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Research Stories

We’re talking to researchers, health care workers, and people like you to find out more about how research works in our province and why it’s so important. Watch some of their stories below or sign up for our newsletter to learn more about how you can help shape Alberta’s medical future.


Paul Johnson

“I feel like I have a future now”

Paul had been exposed to a bacteria called M. chimaera, and it would slowly begin to spread throughout his body. The contamination was traced to heater-cooler machines used in heart surgeries, and it quickly became clear that hundreds of patients could have been exposed.

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Rosalyn Abernethy

“There’s a lot of awareness that we need to work on.”

When Colin Abernethy was told that his daughter Rosalyn had Fragile X, it was a relief. From an early age Rosalyn experienced difficulties in reaching certain development milestones, and with this diagnosis, it opened the door to finding some solutions for her.

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Clarice Chrisp

“People who have it have to step up. That’s how you find cures”

For almost 20 years, Clarice Chrisp has been living with Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC), a rare autoimmune liver condition.

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Donato Bernado

“When Donato Bernardo was told that he had cancer, he knew he wasn’t going to stop at anything to fight it.”

A study using Chimeric Antigen Receptor T cells (CAR-T) offered a glimmer of hope for Donato.

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Deborah McLeod

“It’s great to be part of something that’s going to help save lives.”

When 54 year old Deborah McLeod found herself struggling to breathe properly and unable to walk more than 25 feet, she knew something was seriously wrong.

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Karen Hamilton

“There are no real limits anymore.”

Through a clinical trial studying ex-vivo organ perfusion, cystic fibrosis patient Karen Hamilton received new lungs that previously would have been considered too damaged for the procedure. Karen took part in the trial hoping that her efforts would one day help future cystic fibrosis patients.

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Jillian Karst

“Everything you do… is helping the next person.”

Jillian Karst is a young girl who was diagnosed with psoriasis. Through a clinical trial run in Alberta, she is now psoriasis-free. Her mom Shirley sees how health research positively affects not just Jillian, but anyone else who might have the condition.

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Brad Weskett | Greg Smith

“If we don’t have research, we’re not going to make any advancements.”

Brad Weskett and Greg Smith are both patients of Dr. Farnaz Amoozegar at the Calgary Headache Assessment & Management Program (CHAMP) in Alberta. They’ve both participated in clinical trials, and they both believe health research is important.

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Shanine Lafreniere

“The value of clinical research is in front of us every day.”

Shanine’s daughter was diagnosed with biliary atresia as a newborn and needed a liver transplant at 9 months old. After the successful transplant, Shanine believes in giving back to studies and research to help promote new clinical advances.

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Maia Stock

“I was stuck in bed, and now I can actually have a life.”

When she developed POTS at age 14, Maia Stock went from having an activity-full life to being bedridden all day, every day. Since then, she’s participated in clinical trials that have helped advance how POTS is understood and treated.

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Thomas Peacocke

“The kind of care we have is the result of having a society that cared enough.”

Thomas was hesitant to undergo a new procedure to replace a heart valve, but the non-invasive nature of the study treatment made him an ideal candidate. Thanks to this research, he now feels better than ever.

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Laura Saunders

“As a parent of two very young children… my voice matters.”

Laura took part in a study to improve communication between physicians, pediatric patients, and patients’ families. The study showed her how important her input is in guiding health care for her children and herself.

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Kerry Eliott

“There might be a cure out there around the corner.”

A Type 1 diabetic since he was 15, Kerry Eliott is passionate about diabetes research. He participated in a clinical study with Dr. James Shapiro for a potentially life-changing diabetes treatment involving insulin-producing stem cells.

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Anne Babineau

“Alberta has tremendous capacity for research.”

nnovative Medicines Canada is the industry association of the research-based pharmaceutical companies. And we support better access to medicines for patients, as well as creating an environment in Canada where investment and research can happen.

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Breean Haslam

“You’re the reason we can do research.”

Breean recently started at South Health Campus in the hepatology clinic. They hired her on to coordinate all of the research at their site.

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Dina Kao

“To conduct research, we need patient participation.”

Dina is gastroenterologist at the University of Alberta. She did not expect to be in research when she went into the field of medicine.

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Gail Mackean

“Your experience… is a unique experience”

Gail works with SPOR (Strategy for Patient Orientated Research). She’s the lead for the patient engagement platform.

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