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Embryonic Stem Cell Research: Moral Questions for the 21st Century (2007)

April 17, 2007 | Lincoln Center Campus

Sponsored by the Center for Ethics Education, the Curran Center for American Catholic Studies, and the Natural Law Colloquium

The debate over stem cell research is one of the complex moral issues confronting us today: not just as scientists and politicians, but also as patients and caregivers. As human beings living at the forefront of change, it is essential that we equip ourselves with the knowledge and the courage necessary to confront this most difficult of issues. This conference brought together experts in science, medicine, law, theology and philosophy to address such bioethics-related questions as: What is embryonic stem cell research? What is the state of the science? What is the state of the moral question from a faith perspective? What are the ethical implications for human dignity and rights? What should be the role of the state in restricting or regulating embryonic stem cell research? For more information, view the conference program.

Speaker Biographies

R. Alta Charo is the Warren P. Knowles Professor of Law and Bioethics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She is author of nearly 100 articles, book chapters and government reports on topics including medical genetics law, science policy and research ethics, and in 2006 was appointed co-chair of the National Academies’ Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee.

Richard M. Doerflinger, Deputy Director of the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has testified before Congress, the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, and the National Institutes of Health on ethical issues involving human embryo research. He has published widely on medical-moral issues, including contributions to the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, and the American Journal of Bioethics.

H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr., is Professor of Philosophy at Rice University Department of Philosophy, where his current research interests are explanatory models in medicine, the development of modern concepts of health and disease, and rights and responsibilities in health care. He is also Professor Emeritus, Baylor College of Medicine. Representative publications include: Global Bioethics: The Collapse of Consensus; The Foundations of Christian Bioethics; and The Foundations of Bioethics. Dr. Engelhardt, Jr., serves as the editor of the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy and is Senior Editor of the journal, Christian Bioethics.

Stephen S. Hall, science journalist and author of five books, has been described by the editor of M.I.T.’s Technology Review magazine as “our nation’s best chronicler of biomedicine.” Specializing in stories about the impact of science on the culture at large, his work has appeared in Science, Discover, the Hastings Center Report, and the New York Times Magazine, where his cover story in 2000 on the science of embryonic stem cell led to his book about the history of stem cell science and regenerative medicine, Merchants of Immortality: Chasing the Dream of Human Life Extension (2003). His most recent book, Size Matters (2006), discusses the biology of human growth, and the medical, psychological, and bioethical implications of physical stature.

Melissa A. Henriksen, is the Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor in Biological Sciences at Fordham University. Her laboratory research focuses on mechanisms of gene expression, chromatin biology and epigenetics. Her most recent work has been published in Genes & Development and Proceedings from the National Academy of Sciences USA.

Christine Firer Hinze, Professor of Theology at Fordham University, is author of Comprehending Power in Christian Social Ethics (1995), and has published extensively on foundational issues in Christian social ethics, Christian feminist ethics, and Catholic social thought in relation to economy, family and work, and social transformation. Her current book project is a Catholic feminist treatment of just work in the 21st century.

Patrick Lee, Professor of Bioethics and Director of the Bioethics Program at Franciscan University of Steubenville, is a graduate of University of Dallas and Niagara University, and received his Ph. D. in philosophy at Marquette University in 1980. Lee’s book, Abortion and Unborn Human Life, was published in 1996. His articles and review essays have appeared in American Journal of Jurisprudence, Bioethics, Faith and Philosophy, Philosophy, and other scholarly journals, as well as popular journals and online magazines. His most recent book (co-authored with Robert P. George) entitled Body-Self Dualism and Contemporary Ethical and Political Issues, Cambridge University Press, is forthcoming. In 2006 Lee received the Cardinal Wright Award for distinguished scholarship and integration of faith and reason from the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars.

David C. Magnus is Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Medicine, and Philosophy at Stanford University, where he is Director of the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics and co-Chair of the Ethics Committee for the Stanford University Hospital and the Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital. He is also Director of the Scholarly Concentration in Biomedical Ethics and Medical Humanities in the School of Medicine. In addition to his scholarly work, Dr. Magnus serves on the state of California’s human Embryonic Stem Cell Advisory Board.

Stephen J. Pope, Professor of Social Ethics in the Theology Department at Boston College, is author of The Evolution of Altruism and the Ordering of Love, and editor of numerous publications including The Ethics of St. Thomas Aquinas. His most recent work, Human Evolution and Christian Ethics, is scheduled for publication by Cambridge University Press in 2007.

Michael Baur is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Adjunct Professor of Law at Fordham University. His current work focuses primarily on the metaphysical foundations (or presuppositions) of ethical and juridical discourse. Professor Baur serves as the National Secretary of the American Catholic Philosophical Association and of the Hegel Society of America, and is Director of Fordham’s Natural Law Colloquium.

Celia B. Fisher is Marie Ward Doty Professor of Psychology and director of the Fordham Center for Ethics Education. With over 100 publications and federal funding for ethics research, Dr. Fisher also chairs the Environmental Protection Agency’s Human Research Subjects Board and has served on the DHHS Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections and chaired American Psychological Association’s Ethics Code Task Force.

Mark S. Massa, Professor of Theology at Fordham University, is also Co-Director of The Curran Center for American Catholic Studies at Fordham University. Currently working on a history of Catholic theology in the United States since the Second Vatican Council, Dr. Massa has dedicated his past decade of research to the Catholic experience in the U.S. since WWII. His book, Catholics and American Culture: Fulton Sheen, Dorothy Day, and the Notre Dame Football Team, was winner of the AJCU/Alpha Sigma Nu Award for Outstanding Work in Theology for 1999-2001.

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