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Shepherd Common Reading selection for 2012-13 chosen

ISSUED: 10 April 2012
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens
(Shepherd Common Reading selection for 2012-13 chosen)

Shepherdstown, WV--The Shepherd University Common Reading program has selected "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot for the 2012-13 academic year. It was chosen from five semifinalists via voting on the Shepherd University website. Events will be planned around the topics covered in the book. All events, except the annual Common Reading Dinner, are free and open to the public.

"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" features Henrietta Lacks, who scientists know as HeLa. She is poor and black in the 1950. Her cells-taken without her knowledge or permission-become one of the most important tools in medicine. The first "immortal" human cells grown in culture, they are still alive though she has been dead for more than 60 years. HeLa's cells were vital in developing the polio vaccine; uncovering secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb's effects; space exploration; and in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping. Although Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave, her cells have launched a multimillion dollar industry that sells human biological materials.

For more information about the Common Reading Program, contact Judi McIntyre at or 304-876-5396.


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