My Program: Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies

My Department: Community Health Science, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary

Flyer for our degree

a) for high school students

b) for people that work as professionals and want to have an undergraduate degree or people who want to have another undergraduate degree

c) graduate degree

Dr. Gregor Wolbring

a picture of Gregor Wolbring

Position: Assistant Professor
Diploma, University of Tuebingen, Germany
Ph.D. University of Frankfurt, Max Planck Institute for Biophysics, Germany;

Part Time Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa, Canada;
Distinguished Scholar, Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University, USA;
Adjunct Faculty Critical Disability Studies York University Canada;

President of the Canadian Disability Studies Association

Room: TRW 3d31


All output:




see CV for complete picture


Ableism and Ability Ethics and Governance blogNano Bio Info Cogno Synbio Blog
What Sorts of People blog



Research Interests
His interests cover among others Ability and ableism ethics and governance; History of thalidomide and thalidomiders; Disability Studies; Social, ethical, legal, economic, environmental, cultural and governance issues of new, emerging and converging sciences and technologies (S&T) such as nanoscale S&T, molecular manufacturing, aging, longevity and immortality research, cognitive sciences, neuromorphic engineering, genetics, synthetic biology, governance of bodily enhancement S&T, in vitro meat, artificial intelligence and robotics; impact of S&T on: marginalized populations especially disabled people; Sports; human security (food, climate, water, energy…), human right, personhood, sentient rights; concept of disability impairment, ableism and transhumanism; models and determinants of health; global health, tele-health, health- (technology assessment, law, care and policies); medical anthropology; foresight studies, history, bioethics issues, biochemistry,

For a full list of my publications go here

For CV that outlines all my grants go here


How students can do research with me

Students can all the time contact me if they are interested in the topics I cover and they can also suggest topics. In order to work with me as an undergraduate there are three ways

1) you submit an internal PURE or USRP undergraduate award research proposal with me for the spring/summer or fall/winter term

2) You do a 6 credit research inquiry course with me through spring/summer. MDSC 528

3) You can do a HSOC 408 with me with a following Honour thesis.HSOC 508..

My students:


Kaitlyn Brien finished first year Bachelor Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies: History and Future of Speech Pathology (2011-); Research Inquiry course

Jaqueline Noda finished first year Bachelor of Health Science: Economic cost of not giving access to clean water and sanitation for disabled people; utility of economic and well being indicators for disabled people; Water discourse in Singapore (2011-)Research Inquiry course

Jeremy Tynedal Kineseology student: Paralympics through the lens of the New York Times (2011-); Research Inquiry course

Alshaba Billiwalla finished second year Bachelor of Health ScienceAutism through the lens of the New York Times (2011-);

Verlyn Leopatra started in second year Bachelor of Health Science: views of various groups on energy and water and sanitation security and insecurity and climate change impact (focusing on marginalized groups; views of various groups on greening technology; (2010-) (partly Genome Canada supported

Verlyn Leopatra, Emily Hutcheon: Governance of energy, water and sanitation and climate change

Angelica Martin started in second year Bachelor of Health Science: veterans and performance enhancement (2010-);(SSHR supported)

Natalie Ball, Angelica Martin: North American Neuroenhancement discourse (2010-);

Natalie Ball started as second year Bachelor of Health Science: History and Future of Eugenics; (SSHR CURA supported)

Emily Hutcheon: started last year Bachelor of Health Science Honour Thesis now continues as Master student: Identities amidst social categories of ability difference: Voices of self-identified ‘disabled’ post-secondary students (2010-);

Seyyed Ghaderi PhD student in ISEEE program (2009-) (Genome Canada supported)

Former students

Brigid Burke, guest from University of Toronto: analysis of the education for all of UNESCO; (2010) Research Inquiry course

Sophya Yumakulov finished second year Bachelor of Health Science: view of disabled people looking through the social determinants of health using the New York Times from 1851-1960 as a source; (2010)(USRP supported)

Daniela Navia, Sibat Khwaja, Niklas Bobrovitz were second year Bachelor of Health Science : Ethics of synthetic biology (2008) (Alberta Innovate supported)

Awards for and output of students so far:

Emily Hutcheon:‘Disability’ Policy and Equity in Higher Education; presentation at 1 conference and was elected Student Representative ofor 2011-2012 Canadian Disability Studies Association

Burke, B.and Wolbring, G. Beyond Education for All: Using ableism studies lens and the    
      BIAS FREE framework. Development 2010; 53 (4):535-539.

