Operating on a tip, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporters Mark Johnson and Kathleen Gallagher discovered a career-changing story – the tale of a group of Milwaukee-area doctors and scientists, unlikely pioneers in bringing DNA sequencing into the clinic to diagnose and save a dying boy. The reporters knew early on, however, that to make a good story a great story they would have to reach the boy and his family. Johnson and Gallagher discuss how to combine very technical science with human drama to deliver stories that help readers understand complex, but important advances. Their series about the little boy who would be the first patient in the world to be sequenced for diagnosis won them the Pulitzer Prize and led to a recently-published book, “One in a Billion: The Story of Nic Volker and the Dawn of Genomic Medicine.

Mark Johnson is a health and science reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, where he has worked since 2000. He lives with his wife and son in Fox Point, Wisconsin. Kathleen Gallagher has been a business reporter at the Journal Sentinel since 1993. She lives with her husband and two children in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. They were the reporters on the Journal Sentinel team that won the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting on the Nic Volker story in 2011.

Mark is also a three-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Johnson and Gallagher presented at the annual gathering of the University Research Magazine Association hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2016.