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Stanford Report, January 23, 2002

William Hurlbut appointed to president's bioethics panel; to advise Bush on cloning, stem cells

William B. Hurlbut, a consulting professor in human biology, was appointed last week to the President's Council on Bioethics -- a panel of 17 scientists, physicians, ethicists, social scientists and theologians named by President George W. Bush to advise him on cloning, embryonic stem cell research and other controversial bioethical issues.

The council, chaired by bioethicist Leon R. Kass of the University of Chicago, held its first meeting late last week in Washington, D.C.

According to a White House press release, the council's "paramount objective will be to develop a deep understanding of the issues that it considers and to advise the president of the complex and often competing moral positions associated with biomedical innovation."

Hurlbut, who earned an M.D. at Stanford in 1974, teaches two courses in bioethics in the Program in Human Biology, an interdepartmental undergraduate major program that focuses on the relationship between the biological and social aspects of humanity's origin, development and prospects.

Hurlbut's main areas of interest involve ethical issues associated with advancing biotechnology and neuroscience, and the integration of philosophy of biology with theology. Most recently, he has worked with the Stanford Center for International Security and Cooperation on a project formulating policy on chemical and biological warfare, and with NASA on projects in astrobiology.