Weill Cornell Medicine Events

HeLa Cells: an Intersection of Race, Gender, and Research Ethics

A prelude to WCM Diversity Week

Please note that the Zoom link for this event will be sent on Thursday, April 22.

Anyone who has ever conducted a cell biology experiment has likely worked with HeLa cells. This event will explore the story of Henrietta Lacks, a young Black woman, and the “mother” of HeLa cells. We will discuss the conditions surrounding the procurement and culturing of cells from her cervical cancer: what are the ethical concerns surrounding establishing the HeLa cell line, and subsequently using DNA samples from her family members without adequate explanation? How does this past ethical breach inform contemporary research practices? Will an increased diversity of research staff, and a recognition of our tendencies toward implicit bias, minimize future ethical infringements?

Sponsored by the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Thursday, April 22, 2021 at 2:00pm to 3:30pm

Virtual Event
Event Type



Biochemistry, Office of Diversity and Inclusion





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Henrietta Lacks

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