It hides in men’s testes.

It attacks developing brains.

It paralyzes adults and destroys their heart tissue

Dr. Hope Sze discovers a dead man outside a stem cell lab. Did he fall prey to the Zika virus—or something even more sinister?

That’s the central question of Dr. Melissa Yi’s newest crime novel, Human Remains, which debuts on DNA Day, April 25th.

Yi is the pen name for Melissa Yuan-Innes, who practices emergency and hospital medicine in Cornwall, Alexandria, and at CHEO in Ottawa. She says, “Every day, we learn something new about Zika, whether it’s causing heart failure in previously healthy adults or affecting fetal brains, eyes, and joints. Meanwhile, governments are cutting funding to most scientific research. Lots of people are afraid of science, when in fact it’s a tool that helps us every day.”

She admits, “I didn’t know very much about stem cells before this book. Luckily, I was invited to speak at University of Ottawa Healthcare Symposium, where I met Dr. Bill Stanford. He and scientists like Dr. Lisa Julian are turning Ottawa into a hotbed of stem cell research on par with California, even though we have only 25 stem cell researchers compared to, say, 115 in Toronto.”

To improve the accuracy of her novel, Yi also consulted author-doctor Debra Komar, a forensic scientist who has testified in the Hague on war crimes; local physician and coroner Dr. Bob Reddoch; and several police officers attending the Writers Police Academy in Wisconsin.

Human Remains will premiere at the Cornwall Public Library on Tuesday, April 25th at 7 p.m., in celebration of DNA Day. “This is a day to celebrate the discovery of the double helix—and Human Remains!” says Yi.

The celebration extends to Montreal on April 27th at 6 p.m. at Librairie Bertrand and May 10th at 10:30 a.m. at the Williamstown Library, with a special pre-launch with the Crime Writers of Canada in Ottawa at Chapters Rideau on Thursday April 20th at 7 p.m.

“Fingers crossed that Dr. Stanford will be able to attend the Ottawa pre-launch. We’re going to have fun. I’m bringing DNA origami,” Yi says.

Note: Dr. Melissa Yuan-Innes will be presenting a short talk at Yes, Women Can, happening in Vankleek Hill on Sunday, April 9. Yuan-Innes will give a talk based on another successful book she has written, called, “The Emergency Doctor’s Guide to a Pain-Free Back.” Show attendees can meet Yuan-Innes at the authors booth at Yes, Women Can following her presentation. Visit to view the complete schedule for the day.