A conversation with William Hurlbut on the ethical implications of CRISPR-Cas9 and human intervention in the genetic makeup of life. William B. Hurlbut, MD, is Adjunct Professor of Neurobiology at the Stanford Medical School. After receiving his undergraduate and medical training at Stanford University, he completed postdoctoral studies in theology and medical ethics, studying with Robert Hamerton-Kelly, the Dean of the Chapel at Stanford, and subsequently with the Rev. Louis Bouyer of the Institut Catholique de Paris.
His primary areas of interest involve the ethical issues associated with advancing biomedical technology, the biological basis of moral awareness, and studies in the integration of theology with the philosophy of biology. He is the author of numerous publications on science and ethics including the co-edited volume “Altruism and Altruistic Love: Science, Philosophy, and Religion in Dialogue” (2002, Oxford University Press), and “Science, Religion and the Human Spirit” in the Oxford Handbook of Religion and Science (2008). He was also co-chair of two interdisciplinary faculty projects at Stanford University, “Becoming Human: The Evolutionary Origins of Spiritual, Religious, and Moral Awareness” and “Brain, Mind, and Emergence.”
In addition to teaching at Stanford, he has also worked with NASA on projects in astrobiology and was a member of the Chemical and Biological Warfare Working group at the Center for International Security and Cooperation. From 2002-2009 Dr. Hurlbut served on the President’s Council on Bioethics. He is the author of “Altered Nuclear Transfer” (2005, Stem Cell Reviews) a proposed technological solution to the moral controversy over embryonic stem cell research.