Speaker Biographies

Susan Wolf

Susan M. Wolf, JD, is chair of the conference planning committee. She is McKnight Presidential Professor of Law, Medicine & Public Policy; Faegre Baker Daniels Professor of Law; and Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota. Prof. Wolf is Chair of the Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment & the Life Sciences. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Prof. Wolf's research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF) as well as private foundations including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Greenwall Foundation. She is currently a Principal Investigator on a project funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health, LawSeq: Building a Sound Legal Foundation for Translating Genomics into Clinical Application (1-R01-HG008605). 

Michelle Biros

Michelle H. Biros, MD, MS, is Interim Department Head and Research Director of the Department of Emergency Medicine, and Chair of the Medical School Institutional Review Board at the University of Minnesota. She is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and past Editor-in-Chief for Academic Emergency Medicine. She's currently Principal Investigator for the University of Minnesota hub of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)-funded Neurological Emergencies Treatment Trials network. She is also Co-PI of the University of Minnesota regional coordinating center for the NINDS-funded Stroke Net.

Wylie Burke

Wylie Burke, MD, PhD, is Professor and former Chair of the Department of Bioethics and Humanities at the University of Washington. Prof. Burke is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, past-President of the American Society of Human Genetics, and former-Chair of the Institute of Medicine Roundtable on the Translation of Genome-based Research for Health. She is also the Founding Director of the University of Washington's Center for Genomics and Healthcare Equality, which has been funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute. Her research grapples with the ethical and policy implications of genomics in medicine and public health, including the translation of novel genomic technologies from bench to clinic.

Alexander Capron

Alexander Capron, LLB, is University Professor; Vice Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs and Scott H. Bice Chair in Healthcare Law, Policy and Ethics in the Gould School of Law; and Professor of Law and Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine, all at the University of Southern California (USC). The former Director of Ethics, Trade, Human Rights and Health Law at the World Health Organization, he teaches Public Health Law; Torts; and Law, Science, and Medicine. Prof. Capron is also Co-Director of the Pacific Center for Health Policy and Ethics at USC, a campus-wide interdisciplinary research and education center, an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and the American Law Institute, a fellow of the Hastings Center and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and an Honorary Fellow of the American College of Legal Medicine.

Ellen Wright Clayton

Ellen Wright Clayton, MD, JD, is Craig-Weaver Professor of Pediatrics, Professor of Law, and Co-founder of the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society, Vanderbilt University. She is the 2010 recipient of the William G. Bartholome Award for Ethical Excellence from the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Section on Bioethics. Prof. Clayton is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), where she serves on the National Advisory Council, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She has advised the National Institutes of Health and other federal and international bodies on topics ranging from children's and women's health to the ethical conduct of human subject research. She is currently a Principal Investigator on a project funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health, LawSeq: Building a Sound Legal Foundation for Translating Genomics into Clinical Application (1-R01-HG008605). 

Carl Elliott

Carl Elliott, MD, PhD, is Professor in the Center for Bioethics and the Department of Pediatrics, and an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Philosophy and the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. He is the author or editor of seven books, including White Coat, Black Hat: Adventures on the Dark Side of Medicine (Beacon, 2010) and Better than Well: American Medicine Meets the American Dream (Norton, 2003.) His articles have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The London Review of Books, Mother JonesThe New York Times and The New England Journal of Medicine. In 2011 the Austen Riggs Center awarded him its Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media.

Sarah Gehlert

Sarah Gehlert, PhD, is the E. Desmond Lee Professor of Racial and Ethnic Diversity at the Brown School of Social Work and is on the faculty of the Department of Surgery of the School of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis. She is a scholar in Washington University’s Institute of Public Health and serves on its Faculty Advisory Committee. Dr. Gehlert is the Co-Program Leader of the Prevention and Control Program of the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center, Co-Director of the Transdisciplinary Center on Energetics and Cancer (TREC), and Training Program Director of the Program for the Elimination of Cancer Disparities (PECaD).  Prof. Gehlert serves on the Executive Committee of the university’s Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (a CTSA) and the Co-Chair of the Center for Community-Engaged Research.

Gail Henderson

Gail E. Henderson, PhD, is Professor of Social Medicine in the School of Medicine and Adjunct Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was Chair of Social Medicine from 2009 to 2015. Her teaching and research interests include global health inequality and research ethics. Prof. Henderson is a medical sociologist with training in public health and has extensive experience with interdisciplinary research and analysis. Her research and publications on health care in China have spanned three decades, and since 1999, Prof. Henderson's research on bioethics has been funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute’s (NHGRI) Program on Ethical, Legal and Social Implications (ELSI) of Genomic Research. 

Erick Kodish

Eric Kodish, MD, is Professor of Pediatrics and Bioethics at the Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University and a practicing pediatric hematologist at Cleveland Clinic. He recently completed 12 years of service as the F.J. O’Neill Professor and Chairman of Bioethics and  Executive Director of the Cleveland Fellowship in Advanced Bioethics. Prof. Kodish is a member of the Advisory Council for the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and a Fellow of The Hastings Center.

Barbara Koenig

Barbara A. Koenig, PhD, RN, is Director of the Bioethics Program and Professor of Medical Anthropology and Bioethics, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Institute for Health and Aging, at University of California, San Francisco. Prof. Koenig has pioneered the use of empirical social science methods in the study of ethical questions in science, medicine, and health. Her research addresses new biomedical technologies, particularly those within the genomic sciences, and care near the end of life. She integrates the study of everyday practice—such as informed consent procedures and classification systems in genetic research—with normative analysis. 

