From 1897 to 1901 she attended Goucher College (then known as Woman"s College of Baltimore), where she earned an Bachelor of Arts After graduation she studied at Bryn Mawr College, Columbia University, and the Universities of Zurich, Paris, and Berlin, but never earned a graduate degree.
At Bryn Mawr and Columbia she researched regeneration in amphibians and crayfish, and assisted noted embryologist Thomas Hunt Morgan. Mammalian in vitro culture In Berlin, 1908, while working in the laboratory of Max Hartmann with Doctor Rhoda Erdmann, who was growing amoebae in a nutrient solution, Reed transferred bone marrow tissue of a guinea pig to the solution, and after several days observed new bone marrow cells growing and multiplying. George West. Corner later wrote "This must have been the first in vitro culture of mammalian cells ever to have been made." She also discovered a type of cancer called Lewis lung carcinoma.
Teaching Between 1901 and 1912, Lewis held several teaching positions.
She was an assistant in zoology at Bryn Mawr College (1901–1902). Lecturer in physiology at New York Medical College for Women (1904–1907).
Lecturer at Barnard College (1907–1909), and instructor of anatomy and physiology at the Johns Hopkins Hospital Training School for Nurses (1911–1912). In 1915 Lewis joined the Carnegie Institution of Washington.
In 1940 she was elected to the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia.
Lewis died July 20, 1970, at the age of 88.
Lewis was an honorary life member of the Tissue Culture Society.