09:01 AM

Harvard Fellow Takes Up UST’s Distinguished Chair in Leadership

As bioethical questions challenge leaders in an unprecedented way, the University of St. Thomas is proud to announce that Timothy Furlan, Ph.D in Philosophy and post-doctoral research scholar at Harvard Medical School Center for Bioethics, will take up the Burnett Family Distinguished Chair in Leadership at the University of St. Thomas beginning August 17.

The Burnett Family Distinguished Chair in Leadership was established in November 2007 by Mrs. Charles Burnett, Jr. and Mr. Charles Burnett III through the generosity of the Notsew Orm Sands Foundation.

In his new role, the former editor of the Harvard Journal of Bioethics will teach, as well as write on a wide range of topics in ethical theory and bioethics. Furlan has a keen interest and background in exploring the difficult questions raised by biotechnology.

Furlan said, “Contemporary biotechnology offers exciting prospects for healing the sick and relieving suffering. But those same technologies offer the possibilities of choosing the sex of children, modifying behavior, slowing of aging, brightening mood, making muscles bigger, and so forth. In bioethics, we must examine what kinds of human beings and what sort of society might we be creating in the coming age of biotechnology.”

UST’s Twofold Commitment

The appointment of Furlan underscores UST’s twofold commitment to its students and the greater community.

Vice President for Academic Affairs, Christopher Evans, said, “Dr. Furlan will not only help to prepare students to be ethical leaders, he will put UST inside the pivotal discussions regarding biotechnology. His training as a philosopher and bioethicist, in addition to his work as editor of the Harvard Journal of Bioethics, has allowed him to contribute to and help shape some of these conversations.”

Expectation for Students

“I expect students to acquire analytic skills to construct, understand, reflect on, and critique arguments and debates in contemporary bioethics. Finally, I hope to show them the importance of current developments in biotechnology and the profound ethical, social, and political questions emerging today. In particular, with regard to developments in genetics.”

Furlan received his doctoral degree in philosophy from Trinity College Dublin in Ireland in 2013. During his graduate studies, he was a visiting doctoral student at the Universite de Paris IV (Sorbonne) and the Universite de Fribourg in Switzerland where he was a Swiss Confederation Fellow. After finishing his doctorate in philosophy, he pursued post-doctoral training in bioethics at Harvard Medical School.