VSHP Mentorship Committee Book Club: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine: The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, which are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions.
Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave.
As author Rebecca Skloot brilliantly shows, the story of the Lacks family—past and present—is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.
Join us for a discussion of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (now a major motion picture!) via Zoom October 13, 2021 at 19:00.
The book club entails a 1-hour online call, where members will be able to get to know each other and discuss the selected book. All members (students, technicians, etc.) welcome! VSHP Book Club will be held at 19:00 on the 2nd Wednesday of every 3rd month (January, April, July, October)
Submit your suggestions for future book club reads!: https://forms.gle/J6xugvSUgStEGBVH9