Queensland Bioethics Centre founder honoured9 June
The founder of the Queensland Bioethics Centre Sister Regis Mary Dunne AO RSM has been named as one of the 2021 “Queensland Greats”.
The Queensland Bioethics Centre (QBC) is a collaboration between the Archdiocese of Brisbane and Australian Catholic University, together with other funding partners. The QBC focuses on high-quality research, education, and consultancy in the area of bioethics, with engagement and impact locally, nationally and internationally.
Building on the research networks that the director, Dr David Kirchhoffer, has developed with leading thinkers in bioethics in Australia and overseas, this collaboration provides a platform for truly interdisciplinary research to address the bioethical issues of the day. This in turn informs education, and sound advice to key stakeholders, such as the Archdiocese of Brisbane, the bishops of Queensland, Catholic health and aged care agencies.
The QBC was first established in 1981 by Archbishop Francis Rush, and is one of the oldest such institutions in Australia. Since then, it has had three directors, Dr Regis Mary Dunne RSM AO, Dr Elizabeth Hepburn IBVM, and Dr Ray Campbell, each of whom, along with the ongoing development of a specialised bioethics library, have made their own mark on the centre and its activities.
The Queensland Bioethics Centre was established in 1981 by Archbishop Francis Rush, DD, and directed by Sr Regis Mary Dunne, rsm. “The aim of the Centre was to focus the scientific knowledge, faith, understanding and life experience of the ordinary person.” The centre was located in a property provided by the Sisters of Mercy within the Mater Misericordiae Public Hospital campus.
The centre undertook research into the human, moral and religious implications of the scientific advances of the times. It provided resources addressing bioethical problems and moral issues of the time, both theological and scientific in nature. Topics within these resources include current professional, medical, ethical, moral and social dilemmas, supporting spiritual maturity. The resources were suited to three levels of understanding and knowledge: science for theologians, philosophy for the scientist, and uneasily understood for the non-professionals.
The Centre’s library provided a comprehensive filing system containing recent articles, journals, texts, books and tapes. A number of Church documents, encyclicals and Papal teachings were also available at the centre.
The Centre addressed issues relating to modern technology, specifically medical technology, which would influence many aspects of a person’s life, including their religious, psychological, biological, philosophical and academic perspectives. Parents, school students, tertiary students in medicine, nursing, social work, theology and ethics, as well as politicians, lawyers, teachers, doctors, ministers of various religions and journalists made use of the information service.
Education was an essential component of the work completed by the Centre. Sr Regis Mary provided workshops on diverse topics and issues throughout Queensland, from Cairns to Brisbane. She also held workshops in New Zealand, at the invitation of the New Zealand Sisters of Mercy.
There were two permanent staff, the Director, Sr Regis Mary Dunne RSM AO and administrative assistant and secretary, Mrs Linda Reardon. Mrs Reardon co-ordinated and managed the centre.
Sr Regis Mary began her career as a microbiologist and cytogeneticist. She was one of the pioneers of cytogenetics within a laboratory environment. Throughout her career, Sr Regis Mary gained vast experience as an ethicist and geneticist. She retired after fourteen years of distinguished service and scholarship in 1995. In memory of Sr Regis Mary Dunne rsm.
Dr Elizabeth Hepburn IBVM took on the role as director of the Centre in 1995. She held qualifications in education and theology. Dr Hepburn had a background in psychology and pharmacology. Her professional interest focused on the ethics of the pharmaceutical industry and biomedical research. Dr Hepburn saw bioethics as a multidisciplinary enterprise. Dr Hepburn retired for medical reasons.
Dr Ray Campbell, formerly a university lecturer in Sydney, stepped in as the third Director in 2000 after Dr Hepburn retired. He was “a leading advisor for the Church in Queensland on various ethical issues including human embryo stem-cell debates, human cloning, abortion, euthanasia and more recently the pastoral care of transgender students. “ Dr Campbell retired in December 2016 after sixteen years as Director of the Queensland Bioethics Centre.
Each Director has made their own mark on the centre and its activities.
Dr David G. Kirchhoffer is the Director of the Queensland Bioethics Centre, a collaboration between the Archdiocese of Brisbane and the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy at ACU. He is also a member of ACU's Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry.
Dr David Kirchhoffer was born and raised in South Africa. He studied biology, psychology and theology in South Africa before going to Leuven in Belgium to read for a doctorate in theological ethics. Upon completion of his doctorate, he was a post-doctoral researcher at the Centre for Biomedical Ethics and Law at KULeuven.
