R. Alta Charo is the Warren P. Knowles Professor Emerita of Law and Bioethics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where she taught in biotechnology law and ethics at the law school, medical school and biotechnology studies program. At present, she is serving as the inaugural David A. Hamburg Distinguished Fellow at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, focusing on biosafety and biosecurity. In 2019-2020, she was a Berggruen Fellow at the Stanford Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences. She joins the Chautauqua Lecture Series with remarks on the development of genome editing, and the ethics surrounding the use of such technology.
Charo is an elected member of the National Academies' Institute of Medicine (now known as the National Academy of Medicine) and in 2013 she was awarded the Adam Yarmolinsky Medal for her service to the IOM. In 2020, she was elected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science as well as the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Her federal service includes positions at the FDA, USAID and the former congressional Office of Technology Assessment, and advisory committee service includes the 1994 NIH Human Embryo Research Panel, President Bill Clinton's National Bioethics Advisory Commission, and President Barack Obama’s transition team.
Charo has served as a member of a working group of the NIH Council of Councils and on the advisory council for the NIH National Center for the Advancement of Translational Sciences and co-chaired the National Academies' committees on human embryonic stem cell research guidelines and on human genome editing science, ethics and governance; at present she co-chairs the Academies' committee on emerging science and technology issues, and is a member of the World Health Organization's expert advisory committee on global governance of genome editing.
Charo holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Harvard University, and earned her J.D. from the Columbia University School of Law.
About Chautauqua Institution: Chautauqua Institution is a community on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York state that comes alive each summer with a unique mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship and programs, and recreational activities. As a community, we celebrate, encourage and study the arts and treat them as integral to all of learning, and we convene the critical conversations of the day to advance understanding through civil dialogue. CHQ Assembly is the online expression of Chautauqua Institution's mission.