In 1951, a biopsy was performed on Henrietta Lacks as part of her treatment for cervical cancer. Henrietta died a few months later, but cells collected during the biopsy are being used for research study today.
Click on the image for a closer look.
Wired put together this graphic tracing the history of the HeLa cell line - Henrietta's cells - to show how it has nudged along biological research through the years. The cell line is known as an "immortal line" due to its ability to survive and proliferate indefinitely, and this is exactly why it is so significant for research. I only wish this woman could've known that part of her would live on to make a such a difference. [Wired and Wikipedia]