He then took on a continuing position in theological ethics at ACU before becoming director of QBC in October 2017. In 2015, he was a senior visiting fellow at the Centre for Biomedical Ethics at the National University of Singapore and is a senior research associate of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Johannesburg.
Since 2016, he has been appointed by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity as a Roman Catholic Commissioner on the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches, where he forms part of the sub-commission working on moral discernment in the churches.
His research focuses primarily on the relevance of human dignity in contemporary ethics, and its application to bioethical issues. More recently this has developed in the direction of the limitations of respect for autonomy in human research ethics. Significant publications include Human Dignity in Contemporary Ethics (Amherst NY: Teneo, 2013), and a collection co-edited with Bernadette Richards, Beyond Autonomy: limits and alternatives to informed consent in research ethics and law, Cambridge Bioethics and Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019).
Mrs Ann Heath studied Primary Education at Catholic College of Education. She taught for over 20 years throughout NSW. In 2009 Mrs Heath relocated to Queensland with her family. She commenced employment with Queensland Bioethics Centre, Ashgrove in 2015 and relocated with the Centre to the ACU Banyo Campus in 2017.
Mater Senior Lecturer in Healthcare Ethics
Bridget is an ethics researcher and the Mater Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Healthcare Ethics at Queensland Bioethics Centre at Australian Catholic University. She is a KNAW Visiting Professor at the Julius Centre for Global Health at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Bridget received her PhD in bioethics in 2012 and her Masters in International Health in 2009 from Monash University in Australia. From 2013 to 2015, Bridget was a Hecht-Levi fellow at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and a research fellow in the Department of International Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. From 2013-2020, she was a senior research fellow in Centre for Health Equity at the School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne.
Bridget’s research interests include the ethics of global health research, health systems, and urban planning, with a focus on equity and social justice. In her work, she uses a combination of applied philosophy and qualitative methods, reflecting her belief that the most robust ethical guidance is informed by both theory and practice. She has developed ethical guidance on the following topics: research priority-setting, research governance, community engagement, ancillary care, capacity development, post-study benefits, and data sharing.
Dr Chi Wai Lui is a research associate at the Queensland Bioethics Centre where he coordinates a project on the Ethics of Palliative Care and Voluntary Assisted Dying in Australia. Chi Wai’s background is in sociology and philosophy and he has extensive experience in teaching public health and qualitative research methods at the postgraduate level. His research over the past decade focuses on social determinants of health, use of supplements and complementary and alternative medicine, healthy ageing, and lived experience of living with chronic illness.
Research Ethics Specialist
CHRISTI D. FAVOR completed her Ph.D. in moral and political philosophy at the University of Arizona. For 12 years, Christi coordinated the moral and political theory strand of the Ethics and Human Rights program at Queensland University of Technology. Since 2010, Christi has been a regular sessional lecturer in the Philosophy Departments at Australian Catholic University and at the University of Queensland, teaching in Logic and Critical Reasoning, Environmental Ethics, Moral Theory, Political Philosophy, Bioethics and Research Integrity. She also developed a program in environmental ethics for Master’s students in such fields as Conservation Biology, Environmental Management, and Public Health, and has been a workshop presenter in research ethics and in the Critical Thinking Project. She also has an interest in philosophy for children, and has developed and conducted a number of workshops in this area for children in primary and secondary schools. Her publications include “Beneficence in Research Ethics,” (with C. Cordner and D. Kirchhoffer) in D. Kirchhoffer and B. Richards (eds.), Beyond Autonomy: Limits and Alternatives to Informed Consent in Research Ethics and Law, 2019, “Distributive Justice” survey for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (co-authored with Julian Lamont) and “Expressive Desert and Deserving Compensation” in C. Favor, G. Gaus and J. Lamont (eds.), Essays on Philosophy, Politics and Economics: Integration and Common Research Projects, 2010. patient relationship, ethics education for health professionals, disability and pain experiences, and various concepts of autonomy.
Senior Lecturer (Systematic Theology, Christian Ethics)
Cert. IV TAE., Adv. Dip. Min., B.Th., M.A. (Theology). Ph.D.
Chris is the Executive Dean of Hillsong College in Australia. He has been a faculty member since 2010 and an ordained minister since 2015, teaching in a wide variety of disciplines, including theology, leadership, biblical studies, and Christian ethics. In his current role, he is responsible for the leadership of the programs, operations, students, and staff, at Hillsong College’s Sydney location.
