Microscopy - Digital Photomicrographs  Immortal HeLa - Henrietta Lacks Cells  [18]

Immortal HeLa - Henrietta Lacks Cells

Ayatana Biophilia Reasearch Artist Residency, Laboratory of Physical Manipulation, Ottawa University, Canada Henrietta Lacks, a 31 year old mother of five, died of cervical cancer in 1951. A few months before her death, cells were removed from her tumor. For years scientist tried to keep human cells alive in culture but they eventually died. While studying Henrietta Lacks’ cells in culture, scientists discovered that her cells went on dividing indefinitely. HeLa is the code name given to the world’s first immortal cells, which have proven invaluable to all kind of scientific research. HeLa cells assisted with some of the most important advances in medicine such as the polio vaccine, cloning and gene mapping. HeLa cells went up in the first space missions to study what would happen to human cells in zero gravity. They have been bought, sold, packaged and shipped by the trillions to laboratories around the world. It’s been estimates that if we could lay all HeLa cells ever grown in labs end-to-end, they’d wrap around Earth 3 times, spanning more than 350 million feet. This project explores the concept of multiplicity, cell division and the ethical debate surrounding the use of human tissues in research. It’s based on the study of HeLa cells and the life of Henrietta Lacks, which I find fascinating. The digital microphotographs are the outcome of my investigation in the Laboratory for Biophysical Manipulation, Ottawa University during the Ayatana Research Artist Residency. Microscopy x1000 - Digital Photomicrograph Ayatana Biophilia Reasearch Artist Residency, Laboratory of Physical Manipulation, Ottawa University, Canada 2015