Tools for Testing

The study and practice of STEM encourages the testing of hypotheses through experimentation. But where do you find the proper materials for testing?

In the case of human cellular activity, doctors and scientists can use “HeLa” cells, named after Henrietta Lacks. Mrs. Lacks came to Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s for cancer treatment and her cells showed a remarkable “immortal” capability to live on while similar cells from other patients quickly died. These cells have been used to develop the polio vaccine, test the effects of poisons, study how viruses work and learn more about the human genome.

St. Louis School camp attendees learned about HeLa cells and how their legacy has improved the lives of medical patients from Dr. James Potter, an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University. The campers then had a hands-on opportunity to learn how to stain cells and look at them under a microscope.

The St. Louis community would like to thank Dr. Potter for sharing his time and expertise with our students. We would also like to thank Dr. Millar, Dr. Zachos and Mrs. Lewis for their continued gift of time, talent and inspiration to benefit our kids. #STEMatSLS