She was a black tobacco farmer from southern Virginia who became ill with cervical cancer when she was 30. A doctor at Johns Hopkins took a piece of her tumor without her knowledge and sent it down the hall to scientists who had tried to grow tissues in a culture for decades without success. No one knows why, but her cells never died.
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Rebecca Skloot is a science writer whose first book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, took more than 10 years to research and write. She has a B.S. in Biological Sciences and a MFA in Creative Nonfiction.