Catherine Nolan defended her dissertation, The Ethics and Metaphysics of Vital Organ Donation, at SUNY Buffalo in 2015. She is presently an affiliate associate professor at the University of Dallas. She is interested in questions at the intersection of metaphysics and bioethics. Her dissertation focused on the definition of death and the impossibility of diagnosing it with certainty in time to explant vital organs, concluding that it is more practical to attempt to avoid causing death than to diagnose death.
Nolan's more recent research has been on the definitions of gender and sex, and she has recently presented “Metaphysical Positions for Trans Persons” at the PANTC 2016 conference, and is currently working on an article entitled “Difficult Determinations of Sex,” in which she proposes a definition of “male” and “female” which takes into account intersex individuals—those with disorders of sex development.