Sophya Yumakulov: USRP award and first prize for poster presentation at the 20th history of Medicine days international conference, hosted at the University of Calgary, Canada presentation at one conference (USRP supported)

Natalie Ball: won second place out of 22 submissions at the "Student History of Neuroscience Poster Workshop" -  June-22 (2011) of the 16th International Society for the History of the Neurosciences (ISHN) and the 43rd International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences (Cheiron) meeting (SSHRC CURA supported)

Angelica Martin: Presentation at one conference (SSHRC supported)

Daniela Navia, Sibat Khwaja, Niklas Bobrovitz: Bronze Medal at the 2008 IGEM competition Alberta Innovate supported)

Jeremy Tynedal presented at a conference

Verlyn Leopatra presented at one conference

Ghaderi, S, Jack, T.and Wolbring, G (2011) Water Discourse in Alberta, Education piece (Genome Canada supported)

Ghaderi, S and Wolbring, G(2011) Energy Discourse Education paper (Genome Canada supported)

(Wolbring  Gregor and Ghaderi, Seyyed, 2009 Annotated Bibliography on Energy from Hydrocarbon Discourse (Genome Canada supported)

Wolbring  Gregor and Ghaderi, Seyyed , 2009 Annotated Bibliography on Metagenomics (Genome Canada supported)

Wolbring  Gregor and Ghaderi, Seyyed , 2009 Annotated Bibliography on Water Discourse (Genome Canada supported)

Wolbring  Gregor and Ghaderi, Seyyed, 2009) Annotated Bibliography on Energy and Climate Change Discourse, (Genome Canada supported)

Wolbring  Gregor and Ghaderi, Seyyed, 2009) Annotated Bibliography Reactions after the Copenhagen Conference (COP-15), (Genome Canada supported)





Courses (all three credits):
CORE 591.26/691.44 Bioethics and people with disabilities undergraduate and graduate course taught online

CORE 591.28/691.42 Health Research, Emerging Technologies and Marginalized Group" undergraduate and graduate course taught online

CORE 205 Introduction to Disability Studies

CORE 591.34 Health Foundations: Disability Across Life Span taught online once for someone as a substitute

CORE 207 Introduction to Community Rehabilitation

CORE 691.03 Foundations in Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies Course taught by all CRDS faculty

CORE 691.13 Leadership an Innovation Co-developed with Dr. Susan Cran

Some topics covered in the courses

  • Models and determinants of health, disease, disability, impairment, medicine, rehabilitation
  • Concept of Ableism and transhumanism and transhumanization of the concepts of week 2
  • Models of measuring health and disability DALY, QUALY, HEALY, HUI)
  •  Nano and bio-engineering/Bionic and Sports
  •  Geo-engineering/Climate Change Discourse: Adaptation and Mitigation
  •  Cognitive/neuro sciences applications: Neurodiversity versus DSM-IV and V
  • Nanosensors, and privacy/What bodyfunctions to monitor? Tele-health
  • Aging, longevity, immortality research/ The Elderly
  • Nanomedicine:The dynamics of medicalization and 'transhumanization of medicalization'; augmentative/enhancement medicine
  •  Social Determinants of Health in the light of the content of this course:  
  •  Governance, Sustainability,  Global Health, 10/90 health research gap
  • Impact on disabled people  and what role should they play/do not play….. ; on the fields of disability studies, rehabilitation, medicine, health policy ;  on disability studies, rehabilitation, medical, health policy students ;their goals, their visions, their understanding of their role. 
  • Bioethics as a field of study; historical roots of bioethics, how bioethicists are identified, their role and views about disabled people
  • The situation of disabled people in the world; statistics, doubly marginalized (women, indigenous, poor)
  • Key bioethics theories
  • The concept of personhood
  • End of life issues: Euthanasia, mercy killing, infanticide, do not resuscitate
  • The case of non treatment of newborns/futile care
  • The case of research on ‘non-competent’ people
  • The case of organ transplantation
  • The case of access to water and sanitation
  • The case of genetic testing
  • Why is Disability Studies exciting and important. How does it relate to community rehabilitation and other health and rehab professions
  • Historical and future of perspectives of disability and impairment  and disability studies, defining disability and impairment and disability studies, lenses of Disability and impairment and disability studies The future of the meaning and scope of disability studies. Who are disabled and impaired people, health, transhumanism, ableism
  • Global/local situation of disabled people; Violence and abuse: Women with Disabilities; Inclusive education and employment; Housing and poverty;
  • Academic links: Disability Studies lens for  humanities, , social work
  •  Perception of disabled people/self perception of disabled people Media and Images,
  • Academic links:  Academic links: Disability Studies lens for medicine rehab
  • Academic links: Disability Studies lens for engineering (bio/nano/geo/…,
  • Academic links: Disability Studies lens for   law The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities/ ethics
  •  Academic links: Disability Studies lens for  for social group studies, communication and culture / history
  • Academic links: Disability Studies lens for Sport related areas and Architecture, urban design
  • Academic links: Disability Studies lens for economics and policy studies
  • Introduction to Canadian history of Rehabilitation
  • Global community Rehabilitation
  • Global Human Security, Food water….
  • Poverty/ Homelessness 
  • Human Service Models
  • Needs Assessment
  • Values
  • Needs  Intervention
  • Community service to   Policy
  • Community Inclusion Strategies or Planning
  • Defining Innovation and Leadership
  • Challenges for  & Future of Innovation and Leadership
  • Science & Technology and Innovation and Leadership
  • Social Group Leadership roles & dynamics
  • Global & Local level of leadership (glocalization)
  • Leadership in non profit organizations        
  • Social innovation, leadership and change