Special National Meeting Event


At the 2016 AALAS National Meeting Opening General Session and Membership Meeting, Keynote Speaker, Rebecca Skloot, author of the award-winning book The 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.

Please note: A few books are left! Order by October 20.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. 

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.

Biography: Rebecca Skloot is an award winning science writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine; O, 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 Weekly, USA Today, National Public Radio, People Magazine, New 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 information:www.rebeccaskloot.com

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.

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