Frances Lawrenz

Frances Lawrenz, PhD, is Professor of Educational Psychology and Associate Vice President for Research at the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on science and mathematics program evaluation, utilizing a variety of techniques and usually involving mixed methodologies. Along with her teaching duties, Prof. Lawrenz is currently involved in the evaluation of several national science and mathematics programs. She has been recognized by the American Educational Research Association, having been awarded the 2016 Research on Evaluation SIG Distinguished Scholar Award for outstanding contributions to advance research in the field of evaluation, and by the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, with the Distinguished Contributions to Science Education through Research Award for outstanding contributions to science education in 2014. She is currently a Principal Investigator on a project funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health, LawSeq: Building a Sound Legal Foundation for Translating Genomics into Clinical Application (1-R01-HG008605). 

Allen Levine

Allen S. Levine, PhD, is Interim Vice President for Research and Professor of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota. Prior to his current position he was Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs; Dean of the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences; and Head of the Department of Food Science and Nutrition. He was the Associate Director of Research and a Senior Career Scientist at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center for 26 years. He also founded the NIDDK-funded Minnesota Obesity Center and was its director for 20 years.

Pilar Ossorio

Pilar Ossorio, PhD, JD, is Professor of Law and Bioethics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she is on the faculty of the Law School and the Department of Medical History and Bioethics at the Medical School. In 2011 she became the inaugural Ethics Scholar-in-Residence at the Morgridge Institute for Research, the private, nonprofit research institute that is part of the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. Prof. Ossorio also serves as the co-director of UW's Law and Neuroscience Program, as a faculty member in the UW Masters in Biotechnology Studies program, and as Program Faculty in the Graduate Program in Population Health. Prior to taking her position at UW, she was Director of the Genetics Section of the Institute for Ethics at the American Medical Association and taught as adjunct faculty at the University of Chicago Law School.

Mark A. Rothstein,

Mark A. Rothstein, JD, is Herbert F. Boehl Chair of Law & Medicine and Director of the Institute for Bioethics, Health Policy & Law, University of Louisville School of Medicine. He has concentrated his research on bioethics, genetics, health privacy, public health law, and employment law. From 1999-2008, he served as Chair of the Subcommittee on Privacy and Confidentiality of the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics, the statutory advisory committee to the Secretary of Health and Human Services on health information policy. He is past-President of the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics (ASLME). Prof. Rothstein serves as Public Health Ethics editor for the American Journal of Public Health, and writes a regular column on bioethics for the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics.

Michael Osterholm

Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, is Regents Professor; McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Public Health; the Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP); and Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota. He is also a Professor in the Technological Leadership Institute, College of Science and Engineering, and an Adjunct Professor in the Medical School. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) and the Council on Foreign Relations. He has served as a high-level advisor on issues related to bioterrorism, public health preparedness, and infectious diseases.

RIchard sharp

Richard Sharp, PhD, is Professor and Director of the Biomedical Ethics Program, the Center for Individualized Medicine Bioethics Program, and the Clinical and Translational Research Ethics Program, all at the Mayo Clinic. He has studied a variety of topics in biomedical ethics, including the integration of genetic technologies into patient care, best practices for clinical ethics consultation, financial conflicts of interest, and ethical dimensions of patient advocacy. Prof. Sharp frequently advises health care organizations on ethical issues and has served on advisory committees for the National Institutes of Health, Institute of Medicine, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

Scott Sponheim

Scott Sponheim, PhD, LP, is a Staff Psychologist at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System and a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota. His primary research focus is to understand how genetic risk for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder is expressed in the functions of the brain. Dr. Sponheim also studies military-related traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder in a search for brain-based measures that differentiate the two conditions and may help guide treatment decisions for individuals who have been exposed to traumatic explosive blast events in combat.

Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD

Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD, is Executive Vice Dean of the Medical School; McKnight Professor of Pediatrics; Edmund Wallace Tulloch and Anna Marie Tulloch Chair in Stem Cell Biology, Genetics and Genomics; and Director of the University of Minnesota Stem Cell Institute. Prof. Tolar's research focuses on using hematopoietic stem cell transplant as a treatment for rare genetic disorders including Hurler syndrome and dyskeratosis congenital, and has achieved international recognition for his work in caring for patients with recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa.

Effy Vayena

Effy Vayena, PhD, is Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) Professor of Health Policy at the University of Zurich, where she is Division Head of the Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute (EBPI) and leads the newly-established Health Ethics and Policy Lab in the Department of Public Health at the EBPI. From 2000-07 she worked at the World Health Organization (WHO), focusing on ethical and policy issues relating to reproductive health and assisted reproduction as well as on health research ethics. She remains a consultant to WHO and is visiting faculty at the Harvard Center for Bioethics, Harvard Medical School. In 2015–16, she was Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School.

John Wilbanks

John Wilbanks, BA, is the Chief Commons Officer at Sage Bionetworks. Previously, Wilbanks worked as a Legislative Aide to Congressman Fortney “Pete” Stark, served as the first Assistant Director at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, founded and led to acquisition the bioinformatics company Incellico, Inc., and was Executive Director of the Science Commons project at Creative Commons. In February 2013, in response to a We the People petition that was spearheaded by Wilbanks and signed by 65,000 people, the U.S. government announced a plan to open up taxpayer-funded research data and make it available for free. Wilbanks holds a B.A. in philosophy from Tulane University and also studied modern letters at the Sorbonne.

Doug Yee

Douglas Yee, MD, is Director of the Masonic Cancer Center, Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology, and John H. Kersey Chair in Cancer Research at the University of Minnesota. As Director of the Cancer Center, he serves as the point person for all cancer research at the University. He also treats patients with breast cancer and conducts research to improve cancer therapies.