R. Alta Charo is the Warren P. Knowles Professor of Law and Bioethics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
In the past, she also has served on the faculty of the UW Masters in Biotechnology Studies program and the Dept. of Medical History and Bioethics at the School of Medicine & Public Health. Professor Charo has authored or contributed to over 100 articles, book chapters and government reports on law and policy related to environmental protection, reproductive health, new reproductive technologies, medical genetics, stem cell research, science funding, and research ethics.
Professor Charo offers courses on public health law, bioethics, biotechnology law, food & drug law, reproductive rights, stem cell policy, torts, and legislative drafting. In addition, she has served on the UW Hospital clinical ethics committee, the University's Institutional Review Board for the protection of human subjects in medical research, and the University's Bioethics Advisory Committee. Prior to her arrival at UW in 1989, Professor Charo served as Associate Director of the Legislative Drafting Research Fund of Columbia University; Fulbright Lecturer in American Law at the Sorbonne in Paris; legal analyst for the congressional Office of Technology Assessment; and AAAS Diplomacy at the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Charo's advisory committee service for the federal government includes the 1994 NIH Human Embryo Research Panel, and (1996-2001) President Clinton's National Bioethics Advisory Commission where she participated in drafting its reports on cloning, on stem cell research, and on protection of human subjects of research. She also served on the NIH working group reviewing the use of chimpanzees in NIH-funded research. In 2008, Professor Charo served on President Obama's transition team, focusing on NIH, FDA, bioethics, stem cell policy, and women's reproductive health. She was on leave 2009-2011 to serve as a senior policy advisor on emerging technology issues in the Office of the Commissioner at the US Food & Drug Administration.
Charo is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, where she co-chaired its Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee and its Human Genome Editing committees that drafted national guidelines for these areas of research. She has also served in National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Medicine committees on preventing bioterrorism, ensuring drug safety, and optimizing the childhood vaccination schedule. She served as its liaison to the Committee on Research Standards and Practices to Prevent Destructive Applications of Biotechnology and co-chaired its committee to develop national voluntary guidelines for stem cell research. She also served from 2006 to 2013 as a member of the Institute of Medicine's Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice as well as its Committee on Smallpox
Ms. Charo was born in Brooklyn, NY. She is fond of poker, foreign language study, cats, home renovation, Harry Potter books, old movies, roller coasters, salsa music, Jane Austen novels and Star Trek.