Beginning September 2011, the Ethics Center leads the San Diego community in discussing science, ethics and diversity through the platform of the best-selling book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.”

As the website of the author Rebecca Skloot explains,

[Lacks] was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells — taken without her knowledge in 1951 — became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, and more. Henrietta’s cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance.

Our unprecedented collaboration allies eight San Diego institutions, including six universities and colleges. The speakers in the Henrietta Lacks Series are experts in issues related to research ethics and diversity. They all share a passion for exploring how science can better serve society.

On behalf of the Lacks Series alliance, I invite you to learn more about this unique community project.

The program of our first speaker, Dr. Laura Rivard of the University of San Diego, is titled “HeLa: Immortal Cells and Enduring Questions” will be presented September 7 at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. For more information please visit the Ethics Center website.

Michael Kalichman is the director of the Center for Ethics in Science and Technology.

Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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