Presidential Bioethics Commission to meet at Penn

Amy Gutmann

The University will host the second meeting of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, on Monday, Sept. 13 and Tuesday, Sept. 14.

The 13-member Commission, formed by President Barack Obama by Executive Order, is chaired by Penn President Amy Gutmann. James W. Wagner, president of Emory University, serves as the panel’s vice chair. Penn is additionally represented on the Commission by Law professor Anita L Allen.

The advisory panel is charged with “identifying and promoting policies that ensure scientific research, healthcare delivery, and technical innovation are conducted in an ethically responsible manner.” The Commission is comprised of some of the nation’s leading experts in medicine, law, nursing, ethics, religion and engineering. It also includes three representatives of the federal government and members from two branches of the military.

The proceedings, which are open to the public, will focus on the history, current trajectory and expected future of synthetic biology research. Leading experts, including Nobel Laureate Sydney Brenner, as well as Penn bioethicist Arthur L. Caplan, David B. Weiner, Penn professor of pathology and laboratory medicine and PIK professor Jonathan D. Moreno, are scheduled to address the panel. More information and the agenda for the two-day session is available at The panel’s third meeting will be held at Emory University in Atlanta, Nov. 16 and 17.