Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Scientists, religious leaders at Obama stem cell event. U of Chicago's Dr. Janet Rowley, CURE's Susan Axelrod at White House


Office of the Press Secretary

March 9, 2009

Participants and Attendees at President Barack Obama's
Signing of Stem Cell Executive Order and Scientific Integrity Presidential Memorandum
Washington, DC
March 9, 2009

Attached please find fact sheets describing the impact of the executive order and presidential memorandum that the President will sign today.

Listed below are the individuals who will attend today's event.

Stage Participants

Energy Secretary Stephen Chu
Dr. Peter Agre
Dr. Patricia Bath
Dr. H. Robert Horvitz
Dr. Janet Rowley
Dr. Harold Varmus

Dr. Peter Agre
Agre is a medical doctor, professor, molecular biologist and winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He received his B.A. from Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota and his M.D. in 1974 from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. From 1975 to 1978 he completed his clinical training in Internal Medicine at Case Western Reserve University Hospitals in Cleveland. He went on to serve as the Vice Chancellor for science and technology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC. Agre then became director at Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute (JHMRI) and joined the faculty of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2008. In 2009, Agre was inducted as the 163rd president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the nation's largest scientific organization.

Dr. Patricia Bath
Bath, an ophthalmologist from New York, was living in Los Angeles when she received her first patent, becoming the first African American female doctor to patent a medical invention. Patricia Bath's 1988 patent (#4,744,360) was for a method for removing cataract lenses that transformed eye surgery by using a laser device making the procedure more accurate. Bath graduated from the Howard University School of Medicine in 1968 and completed specialty training in ophthalmology and corneal transplant at both New York University and Columbia University. In 1975, Bath became the first African-American woman surgeon at the UCLA Medical Center and the first woman to be on the faculty of the UCLA Jules Stein Eye Institute. She is the founder and first president of the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness. Patricia Bath was elected to Hunter College Hall of Fame in 1988 and elected as Howard University Pioneer in Academic Medicine in 1993.

Dr. H. Robert Horvitz
Horvitz is a biologist currently at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he is Professor of Biology and a member of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research. He is also an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. In 2000 he received the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University. Horvitz shared the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Sydney Brenner and John Sulston. Horvitz did his undergraduate studies at MIT in 1968. He obtained his PhD in Biology from Harvard University in 1974. He currently serves on the board of trustees for Society for Science and the Public.

Dr. Janet Rowley
Rowley is a human geneticist and the first scientist to identify a chromosomal translocation as the cause of leukemia and other cancers. Rowley attended the University of Chicago, where she earned a Bachelor of Philosophy degree in 1944, a Bachelor of Science degree in 1946, and doctor of medicine degree in 1948. After earning her medical license in 1951, Rowley worked as attending physician at the Infant and Prenatal Clinics in the Department of Public Health, Montgomery County, Maryland. In 1955 she took up a research post at Chicago's Dr. Julian Levinson Foundation where she remained until 1961. In 1962 Rowley returned to the University of Chicago as a research associate in the Department of Hematology. She became an associate professor in 1969 and a full professor in 1977. In 1984, Rowley was made the Blum-Riese Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, a position she still holds, as well as serving as the interim deputy dean for science since 2001. In 1998, she was one of three scientists awarded the prestigious Lasker Award for and received the National Medal of Science in 1999.

Dr. Harold Varmus
In 1957, he enrolled at Amherst College and later graduated with a B.A. in English literature. He went on to earn a graduate degree in English at Harvard University in 1962 and that same year, entered the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. Varmus joined the Public Health Service at the National Institutes of Health in 1968. In 1970, he began post-doctoral studies in Bishop's lab at University of California, San Francisco. There, he and Bishop performed the research that would win them the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He became a faculty member at UCSF in 1972 and a professor in 1979. From 1993 to 1999, he served as Director of the National Institutes of Health. Since 2000, he has served as President of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. He is also a recipient of 2001 National Medal of Science. Varmus currently serves as Co-Chair of the Presidents Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).

Confirmed Attendees:

