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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The 2010-2011 Text-In-Community selection of North Carolina A& T State University.


HE-LA cells

© Omar Quintero

"These HeLa cells were stained with special dyes that highlight specific parts of each cell. The DNA in the nucleus is yellow, the actin filaments are light blue and the mitochondria—the cell's power generators—are pink."

HELA cells dividing

Click on the video to enlarge.

HeLa Cells Dividing (w/ on-screen captions from the scientist who created this YouTube video): HeLa cells dividing over 27hrs cells round up grow hair then divide

Archival Footage

Click on link below to enlarge

Archival Footage of early HELA cells.

Curriculum Extensions

Curriculum Tie-Ins
Biology cell reproduction; tissue harvesting
Math number of cells sold, reproduced, and remaining in storage
Business business of tissue harvesting and economic impact; Intellectual Property Laws
Psychology impact on the Lacks family and decendants
English/Journalism storytelling, fact checking, linguistics
Engineering Analysis of machines George Gey invented to grow cells; Current Tissue Culture Technology; Regenerative medicine
History treatment classes and races in 1950s & 1960s; Impact science research of HBCUs in 1950s and 1960s; Nuremberg Code; Tuskegee Syphillis Study; Nuremberg Trials
Social Work treatment of oldest child of Henrietta Lacks and children after her death
Human Subjects

Standards for Ethical Research; Johns Hopkins Hospital staff


Graphic Novel: Truth: Red, White & Black; braided structure of the book