Donal P O’Mathuna, BSc(Pharm), MA, PhD is Senior Lecturer in Ethics, Decision-Making & Evidence in the School of Nursing, Dublin City University (DCU). He is also Visiting Professor of Bioethics at the University of Ulster, Coleraine. Donal’s original training was in pharmacy, but his recent research and teaching has focused on bioethics. Donal is Chair of the DCU Research Ethics Committee and a member of the St James’s Hospital Patients Ethics Committee.

Donal’s research interests include bioethics and evidence-based practice. Through the DCU Biomedical Diagnostics Institute, he has become interested in the ethical issues involving nanotechnology. This builds on his general interest in new technologies and their potential impact on human dignity. This has led to a growing interest in posthumanism and developing a response its advocates. He is also concerned about the funding of health research and how this impacts developing countries. Human dignity also underlies his interest in the ethics of torture. Another general theme in Donal’s research is the role of film and popular music in teaching ethics. Donal maintains his research interest in pharmacy through conducting systematic reviews as part of the Cochrane Collaboration.

Donal’s interest in issues of science and religion involve the underlying basis for ethical decision-making. Underlying Donal’s ethics is a commitment to biblical Christianity as the basis for his values and world-view. Guidance on modern bioethical dilemmas can be found in the Bible, and one of Donal’s on-going interests is developing methods for this approach. Doing this also involves being able to defend a Christian perspective on ethics in secular and pluralistic settings. Another related interest is the role of spirituality in health and medicine, in particular how these are presented within complementary and alternative medicine. Donal is a committee member for the Ireland branch of Christians in Science.

Departmental web site

Personal web site

Recent Publications

  • "Evil to Prevent Evil: The Ethics of Torture," in Against Doing Nothing. Edited by Shilinka Smith and Shona Hill, pp. 39-50. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press, 2010.
  • Nanoethics: Big Ethical Issues with Small Technology. London: Continuum Press, 2009.
  • "Trust and Clinical Research," Research Practitioner 10.5 (September-October 2009): 170-77.
  • "The Ethics of Torture in 24: Shockingly Banal," in 24 and Philosophy: The World According to Jack. Edited by Jennifer Hart Weed, Richard Davis and Ronald Weed, pp. 91-104. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008.
  • "Teaching Ethics Using Popular Songs: Feeling and Thinking," Monash Bioethics Review, 27.1-2 (January-April 2008): 42-55.
  • "Conceiving Technological Conception: Bioethics and Personhood," in Culture, Technology & Values: Ethical Dimensions of European Identity. Edited by Michael J. Breen and Eamonn Conway, pp. 125-138. Paragon Press, 2008.
  • "Decision-Making and Health Research: Ethics and the 10/90 Gap," Research Practitioner 8.5 (September-October 2007): 164-172.
  • "Bioethics and Biotechnology," Cytotechnology 53.1-3 (April 2007): 113-119. "Human Dignity in the Nazi Era: Implications for Current Bioethics," BMC Medical Ethics, 7.2 (March 2006): Epub:
  • "Genetic Technology, Enhancement, and Christian Values," National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 2.2 (Summer 2002): 277-295.

Recent Publications on Science and Religion

  • "Medicine vs. Prayer: The Case of Kara Nuemann," Pediatric Nursing, 34.5 (September-October 2008): 413-416.
  • Donal O’Mathuna, & Walt Larimore, Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook. Updated and Expanded Edition. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2007.
  • "Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Where Medicine and Religion Meet," in The Phenomenon of Cults from a Scientific Perspective. Edited by Piotr T. Nowakowski, pp. 296-310. Cracow: Dom Wydawniczy Rafael, 2007.
  • "Sickness and Disease," in Dictionary of the Old Testament: Historical Books. Edited by Bill T. Arnold and H. G. M. Williamson, pp. 895-899. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005.
  • "Bodily Injuries, Murder, Manslaughter," in Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch. Edited by David W. Baker and Desmond Alexander, pp. 90-94. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002.
  • "The Vertical Context: Prayer and Bioethics," in BioEngagement: Making a Christian Difference through Bioethics Today. Edited by Nigel M. de S. Cameron, Scott E. Daniels, and Barbara J. White, pp. 57-67. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2000.
  • "’Why me, God?’ Understanding Suffering," Ethics & Medicine 15.2 (1999): 44-52.
  • "Did Paul Condone Suicide? Implications for Assisted Suicide and Active Euthanasia." Reprinted in Suicide: A Christian Response. Crucial Considerations for Choosing Life. Edited by Timothy J. Demy and Gary P. Stewart, 387-397. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1998.
  • "But The Bible Doesn’t Say They Were Wrong to Commit Suicide, Does It?" in Suicide: A Christian Response. Crucial Considerations for Choosing Life. Edited by Timothy J. Demy and Gary P. Stewart, 349-366. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1998.
  • "The Bible and Abortion: What of the ‘Image of God’?" in Bioethics and the Future of Medicine: A Christian Appraisal. Edited by John F. Kilner, Nigel M. de S. Cameron, and David L. Schiedermayer, 199-211. Carlisle, UK: Paternoster Press, 1995.

Back to People