Faculty & Staff

As a leader in a multi-disciplinary field, the Bioethics Institute brings together expertise from a variety of areas through its diverse faculty and staff.

  • Roberto Dell'Oro‌Roberto Dell’Oro, PhD

    Director, Bioethics Institute
    Professor of Theological Studies

    Roberto Dell’Oro grew up in Italy, and studied philosophy and theology in Milan, Munich (Germany), and Rome. He earned a licentiate in theological ethics (the equivalent to an MA in philosophy for the Italian state) at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, with a thesis on French philosopher Paul Ricoeur. In 1992, he was awarded a doctorate, under the direction of German ethicist Klaus Demmer, with a dissertation on Dietrich von Hildebrand’s phenomenology of moral experience. From 1993 to 1995, with a scholarship from the International Bioethics Study Group, he was a post-doctoral fellow in bioethics at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University -- with the late Edmund Pellegrino, the former chair of the President’s Council of Bioethics, as a mentor. In 1995, he became a Senior Scholar at the Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University, with teaching appointments in the Medical School and the Department of Philosophy. He moved to the Department of Theological Studies at LMU in fall 2003, and served as a Graduate Director of the newly established Bioethics Masters Program from 2004-2006. In 2013, he was appointed Director of the Bioethics Institute. Under his leadership, the Institute has graduated seven cohorts of graduate students, started a Minor in Bioethics, and hosted public lectures and symposia with the most distinguished national and international scholars. In 2009, Roberto co-directed the Bellarmine Forum on “Vulnerability and the Human Condition,” and, in 2015, was the recipient of the Daum Professorship award.

    Over the years, Roberto has held clinical and research appointments in bioethics. From 2003 to 2006, he served as a clinical bioethicist at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, CA, concentrating especially on ethical issues in obstetrics, perinatology and neonatology. From 2001 to 2007, he was the medical ethicist for the “Data and Safety Monitoring Board” at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at N.I.H. in Bethesda, Maryland. From 2007 to 2011, he chaired the bioethics committee at St. John’s Medical Center in Santa Monica. From 2014 to 2019, he was board member of the South California Bioethics Committee Consortium.

    From 2006 to 2010, Roberto was a visiting professor with the Erasmus Mundus European Master of Bioethics Program, and, in 2010, was selected for a semester sabbatical as Erasmus Professor of Bioethics at the University of Padua (Italy). Currently, Roberto holds appointments in national and international institutions. He is an Affiliate Scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University, chairs the International Bioethics Group (Belgium), and is a member of the scientific committee at a number of Italian Universities. Since 2015, he has been a Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, where he co-chairs the working group on Global Bioethics.

    At LMU, Roberto has taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics, with a special interest in anthropological themes at the crossroad of theology and philosophy. His teaching in bioethics has covered a wide spectrum of topics, including Philosophical Methodologies in Bioethics, Clinical and Research Ethics, Bioethics at the Beginning of Life, and Global Bioethics.

    Roberto is the author/co-author of four books and has translated two books from German: Pope Francis on the Joy of Love: Pastoral Reflections on Amoris Laetitia (Paulist Press, 2018); Health and Human Flourishing: Religion, Moral Anthropology, and Medicine (Washington: Georgetown University Press, 2006); Esperienza morale e persona (Rome: Gregorian University Press, 1996), History of Bioethics: International Perspectives (San Francisco: International Scholars Publications, 1996); Karl Rahner, Visioni e profezie. Mistica ed esperienza della trascendenza (Milano: Vita e Pensiero, 1994. From the German Visionen und Prophezeiungen: zur Mystik und Transzendenzerfahrung) and Klaus Demmer, Shaping the Moral Life (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2000. From the German Einführung in die Moraltheologie).

    In addition to books and book translations, Roberto has published over fifty scholarly articles and book chapters in five different languages and has given over a hundred academic presentations in the US and abroad. His current projects include a book on bioethics (Heterodox Bioethics: Love of life in Search of Ultimacy) and a collection of essays tentatively titled At the Boundary: Bioethics between Philosophy and Theology.

    Dr. Dell'Oro's CV is available here



    Gianna McMillan, DBe
    University Hall 4517

    Acting Graduate Director
    Dr. McMillan helps implement the vision of the Director by administering curricular programs and managing communications for the Graduate Program. She is a first point of contact for prospective graduate students with questions about our programs and application
    David Rogoff staff photo

    David Rogoff, MFA
    University Hall 4510

    Senior Administrative Coordinator
    David Rogoff is senior administrative coordinator to both the Bioethics Institute and Yoga Studies program.

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    Alan Flores, BA
    University Hall 4514

    Graduate Assistant
    Alan is a full-time student in the Bioethics MA program and assists the Bioethics Institute's faculty and staff.

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    Flavius Rusu, BA
    University Hall 4514

    Craves Scholar Fellow
    Flavius is a full-time student in the Bioethics MA program. As the Craves Scholar Fellow, he creates and curates scholarly content for the BioethicsHub. If you have a submission for the BioethicsHub please contact Flavius.

