Many are supportive of approaches that incorporate lay citizens into policy making and risk management decisions. However, a great deal of learning must first take place about how citizen engagement for controversial topics is best accomplished. Online risk communication efforts are increasing in popularity but there is little empirical evidence accrued to demonstrate the effectiveness of such methods. The intention of our overall study is to create a powerful method for in-depth two-way communication with the public and expert communities about complex and sensitive issues at the heart of stem cell (SC) research. The fundamental objective is to raise awareness of SC science with lay citizens by fostering more holistic or "all things considered" ethical judgments. Our risk communication study demonstrates that lay citizens are both interested in, and capable of learning about, complex scientific issues provided the right tools are used to convey information and assess understanding. Our results show that it is worth the time and effort for SC researchers to continue posting podcasts and FAQ's about their work for non-expert communities to view. In addition, despite having increased our participants' risk perceptions about induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell research, almost all were very supportive of this type of research in Canada by the end of the survey. In other words, participants understood that this research did in fact pose some risks and learned a great deal about both the risks and benefits of iPS cell research, and still thought this research was worthwhile to pursue.