Opening General Session/General Membership Meeting

This popular feature provides an opportunity for all meeting attendees to meet and mingle before the education and business sessions begin. Six professional and technical categories are also recognized each year at the AALAS National Meeting for excellence in the field of laboratory animal science. For more information on these awards, click here. The combined Opening General Session and General Membership Meeting takes place on Sunday, October 30, from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the convention center. Read about this year's keynote speaker, Rebecca Skloot, below.

In addition, your association leaders will report on the many achievements of the past year, as well as plans for the future. You will also have a chance to mingle with the Board of Trustees and learn about the latest AALAS Foundation activities.

The meeting will close with the Gavel Ceremony, in which 2016 AALAS President Dr. Laura Conour will hand the position over to Paige Ebert. A drawing will be held immediately after this ceremony, and five attendees will win a $200 cash prize; attendees must be present to win. Check your Final Program for details and an entry form. 

Keynote Speaker: An Evening with Rebecca Skloot

Rebecca Skloot, author of the award-winning bookThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks will present a lecture and discussion about the story of Henrietta Lacks, her book, her path to writing it, and the unexpected ways that path was shaped by her work as a veterinary technician in research labs and veterinary morgues.

In The Immortal Life, Rebecca Skloot tells the story of a young black woman who died of cervical cancer in 1951 and left behind an inexplicably immortal line of cells known as HeLa. Henrietta Lacks’s cells—harvested without her knowledge or consent—contributed to scientific advancements as varied as the polio vaccine, treatments for cancers and viruses, in-vitro fertilization, and the impact of space travel on human cells. The story is also about her children, who were later used in research without their consent and who have never benefited from the commercialization of HeLa cells, although the cells have helped biotech companies make millions of dollars. Part detective story, part scientific odyssey, and part family saga, The Immortal Life’s multilayered approach raises fascinating questions about race, class, and bioethics in America.

Skloot will also discuss her current work-in-progress—a book about humans, animals, scientific research, ethics—and the importance of telling such stories to the general public.


Rebecca Skloot is an award winning science writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times MagazineO, The Oprah Magazine; Discover; and many other publications. Her debut book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, took more than a decade to research and write, then instantly hit the New York Times best-seller list, where it has remained for more than five years since its publication.The Immortal Life was chosen as a best book of the year by more than 60 media outlets, including Entertainment WeeklyUSA TodayNational Public RadioPeople MagazineNew York Times, and U.S. News and World Report. It has been translated into more than 25 languages and is currently being made into an HBO film starring Oprah Winfrey. Skloot has a B.S. in biological sciences and an MFA in nonfiction writing. She has taught creative writing and science journalism at the University of Memphis, the University of Pittsburgh, New York University, and UC Berkeley. Before becoming a writer, Skloot spent more than a decade working as a veterinary technician in settings ranging from animal shelters to private practices, veterinary schools and research labs. Those experiences, and the questions they prompted, are at the center of her next book, which is about humans, animals, scientific research, and ethics, a topic near and dear to her. For more

Pre-order your copy of this fascinating award-winning book and join us at this year’s AALAS National Meeting Opening Session on October 30 to get your copy signed by the author. Author Rebecca Skloot is the 2016 Keynote Speaker. She will share the story of Henrietta Lacks, her path to writing this book, and the ways that path was shaped by her work as a veterinary technician in research labs and veterinary morgues. After the session, Ms. Skloot will sign copies of the book.

Please note: Deadline to purchase is October 1.Pre-ordered books will be available for you to pick up at the AALAS Bookstore in Charlotte before the session. Bring it with you to the opening session to get your copy signed after the session. No shipping charges will be added when you order this product. Shipping charges will apply if you order other products that will be shipped. Order here.

In keeping with her conflict of interest policy, Rebecca Skloot will not be accepting any gifts from AALAS or payment for her time or expenses.

Welcome Reception 

After the Opening General Session/General Membership Meeting all attendees are invited to a welcome reception. More details to come.

District Membership Meetings

District membership meetings are conducted by your district trustees, who are members of the AALAS Board of Trustees. They will lead discussion on recent board decisions, issues, policies, and/or procedures. If you’re not sure about the district to which you belong or who your district trustee is, please use this map for guidance (e.g., individuals living in the state of Texas would be a resident of District 7).

Check your Final Program for time and room assignment. Because international members of AALAS do not belong to any of the eight districts, they will have a designated meeting room as well and will meet at the same time as the districts.