He received his PhD from the Australian Catholic University in 2022 with a particular focus on pentecostal ethics in light of Stanley Hauerwas’s theological ethics. His interest in ethics and moral philosophy began in his postgraduate studies which included research in public theology. As a minister in the Pentecostal-charismatic tradition, his doctoral research was energised by his pastoral responsibilities and formal commitment to the Christian tradition.
His current research interests include Pentecostal Studies, Christian Ethics, Moral Philosophy, Political Science, and Public Theology. Based in Sydney, Chris is British by birth but has lived in Australia since 2005. He and his wife Natasha reside with their four young children in the suburbs of Sydney.
He defended his Doctoral Thesis: "Interdependence and vulnerability: A contribution to the One-Health approach from Arne Naess's philosophy," on November 29, 2021.
Jeyver has been Visiting Academic within Queensland Bioethics Centre from 2017 to 2018. He is a full Professor at the Department of Practical Ethics at the Catholic University of Temuco.
His research focuses on environmental ethics, bioethics, practical ethics, transhumanism, and One-Health and Planetary Health approaches.
Rodríguez, J. A Bridge towards the One Health Approach: Rediscovering Environmental Bioethics. Revista Iberoamericana de Bioética. nº 17, pp. 01- 13. .
-Valera, L. and Rodriguez, J. Technology, ecology and the science of survival: a look at Barry Commoner's thinking for the future. Velázquez, H. (ed.) Technological Society and Human Future. The Human Being in the Technological Age. Editorial Tirant Lo Blanch S.L./Universidad Mayor. Santiago, 2021.
Geetanjali Rogers studied a double degree BA/BSc at the University of Western Australia with majors in Physics and Pure Mathematics, joint Honours in Ancient Greek and Philosophy (2012). She completed a Grad Dip Ed. at NotreDame (2014) has since been a High School teacher of Mathematics, Philosophy and Religious Studies. Whilst teaching, she completed a Masters in Professional Studies of Theology at ACU (2021).
Her research interests include understanding the nature of personhood, and the various ethical implications of this. She is currently undertaking a PhD entitled “Reimagining the Ethics of Assisted Dying through Compassion” which is being directed by David Kirchhoffer, Director of the Queensland Bioethics Centre in the Faculty of Philosophy and Theology at ACU, and Co-Directed by Michael Champion Director of the ACU node of the ARC Centre for Excellence for the History of Emotions.
I am a Bioethics PhD student working on a study around Epistemic Injustice in Global Health. I have a background in Nursing with a master’s degree in Community Health and Development. My research interests include the ethical complexities of conducting and communicating research/science in low- and middle-income settings, especially with the ever-increasing use of new technologies in research and healthcare.
Ademola Kazeem FAYEMI is a doctoral student at the Queensland Bioethics Centre researching the question of epistemic injustice in the Research for Health Justice Framework. Having Bridget Pratt and David Kirchhoffer as supervisor and co-supervisor, his doctoral research seeks to enrich the extant Research for Health Justice Framework by critically integrating normative ideas from African ethical landscape and exploring what they plausibly entail for global health research justice. With a background in philosophy, Ademola’s research interests include African ethics, environmental ethics, research ethics, social epistemology and global health.
3 – 10 June 2019
Ph.D. In Bioethics and Philosophy, Luca Valera is Associate Professor in Philosophy, Director of the Center for Bioethics (Department of Medicine) and Director of the Applied Ethics Area at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (Department of Philosophy).
In 2013 he received his Ph.D. in Bioethics and Philosophy from the Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma (UCBM), Rome (Italy), with a dissertation on “Human Ecology. The anthropological and ethical features of man/environment relationship.” From 2013 to 2015 he attended as Postdoctoral Research Fellow at FAST (Institute of Philosophy of Scientific and Technological Practice) at UCBM. He has been Visiting Scholar in Philosophy and Applied Ethics at the Department of Philosophy, Universidad de Valladolid, Valladolid (Spain) in 2018 and Visiting Professor in Bioethics, at the Department of Educational Sciences, Università degli Studi di Roma Tre, Rome (Italy).
His main research interests are the field of Bioethics, Environmental Philosophy (with particular concern for Arne Naess’s Ecosophy), Ethics, Philosophical Anthropology, and Philosophy of Technology.
He has published more than 75 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters and 3 books, concerning Bioethics, Human Ecology, Ethics and Arne Naess’s thought. He has attended more than 50 international conferences and workshops (Italy, Spain, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Switzerland, France, USA).
