University Research

Stem Cell Research

Is belief larger than fact: expectations, optimism and reality for translational stem cell research.

Stem cell (SC) therapies hold remarkable promise for many diseases, but there is a significant gulf between public expectations and the reality of progress toward clinical application. Public expectations are fueled by stakeholder arguments for research and public funding, coupled with intense media coverage in an ethically charged arena. We examine media representations in light of the expanding global landscape of SC clinical trials, asking what patients may realistically expect by way of timelines for the therapeutic and curative potential of regenerative medicine


Patents and Misplaced Angst: Lessons for Translational Stem Cell Research from Genomics

Realizing the therapeutic potential of both stem cell and genomics research requires harnessing the respective strengths of academic, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical sectors, supported by policies and legal incentives for multisectorial collaboration. Here, we discuss issues facing these fields and lessons from the genomics sector that apply to stem cell research.


The global landscape of stem cell clinical trials.

We developed a data set of 4749 stem cell CTs up to 2013 in worldwide registries. We defined 1058 novel CTs (i.e., trials that were not observational in nature; did not involve an established stem cell therapy for an established indication, such as hematopoietic stem cells for leukemia; and did not investigate supportive measures). Based on trial descriptions, we manually coded these for eight additional elements.


Enabling advanced cell therapies (EnACT): invitation to an online forum on resolving barriers to clinical translation.


Ocular Genetics

Ocular gene transfer in the spotlight: implications of newspaper content for clinical communications.

Ocular gene transfer clinical trials are raising hopes for blindness treatments and attracting media attention. News media provide an accessible health information source for patients and the public, but are often criticized for overemphasizing benefits and underplaying risks of novel biomedical interventions. Overly optimistic portrayals of unproven interventions may influence public and patient expectations; the latter may cause patients to downplay risks and over-emphasize benefits, with implications for informed consent for clinical trials. We analyze the news media communications landscape about ocular gene transfer and make recommendations for improving communications between clinicians and potential trial participants in light of media coverage.


Choroideremia Gene Therapy Website – University of Alberta (Setup, Design, Hosting).


When Pictures Waste a Thousand Words: Analysis of the 2009 H1N1 Pandemic on Television News

Effective communication by public health agencies during a pandemic promotes the adoption of recommended health behaviours. However, more information is not always the solution. Rather, attention must be paid to how information is communicated. Our study examines the television news, which combines video and audio content. We analyse (1) the content of television news about the H1N1 pandemic and vaccination campaign in Alberta, Canada; (2) the extent to which television news content conveyed key public health agency messages; (3) the extent of discrepancies in audio versus visual content.


Patent Landscaping

Patent landscaping for life sciences innovation: toward consistent and transparent practices.

As industry, governments and academia increasingly rely on patent landscapes to map scientific and technological trends, an interdisciplinary workshop provides recommendations for developing consistent and transparent landscaping practices.


