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Doris Zallen honored with emerita status

June 23, 2016

A member of the university community since 1983, Zallen has made significant contributions to the fields of genetic testing and medical ethics through her path-breaking work in the science and ethics of genetic testing.

Doris Zallen
Doris Zallen

Doris Zallen, professor of science and technology studies and humanities in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the title of professor emerita by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The emeritus title may be conferred on retired professors, associate professors, and administrative officers who are specially recommended to the board by Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. Nominated individuals who are approved by the board receive an emeritus certificate from the university.

A member of the university community since 1983, Zallen has made significant contributions to the fields of genetic testing and medical ethics through her path-breaking work in the science and ethics of genetic testing. She has studied the social, ethical, and policy issues arising from advances in genetic and reproductive technologies, including the modes of policy-making, and unmaking, in bioethics. She specializes in genetic testing for susceptibility to common disorders, the history of clinical genetics, gene therapy research policy, and genetic science and the public. 

She is the author of "To Test or not to Test: A Guide to Genetic Screening and Risk," published by Rutgers University Press.

Zallen played a central role in developing a curriculum for teaching the humanistic dimensions of science and technology. In so doing, she helped deepen interdisciplinary cooperation at Virginia Tech. She has developed and taught a range of undergraduate and graduate courses covering bioethics, science and technology studies, and biology.

Also at Virginia Tech, she founded the Choices and Challenges project, which she directed for 23 years as a major outreach activity. She received the 2006 Alumni Award for Outreach Excellence for this and other outreach activities.

Her work has been recognized through numerous awards, including the Outstanding Faculty Award of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

Zallen received her bachelor's degree from Brooklyn College and a master's degree and Ph.D. from Harvard University.

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