In 2016 he was awarded by PUC de Chile with the Programa de Inserción Académica and in 2017 by Banco Santander with the Beca Iberoamérica Santander Investigación Universidades 2017–Jóvenes Profesores (Young Professors). He obtained 9 peer-reviewed grants from Conicyt, FONDECYT, Fondo Nacional de Desarrollo Científico y Tecnológico (Chile) and Vicerrectoría de Investigación (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile), from 2016 to 2019. He is part of the editorial board of different international book series and scientific peer-reviewed journals in the area of philosophy and ecology. He is member of the Chilean Society of Bioethics, of the Italian Society of Moral Philosophy (S.I.F.M.), and of the Italian Association of Philosophy Teachers (A.D.I.F.).
9 – 17 November 2018
Anita Ho is Associate Professor in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia. She is the Interim Director in Ethics Services at Providence Health Care, and a Section Editor in research ethics for BMC Medical Ethics.
Between 2014 and 2017, Anita was the Director of Undergraduate Ethics Education at the Centre for Biomedical Ethics at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore.
An international scholar and author of more than 60 publications, Anita’s current research focuses on supportive decision making in diverse healthcare settings, supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Her broader research areas include ethical dimensions of incorporating innovative technologies in health care, trust and decision making in domestic and international clinical and research medicine, organizational and system ethics in medicine, cross-cultural and global health ethics, health-care access and disparity, professional-patient relationship, ethics education for health professionals, disability and pain experiences, and various concepts of autonomy.
Fratelli Tutti and Being present: The Action That Speaks Louder Than Words
Vaccines, viruses and vulnerabilities: Catholic health care of the human person
Queensland Bioethics Centre on Radio Brisbane
Should I get my DNA tested? We asked five experts
Leading Brisbane bioethicist discusses what would make a moral economy after COVID-19
Bioethicist unpacks Samaritanus Bonus and idea of ‘remaining’ with the dying
Public reasoning about voluntary assisted dying: What we found when we analysed submissions to the Queensland Parliamentary Inquiry
Coronavirus Australia: What doctors will do when they can’t treat everyone
What do Australian Catholics think of church teaching on sex and family?
Some unvaccinated Australians won’t be able to browse in the shops until 2023. That’s a worry.
Dignity, conscience and religious pluralism in healthcare: An argument for a presumption in favour of respect for religious belief
David G. Kirchhoffer
Recognising and responding to vulnerability in a time of COVID-19
David Kirchhoffer, James Keenan, Luca Valera, and Roberto Zoboli.
ABC Religion and Ethics
Non invasive prenatal testing: clinical utility and ethical concerns about recent advances
Joseph Thomas, James Harraway & David Gerrard Kirchhoffer Medical Journal of Australia 09 January 2021
Public reasoning about voluntary assisted dying: An analysis of submissions to the Queensland Parliament, Australia
with Chi-Wai Lui
Bioethics 35 (1): 105-116. 2021.
Dignity, Autonomy, and Allocation of Scarce Medical Resources During COVID-19
Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 17 (4): 691-696. 2020.
Beyond Autonomy: Limits and Alternatives to Informed Consent in Research Ethics and Law (edited book)
with Bernadette J. Richards
Cambridge University Press. 2019.
Introduction: The Limits of Respect for Autonomy.
In David G. Kirchhoffer & Bernadette J. Richards (eds.), Beyond Autonomy: Limits and Alternatives to Informed Consent in Research Ethics and Law, . pp. 1-14. 2019.
Dignity, Being and Becoming in Research Ethics
In D. Kirchhoffer & B. Richards (eds.), Beyond Autonomy: Limits and Alternatives to Informed Consent in Research Ethics and Law, . 2019.
Beneficence in Research Ethics
with C. Favor and C. Cordner
In D. Kirchhoffer & B. Richards (eds.), Beyond Autonomy: Limits and Alternatives to Informed Consent in Research Ethics and Law, . 2019.
How Ecology Can Save the Life of Theology: A Philosophical Contribution to the Engagement of Ecology and Theology
In Celia Deane-Drummond & Rebecca Artinian-Kaiser (eds.), Theology and Ecology across the Disciplines: On Care for Our Common Home, . pp. 53-64. 2018.
Human Dignity and Human Enhancement: A Multidimensional Approach
Bioethics 31 (5): 375-383. 2017.
Questioning Human Dignity: The Dimensions of Dignity Model as a Bridge Between Cosmopolitanism and the Particular
In Religion and Culture in Dialogue, Springer Verlag. pp. 167--179. 2016.
The Roman Catholic Church on the Secularization of the Concept of Human Dignity
Louvain Studies 39 (3): 240--260. 2016.
In Jãnis T. Ozoliņš & Joanne Grainger (eds.), Foundations of Healthcare Ethics: Theory to Practice, . 2015.
