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Student Research

The Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics at Saint Louis University attracts students from throughout the nation and the world.

Our students complete research in diverse fields including the philosophy of medicine, sexual and reproductive ethics, death and dying, professionalism, public health ethics, neuroethics, and Catholic health care.

Lauren Baker

Ph.D. candidate

B.A. in Philosophy from Saint Louis University

Research interests: Philosophy of medicine, medical humanities, queer bioethics, pediatric ethics, moral suffering, public health ethics

Jordan Bauer

Ph.D. Student

BA in Philosophy/Catholic Studies - University of St. Thomas (St. Paul)
BSN in Nursing - College of St. Scholastica
MS in Bioethics - University of Mary

Research Interests: virtue ethics, beatitude, end of life issues, Christian anthropology, common good, theological formation of healthcare, phenomenology of healthcare

Kathrine Bendtsen

Ph.D. candidate and teaching assistant

B.A. in International Business and Marketing from Niels Brock Copenhagen Business College 

B.S. in Biology from New Jersey City University
M.A. in Health Care Ethics from St. Joseph's University
Post-graduate certificate in health administration from St. Joseph's University

Research interests: Reproductive and Sexual health ethics, Nursing ethics, Public health ethics, Geriatric ethics/End-of-life/Death & Dying.

Amanda Berg

Ph.D. student

M.T.S. from Loyola University Maryland
B.A. in Classics (ancient Greek) from the  University of Virginia

Research interests: Ancient medicine and suffering

Jacquelyn Cutts

B.A. in Religious and Theological Studies & Philosophy, Salve Regina University

Research interests: Catholic biomedical ethics, clinical ethics, disability and impairment, Thomistic theology, death and dying, organizational ethics

Samuel Deters

Graduate Assistant


B.A. in Theology & Philosophy - Quincy University
M.A. in Theology - Aquinas Institute of Theology

Research interests: Clinical Ethics, End-of-Life Care, Pain and Suffering, Virtue Ethics, Catholic Social Teaching.

Kirsten Antonacci Dempsey

Graduate assistant

M.A. in Theological Ethics from Saint Louis University 

B.A. in Theology and Finance from Benedictine College

Research interests: Goods of aging, geriatric care,  economics / business and medicine, catholic bioethics,  moral theology, end of life care / decision making, clinical ethics

Valerie De Wandel


J.D./Ph.D. student and graduate assistant

B.S. in Political Science - Berry College

Research interests: Artificial Reproduction, Law and Bioethics, Clinical Ethics

Andrea Eidsvik 

Graduate assistant

MSc in Medical Humanities  from King’s College - University of London
B.A. from Quest University Canada

Research interests: Clinical ethics, metaethics, hermeneutics, phenomenology narratives medical law,  end of life

Marissa Espinoza

Graduate assistant

M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Oklahoma
B.A. in Philosophy from Azusa Pacific University

Research interests: Virtue ethics, feminist ethics, medical humanities 

Marty Fitzgerald 

Graduate/teaching assistant

B.S. in Philosophy and Chemical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute

M.A. in Philosophy from Duquesne University

Research interests:  Biophilosophy, animal ethics, utilitarian ethics, Uexküllian phenomenology

Brandy Fox

Graduate/teaching assistant

B.A. in Politics from the Catholic University of America 
M.S. in Health Care Ethics from Creighton University

Research interests: Ethics in psychiatric care, palliative care, end-of-life care, autonomy, and definitions and boundaries of the self

Phil Fung

Ph.D. candidate

B.A. in Biochemistry and Policy Studies from Rice University
M.D. from University of Texas Southwestern Medical School

Research interests: Philosophy of medicine, medical ethics education, virtue ethics, clinical ethics and end-of-life care

Debra Gorman-Badar

Ph.D. candidate                                                                                                                                                                                                      

B.S. in Physical Therapy from Saint Louis University 
M.A. in Philosophy with teaching ethics emphasis from University of Montana

First place winner of the 2019 American Society for Bioethics and Humanities student paper award for her paper titled: "Particularizing an Internal Morality of Physical Therapy"

Research interests: philosophy - epistemology and ethics - of physical therapy/rehabilitation, biopolitics and disability studies, feminist bioethics and women's and gender studies, and teaching ethics for professional formation

Boaz Goss

Ph.D. candidate

B.A. in Philosophy from Azusa Pacific University

Research interests: Medical humanities, platonic/scholastic metaphysics, Nietzsche/Girard, biopolitics

Julie Gunby

Ph.D. Student

MSN in Nurse Midwifery - Emory University
BSN in Nursing - Emory University
MTS in Theological Studies - Duke Divinity School
BA in Philosophy & German - University of Georgia

Research Interests: Virtue ethics, virtue epistemology, phenomenology, clinical decision making, perinatal care

Natalie Hardy

B.A. in Philosophy and Neuroscience - Augustana College

Research interests: Empathy, compassion, meaning-making in patients with terminal diagnoses, health care in under-served populations (prisoners, poverty-stricken/economically challenged individuals, etc.)

