March 22, 2010

Advance Notice

A stem cell's story of immortality

Author and science writer Rebecca Skloot will speak Monday, March 29 in Cannon Chapel at 7 p.m.

Skloot wrote “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” about a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells, which were taken without her knowledge, became the first “immortal” human cells grown in culture and are still alive today, known by scientists as HeLa.

“I think that ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’ is a truly interdisciplinary work, and that Henrietta Lacks' story — and Rebecca's story, because she became very personally involved during the 10 years spent researching and writing the book — is one that will hold the attention of both academics and the general public,” says graduate student and organizer Laura Mariani. “The story goes beyond the history of medicine, which is a fascinating field in and of itself, to relate the personal story of the Lacks family and the emotional impact that HeLa has left on them.”

An invitation-only student seminar is also being organized before the talk for a discussion between faculty and students from across the University. A booksigning will follow.

For more information, contact Laura Mariani.

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