For further information about the Romanell Center, contact David Hershenov,  or Ali Hasanzadeh,

  • David B. Hershenov, Director, Romanell Center
    David Hershenov, PhD, is a professor of philosophy at the University at Buffalo and director of the Romanell Center. His earlier research was focused upon issues at the intersection of personal identity and bioethics. His recent research interests are in the philosophy of medicine.
  • Harvey Berman
    Harvey Berman is a pharmacologist responsible for teaching Doctors of Pharmacy (PharmD) and of Medicine (MD) in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. His teaching and research interests are in adverse drug interactions, pharmacogenomics, ethics of drug clinical trials, pain palliation and geriatric pharmacology.
  • Kurt Blankschaen
    Kurt Blankschaen, PhD (Boston University) is an assistant professor of philosophy at Daemen University, where he also directs the Medical Humanities program. In 2023, he began working with the American Red Cross of Western New York's Pride Alliance Resource Group. Blankschaen primarily works on applied ethical issues in social ontology and how marginalized communities access healthcare resources. He also has a growing research interest in sexual health ethics, especially within the LGBTQ community.
  • James Cordeiro
    James J. Cordeiro, PhD, is a full professor at SUNY Brockport, where he has received SUNY Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in both Teaching and Scholarship. He earned a B.Sc in Microbiology and Chemistry from the University of Bombay (St. Xavier’s College), an MBA from the University of Rochester, and a PhD in Management from University at Buffalo.
  • Geert Craenen
    Chief, Eye Service, West Texas VA
    Associate Director, Romanell Center
    Clinical Ethics Consultant
    Associate Clinical Professor, Texas Tech Univ.
  • James Delaney
    James Delaney is a professor of philosophy and Rose Bente Lee-Ostapenko Endowed Director of Professional Ethics at Niagara University. His current research examines traditional questions in philosophy and how emerging technology in science and medicine affect the issues involved in them.
  • Neil Feit
    Neil Feit is a Distinguished Teaching Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Fredonia. He has published two books and over 20 articles, most of which appear in leading international journals of philosophy. Feit’s interest in bioethics and related topics dates back to 2002, when he published a widely cited article on the badness of death. More recently, in a series of papers on the metaphysics and moral significance of harm, Feit has done work on several issues concerning the foundations of bioethics and the nature of disease.
  • Alex R. Gillham
    Alex Gillham is Associate Professor of Philosophy at St. Bonaventure University, where he co-directs the Center for Law & Society and directs the Philosophy, Law, and Politics curriculum. Gillham works mostly on ethics and ancient philosophy. His work in ethics focuses on the moral permissibility of abortion. Gillham also has growing research interests in social philosophy and the philosophy of law.
  • Jack P. Freer, Emeritus Director
    Jack Freer, MD, is a retired clinical professor, and, the emeritus director of the Romanell Center. He was the course director of IDM 701 (the required medical students' clinical ethics course) for 30 years. Freer organized the Romanell Clinical and Research Ethics Seminars, as well as many other conferences and lecture series over the course of his career.
  • Robert Kelly
    Robert Kelly received both his M.A. (2016) and Ph.D. (2021) in Philosophy from the University at Buffalo. His research has included work in experimental philosophy, cognitive science of religion, bioethics, philosophy of medicine, metaphysics, and applied ontology. Robert's dissertation ("Understanding Addiction") defended a dispositionalist account of the nature of addiction, argued that addiction research should incorporate the use of realist ontologies so as to remedy what he calls the 'disunification problem' abundant in the literature, and offered a start towards developing such an ontology of addiction. In addition to his association with the Romanell Center, Robert has worked as an ontology researcher with the National Center for Ontological Research (NCOR) Lab under Barry Smith. Included in his NCOR work were a DoD-funded ontology project through MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory, as well as collaborations with Janna Hastings and Robert West on their development of the Behavior Change Intervention Ontology and its addiction-focused sub-ontology AddictO. As of Fall 2022, Robert is a Philosophy Instructor-Tenure Track (Assistant Professor equivalent) at Bakersfield College, one of his alma maters in his hometown of Bakersfield, California. 
