UofL will host free showings of Oprah Winfrey film on Thursday Movie examines how tissue and genetic material are used in research

    Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks poster
    This poster from April 2017 advertises "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" that will be shown at UofL on Thursday, Nov. 8.

    The University of Louisville Research Integrity Program will host two free presentations of the Oprah Winfrey movie, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” followed by question-and-answer sessions to discuss the issues raised by the movie.

    The first showing will be at 10 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 8, in the basement auditorium of the Donald E. Baxter Biomedical Research Building (Baxter I) at 580 S. Preston St. on the UofL Health Sciences Center campus. The second showing will be at 2 p.m., Thursday, at the Floyd Theater located on the third floor of the UofL Student Activities Center, 2100 S. Floyd St. on the UofL Belknap Campus. Admission is free for both showings.

    In 1951, cancerous cells from Baltimore resident Henrietta Lacks helped lead to breakthroughs that changed medicine. Her case sparked legal and ethical debates concerning the rights of individuals in determining how their tissue and genetic material are used – rights that are still being debated to this day.

    The movie originally aired in April 2017 on HBO and stars Oprah Winfrey as Lacks’ daughter Deborah, who headed her family’s effort to find out exactly how their mother’s cells were used and what rights they had to reap the same financial rewards from the use of the cells as the researchers. Winfrey also was an executive producer of the film, taken from the best-selling book of the same name by Rebecca Skloot.

    Following the HSC showing, Debra Schaller-Demers, director of research outreach and compliance at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, and Paula Radmacher, UofL export control administrator, will lead a discussion with audience members on the issues raised by the movie. Following the Belknap campus showing, Schaller-Demers and Radmacher will be joined by UofL faculty members Avery Harman and Faye Jones for the discussion.

    For information, contact Carla Jones, training and outreach coordinator with the Research Integrity Program at UofL, 502-852-2403.

    Jill Scoggins is Director of Communications at UofL's Louis D. Brandeis School of Law. She has been at UofL since 2010.