Scientist Who Backed Embryonic Stem Cell Research on Bush Panel Awarded

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 11, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Scientist Who Backed Embryonic Stem Cell Research on Bush Panel Awarded Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 11
, 2006

Washington, DC ( — A former member of President Bush’s Council on Bioethics who was removed form the panel after aggressively promoting embryonic stem cell research has received two international science awards in the last three weeks. The awards have come from those who backed her efforts to go against the president’s views.

Elizabeth Blackburn, a biologist at the University of California at San Francisco, has been awarded the U.S. Gruber Genetics Prize.

In September, Blackburn won the Lasker Award, which several Nobel Prize winners have received as a precursor to winning the world’s most prestigious prize.

Blackburn received the $337,000 Gruber Prize in New Orleans on Tuesday and the Peter Gruber Foundation lauded her for her "fight against the politicization of science" according to news reports.

After her dismissal from the bioethics council in March 2004, she accused Bush of "stacking the council with the compliant" and said she received no warning either from the Bush administration or Dr. Leon Kass, then the chairman of the Council on Bioethics.

White House spokeswoman Erin Healy told the Washington Post at the time that Blackburn and another member were let go from the council because their terms had expired and they were on "holdover status."

"We decided to appoint other individuals at this point with different experience and expertise," she told Reuters at the time.

Bush created the council by executive order in 2001 to "advise the President on bioethical issues that may emerge as a consequence of advances in biomedical science and technology."

The council has issued reports on issues such as human cloning and embryonic stem cell research and heard from several scientists about proposed methods of obtaining embryonic stem cells without destroying human embryos in the process.

Related web sites:
President’s Council on Bioethics: