M. Therese Lysaught [Ph.D., Theological Ethics, Duke University, 1992; M.A., Theology, University of Notre Dame, 1986], specializes in the areas of moral theology and theological reflection on science, biotechnology, and medicine (a field sometimes known as ‘bioethics’). She has served as an NIH/ELSI Fellow at the University of Iowa, working in the lab of geneticist Dr. Jeff Murray, a lab involved in the work of the Human Genome Project. Subsequently, she served a three-year appointment on the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC) of the National Institutes of Health.
Her major research foci have included the anointing of the sick, genetics, gene therapy, human embryonic stem cell research, and issues at the end-of-life. Two methodological commitments are central to her work. The first is a commitment to the liturgical context for the moral life. The second, emerging from her work with Haiti, is a commitment to overcoming the traditional separation of the fields of bioethics and social ethics, especially within Christian theological ethics.
Her first co-edited book, Gathered for the Journey: Moral Theology in Catholic Perspective (Eerdmans 2007, co-editor David M. McCarthy) provides an introduction to Catholic moral theology. In 2008, the book received third place honors in ‘Theology’ from the Catholic Press Association. Her second book, On Moral Medicine: Theological Perspectives on Medical Ethics, 3rd edition (Eerdmans, 2011) is co-edited with Joseph Kotva.
She is currently engaged in four research projects. The first is funded by the Science of Virtue Program of the Arete Foundation at the University of Chicago and is entitled "The Economy of Virtue: Virtue Theory in Light of Poverty and Neuroscience.” In this project, she is collaborating with Jeffrey P. Bishop, M.D., Ph.D., the Director of the Center for Healthcare Ethics at St. Louis University; Andrew Michel, M.D., a psychiatrist on faculty at Vanderbilt University College of Medicine; and, Amy Laura Hall, Ph.D., of Duke Divinity School. In this two-year project, this team is examining virtue theory in light of the neurobiological effects of poverty.
The second is the Human Powered Nebulizer Project. With Lars E. Olson, Ph.D., in Marquette’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, she is exploring the role of community health workers in the development of appropriate medical technologies, in this case, for the treatment of asthma and COPD, better diagnosis of tuberculosis, and the potential for better delivery of vaccines.
Her third project will culminate in a monograph entitled Anointing of the Sick and the Theo-Political Economy of Medicine. (Sacra Doctrina Series. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. Forthcoming). Here she argues that the practice of anointing of the sick provides a hermeneutic for developing Christian politics of medicine giving specific attention to questions of economics. Upon completion of this book, she will turn to her next monograph project, a book entitled Bioethics as Biopolitics, to be co-authored with Jeffrey P. Bishop (NYU Press. Forthcoming).
She has authored over 50 articles and book chapters, in places such as in Christian Bioethics, Health Progress, the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, the Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics, Christian Scholars’ Review, the Encyclopedia of Bioethics, Commonweal, and US Catholic. In addition to almost 50 invited lectures and papers, she has presented papers at the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities, the College Theology Society, the Society of Christian Ethics, the American Academy of Religion, and the American Society of Law and Medicine. Since 2000, she has served as the co-convener of the Liturgy and Ethics Interest Group at the Society of Christian Ethics. She works in a number of advisory capacities with the Catholic Health Association and as the chair of the board of The Ekklesia Project. She has served as a member of the advisory boards for the Program of Dialogue Between Science, Religion, and Ethics at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); and the Interfaith Health Resources Center at the Carter Center. In 2008, she was appointed to the U.S. Catholic-Episcopal Theological Consultation under the aegis of the USCCB.