Faculty and Staff
New health sciences dean an expert in health law and biotechnology
By Halimah Beaulieu
Tania Bubela, a health law and policy researcher with an extensive health biotechnology and legal background, is Simon Fraser University’s new dean of health sciences.
Bubela joinssSFU from the University of Alberta (U of A). A professor in the School of Public Health, she also served as associate dean of research (2014-2016). Prior to joining the school, Bubela clerked for the Honourable Louise Arbour at the Supreme Court of Canada, articled at Field Law in Edmonton, was called to the Bar (Law Society of Alberta) in 2005 and was an assistant professor in the Alberta School of Business from 2004 -2008.
An accomplished scholar and researcher
A unique combination of legal training, a PhD in biology, and expertise in genetics and molecular biology underpins Bubela’s accomplished scholarship. She holds several multi-million-dollar grants focused on the ethical, legal and social implications of novel health biotechnologies and barriers to the effective translation of new precision medicine technologies.
Bubela studies large collaborative science networks in genomics and regenerative medicine. Her research has developed a systems-level understanding of research commons and their governance. Research commons support pre-competitive research environments through data and materials sharing, using infrastructure such as databases and bio-repositories. She also co-leads Canada’s first gene therapy clinical trial outside of cancer – for a rare genetic mutation that leads to blindness.
Bubela has also served as an advisor to national and international government health and science agencies, life sciences research communities, and patient organizations. She has advised on best practices for academic licensing, research agreements, intellectual property policies, research ethics, and evaluation processes for the adoption of precision medicine technologies and interventions.
A unique expertise in translational biomedical research
“Dr. Bubela’s unique expertise in intellectual property and health law within the realm of translational biomedical research speaks to her exceptional ability as an interdisciplinary scholar who is well poised to lead the SFU Faculty of Health Sciences,” says Peter Keller, vp academic and provost.
Over the next five years, Bubela will work towards establishing sector-leading policies, processes, practices and infrastructure within the faculty to support excellence in interdisciplinary education, research, and engagement that will improve health, health equity, and well-being.
“I am also excited to increase opportunities for experiential learning, integrate Indigenous ways of knowing in the classroom, and help build an innovation hub at SFU Surrey—all while maintaining a respectful, collaborative and diverse environment where students, faculty and staff are excited to work and learn together.”
“Dr. Bubela comes with an excellent track record as a remarkable academic leader, whose progressive brilliance lies in her commitment to translational research, and a systems approach to understanding global innovation ecosystems,” says SFU President Andrew Petter. “Her new role as the dean of health sciences will support SFU as a world leader in knowledge mobilization, building on a strong foundation of fundamental research.”
Bubela pursued her passion for the life sciences at Australian National University, completing her bachelor’s degree in 1988. After earning a PhD at the University of Sydney, she taught in the biology program at the University of Toronto at Mississauga from 1997-1999. She completed her law degree at the U of A in 2003. During her academic career, she has amassed more than 100 publications, many in high-impact biomedical, law, ethics and policy journals.