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Immortal - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780323856928, 9780323856935


1st Edition

Our Cells, DNA, and Bodies

Author: David Goldman
Paperback ISBN: 9780323856928
eBook ISBN: 9780323856935
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 1st July 2021
Page Count: 204
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Immortal: Our Cells, DNA, and Bodies synthesizes what we know about life and death from a genetic, molecular and cellular perspective, demarcates our limits of knowledge, and forces us to ask new questions. Here, award-winning researcher, physician, and NIH Lab Director David Gold Goldman comprehensively examines three keys to understanding the nature and continuity of life: 1) Epigenetic (ephemeral) vs. genetic (durable) transgenerational memory, 2) Life’s cellular nature and the ability to make bodies from cells, and 3) The distinction between bodies and persons.

Grounded in recent scientific evidence and real-life cases that test our historical understanding of life and death, this book probes the nature of molecular continuity in the face of mortal extinction, encompassing how changes to the DNA code can be both long lasting and transgenerational.

Key Features

  • Applies recent genetic, molecular and cellular findings to examine the boundaries between living and non-living, and between person and non-person
  • Examines the significance of epigenetic memory and transgenerational inheritance and their role in molecular and precision medicine
  • Written by a thought-leader in genetic and molecular medicine


Active researchers, basic and translational scientists, and clinicians in the areas of human genetics, genomics, molecular biology, cell biology, neuroscience, aging, and physiology, internal medicine; bioethicists clinicians and students of life science, genetics, and medicine; engaged general public

Table of Contents

1. Death
2. HeLa: The resurrection of Henrietta Lacks
3. Persistence of memory
4. Hel: Goddess of death and life
5. Where self-resides
6. Our diploid selves
7. Our cellular selves
8. From molecule to self
9. The ancient divide between molecules and self
10. Persistence of epigenetic memory
11. Altruism, of cell and self
12. Shrine or museum?
13. Robbing the grave
14. Birth
15. I am Anastasia


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2021
1st July 2021
Academic Press
Paperback ISBN:
eBook ISBN:

About the Author

David Goldman

David Goldman

Dr. David Goldman received his B.S. from Yale University in 1974. He received his M.D. degree in 1978 and completed residency training in psychiatry in 1979, both at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Dr. Goldman joined the NIAAA in 1979 and has been chief of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics since 1991. Throughout his career, Dr. Goldman has focused on the identification of genetic factors responsible for inherited differences in behavior. His laboratory is currently exploring the genetics of alcoholism, substance abuse, and related health problems.

Affiliations and Expertise

Laboratory of Neurogenetics, NIAAA, Rockville, MD, USA


"In his new book, Goldman – not only a first-rank neuroscientist but also a first-rank writer – provides a fresh and fascinating view on the self and the soul, the brain and the body. A must-read for scientists and society."

--Katharina Domschke, Chair and Full Professor of Psychiatry, University of Freiburg, Germany


"Reading David Goldman’s Immortal is much like listening to a trusted older brother explaining how life, death, epigenetic research and a myriad of other things all tie together. It's full of color and anecdote but at the same time informed by science and a profound understanding of the subject. The tone is casual but still conveys a quiet sense of magic and wonder,"

Rickard L Sjöberg, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Neurosurgery at Umeå University, Sweden


"Dr. David Goldman tackles life’s essential issues – the self, the meaning of life, and the inevitability of death – in this truly evocative and informative volume. Written by one of the nation’s leading genomic scientists, the book combines personal vignettes with cutting edge scientific data to provide empathic yet highly rational perspectives on these complex and vexing questions. A tour de force by a brilliant and illuminating writer."

--Anil K. Malhotra, M.D., The Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell


Ratings and Reviews