Rebecca Skloot - Author

About the Author

Rebecca Skloot is an award-winning science writer whose articles have appeared in The New Yourk Times Magazine, O, The Oprah Magazine, Discover, Columbia Journalism Review, and elsewhere. She is contributing editor for Popular Science magazine and has also been a correspondent for NPR and PBS. A former vice president of the National Book Critics Circle, she is on the faculty of the University of Memphis, where she teaches creative nonfiction, and she blogs at Culture Dish, hosted by Seed Magazine's blogs, Skloot has an undergraduate degree in biomedical science from Colorado State University and an MFA in nonfiction writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

 

Author photo © Manda Townsend

Featured books by Rebecca Skloot

Other books by Rebecca Skloot

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Author: Rebecca Skloot Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/05/2017

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, now an HBO film starring Oprah Winfrey & Rose Byrne Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. Born a poor black tobacco farmer, her cancer cells - taken without her knowledge - became a multimillion-dollar industry and one of the most important tools in medicine. Yet Henrietta's family did not learn of her `immortality' until more than twenty years after her death, with devastating consequences . . . Rebecca Skloot's fascinating account is the story of the life, and afterlife, of one woman who changed the medical world forever. Balancing the beauty and drama of scientific discovery with dark questions about who owns the stuff our bodies are made of, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is an extraordinary journey in search of the soul and story of a real woman, whose cells live on today in all four corners of the world. `No dead woman has done more for the living . . . A fascinating, harrowing, necessary book' Hilary Mantel, Guardian `An extraordinary mix of memoir and science reveals the story of how one woman's cells have saved countless lives' Daily Telegraph `A heartbreaking account of racism and injustice . . . Moving and magnificent' Metro

Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Author: Rebecca Skloot Format: eBook Release Date: 02/02/2010

Now a major motion picture from HBO starring Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne.Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cellstaken without her knowledgebecame one of the most important tools in medicine. The first ';immortal' human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they'd weigh more than 50 million metric tonsas much as a hundred Empire State Buildings. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb's effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave.Now Rebecca Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the ';colored' ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells; from Henrietta's small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginiaa land of wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodooto East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells. Henrietta's family did not learn of her ';immortality' until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists investigating HeLa began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. And though the cells had launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, her family never saw any of the profits. As Rebecca Skloot so brilliantly shows, the story of the Lacks familypast and presentis inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of. Over the decade it took to uncover this story, Rebecca became enmeshed in the lives of the Lacks familyespecially Henrietta's daughter Deborah, who was devastated to learn about her mother's cells. She was consumed with questions: Had scientists cloned her mother? Did it hurt her when researchers infected her cells with viruses and shot them into space? What happened to her sister, Elsie, who died in a mental institution at the age of fifteen? And if her mother was so important to medicine, why couldn't her children afford health insurance?Intimate in feeling, astonishing in scope, and impossible to put down, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks captures the beauty and drama of scientific discovery, as well as its human consequences.

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