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‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’ named OneBook choice for 2011-12

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

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Media Contact: Bridget Lewis, Office:817-272-3317, Cell:214-577-9094, blewis@uta.edu

ARLINGTON - The University of Texas at Arlington OneBook Program announces the OneBook selection for 2011-12: “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot. The OneBook theme for the academic year will be ethics.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The UT Arlington OneBook Program was created in 2006 to foster community among incoming first year students and all members of the university community. Each year, the OneBook Program selects a book read by all students enrolled in English 1301. The work anchors a year-long conversation on a designated theme.

“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” is a New York Times nonfiction bestseller that has been featured by OneBook programs at Bard College, Gallaudet, Johns Hopkins University, University of Arkansas and University of Wisconsin-Madison, among other higher education institutions.

“Immortal Life” tells the story of a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells — taken without her knowledge — revolutionized modern medicine. The first "immortal" human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though Lacks has been dead for more than 60 years.

The UT Arlington OneBook Selection Committee was enthused about the way “Immortal Life” intertwines history, identity and science to tell the story of one of the most significant developments in modern medicine and cell biology, members said. Committee members say the book will undoubtedly spark exciting conversations on subjects as varied as biology, nursing, social work and history, among others.

The OneBook theme of ethics invites the campus to explore issues relating to medical testing on humans and animals, the science and politics of cloning, medicine and capitalism, and the intersection of race and class in the history of medicine. In a broader sense, ethics is central to scholarly research and life-long learning.

“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” was originally nominated as a UT Arlington OneBook by Michael Moore, senior vice provost and dean of undergraduate studies, and Dawn Remmers, executive director of UT Arlington’s University College.

Christopher Conway, OneBook faculty co-chair, called this year’s selection “possibly our most versatile OneBook ever.”

“Whether you’re passionate about science, history or the law, you will find something rich and rewarding in this book,” Conway said “We’ll undoubtedly have a great year of programming in 2011-12.”

UT Arlington’s OneBook program was inaugurated with Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner and the theme of power, and has featured titles such as Deep Economy by Bill McKibben and the current OneBook, A Journal for Jordan by Dana Canedy.

The UT Arlington OneBook Program is accepting book nominations for the 2012-2013 academic year from members of University students, faculty and staff at www.uta.edu/universitycollege/current/first-year-students/onebook/propose-a-onebook-form.php.

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of 33,800 students in the heart of North Texas. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more.

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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.