R. Alta Charo, Prominent Expert in Law, Bioethics, and Biosecurity, Joins NTI as Inaugural David A. Hamburg Distinguished Fellow

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The Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) named R. Alta Charo, the Warren P. Knowles Professor Emerita of Law and Bioethics at the University of Wisconsin, as the first David A. Hamburg Distinguished Fellow. This new position is designed to bring fresh ideas and thinking to NTI’s threat reduction and conflict prevention mission, feeding directly into significant global projects. David A. Hamburg, a valued advisor to NTI, dedicated his life’s work to shaping conflict prevention and resolution. He served as a Distinguished Fellow at NTI from the end of his career until his death in 2019.

“Our first David A. Hamburg Distinguished Fellow needed to match David’s high standards – an innovative leader who could help shape our efforts to tap emerging science and technology opportunities while managing potential risks. Alta clearly meets the standard, bringing unparalleled expertise as a bioethicist as well as experience fostering cross-sector collaboration that produces practical, actionable solutions. She will be an enormous resource in addressing global norms that reduce modern biotech risks,” said NTI Co-chair and CEO Ernest J. Moniz.

Beginning March 1, Charo will spend one year at NTI, working directly with the Global Biological Policy and Programs team (NTI | bio) to advance projects addressing biosecurity risks, particularly those associated with gaps in global norms and governance for bioscience.

“I am thrilled to have Alta join NTI as the first David A. Hamburg Distinguished Fellow. Her expertise in biosecurity, law, and ethics will advance the work NTI | bio has spearheaded to address critical gaps in the global bioscience governance architecture. My father would be honored to have Alta pursue this work in his name,” added Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, NTI interim vice president for Global Biological Policy and Programs and member of the NTI Board of Directors.

The David A. Hamburg Distinguished Fellowship Program is made possible through generous donations from David Bernstein, Laura Greene, Jacob L. Jordan, James B.D. Mark, James and Marilyn Simons, and the Malcolm Hewitt Wiener Foundation.

About R. Alta Charo

R. Alta Charo (BA biology, Harvard University 1979; JD law, Columbia University 1982) is the Warren P. Knowles Professor Emerita of Law and Bioethics at the University of Wisconsin, where she served on the law and medical school faculties over the course of 32 years. In government, she was a member of President Clinton’s National Bioethics Advisory Commission, and she has worked at the former congressional Office of Technology Assessment, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the FDA’s Office of the Commissioner. A member of the National Academy of Medicine, Charo co-chaired the National Academies’ committee that wrote guidelines for embryonic stem cell research and the committee that developed recommendations for U.S. policy and global principles for human genome editing research and clinical trials. Currently, she is a member of the World Health Organization’s committee on global governance of genome editing. This past year, she served on several National Academies activities, including committees on emerging infectious diseases, on COVID-vaccine and monoclonal antibody allocation frameworks, and on governance principles for emerging science and technology issues. In the past, Charo was a member of the “Fink Committee” that issued the 2004 report on “Biotechnology Research in the Age or Terrorism,” and has participated in other Academies and NIH activities related to dual use research of concern.

About the David A. Hamburg Distinguished Fellow Program

The David A. Hamburg Distinguished Fellow Program honors the late Dr. David A. Hamburg, who dedicated himself to helping prevent violent conflict among and within nations during a storied career spanning more than five decades. A distinguished physician, educator, author, and behavioral scientist, he led the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and he served as President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York from 1982 to 1997. He was a member of the U.S. Defense Policy Board with Secretary of Defense William Perry and co-chair with former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance of the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996 for contributions to world peace and public health and the National Academy of Sciences Public Welfare Medal in 1998.

The David A. Hamburg Distinguished Fellow program is designed to attract researchers, scientists, and experts to join NTI on a term basis to conduct innovative research and analysis and to bring fresh ideas and thinking to NTI’s mission. Distinguished Fellows contribute to developing NTI programs by providing specific regional expertise, experience with international organizations, or scientific and technology-related capacity, and help generate novel ideas for NTI efforts.

About NTI

The Nuclear Threat Initiative is a nonprofit global security organization focused on reducing nuclear and biological threats imperiling humanity.

For Immediate Release:
March 1, 2021
Contact: Cathy Gwin, 202-454-7706
[email protected]

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