Kass appointed to lead Presidents Council on BioethicsBy Peter Schuler
Leon Kass, the Addie Clark Harding Professor on the Committee on Social Thought, who was named in August to head President Bushs new Council on Bioethics, served as a main consultant to Bush this summer as the President was considering his decision on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
Kass has been engaged for more than 30 years with ethical and philosophical issues raised by biomedical advances, and more recently, with broader moral and cultural issues. He recently testified before Congress in favor of a ban on human cloning.
Commenting on his appointment in the Chicago Tribune, Kass said, The goal is to develop at the highest level the deepest and most comprehensive understanding of the issue, and we are striving for wisdom, not just cleverness.
Kass has written widely on issues in biomedical ethics, including in vitro fertilization, cloning, genetic screening and genetic technology, organ transplantation, aging research, euthanasia and assisted suicide, and the moral nature of the medical profession.
He is the author of numerous articles and books, including Toward a More Natural Science: Biology and Human Affairs, The Hungry Soul: Eating and the Perfecting of Our Nature, The Ethics of Human Cloning (with James Wilson), and the anthology Wing to Wing, Oar to Oar: Readings on Courting and Marrying, which he edited with his wife and fellow University faculty member, Amy Kass.
A Chicago native, Kass earned his S.B. and M.D. degrees at the University. He subsequently earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry at Harvard University.
He began his professional career as a member of the U.S. Public Heath Service, serving as a researcher in molecular biology at the National Institutes of Health.
He has taught at St. Johns College in Annapolis, Md., and served as the Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., Research Professor in Bioethics at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University.
Since 1976, he has been on the faculty of the University, where he has received numerous honors for his teaching.