Canada Vancouver

Centre for Occupational and Environmental Respiratory Disease (COERD)

University of British Columbia, Respiratory Division

Brief Overview

The Centre for Occupational and Environmental Respiratory Disease (COERD) is dedicated to researching lung diseases related to workplace and environmental exposures in addition to operating a clinic for patients with these illnesses. Our Air Pollution Exposure Lab (APEL) is a state-of-the-art facility that helps us learn more about the effects of inhaled toxicants on health. Our mission is to gain new understanding of the mechanisms involved in occupational and environmental lung disease through laboratory and clinical research, and to translate this knowledge into improved diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventative tools for the benefit of public health.

Research Areas

Asthma\COPD\Environmental medicine & lung diseases\Epigenetics\Epithelial cell

Host center eligibility

Global fellowships (outgoing initial phase only)

Research infrastructure/facilities

COERD is an interdisciplinary centre of excellence focused on understanding the effects of a range of inhalants on lung, brain, and systemic health. COERD uses epidemiologic, experimental (human controlled exposures as well as in vitro) to understand such effects of traffic-related pollution, woodsmoke, allergens, plasticizers and their various combinations. COERD is linked to the Legacy for Airway Health and houses wet and dry laboratories across 4 adjacent buildings, totaling over 10,000 square feet of dynamic research space. This includes the Air Pollution Exposure Lab (APEL) allows us to study the effects of relevant and real-world, yet safe, exposure of these harmful inhalants, in humans under a carefully controlled environmental setting. We are best known for our work with diesel exhaust, but we also study the effects of cedar and phthalates, and the Centre is designed to incorporate new exposures of concerns as they emerge. COERD also benefits from an extensive sample bank.

Research funding/Resources

We are an occupational and environmental disease facility, funded by the Canadian government, industry, and non-profit organizations.

Links to non-academic sector

COERD is generally academically based but we strive to translate knowledge of our work to the general public on a regular basis. The lab is often interviewed by news outlets where our researchers may be interviewed to describe projects or findings. Non-profit agencies or workplaces may also look to us for consultation on different air pollutant related issues, allowing the lab’s researchers to interact with stakeholders or end-users of their research findings.

Experience hosting international researchers, career development & training programmes, outreach activities

COERD has always been eager to welcome researchers from around the world. The centre has been host to trainees from Norway, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, China; approximately half of these are postdocs. As PI, Dr. Carlsten’s numerous awards have allowed him to protect 80% of his time for research and trainee supervision. The Centre includes ample laboratory space, over 2500 sq. ft. including APEL, our wet laboratory, and our office space. All trainees enjoy exposure to a unique environment of clinical, epidemiological and basic science training focused on exposure-related airway disease that complements their academic training. Training in the laboratory is complemented by training in: planning and coordinating complex clinical research (working with human subjects, research ethics boards, appropriately blinded crossover trials, complex statistical analysis on interactive databases, gene-environment interactions) and also presenting at lab meetings and conferences, developing professional communication skills, preparing and honouring meeting agenda, and developing grants.

HR Excellence in Research – EU award