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    Hannah Chaddha, BA
    University Hall 4514

    Craves Impact Fellow
    Hannah is a full-time student in the Bioethics MA program. As the Craves Impact Fellow, she utilizes demographic tracking and qualitative tools to gauge the impact of the Institute's community outreach. With this information, she assists the Director in the design of promotional activities that enhance the Institute's presence in Southern California, the web, and social media.





    Roberto Dell'Oro

    Roberto Dell'Oro, PhD
    University Hall 4515
    Dr. Roberto Dell'Oro is the Director of the Bioethics Institute, providing the vision for its programs and guiding their implementation. Dr. Dell’Oro also teaches several of the courses in the bioethics curriculum.

    Dr. Dell'Oro's CV is available here.

    ‌‌Dr. Nicholas Brown staff photo
    Nicholas Brown, PhD
    University Hall 4519
    Minor Director
    Dr. Nicholas Brown received a B.A. in Political Science from Northwestern College (IA) and a joint M.A. in International Peace Conflict Resolution and Theological Studies from American University and Wesley Theological Seminary respectively. In 2015 he received his doctorate in Christian Ethics from the Center of Advanced Theological Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary. His work and research in bioethics focuses on how philosophical and theological conceptions of justice inform political discourse on public health and the distribution of health care resources and the ethical implications of biometric technology. Dr. Brown is a full-time faculty of the Bioethics Institute and teaches several courses in the bioethics curriculum. Read More
    Gianna McMillan, DBe 
    University Hall 4517
    Acting Graduate Director
    Dr. McMillan received her Master’s Degree in Bioethics from LMU and her Doctorate from Loyola Chicago. She has extensive experience as a Subject/Patient Advocate on local and national IRBs, was a member of the Subpart A Subcommittee for the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Human Research Protection, and is a member of the FDA’s Pediatric Advisory Committee. Dr. McMillan has served on the board of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities, and is currently a Board Member for PRIM&R (Pubic Responsibility in Medicine & research.) She is the Director of Community Engagement for the academic journal, Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics. Her primary interests are consent issues in clinical research and the use of narrative as an educational tool in bioethics. Click here for Dr. McMillan’s CV. 
    Thomas V. Cunningham, PhD
    Part-Time Faculty
    Dr. Cunningham is the Director of Bioethics for Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center. He received his doctorate in History & Philosophy of Science and his masters in Bioethics from the University of Pittsburgh. His undergraduate work and masters in Biology were taken from the University of California at San Diego. His areas of expertise include philosophy of medicine and bioethical theory and practice. Dr. Cunningham's work has appeared in Journal of Medical Ethics,American Journal of Bioethics,Critical Care Medicine, Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics, and other venues.

    For access to Dr. Cunningham's research, please visit his ReasearchGate or Academia.edu profiles.

    Theresa Drought, PhD, RN
    Part-Time Faculty
    Dr. Drought is the Director of Bioethics for Kaiser Permanente Woodland Hills Medical Center. She received her doctorate in Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing from the University of California San Francisco. Her publications and research address issues of professionalism and ethics in nursing and end-of-life decision-making. Dr. Drought is a co-author of Ethical Dilemmas in Nursing Practice and has also authored several book chapters involving issues on professionalism and ethics, and moral dilemmas in health care.
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    Jennifer Gumer, JD, MA
    Part-Time Faculty
    Jennifer Gumer is a partner at CGL LLP, Los Angeles, and provides strategic counseling, practical advice, and expert advocacy to clients with production needs. She handles all interactions with federal, state, and local regulators who oversee product development, manufacturing, and marketing activities, including the FDA and Local Hemp Regulators. Before joining CGL LLP, Jennifer worked at the international law firm Gibson Dunn and Crutcher for more than six years. The focus of her practice at Gibson was FDA, healthcare, and life sciences matters. Jennifer received her Juris Doctorate from New York University, School of Law, and her Master’s in Bioethics from Columbia University. Her interest lies at the intersection of policy and ethics, specifically concerning neuroscientific and genetic developments.
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    Joseph Raho, PhD
    Part-Time Faculty
    Dr. Joseph Raho is a clinical ethicist at the UCLA Health System Ethics Center in Los Angeles, where he also trained for his fellowship in clinical ethics (2014 - 2016). Prior to coming to L.A., Dr. Raho received his PhD in philosophy from the University of Pisa, Italy, in May 2014, concentrating in moral philosophy and bioethics. From 2006 through 2009, he worked on the staff of the President's Council on Bioethics in Washington, D.C., under the guidance of physician-philosopher Edmund D. Pellegrino. Dr. Raho is currently teaching "Bioethics at the End of Life."
    Melis Alkin, Psy.D., ABPP, FT
    Part-Time Faculty
    Dr. Melis Alkin is a board certified clinical psychologist licensed in California and in British Columbia (out of state). In addition to receiving her doctorate degree in 2004 a, her board certification in 2007, she has also obtained a Master’s degree in Bioethics at Loyola Marymount University in 2017 and became a Fellow of Thanatology (death, grief, and bereavement) in 2018. Dr. Alkin specializes in trauma, death, dying and bereavement from a trauma informed integrative and humanistic perspective. She currently has a private practice in Redondo Beach and works as a consulting clinical psychologist to a nonprofit organization that provides training and therapy to humanitarian aid works around the world.

