Alta Charo

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Acclaimed Bioethicist; Warren P. Knowles Professor Emerita of Law and Bioethics, University of Wisconsin; Former David A. Hamburg Fellow, Nuclear Threat Initiative; Lead Co-Chair, “BioMade”; Co-Chair, National Academy of Medicine Committee on Emerging Science, Technology and Innovation

Biography

National and international expert on biotechnology ethics and policy, Alta Charo J.D. works with governments and professional societies to develop guidelines for ethical governance of such things as reproductive technologies, vaccines, regenerative medicine, and genetic therapies, and recently concluded a fellowship focused on global biosecurity at the Nuclear Threat Initiative.

Charo’s government service includes working as a legal analyst or policy advisor at the former Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, the US Agency for International Development, and the Office of the Commissioner at the FDA. During her 30-year career as professor of law & bioethics at the University of Wisconsin, she served on President Clinton’s National Bioethics Commission, which wrote reports on cloning, embryo research, and protection of human subject in research trials, as well as boards and committees at the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, on topics ranging from pharmaceutical development to vaccine safety and, most recently, COVID-19 vaccine allocation. At present, she co-chairs the committee on governance frameworks for emerging science and technology innovation. She also co-chaired seminal NASEM reports on ethical guidelines for embryonic stem cell research and on governance of human genome editing. For genome editing, she also served on the World Health Organization expert committee that developed a framework for global governance of the technology, and now is on the organizing committee for the March 2022 international summit.

Charo is featured in the genome editing documentary “Human Nature,” shown on NOVA. Her passion is for finding the sweet spot between creative innovation and socially responsible applications. Her work – which integrates law, ethics, policy and politics – has been recognized by election to the National Academy of Medicine, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Charo holds an AB in biology from Harvard University, and a law degree from Columbia University.

Alta Charo is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Photo credit: Jeff Miller, University of Wisconsin

Videos

Books & Research

Legislative Approaches to Surrogate Motherhood

(Cambridge University Press, April 2021)

Rogues and Regulation of Germline Editing

(The New England Journal of Medicine, March 2019)

Rejuvenating Regenerative Medicine Regulation

(The New England Journal of Medicine, February 2018)

Yellow Lights For Emerging Technologies

(American Association for the Advancement of Science, July 2015)

A Prudent Path Forward For Genomic Engineering And Germline Gene Modification

(American Association for the Advancement of Science, April 2015)

CRISPR Critters and CRISPR Cracks

(Taylor and Francis, December 2015)

The Societal Opportunities And Challenges Of Genome Editing

(Springer Link, November 2015)

Politics, Parents, and Prophylaxis — Mandating HPV Vaccination in the United States

(The New England Journal of Medicine, May 2007)

Body of Research — Ownership and Use of Human Tissue

(The New England Journal of Medicine, October 2006)

The Celestial Fire of Conscience — Refusing to Deliver Medical Care

(The New England Journal of Medicine, June 2005)

The Ethics of Control

(Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics, 2002)

A-Z Name

Charo, Alta

Biography

National and international expert on biotechnology ethics and policy, Alta Charo J.D. works with governments and professional societies to develop guidelines for ethical governance of such things as reproductive technologies, vaccines, regenerative medicine, and genetic therapies, and recently concluded a fellowship focused on global biosecurity at the Nuclear Threat Initiative.

Charo’s government service includes working as a legal analyst or policy advisor at the former Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, the US Agency for International Development, and the Office of the Commissioner at the FDA. During her 30-year career as professor of law & bioethics at the University of Wisconsin, she served on President Clinton’s National Bioethics Commission, which wrote reports on cloning, embryo research, and protection of human subject in research trials, as well as boards and committees at the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, on topics ranging from pharmaceutical development to vaccine safety and, most recently, COVID-19 vaccine allocation. At present, she co-chairs the committee on governance frameworks for emerging science and technology innovation. She also co-chaired seminal NASEM reports on ethical guidelines for embryonic stem cell research and on governance of human genome editing. For genome editing, she also served on the World Health Organization expert committee that developed a framework for global governance of the technology, and now is on the organizing committee for the March 2022 international summit.

Charo is featured in the genome editing documentary “Human Nature,” shown on NOVA. Her passion is for finding the sweet spot between creative innovation and socially responsible applications. Her work – which integrates law, ethics, policy and politics – has been recognized by election to the National Academy of Medicine, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Charo holds an AB in biology from Harvard University, and a law degree from Columbia University.

Alta Charo is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Photo credit: Jeff Miller, University of Wisconsin

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