Apr 042010
Authors: Ryan Sheine

Rebecca Skloot found her passions for science and writing simultaneously while attending CSU in the late ‘90s.

After graduating in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in biology, Skloot went on to work in journalism, writing for The New York Times Magazine, O, The Oprah Magazine, Discover and is the contributing editor at Popular Science magazine. She has written on a variety of topics, including goldfish surgery and food politics.

Tonight, Skloot will be hosting a signing for her new book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” which debuted at No. 5 on the New York Times Best Sellers list.

She will read from her book and answer questions from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Engineering Building, room 100.

“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” is a nonfiction showcase of a poor African-American Southern tobacco farmer’s cervical cancer cells that led to one of the most significant discoveries in modern medicine.

The cells, taken without permission from Henrietta Lacks or her family, led to the discovery of her polio vaccine, unlocked mysteries about cancer and uncovered details about the side effects of being exposed to atomic bomb radiation, according to Skloot’s Web site.

Kelsey Haaman, a junior psychology and human development double major, described Skloot’s new book as a journey to discover the woman behind her immortal cells and the medical revolution it helped spark.

During her time at CSU, Skloot took two non-fiction workshops with CSU professor John Calderazzo.

“It’s been wonderful to watch how her career has skyrocketed,” Calderazzo said.

Her story closes the gap between the human and scientific aspects of cell research.

“It’s a science story about cell biology that also addresses everyday issues in everyday lives,” Calderazzo said. “She had to work hard on getting the family to trust her, which really deepened the story.”

Skloot will also be part of a panel of CSU experts discussing, “Talking to the Public about Complex Biomedical Issues” today from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Fort Collins Hilton.

Staff writer Ryan Sheine can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 2:36 pm

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