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• Charles Elias at (718) 482-5052 


LAGCC Hosts Lecture on HeLa Cells and Bioethics on April 23

The Event is Free and Open to the Public

Long Island City, NY—April 6, 2012—LaGuardia Community College will host on April 23 a lecture on the biology and bioethical issues surrounding the case of Henrietta Lacks, a poor Southern tobacco farmer in the 1940s whose cells--taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Dr. Stephen R. Latham, Director of the Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, will discuss these sensitive issues, which are chronicled in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Ms. Skloot tracks down the story of Ms. Lacks, her HeLa cells, the first “immortal human cells grown in culture, and the vital role they had in developing the polio vaccine, uncovering the secrets of cancer, viruses and the atom bomb’s effects, as well as leading to important advances in in vitro fertilization, cloning and gene mapping.

Dr. Latham will delve into the biology of HeLa cells and the controversy swirling around the case. He will discuss whether scientists had the legal right to extract cells without the knowledge of the patient and her family and whether it is fair for corporations making millions marketing human biological material not to share their profits with the family.

At Yale, Dr. Latham teaches undergraduate, graduate, MBA and medical courses on law-and-bioethics, comparative bioethics, business ethics and law, and responsible conduct of research. Before entering academia full time, Dr. Latham served as Director of Ethics Standards at the American Medical Association, and as secretary to its Council of Ethical and Judicial Affairs.

The lecture will be held in the Mainstage Theater at 31-10 Thomson Avenue, Long Island City, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. For more information, please contact Demetrios Kapetanakos at (718) 482-5670.

LaGuardia Community College located in Long Island City, Queens, was founded in 1971 as a bold experiment in opening the doors of higher education to all, and we proudly carry forward that legacy today. LaGuardia educates students through over 50 degree, certificate and continuing education programs, providing an inspiring place for students to achieve their dreams. Upon graduation, LaGuardia students’ lives are transformed as family income increases 17%, and students transfer to four-year colleges at three times the national average. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), LaGuardia is a nationally recognized leader among community colleges for boundary-breaking success educating underserved students. At LaGuardia we imagine new ideas, create new curriculum and pioneer programs to make our community and our country stronger. Visit to learn more.

LaGuardia Community College
31-10 Thomson Ave.
Long Island City, NY 11101
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