Book Review: Be Good and Do Good: Thinking Through Moral Theology. By Bernard V. Brady (review)
Theological Studies 76 (4): 895-895. 2015.
Turtles All The Way Down?: Pressing Questions for Theological Anthropology in the Twenty-First Century
In Lieven Boeve, Yves De Maeseneer & Ellen Van Stiche (eds.), Questioning the Human: Toward a Theological Anthropology for the Twenty-First Century, . 2014.
Preparing for the Synod on the Family
with Natalie Lindner L’Huillier
Intams Review 20 (1): 111--117. 2014.
Being Human: Groundwork for a Theological Anthropology for the Twenty-First Century (edited book)
with Robyn Horner and Patrick McArdle
Mosaic Press. 2013.
Human Dignity in Contemporary Ethics
Teneo Press. 2013.
Between revelation and reason: Human dignity in Karl Barth and Gaudium et Spes
In David Kirchhoﬀer, Robyn Horner & Patrick McArdle (eds.), Being HumanGroundwork for a Theological Anthropology for the 21st Century, . 2013.
What We Have Learned: Catholic Social Thought and the Movements in Australia
Journal of Catholic Social Thought 10 (2): 401-411. 2013.
Human dignity and consent in research biobanking
with K. Dierickx
South African Journal of Bioethics and Law 5 (2): 74--77. 2012.
Human dignity and the moral status of animals
Southern African Public Law 27 (1): 119--135. 2012.
Bioethics and the Demise of the Concept of Human Dignity
Human Reproduction and Genetic Ethics 17 (2): 141-154. 2011.
New Medical Technologies and the Ethical Challenges for Minors from the Perspective of Human Dignity
with Kris Dierickx
In Jan C. Joerden, Eric Hilgendorf, Natalia Petrillo & Felix Thiele (eds.), Menschenwürde und moderne Medizintechnik, . 2011.
Human dignity and human tissue: a meaningful ethical relationship?
with K. Dierickx
Journal of Medical Ethics 37 (9): 552-556. 2011.
Benedict XVI, Human Dignity, and Absolute Moral Norms
New Blackfriars 91 (1035): 586-608. 2010.
Become what you are: on the value of the concept of human dignity as an ethical criterion in light of contemporary critiques
Bijdragen 70 (1): 45-66. 2009.
Sustainable global health practice: An ethical imperative?
Equitable data sharing in epidemics and pandemics - PubMed (nih.gov)
Pratt, B., Parker, M., and Bull, S. (2022). "Equitable design and use of digital surveillance technologies during COVID-19: norms and concerns." Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics 17(5):573-586
Pratt, B. (2022). Equitable Urban Planning for Climate Change. Journal of Planning Literature, 0(0). https://doi.org/10.1177/08854122221138125
Pratt, B. (2023). “Expanding health justice to consider the environment: How can bioethics avoid reinforcing epistemic injustice?” Journal of Medical Ethics https://jme.bmj.com/content/early/2023/01/30/jme-2022-108458
Borthwick, J., Evertsz, N., and Pratt, B. (2023). “How should communities be meaningfully engaged (if at all) when setting priorities for biomedical research? Perspectives from the biomedical research community.” BMC Medical Ethics https://bmcmedethics.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12910-022-00879-5
Pratt, B. and de Vries, J. (2023). “Where is knowledge from the global South? An account of epistemic justice for a global bioethics.” Journal of Medical Ethics https://jme.bmj.com/content/early/2023/01/18/jme-2022-108291 *Feature Article
McDougall, R., Pratt, B., & Sellars, M. (2023). "Ethical diversity and practical uncertainty: A qualitative interview study of clinicians’ experiences in the implementation period prior to voluntary assisted dying becoming available in their hospital in Victoria, Australia.” Journal of Bioethical Inquiry https://doi.org/10.1007/s11673-022-10224-5
With Susan Bull
BMC Medical Ethics. 2021 Oct 6;22(1):136.
Achieving inclusive research priority-setting: what do people with lived experience and the public think is essential? - PubMed (nih.gov)
BMC Medical Ethics. 2021 Sep 4;22(1):117.
Fayemi, Ademola Kazeem and Chimakonam, Amara Ester (2022). “Global justice in the context of transnational surrogacy: an African bioethical perspective.” Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics
Queensland Bioethics Centre Office
1100 Nudgee Road
Banyo Qld, 4014
Queensland Bioethics Centre
Faculty of Theology and Philosophy
PO Box 456
Virginia, QLD 4014
We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday
If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.
Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.
Find answers to some commonly