    Dr. Alkin's CV can be read here.
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    Matthew Shea, PhD 
    Part-Time Faculty
    Dr. Matthew Shea is the Senior Clinical Ethics Fellow at the UCLA Health System Ethics Center in Los Angeles, where he is completing a two-year fellowship in clinical healthcare ethics. Prior to coming to L.A., Dr. Shea received his PhD in philosophy from Saint Louis University in 2018, specializing in moral philosophy and bioethics. His current research focuses on the nature of well-being, the normative foundations of healthcare ethics, and issues related to disability. Dr. Shea is currently teaching “Bioethics at the End of Life." 

    Dr. Shea's CV and research can be found here.

    Dr. James Walter   
    James Walter, PhD 
    Professor Emeritus
    James J. Walter is Emeritus Professor of Bioethics andformer Austin & Ann O’Malley Chair in Bioethics at Loyola Marymount University. After completing his undergraduate degree in Philosophy, Dr. Walter earned five advanced degrees, including a Ph.D. in ethics, from the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium. Professor Walter completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Clinical Bioethics from the Department of Medicine at Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University of Chicago, and he has had extensive experience as a bioethics consultant to many hospitals. Currently, he serves in the ICU and on the Institutional Bioethics Committee at San Antonio Military Medical Center.

    Dr. Walter's CV and research can be found here.


    Dr. Christopher Kaczor headshot 
    Christopher Kaczor, PhD
    Dr. Cristopher Kaczor (rhymes with razor) graduated from the Honors Program of Boston College and earned a Ph.D. four years later from the University of Notre Dame. A Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Kaczor is a former Federal Chancellor Fellow at the University of Cologne and William E. Simon Visiting Fellow in the James Madison Program at Princeton University. His twelve books include The Gospel of Happiness, The Seven Big Myths about Marriage, A Defense of Dignity, The Seven Big Myths about the Catholic Church, The Ethics of Abortion, O Rare Ralph McInerny: Stories and Reflections on a Legendary Notre Dame Professor, Thomas Aquinas on the Cardinal Virtues; Life Issues-Medical Choices; Thomas Aquinas on Faith, Hope, and Love; The Edge of Life, and Proportionalism and the Natural Law Tradition. Dr. Kaczor’s views have been in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, National Re view, NPR, BBC, EWTN, ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, MSNBC, TEDx, and The Today Show.
    Dr. Kaczor's CV can be found here.
    ‌‌Dr. Kam Dahlquist headshot
    Kam Dahlquist, PhD
    Dr. Kam Dahlquist is an Associate Professor of Biology at Loyola Marymount University. Dr. Dahlquist earned a B.A. in Biology from Pomona College and a Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Dr. Dahlquist performed postdoctoral research at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease at the University of California, San Francisco, and taught for two years at Vassar College before joining the LMU faculty in 2005.
    Dr. Janie Steckenrider headshot 
    Janie Steckenrider, PhD 
    Dr. Steckenrider is Associate Professor of Political Science at LMU and focuses on the areas of gender politics and political gerontology. Dr. Steckenrider received her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California and has an M.A. from the University of Notre Dame. Her publications include Women as Political Leaders, co-authored with Michael Genovese (Taylor and Francis Press, 2013), and New Direction in Old Age Policies (SUNY Press, 1998), where she highlighted aging as a female phenomenon. Her work as also been published in Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, Journal of Health and Human Services Administration, Southwest Journal of Aging, Encyclopedia of Aging, and Journal of Women and Politics. Dr. Steckenrider has been a Research Consultant to the National Council on Aging, a recipient of Administration on Aging grants, and has served on the Boards of Directors of a hospital, a skilled nursing facility, and a municipal senior commission. 
    Dr. Shanahan minor affiliated faculty  Tim Shanahan, PhD
    Dr. Tim Shanahan’s main scholarly interest is in the history and philosophy of science, with a special interest in evolutionary biology. His curiosity about such issues began as an undergraduate Biology and Philosophy major at the State University of New York at Cortland, and continued through a master’s degree in the History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Notre Dame, where he also completed a Ph.D. Dr. Shanahan was also fortunate to be awarded a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Science Studies Program at the University of California, San Diego, which helped to broaden his perspective on science.
     Dr. Roy Fisher headshot
    Roy Fisher, PhD
    Dr. Fisher’s trans-disciplinary work takes place at the intersection of cultural anthropology and classical biblical studies. This work includes a critical analysis of the ways in which sacred texts and traditions are taken up within modern and contemporary forms of discourse along with their respective technologies of power relations (including the interplay and interference with knowledge relations in the present). Dr. Fisher teaches courses on Science and Theology. 

    Dr. Fisher’s CV can be read here.