Ethics, race and medicine subject of events at S&T

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On October 29, 2013

New York Times bestseller The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks will be the focus of three events in November at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Rebecca Skloot’s non-fiction work brought attention to Henrietta Lacks, known by scientists as HeLa. Lacks 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.

ImmortalLifeofHenriettaLacks-749798Incoming first-year students were asked to read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks prior to arriving on campus as part of Missouri S&T’s One Book program. The book is taught in all sections of English 20, the introductory composition course required of most freshmen.

In addition to giving students an intellectual experience in common, the One Book program creates opportunities for critical thinking on a topic of social relevance, while promoting the value and importance of reading beyond the classroom.

The following One Book events are free and open to the public:

  • Members of the student chapter of iGEM, the International Genetically Engineered Machine Foundation, will present “The Science Behind ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’” from 3 to 4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 4, in the Carver-Turner Room of the Havener Center.
  • “Ethics in Research: A Panel Discussion” will be held from 3 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, in St. Pat’s C of the Havener Center. Panelists will include Dr. K. Krishnamurthy, vice provost for research, and Paula DeLong, compliance officer, both from Missouri S&T’s sponsored programs office; Dr. Richard Hall, professor of business and information technology and chair of S&T’s Institutional Review Board; Dr. Katie Shannon, associate teaching professor of biological sciences at S&T; and Dr. Amber Henslee, assistant professor of psychological science at S&T.
  • “Exploiting Another Person’s Bargaining Position” will be presented by Dr. Joel Dittmer, assistant professor of philosophy at S&T, from 3 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, in Room 125 Butler-Carlton Civil Engineering Hall.

The events are sponsored by the undergraduate studies office and the English and technical communication department at Missouri S&T. Dr. Kate Drowne, associate professor of English and technical communications, is director of the One Book program and director of the Missouri S&T Writing Center. More information is available online at or by email at

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