United States Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD)
United States Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
United States Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)
United States Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD)
United States Representative Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
United States Representative Lois Capps (D-CA)
United States Representative Michael Castle (R-DE)
United States Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO)
United States Representative John Dingell (D-MI)
United States Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ)
United States Representative James Langevin (D-RI)
United States Representative Dave Reichert (R-WA)
United States Representative Fred Upton (R-MI)
United States Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA)
Nobel Laureate Eric R. Kandel [Physiology 2000]
Nobel Laureate J. Michael Bishop [Physiology 1989]
Nobel Laureate Linda Buck [Physiology 2004]
Amy Comstock Rick, Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research; Parkinson's Action Network, President and CEO
George Daley, International Society for Stem Cell Research, Associate in Medicine
Susan Solomon, New York Stem Cell Foundation, CEO and Co-Founder
Kevin Wilson, American Society for Cell Biology, Director
Sean Tipton, American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Director of Public Affairs
Warren Wollschlager Jr., Interstate Alliance on Stem Cell Research, Founding Chair and
James Thomson, University of Wisconsin, Regenerative Biology at the Morgridge Institute of Research, Director
John Gearhart, University of Penn. School of Medicine, Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Director
Jim Greenwood, President and CEO, Biotechnology Industry Organization, President and CEO
Dr. James F. Battey, NIDCD, Director
Zach Hall, first president of California Institute for Regenerative Medicine
Frances Sharples, leadership of first NAS guidelines committee
Jon Moreno, leadership of first NAS guidelines committee
Irving Weissman, Stanford Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Director
John Wagner, University of Minnesota Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology and Blood and Marrow Transplantation, Director
Shinya Yamanaka, Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, Senior Investigator
Thomas Okarma, Geron Corporation, President and CEO
Clive Svendsen, University of Wisconsin
Timothy Kamp, University of Wisconsin
Bernie Lo, University of San Francisco, Director of Medical Ethics
Kris Ellen Gulden
Kevin Wilson, American Society for Biology, Director of Public Policy
Harold Shapiro, Princeton University, President Emeritus
Larry Soler, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Executive Vice President, Government Relations & Operations
Katherine Higgins Hood, Michael J. Fox Foundation, Director of Research Programs
Raynard Kington
Story Landis
Lana Skirboll
Robin Anne Charo
Francis Collins
Harriet Rabb
Bill Schultz
Dr Alan Leshner, American Association for the Advancement of Science, CEO
Dr. Henry Kelly, Federation of American Scientists, President
Dr. Rosina Bierbaum, former dean of the University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources and Environment
Dr. Ralph Cicerone, National Academy of Sciences, President
Dr. Harvey Fineberg, IOM, President
Dr. Chuck Vest, National Academy of Engineering, President
Dr. Susan F. Wood, former head of the Office of Women's Health, FDA
Mark Cohen, Government Accountability Project, Executive Director
Gary Bass, OMB Watch, Executive Director
Kirsten Moore, Executive Director, Reproductive Health Technologies Project, Director
John Fitzgerald, Policy Director, Society for Conservation Biology
Maureen Shea, Episcopal Church USA, Director of Government Relations
James Winkler, United Methodist Church, Secretary of the General Board of Church and Society
Rabbi Steve Gutow, Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Rev. Welton Gaddy, Interfaith Alliance
Nancy Ratzan, National Council of Jewish Women
Nathan Diament, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations
Rabbi David Saperstein, Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism
The Reed Family: Gloria, Roman, and Don Reed
The May Family: Jennifer and Michael May
The Strongin Family: Allen Goldberg and Lori Strongin
Pete Cantucci, CWA, former VP
Larry Cohen: CWA, President
Janet Rowley, University of Chicago
Peter Wilderotter, Reeves Foundation, President and CEO
Linda Singer
Susan Axelrod, CURE, President and Founding Member
Dr. Renee Reijo-Pera, Director of the Center for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Education, Stanford Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine Institute
Dr. Guiherme Silva, Texas Heart Institute's Stem Cell Center
Dr. Emerson C. Perin, Texas Heart Institute's Stem Cell Center, Director
Raul de Jesus de Pedraza
Rick Weiss, Center for American Progress, Senior Fellow
Eric Lander, Professor of Biology at MIT; Co-chair of President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology



Obama's very first actions as president will be to encourage the destruction of innocent human life by using taxpayer money to fund embryonic stem cell research and abortion overseas and here in America. What kind of person is he ? Hes acting just like Adolf Hitler ! A BABY KILLER ! All who support this and agree with Obama are BABY KILLERS in my eyes !! Soon your freedom's will be gone also !!!

OBAMA BABY KILLER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Please get your facts straight:

1. By rescinding the global gag rule, Obama isn't encouraging "the destruction of human life by using taxpayer money..." What was happening under the Bush regime was to deny funding for any family planning organization overseas that even provided counseling that included abortion as an option. As a result, a large number of unwanted pregnancies, many of which probably ended in abortion, ensued, which also represented health risks to the pregnant women. If anything, by rescinding this ridiculous and harmful act, President Obama probably saved lives.

2. You are welcome to your pro-life opinions as I am entitled to my belief in reproductive freedom, but to call our president a "baby-killer" is not based in reality. What Obama is calling for is no different from the rational approach taken by former President Clinton, and indeed all of us in the pro-choice community: abortion should be available as a medical procedure, but should be made less necessary. One great way to do this is through comprehensive family planning (which has more than sufficient evidence of its efficacy), as opposed to abstinence-only education (which evidence clearly proves doesn't work, and may even be harmful).

So please stop with the ultra-right hysterical pronouncements and examine what Obama is doing in an objective, fact-based fashion.

Well, whoever approved Jenny's comments certainly believes in free speech! Jenny, your reaction is just a little over the top. You really should read a little bit about this issue and attempt to understand the legislation that severly restricts the use of embryonic stem cells even after the president has allowed some very limited use. You might also consider the very real possibility that stem cell research may cure some of the most cruel and devastating diseases that afflict mankind, including those that cause birth defects and the premature death of children as well as adults.

You might also consider a reasoned response. Calling the president and everyone who thinks like him "Hitler" doesn't do much to support your case. What it does do is make you appear to be an unreasoned, bigoted moron.

BTW, President Bush allowed embryonic stem cell research, he just more severely restricted how it could be funded.

Right wing conservitive christians take a pill. My God what is wrong with you people. You on paper the the most educated yet you know the least. You spout off rehtoric like a scuba diver sucks in air from a tank. You really do not bother checking your facts for f you did all this saving human life crap would go out the window. Just as during the black days of the Bush administration the only embryos which will be used are those already being discarded. no chance of becomming human life. As far as the change the Bush administration limited the research to 21 stem cell lines. As goes advancement in science those 21 lines have outlasted their usefulness. Now new stem cell lines will be created and examined. NO LIFE IS BEING TAKEN.How come before stem cell research your pastors were not calling for adoption of these discarded embroys which were being destroyed every day thru out the USA. Why cry murder now? You guys are misguided and sad..

Well kevin... u just sound like a bitter man who doesnt truly understand the situation. good luck trying to convice people ur right when u attack them so harshly.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on March 9, 2009 11:22 AM.

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