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Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has appointed R. Alta Charo to the Advisory Council for the new National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the National Institutes of Health.

NCATS works in partnership with both public and private sectors to promote efficiency and innovation in the delivery of new drugs, diagnostics and medical devices to patients. The center relies on strategic guidance from the NCATS Advisory Council and its partner advisory group, the Cures Acceleration Network (CAN) Review Board, to which Charo was also appointed. She will serve four year terms on each board.

In her new role, Charo will advise on ethical and regulatory issues raised by translational research, such as privacy and civil rights concerns raised by research using human tissues residing in large biobanks or public health implications of deploying genetics and personalized medicine to target drug development toward narrower segments of the population. She will also participate in overseeing the peer review process for research proposals submitted to NCATS.

Charo is the Warren P. Knowles Professor of Law and Bioethics with a dual faculty appointment at the UW Law School and the UW Medical School. She currently teaches courses in biotechnology law, bioethics and torts, and is developing new offerings in public health law and FDA law. She has authored nearly 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.

The recent appointments to the NCATS Advisory Council and the CAN Review Board follow numerous honors and appointments to academic, scientific and governmental advisory groups throughout Charo's career. Among these are positions on the 1994 NIH Human Embryo Research Panel and President Clinton's National Bioethics Advisory Commission. She was also appointed to President Obama's transition team, where she worked on federal policy regarding the full range of NIH and Food and Drug Administration products and research. She later completed a two-year appointment at the FDA as senior policy adviser on emerging technology issues.

Charo is an elected member of the World Technology Network; the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters; and the National Academies' Institute of Medicine.

Submitted by Law School News on September 17, 2012

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