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Allen Institute adds leading authority on bioethics to board of directors

Alta Charo brings background and expertise in the law, bioethics and government relations to the nonprofit research organization’s governing board


2 min read

SEATTLE — March 16, 2021 — The Allen Institute today announced the appointment of Alta Charo, J.D., renowned bioethicist, to its Board of Directors. The board, which is comprised of members from science, law, finance and other business and philanthropic backgrounds, is charged with providing oversight and stewardship to the Allen Institute, helping to ensure it fulfills its scientific mission.

Charo is the Warren P. Knowles Professor Emerita of Law and Bioethics at the University of Wisconsin.  Prior to her 1989 arrival at the University of Wisconsin, she 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 at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment; and AAAS Diplomacy Fellow at USAID.  Charo has also served as a senior policy advisor on emerging technology issues in the FDA Office of the Commissioner, as well as a member of President Clinton’s National Bioethics Advisory Commission.

Charo is currently the inaugural David A. Hamburg Distinguished Fellow at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, where she is focused primarily on the Biosecurity Innovation and Risk Reduction Initiative.  She is also the lead co-chair of the 4S (safety, security, sustainability and social responsibility) team for BioMADE, a Department of Defense-led Manufacturing USA Institute with a vision to build a sustainable, domestic end-to-end bioindustrial manufacturing ecosystem.

“We are thrilled to have Alta join our Board of Directors,” said Allan Jones, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Allen Institute. “Her experience and perspective will be tremendously valuable as we continue to explore new areas of research to advance human health.”

Charo, whose board term begins on June 1, joins 10 existing board members, including Board of Directors Chair Jody Allen, who is also Chair of Vulcan Inc. and Trustee of the Paul G. Allen Trust.

About the Allen Institute

The Allen Institute is an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit research organization founded by philanthropist and visionary, the late Paul G. Allen. The Allen Institute is dedicated to answering some of the biggest questions in bioscience and accelerating research worldwide. The Institute is a recognized leader in large-scale research with a commitment to an open science model. Its research institutes and programs include the Allen Institute for Brain Science, launched in 2003, the Allen Institute for Cell Science, launched in 2014, the Allen Institute for Immunology, launched in 2018, and the MindScope Program, launched in 2020.

In 2016, the Allen Institute expanded its reach with the launch of The Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group, which identifies pioneers with new ideas to expand the boundaries of knowledge and make the world better. For more information, visit

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