 Jacob Harrison

Ph.D. candidate

B.A. in Biology from Carroll College 
M.A. in Theology from Aquinas Institute of Theology

Research interests: Catholic health care, clinical ethics, catholic moral theology, sexual and reproductive ethics, virtue ethics

Lexi Hucker

J.D./Ph.D. student

B.A. in Philosophy from Saint Louis University
B.A. in Gender Studies from Saint Louis University
J.D. Candidate, SLU Law

Research interests: Clinical Ethics, Bias in Medicine

Kyle Karches

Ph.D. candidate

M.D. from University of Chicago
B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame

Research interests: Philosophy of medicine, end-of-life care, medical humanities, virtue ethics and Catholic health care ethics

Hillary King

Graduate assistant

B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Washington
M.A. in Philosophy from Ohio University

Research interests: Informed consent, organ donation, reproductive ethics, and clinical ethics

Jaime Konerman-Sease

Ph.D. candidate

B.A. in Theology from Azusa Pacific University

Research interests: Theology, disability studies, childbirth, and medical humanities

Jordan Mason

Graduate assistant

M.Div. from McAfee School of Theology
B.A. from Belmont University

Research interests:  Philosophy and ethics of technology, the role of clinical ethicists, sacramental theology and embodiment, and phenomenology

Jaroslaw Mikuczewski

Ph.D. student

B.A. in Bioethics  from Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow - Poland
B.A. in Philosophy from Jesuits School of Philosophy in Krakow - Poland
M.A. in Biotechnology  from Wroclaw University - Poland 
M.A. in Theology from Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow - Poland

Research interests: Catholic health care, catholic moral theology, death and dying, and end-of-life care and decision making                           

Jaime O'Brien

Graduate Assistant

M.S. in Bioethics - Albany Medical College
B.A. in Philosophy and Religion - University of North Carolina Wilmington

Research interests: End-of-Life Care & Decision Making, Research Ethics, Informed Consent, History of Human Subjects Research, and Ethics in Emerging Health Technologies.

Chris Ostertag

Ph.D. candidate and graduate assistant

B.A. in Philosophy and english from Rockhurst University
M.A. in Philosophy from Texas A&M University

Research interests: Thomistic metaphysics, catholic moral tradition, ethical theory and reproductive ethics

Ben Parviz

Graduate Assistant

B.A. Theology - Concordia University Chicago (2010)
M.A. Theological Studies - Saint Louis University (2013)
M.A. Philosophy - University Missouri Saint Louis (2021)

Research interests: historical philosophy, political and legal philosophy, the good life, philosophical anthropology

Kathryn E. Raliski

Ph.D. candidate

B.A. in Political Science from University of Notre Dame
M.A. in Bioethics from Wake Forest University

Research interests: Narrative medicine, relationships, and the proper use of information and communication technologies in health care

Paul Riffon

Graduate assistant

B.A. in Philosophy and Theology from Wheeling Jesuit University
M.A. in Theology from the University of Dayton

Research interests: Catholic spirituality, Catholic ethics, death and dying, rural health, and transhumanism

Sarosh Saleem

Graduate Assistant

MBBS - Medicine-Fatima Jinnah Medical University - Lahore, Pakistan
MBE - Bioethics-Aga Khan University - Karachi, Pakistan
Fellowship - Pediatric Bioethics - Children's Mercy - Kansas City, MO

Research interests: Clinical Ethics in Pakistan, clinical ethics consultation across borders, developing support to mitigate moral distress in health care providers, health care ethics education in Pakistan

Sarah Sawicki

Ph.D. candidate

B.S. in Professional Writing from Taylor University
M.A. in Bioethics from Trinity International University

Research interests: Clinical ethics, mediation and consultation, psychology and mental health care ethics, and end-of-life care

Kathryn Sheldon

Ph.D. candidate

B.A. in Catholic Studies from Seton Hall University
M.A. in Theology from Seton Hall University

Research interests: Catholic health care, systematic theology, animal research ethics, mental health care ethics, and sexual and reproductive health ethics

Kristen Senetar

Graduate/teaching assistant

B.S. in Biology from Butler University 
M.A. in Bioethics from Case Western Reserve University
MSPH in Health Policy and Health Services Research from Emory University 

Research interests: Clinical ethics,  pediatric ethics, Medical ethics education, law and ethics, public health and genetics

Addison Tenorio

Graduate assistant

B. A. in Medical Humanities from Baylor University

Research interests: Advance care planning, end-of-life care, Latin American medicine, bilingual medicine/interpretation, catholic social teaching, health care reform

Andrea Thorton

Graduate assistant

M.T.S. in Theology and the Arts from Vanderbilt University
B.A. in English from Harding University

Research interests: Pain and suffering, spirituality and medicine, clinical decision making, public health, embodiment and incarnational theology

Stephanie Tillman

SLU presidential fellow

B. A. in Global Health and Medical Anthropology - University of Michigan
MSN in Nurse-Midwifery - Yale University School of Nursing
Clinical Medical Ethics Fellow - University of Chicago Maclean Center

Research interests: feminist and queer bioethics, consent in intimate exams, trauma-informed pelvic care, medical abolition, antiracism, sexual and reproductive ethics, moral injury, medical humanities, inter-professional education, healthcare for uninsured and underinsured communities

Ysabel Vandenberg

Ph.D. candidate and graduate assistant

B.A. in Philosophy from Azusa Pacific University

Research interests: Continental philosophy, philosophy of science, gender studies and virtue ethics

Lou Vinarcsik

M.D./Ph.D. student
B.S. in Biology - Cornell University

Research interests: Feminist and queer theory/ concepts of care, anarchism and medical ethics, science and technology studies/ history of medicine, disability studies, local medical anthropology

Helen Webster

J.D./Ph.D. student

Alexander Zhang

Ph.D. student (Joint Phil/Bioethics)

M.A. Philosophy - Arizona State University

Research Interests: virtue ethics, ethics of care, applied ethics, bioethics, public health ethics, political philosophy