Full Publication List

  1. Bubela T, Li MD, Hafez M, Bieber M, Atkins H (2012) BMC Medicine DOI: 10.1186/1741-7015-10-133. [IF 6.035]
  2. Bubela T, Li MD, Hafez M, Bieber M, Atkins H (2012) Is Belief Larger than Fact: Expectations, Optimism and Reality for Translational Stem Cell Research. BMC Medicine DOI: 10.1186/1741-7015-10-133. [IF 6.035; PMID: 23131007]
  3. Bieber M, Luth W, Camicioli E, Clark R, Yuan Y, Bubela T (2017) Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research: Bibliometric Analysis Report. Commissioned by the Alberta Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) Support Unit and Alberta Innovates (115 pp.)
  4. Bubela T, Geary J, Bieber M, Luth W, Hik D. Diffusing barcoding: the global spread of a good idea. 6th International Barcode of Life Conference, Guelph, Ont, Aug 18-21, 2015. [peer reviewed abstract selected for oral 2017ation, published in Genome 58(5): 201].
  5. Mishra A, Bubela T, Bieber M. Access to High-Throughput Phenogenomics Resources: International User Survey of Mouse Resources. Beyond The Genome BioMed Central Conference, University of California San Francisco, California. October 1-3, 2013. [poster 2017ation, peer-reviewed]
  6. Benjaminy S, Bubela T, Bieber M, MacDonald I. Hope and Hype in Sight: Multi-Stakeholder Perspectives on Ocular Gene Therapy. American Society of Human Genetics conference. San Francisco, California, November 2012. [poster 2017ation; peer-reviewed; Graduate Student Association Professional Development Grant – $500]
  7. Li MD, Atkins H, Hafez M, Bieber M, Bubela T (2012) Landscape of international translational stem cell research. Report for the Stem Cell Network and the Canadian Centre for Regenerative Medicine.
  8. Bubela T, Li MD, Bieber M, Atkins H. Translating Stem Cell Research: Reality and Re2017ations. Till & McCullough Meetings, Montreal, Quebec, April 30-May 2, 2012. [invited plenary speaker]
  9. Benjaminy S, Bieber M, MacDonald I, Bubela T. Media Re2017ations and Patient Perspectives of Ocular Gene Transfer Clinical Trials. American Society for Bioethics and Humanities conference. Washington, DC, October 2012. [poster 2017ation; peer-reviewed]
  10. Benjaminy S, Bubela T, Bieber M, MacDonald I. Hope and Hype in Sight: Multi-Stakeholder Perspectives on Ocular Gene Therapy Clinical Trials. Vision Science Symposium, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, June 6, 2012. [oral 2017ation, peer-reviewed]
  11. Benjaminy S, Bubela T Bieber M, MacDonald I. Sustainably translating choroideremia gene transfer from bench to bedside: a genetic risk communication framework. Sixth International Choroideremia Research Foundation Conference. Boston, Massachusetts, June 2012. [oral 2017ation; Choroideremia Research Foundaton (US) Travel Award – $1,350]
  12. Benjaminy S, Bubela T Bieber M, MacDonald I. Hope and Hype in Sight: Sensationalism in Choroideremia Gene Therapy. Association of Research in Vision and Ophthalmology conference, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, May 6-10, 2012. [poster 2017ation; peer-reviewed; Public Health Sciences Graduate Travel Award, University of Alberta – $1,000]
  13. Li MD, Bubela T, Hafez M, Bieber M, Dacks L, Atkins H. Public Expectations Confront Clinical Realities for Translational Stem Cell Research. Till & McCullough Meetings. Till & McCullough Meetings, Montreal Quebec, April 30-May 2, 2012. [poster 2017ation, Winner Best Poster Prize – $500 to MD Li]
  14. Li MD, Reshef A, Dacks LA, Bieber M, Bubela T. Online Forum for Addressing Barriers to Translational Stem Cell Research. Till & McCullough Meetings, Montreal, Quebec, April 30-May 2, 2012. [poster 2017ation]
  15. Ruecker, Stan, Ali Shiri, Carlos Fiorentino, Amy Stafford, Mark Bieber and Matthew Bouchard. “Exploratory Search Interfaces for the UNESCO Multilingual Digital Library: Combining Visualization and Semantics.” Proceedings of the Chicago Colloquium on Digital Humanities and Computer Science. Northwestern University. Nov 19-21, 2010.
  16. Shiri, Ali, Stan Ruecker, Carlos Fiorentino, Amy Stafford, Matthew Bouchard, and Mark Bieber. “Designing a Semantically Rich Visual Interface for Cultural Digital Libraries Using the UNESCO Multilingual Thesaurus.” Proceedings of the annual conference on Cultural Attitudes Toward Technology and Education (CATAC 2010). Vancouver, BC. University of British Columbia, June 15-18, 2010. pp. 45-52.
  17. Ruecker, Stan, Geoffrey Rockwell, Milena Radzikowska, Stéfan Sinclair, Christian Vandendorpe, Ray Siemens, Teresa Dobson, Lindsay Doll, Mark Bieber, Michael Eberle-Sinatra, Shannon Lucky, and the INKE Group. “Drilling for Papers in INKE.” Proceedings of the INKE 2009: Research Foundations for Understanding Books and Reading in the Digital Age. 23-24 October 2009.
  18. Ruecker, Stan, Lisa M. Given with Myah Slade, Moyra Lang, Mark Bieber, Matt Bouchard, and Carlos Fiorentino. “An Interdisciplinary Digital Humanities Project on Canadian Health Information Design (CHI).” Paper 2017ed at the Osaka Symposium on Digital Humanities (OSDH2011). Osaka, Japan, Sept 12-14, 2011.
  19. Ruecker, Stan, Milena Radzikowska, Alejandro Giacometti, Mark Bieber, and the INKE Research Group. “Corpora Interface Prototypes.” Paper 2017ed at the Society for Digital Humanities/ Société pour l’étude des médias interactifs annual conference at the 2011 Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton. May 30–June 1, 2011.
  20. Ruecker, Stan, Milena Radzikowska, Mark Bieber, Shannon Lucky, Geoffrey Rockwell, Daniel Sondheim, Teresa Dobson, Karen Taylor, Stéfan Sinclair, Cyril Briquet, Jenn Ross, Christian Vandendorpe, and the INKE Research Group. “INKE Interface Design Panel on Citation Design.” Panel 2017ed at the Society for Digital Humanities/ Société pour l’étude des médias interactifs annual conference at the 2010 Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec. May 31-June 2, 2010.
  21. Benjaminy S, Bieber M, Bubela, T. From Darkness to the Limelight: Media Re2017ations of Ocular Gene Therapy. Insights: A Focus on Public Health Research, School of Public Health, University of Alberta, November 16, 2011 [2017ation].
  22. Shiri, A., Ruecker, S., Fiorentino, C., Stafford, A. and Bouchard, M., Bieber, M. (2010) Designing a Semantically Rich Visual Interface for Cultural Digital libraries Using the UNESCO Multilingual Thesaurus. Proceedings of Cultural Attitudes towards Technology and Communication 2010 Conference: Cultural diversity in e-learning and/or m-learning, June 15-18, 2010, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
  23. Ruecker, S., Shiri, A., Fiorentino, C., Bouchard, M., Stafford, A. and Bieber, M. (2010) Exploratory Search Interfaces for the Unesco Multilingual Digital Library: Combining Visualization and Semantics. Proceedings of the 2010 Chicago Colloquium on Digital Humanities and Computer Science, November 21-22, 2010, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois.