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Robert Dell'Oro, Phd
Austin and Ann O'Malley Chair in Bioethics
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.

LMU Bioethics Institute Logo thinking man sitting on microscope
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