Here's a quote from a recent article on stem cells from Time Magazine (February 9, 2009)
http://www.time.com/time/health/article ... 17,00.html
In looks and demeanor, Melton is the quintessential professor, soft-spoken and thoughtful, someone who appears more mentor than maverick. Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, he developed an early fascination with animal development; that curiosity led to a bachelor's degree in biology at the University of Illinois in 1975, then a second undergraduate degree, in the history and philosophy of science, at Cambridge University on a Marshall Scholarship. Melton remained there for his Ph.D. work, studying under Sir John Gurdon — the first to clone a frog. At Harvard, Melton teaches a frequently oversubscribed undergraduate course on science and ethics, in which he uses his keen sense of logic to provoke. When the class discussed the morality of embryonic-stem-cell research, Melton invited Richard Doerflinger of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to present arguments against the field. Melton asked Doerflinger if he considered a day-old embryo and a 6-year-old to be moral equivalents; when Doerflinger responded yes, Melton countered by asking why society accepts the freezing of embryos but not the freezing of 6-year-olds.
Clearly, Melton does not shrink from a fight. As Washington's squeeze on stem-cell research tightened in the early part of this decade, he decided to take action, providing life support for what remained of the U.S. stem-cell community. Not convinced that an entire field could make much progress relying on a few dozen cell lines of questionable quality, in 2004 he used funds HSCI receives from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, as well as from Harvard alumni, and developed a more streamlined method for generating stem-cell lines from embryos. He created more than 70 new ones and has since distributed 3,000 copies to scientists around the country for free.
"Doug drew a line in the sand," says Alan Trounson, president of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, the organization charged with dispensing state money for embryonic-stem-cell research. "He turned the tables on an Administration that was incredibly negative toward stem cells and showed [it] we are not going to tolerate being put out of this field by ideological views that we don't think are correct." Melton's motivation was, again, both professional and intensely personal. Two months after Bush announced his ban, Melton's daughter Emma, then 14, also received a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes.