Member Biographies

Robert P. George, J.D., D.Phil. (Co-Chairman)

Robert P. George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. He is the author of Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality (1993), In Defense of Natural Law (1999), and Conscience and Its Enemies: Confronting the Dogmas of Liberal Secularism (2013), and the coauthor of Embryo: A Defense of Human Life (2008), Body-Self Dualism in Contemporary Ethics and Politics (2008), and What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense (2012). A graduate of Swarthmore College and Harvard Law School, Professor George earned a doctorate in philosophy of law from Oxford University. He holds honorary doctorates of law, letters, science, ethics, civil law, humane letters, and juridical science. In 2008, Professor George received the Presidential Citizens Medal at a ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House. He has also been awarded the Honorific Medal for Human Rights of the Republic of Poland; the Bradley Prize for Intellectual and Civic Achievement; and the Sidney Hook Memorial Award of the National Association of Scholars. He has served as a presidential appointee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and as a Judicial Fellow at the Supreme Court of the United States. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He was from 2002 to 2009 a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics. Professor George has served on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom since 2012, and is currently the commission’s chairman.

Donald W. Landry, M.D., Ph.D. (Co-Chairman)

Donald W. Landry is Samuel Bard Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine, and Director of the Division of Experimental Therapeutics at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. He is also the Director of the Medical Service at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. Dr. Landry completed his Ph.D. in organic chemistry under R. B. Woodward at Harvard University and obtained his M.D. degree from Columbia University, followed by a residency in Internal Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital before joining Columbia’s Faculty of Medicine. His basic research focuses on drug discovery and artificial enzyme approaches to intractable drug targets, e.g., cocaine addiction. His clinical research centers on his discovery in critical-care medicine that vasopressin insufficiency contributes to vasodilatory shock. He developed the alternative, embryo-sparing approach for the production of human embryonic stem cells based on the harvesting of live cells from dead embryos. Dr. Landry was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal in 2009 in a ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House. He was a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics from 2008 to 2009.

Michael J. Birrer, M.D., Ph.D.

Michael J. Birrer is a professor in the Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, the director of Gynecologic Medical Oncology at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, and a co-chair of the National Cancer Institute’s Gynecologic Cancer Steering Committee. From 1991 to 2008, he was the chief of the Molecular Mechanisms Section in NCI’s Center for Cancer Research, and from 2000 to 2008 he was the deputy branch chief of the center’s Cell and Cancer Biology Branch. His research focuses on the treatment and causes, including genetic causes, of ovarian and other gynecological cancers. Dr. Birrer obtained his M.D. and Ph.D. from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and completed his residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

Eric Cohen

Eric Cohen is the executive director of the Tikvah Fund. He is editor-at-large of The New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology and Society, and was editor from its founding until February 2007. From 2002 to 2007, he was a senior research consultant to the President’s Council on Bioethics. He was also a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and the director of its program on Bioethics and American Democracy. Previously, he was a fellow at the New America Foundation and the managing editor of The Public Interest. Mr. Cohen’s essays and articles have appeared in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, the Hastings Center Report, the Weekly Standard, First Things, Commentary, and elsewhere. He is the co-editor (with William Kristol) of The Future is Now: America Confronts the New Genetics (2002) and the author of In the Shadow of Progress: Being Human in the Age of Technology (2008).

Farr A. Curlin, M.D.

Farr A. Curlin is the Josiah C. Trent Professor of Medical Humanities at Duke University, as well as the co-director of the university’s Theology, Medicine, and Culture Initiative. Before joining the Duke faculty in 2014, Dr. Curlin was Associate Professor of Medicine and Co-Director of the Program on Medicine and Religion at the University of Chicago. He completed his internal medicine residency training and fellowships in both health services research and clinical ethics at the University of Chicago after graduating from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Dr. Curlin’s empirical research charts the influence of physicians’ moral traditions and commitments, both religious and secular, on physicians’ clinical practices. His normative work addresses questions regarding whether and how physicians’ religious commitments and practices should shape their practices of medicine in our plural democracy. Curlin and colleagues have authored numerous manuscripts published in the medicine and bioethics literatures, including a New England Journal of Medicine paper titled, “Religion, Conscience and Controversial Clinical Practices.” He also edited a special issue of Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics titled, “Conscience and Clinical Practice: Medical Ethics in the Face of Moral Controversy.”

Austin L. Hughes, Ph.D.

Austin L. Hughes is Carolina Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina. His research uses statistical analysis of DNA sequence data from a wide variety of systems as a means of understanding the mechanisms of adaptive evolution, with emphasis on genes of the vertebrate immune system. He has published studies in Nature, Genetics, Molecular Biology and Evolution, Immunogenetics, the Journal of Molecular Evolution, and many other scientific journals. He obtained his Ph.D. from Indiana University, Bloomington.

William B. Hurlbut, M.D.

William B. Hurlbut is a physician and consulting professor in the Department of Neurobiology at Stanford University Medical Center. His main areas of interest involve the ethical issues associated with advancing biotechnology and neuroscience, the evolutionary origins of spiritual and moral awareness, and the integration of philosophy of biology with theology. Dr. Hurlbut, who obtained his M.D. from Stanford, is the author of a number of essays and articles on science and ethics, and a co-editor of Altruism and Altruistic Love: Science, Philosophy, and Religion in Dialogue (2002). Dr. Hurlbut served on the President’s Council on Bioethics from 2002 to 2009, and proposed the technique known as “Altered Nuclear Transfer” to procure human pluripotent stem cells without creating or destroying human embryos.

Yuval Levin, Ph.D.

