Mary Ann Liebert (New York, NY), 1994.
The Scalpel and the Butterfly: The War between Animal Research and Animal Protection, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2000.
The Riddle of Gender: Science, Activism, and Transgender Rights, Pantheon Books (New York, NY), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: In The Scalpel and the Butterfly: The War between Animal Research and Animal Protection, science writer Deborah Rudacille, who worked at the Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, explores the battle between medical researchers who believe that testing on animals is necessary to make life-saving advances in medical science and activists who belief research on animals has been abusive and should be stopped. Rudacille takes a broad look at the issue, recounting the anti-vivisectionist movement of the nineteenth century and providing profiles of the founders of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). She also looks at more-radical groups opposing animal research and how they have hurt the movement. In addition, the author explores modern advances in animal research and new medical advances involving animals, such as xenotransplantation, that is, the transplantation of organs from animals to humans.
Writing in the Library Journal, Peggie Partello called The Scalpel and the Butterfly a "well-researched and-documented account." A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that the book is a "cautious, useful survey" and noted that the author "seeks a middle ground" in addressing the controversy. In a review in Booklist, Vanessa Bush commented, "Rudacille … is masterful at examining the lengths to which science has been willing to go for the sake of advancements." Isis contributor Anita Guerrini wrote that the author "offers a thoughtful account of the ethical issues surrounding recent developments in biomedical research."
Rudacille takes a looks at the issues surrounding gender and transsexuals in The Riddle of Gender: Science, Activism, and Transgender Rights. The author not only includes interviews with transsexuals who are conducting research or are activists, but also discuses the history of transsexuals dating back to a famous case in the 1700s in which a man decided to live as a woman. In addition, she explores modern research into gender, such as that conducted at the Berlin Institute for Sexual Science. Writing in the Library Journal, Jim Van Buskirk called the book a "fascinating exploration" of the topic. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that the author's "sympathetic and well-researched elucidation of … the tangled issue of gender variance … is … a good introduction for the educated lay reader and documented enough for the scholar," while Gilbert Taylor, writing in Booklist, called the book "uniquely informative."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, September 1, 2000, Vanessa Bush, review of The Scalpel and the Butterfly: The War Between Animal Research and Animal Protection, p. 33; February 15, 2005, Gilbert Taylor, review of The Riddle of Gender: Science, Activism, and Transgender Rights, p. 1042.
Isis, March, 2004, Anita Guerrini, review of The Scalpel and the Butterfly, p. 168.
Library Journal, September 1, 2000, Peggie Partello, review of The Scalpel and the Butterfly, p. 245; April 1, 2005, Jim Van Buskirk, review of The Riddle of Gender, p. 64.
Publishers Weekly, July 31, 2000, review of The Scalpel and the Butterfly, p. 82; January 17, 2005, review of The Riddle of Gender, p. 47.
Brothers Judd.com, http://www.brothersjudd.com/ (September 19, 2005), review of The Scalpel and the Butterfly.
National Association of Science Writers Web site, http://www.nasw.org/ (November 11, 2005), review of The Scalpel and the Butterfly.
PrideSource.com, http://www.pridesource.com/ (November 11, 2005), review of The Riddle of Gender.