Coriell Co-sponsors Lecture Series with Best Selling Author


Coriell Institute recently co-sponsored a lecture series along with Rowan University and Cooper Medical School and welcomed Rebecca Skloot, author of the award-winning "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks."

"Immortal Life" is the story of the real-life woman behind HeLa cells, the prolific cell line first discovered in 1951 that has served as a catalyst for many of today's scientific discoveries. Extracted from a sample of Lacks' cervical cancer tumor and renowned for their rapid growth and durability, HeLa cells have been used by countless scientists around the world and contributed to crucial research endeavors, including Jonas Salk's testing of the first polio vaccine.

The book chronicles the struggles of Lacks, an impoverished woman who unwittingly supplied a tissue sample during a medical visit in an age before informed consent laws, and that of her current-day family learning to cope.

"Immortal Life" also serves as a detailed historical account of the then scientific community and mentions the significant cell culture work of Dr. Lewis Coriell.

"'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks' is an important book about an incredibly important piece of science history," says Dr. Steve Madore, Coriell Director of Biobanking. "It's a great and accessible read, whether you're a scientist or not."

Skloot talked about the residual social, scientific and economic implications of her book and took questions from the audience.

The event was part of a campus-wide program that invites students, faculty and administrators to read a challenging and provocative book as a community. To learn more about "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks", visit

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