Yuval Levin is the editor of National Affairs. He is also the Hertog Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a senior editor of The New Atlantis, and a contributing editor to National Review and the Weekly Standard. He has been a member of the White House domestic policy staff (under President George W. Bush), executive director of the President’s Council on Bioethics, and a congressional staffer. His essays and articles have appeared in numerous publications including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Commentary, and others. He is the author of Tyranny of Reason: The Origins and Consequences of the Social Scientific Outlook (2000), Imagining the Future: Science and American Democracy (2008), and The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left (2013). He obtained his Ph.D. from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago.

Gilbert C. Meilaender, Ph.D.

Gilbert Meilaender is the Paul Ramsey Fellow at the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Ethics and Culture. He previously taught at Oberlin College (1978-96), the University of Virginia (1976-78), and Valparaiso University (1996-2014), where he was the Richard and Phyllis Duesenberg Professor of Christian Ethics. He is a contributing editor of The New Atlantis. He is the author of numerous books, including Body, Soul, and Bioethics (1995); Bioethics: A Primer for Christians (1996); Neither Beast nor God: The Dignity of the Human Person (2009); and Should We Live Forever?: The Ethical Ambiguities of Aging (2013). Professor Meilaender served on the President’s Council on Bioethics from 2002 to 2009. He is also a fellow of the Hastings Center, and in 2009 was awarded the Paul Ramsey Award for Excellence in Bioethics by the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. Professor Meilaender obtained his Ph.D. from Princeton University.

Charles T. Rubin, Ph.D.

Charles T. Rubin is an associate professor of political science at Duquesne University, where he teaches courses in political philosophy, politics and literature, and the normative aspects of policymaking. His current research and publications focus on emerging technologies and on the advocates of the redesign of humanity; his previous work has focused on the political theory of environmentalism and urban planning, and issues in science, technology, and policy. He also writes on literature and politics. Professor Rubin, who obtained his Ph.D. in political philosophy from Boston College, is the author of The Green Crusade: Rethinking the Roots of Environmentalism (1994) and Eclipse of Man: Human Extinction and the Meaning of Progress (2014), and the editor of Conservation Reconsidered: Nature, Virtue, and American Liberal Democracy (2000). A contributing editor of The New Atlantis, Professor Rubin is an author of the Futurisms blog on He serves on the board of advisors of the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy Research and is a senior fellow of the Center for Policy on Emerging Technologies.

Diana J. Schaub, Ph.D.

Diana J. Schaub is a professor of political science at Loyola University Maryland and a member of the Hoover Institution’s Jill and Boyd Smith Task Force on the Virtues of a Free Society. From 1994 to 1995 she was the postdoctoral fellow of the Program on Constitutional Government at Harvard University. In 2001, she was the recipient of the Richard M. Weaver Prize for Scholarly Letters. From 2004 to 2009 she was a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics. Professor Schaub is the author of Erotic Liberalism: Women and Revolution in Montesquieu’s Persian Letters (1995), along with a number of book chapters and articles in the fields of political philosophy and American political thought. She is also a co-editor (with Amy and Leon Kass) of What So Proudly We Hail: The American Soul in Story, Speech, and Song (ISI, 2011). She is a contributing editor to The New Atlantis and a member of the publication committee of National Affairs, and her essays and articles have also appeared in the Claremont Review of Books, the New Criterion, the Public Interest, Commentary, First Things, the American Interest, City Journal, and elsewhere. She obtained her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago.

O. Carter Snead, J.D.

O. Carter Snead is a professor of law and the William P. and Hazel B. White Director of the Center for Ethics and Culture at the University of Notre Dame, where he writes and teaches in the area of law and bioethics. His scholarly works have explored issues relating to neuroethics, enhancement, stem cell research, abortion, and end-of-life decision-making. His articles appear in such publications as the New York University Law Review, the Harvard Law Review Forum, the Vanderbilt Law Review, the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, the Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law and Ethics, the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, and Political Science Quarterly. Professor Snead has also written for a wide range of popular publications. He has provided advice to officials in all three branches of the federal government on legal and public policy matters of bioethical import, including serving as general counsel to the President’s Council on Bioethics (under Chairman Leon R. Kass). He served as head of the U.S. delegation to UNESCO in the multilateral negotiations of the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, and was the U.S. government’s Permanent Observer (with Dr. Edmund Pellegrino) to the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee on Bioethics (CDBI). A fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a former member of UNESCO’s International Bioethics Committee (appointed by the Director-General), Professor Snead received his J.D., magna cum laude, from Georgetown University and clerked for the Hon. Paul J. Kelly, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit from 1999-2000.

Rabbi Meir Y. Soloveichik, Ph.D.

Meir Y. Soloveichik is director of the Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University, as well Rabbi at Congregation Shearith Israel in New York City. He received his rabbinical ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary at Yeshiva University, where he was also a member of the Beren Institute for Advanced Talmudic Studies. He received his Ph.D. in Religion from Princeton University.

Christopher O. Tollefsen, Ph.D.

Christopher O. Tollefsen is College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of South Carolina and a senior fellow at the Witherspoon Institute. His areas of specialization include moral philosophy and practical ethics. Currently he is doing work in natural law ethics, liberal perfectionism, medical ethics, the ethics and politics of inquiry, philosophical embryology, the nature of human action, end of life issues, and ethics and education. He has published extensively in academic journals on topics of bioethics, meta-ethics, and the New Natural Law Theory, and has written for such popular publications as The New Atlantis, The Public Discourse, First Things, and Touchstone. He obtained his doctorate in philosophy from Emory University. Professor Tollefsen is the author of Biomedical Research and Beyond: Expanding the Ethics of Inquiry (2007) and Lying and Christian Ethics (2014), and coauthor (with Robert P. George) of Embryo: A Defense of Human Life (2008).