R. Alta Charo (BA biology, Harvard 1979; JD Columbia, 1982) is the Warren P. Knowles Professor of Law and Bioethics at the University of Wisconsin, and the 2019-2020 Berggruen fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly known as the IOM). Her work focuses on governance of emerging technologies, including reproductive technologies, stem cell research, genome editing, and synthetic biology.
She has served as a legislative drafter, and as a policy analyst at the former congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the US Agency for International Development. In government she served (2009-2011) as a senior policy advisor at the US Food & Drug Administration. Other government service includes membership on the 1994 NIH Human Embryo Research Panel and President Clinton’s National Bioethics Advisory Commission.
At the National Academies, she co-chaired the National Academies’ Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee, and was founding co-chair of the NAS/NAM Forum on Regenerative Medicine. She was a member of the NAS/NAM Genome Editing Initiative and co-chaired its committee charged with making recommendations on the use of gene-editing for both somatic and germline (heritable) changes in humans. At present she is a member of the World Health Organization’s expert advisory committee on global governance of genome editing.
Prof. Charo was born in Brooklyn, NY. She is fond of poker, foreign language study, cats, home renovation, Harry Potter, roller coasters, Jane Austen novels, and Star Trek.
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