‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’ focus of presentation

David Lacks, the grandson of Henrietta Lacks, will be on campus Nov. 12 to speak about the book that details her contribution—cells taken without her knowledge in 1951—to modern medical research. Those HeLa cells became the basis for decades of research, including the polio vaccine and gene mapping.

The highly acclaimed “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot was selected for the Pirate Summer Read this year. The work tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, the forgotten woman behind one of the most important tools in modern medicine, and of her descendants, many of whom feel betrayed by the scientific establishment.

David Lacks will speak at 7 p.m., Nov. 12 in Wright Auditorium. He will present a first-person perspective on the collision between ethics, race and the commercialization of human tissue, and how the experience has changed the Lacks family forever. This is a free and open event.

First-year students are asked to complete the Pirate Read before arriving on campus each August.