  • Stephen Kershnar
    Stephen Kershnar is a distinguished teaching professor in the philosophy department at the State University of New York at Fredonia and an attorney. He focuses on applied ethics and political philosophy. Kershnar has written on a number of topics in bioethics including abortion, affirmative action in medical schools, consent, Judeo-Christian bioethics, pedophilia, and quantifying health. Kershnar is the author of nine books, including Total Collapse: The Case Against Morality and Responsibility (2018) and Abortion, Hell, and Shooting Abortion-Doctors: Does the Pro-Life Worldview Make Sense? (2017). 
  • Peter Koch
    Peter Koch is a professor of philosophy at Villanova University in Philadelphia, PA. After receiving his PhD from SUNY Buffalo, he completed a Clinical Ethics Fellowship at the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Baylor College of Medicine. Peter has worked as a clinical ethics consultant at the V.A. Hospital of Western New York and Houston Methodist Hospital, where he has completed over 100 clinical ethics consultations. He has published on the metaphysics of death, informed consent, medical professionalism, reproductive ethics, and the ethics of intensive care. His current research interest is in theories of patient welfare and how these theories inform biomedical ethics.
  • Debra Kolodczak
    Debra Kolodczak, PhD, is a multimedia artist, photographer, content developer, and AEM6 UX designer/editor. At the University at Buffalo, she teaches hybrid courses in graphic communication, visual literacy, and virtual media ethics. Her research interests involve the use of optical illusions.
  • Delaney McNulty
    Delaney McNulty is a graduate student in the Department of Philosophy, University at Buffalo, where she is Vice-President of the Minorities and Philosophy chapter at UB. Her philosophical interests range from Cognitive Science, Law, Bioethics, and Indigenous Philosophy. Delaney’s bioethics interests center around mental health, end of life issues (especially brain death), and research ethics.
  • Catherine Nolan
    Catherine Nolan is currently working on issues in the intersection of metaphysics and bioethics. She is particularly interested in applying the concepts and arguments of the Christian metaphysical tradition to contemporary problems.  Her dissertation, entitled “The Ethics and Metaphysics of Vital Organ Donation,” was a defense of the claim that death is a metaphysical event, unable to be determined purely scientifically. This makes the diagnosis of death much more uncertain. If we attempt to justify vital organ donation by claiming that the donor is dead, we are often being misleading or dishonest. Instead, she suggests that we should focus on not killing the donor, treating those who may be dead as though they are still alive. 
  • Philip Reed
    Philip Reed, PhD, is a Professor of Philosophy at Canisius University, where he works on ethics, applied ethics, and moral psychology. His primary research interests in bioethics are the doctrine of double effect and end of life issues. Reed is a member of the Home & Community Based Care, Palliative Care, & Ethics Committee for the Catholic Health System of Buffalo and of the ethics committee at Erie County Medical Center.
  • Barry Smith
    As an undergraduate, Barry Smith studied mathematics and philosophy at the University of Oxford, before earning his Ph.D. from the University of Manchester in 1976. Currently, he holds the position of Julian Park Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Informatics, Computer Science, and Neurology at the University of Buffalo in New York.
  • Travis Timmerman
    Travis Timmerman is currently an assistant professor of philosophy at Seton Hall University. He completed his PhD in Philosophy at Syracuse University in May 2016. Before he was at Syracuse, he did his undergraduate work in philosophy and political science at Arizona State University. He also completed a master’s in political science at ASU with a focus on political theory and American politics. His research interests are in ethics, death, and epistemology.
  • Stephen Wear, Emeritus
    Stephen Wear, Ph.D. is associate professor emeritus, and founding former co-director of the Center for Clinical Ethics and Humanities in Health Care at the University at Buffalo. He is the ethics officer at the Buffalo VA Medical Center where he leads the IntegratedEthics program. He had been responsible for the stewardship of the Patrick and Edna Romanell Fund for Bioethics Pedagogy since its inception. 

    Wear's research interests span the range of clinical ethics, but is particularly focused on informed consent. He is the author of many articles and book chapters on various topics as well as a book on informed consent. He has been the primary source for medical ethics education at the University at Buffalo for more than three decades.​
  • Neil Williams
    Neil Williams is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University at Buffalo, and Department Chair.  His work is in the metaphysics of science (causal powers especially)  and includes publications in the nature and classification of disease.
  • Finn Wilson
    Finn Wilson is a PhD student at the UB Department of Philosophy. He works both within applied ontology and bioethics. Wilson's research has centered around issues related to personal identity, the criteria and definition for death, and the dead donor rule for organ donation.