Stephen Colbert visits the BioBus!

Stephen, Ben, and Latasha discussing the lab procedures involved in imaging white blood cells

Stephen, Ben, and Latasha discuss lab procedure

Last Wednesday afternoon, Stephen Colbert stepped on the BioBus to have his cells “immortalized.” Using the same research microscopes we use to teach thousand students a year aboard the BioBus, I captured several time-lapse videos of Colbert’s crawling white blood cells. Working on-location outside underprivileged schools in the Bronx and across the country is our specialty – this time we just happened to be outside the studios of the Colbert Report! I was assisted by two BioBus Visiting Scientists, Lynn Biderman of Columbia Univ. and Latasha Wright of Cornell Medical Center, who are adept at getting celebrities and BioBus students alike excited about science. Thanks for your help,

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Lynn and Latasha.

We were rewarded for our work with front row seats to last nights screening of the Colbert Report. The videos we captured using the high-power microscopes and digital cameras aboard the BioBus were featured in an interview segment on last night’s show. Mr. Colbert interviewed Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a book discussing ‘immortality’ found in the unauthorized harvesting and reproduction of cells from an African-American tobacco farmer in 1951. Those cells can now be found in labs across the country, and have been used for genetic research ranging from mapping the human genome to finding a cure for cancer. Though I did not immortalize Colbert’s living cells (one of the issues the book deals with is the legality of keeping someone’s cellular materiel), he captured them in another way that may last even longer! Check out the clip below, and remember, while getting a mention of TV is nice, we need support from you to keep the BioBus rolling.

The Colbert Report
Rebecca Skloot

2 Responses to “Stephen Colbert visits the BioBus!”

  1. Chris says:

    Ben, I am totally jealous! I would love to meet Colbert. I did get to high-five him once when I got tickets to his show, but that’s the closest I got.

    Also, nice lab coat.

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