Just like scores of other premedical students all striving to get acceptance to medical school, I volunteered and did research during college. I elected to work in the Virology department because I wanted to study viruses like HIV, RSV, and SARS that were causing havoc on our society. I do recall that we used HeLa cells frequently in our research. In fact, most scientists in that department used HeLa cells on a regular basis regardless of the focus of their projects. I didn’t think much of the cells and I definitely never thought of where or from whom those cells may have come from. They were simply a day to day part of my research, just like assays used for western blots. It wasn’t until I learned of the publication of the book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks [Amazon link], that I came to learn about the incredible back story of these amazing HeLa cells. I believe that this book has valuable lessons to teach us clinicians about our patients, how we relate to our patients, and the significant roles we inadvertently play in their lives.