Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She 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.
On October 13, 2017, we welcome descendants of the Lacks family to the University of Southern Maine to discuss their first-person experiences with the collision between ethics, race, and the commercialization of human tissue. Join us for a keynote presentation and open conversation with Lacks family descendants: October 13, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm in Hannaford Hall.