LEWISBURG - Rebecca Skloot, author of the best-seller "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks," will speak at Bucknell University at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 6 in Trout Auditorium of the Vaughan Literature Building.
Skloot also will answer questions from the audience and hold a book signing after the event.
The event, which is free and open to the public, is part of the continuing Bucknell Forum series "tech/no," which focuses on the evolution of technology's role in society, and its potential to impact the world in both positive and negative ways.
The book tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, a young black woman who died of cervical cancer in 1951 and left behind an inexplicably immortal line of cells known as HeLa. Her cells, which were harvested without her knowledge or consent, have contributed to scientific advancements as varied as the polio vaccine, treatments for cancers and viruses, in-vitro fertilization, and the impact of space travel on human cells.
The story is also about her children, who were later used in research without their consent and who've never benefited from the commercialization of HeLa cells, though the cells have helped biotech companies make millions of dollars.
Selected as the first-year common reading for the Bucknell Class of 2016, the book was honored as a Best Book of 2010 by more than 60 media outlets including The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Washington Post Book World, and O, The Oprah Magazine. It is being translated into more than 25 languages, adapted into a young reader edition, and being made into an HBO film produced by Oprah Winfrey and Alan Ball.
Skloot has written more than 200 feature articles, personal essays, book reviews and news stories. She is co-editor of The Best American Science Writing 2011 and has worked as a correspondent for NPR's Radiolab and PBS's Nova ScienceNOW.
Named One of Five Surprising Leaders of 2010 by The Washington Post, Skloot is founder and president of the Henrietta Lacks Foundation. The recipient of a bachelor's degree in biological sciences and an master's degree in creative nonfiction, she has taught creative writing and science journalism at the University of Memphis, the University of Pittsburgh and New York University.