Research Team


Dr. Chris Carlsten

CC Dr. Chris Carlsten, MD MPH is an Associate Professor of Medicine, Canada Research Chair in Occupational and Environmental Lung Disease and  holds the Astra-Zeneca Chair in Occupational and Environmental Lung Disease at the University of British Columbia.  He is the Director of the Air  Pollution Exposure Laboratory and also holds adjunct positions at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, the UBC School of Population  and Public Health and the Centre for Heart Lung Innovation (formerly James Hogg Research Centre).
He attended undergraduate and medical school at Stanford University before training in internal, occupational, pulmonary and critical care  medicine at the University of Washington.
The Carlsten laboratory focuses on the respiratory and immunological health effects of inhaled environmental and occupational exposures, using diesel exhaust, western red cedar, and phthalates as model inhalants.
As director of the Occupational Lung Disease Clinic at The Lung Centre (Vancouver General Hospital), Dr. Carlsten welcomes patients with concerns regarding occupational or environmental exposures contributing to respiratory disease including asthma, COPD, interstitial lung disease, cancer, and pleural disease.
For more information on Dr. Carlsten’s research, please visit:
Dr. Carlsten’s scholarly articles

Dr. Jeremy Hirota

medium_JH Headshot

Dr. Jeremy Hirota, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Respiratory Medicine, at McMaster University and is also an Affiliate Professor at the University of British Columbia.  His interest is in how the immune system in the lungs helps protect us while we breath over 10,000 litres of air a day.  Specifically, how air pollution,  allergens, viruses and bacteria are detected by our immune system, and how this could lead to the development of lung diseases or “attacks”. The ultimate goal of his research will be the development of new drugs and/or new policy, aimed at improving the quality of life for all  populations in society, specifically those that may suffer from lung diseases.  Dr. Hirota brings a range of experimental techniques to the centre and will leverage that skill set within our translational science setting.  As a professor, he will continue the pursuit of research interests while teaching undergraduate medical students.
For more information on Dr. Hirota, please visit the following websites or links:

Dr. Moira Chan-Yeung, Director Emerita

Moira_ChanYeungDr. Moira Chan-Yeung, MB, is a Professor Emerita in the UBC Department of Medicine and is the recipient of the prestigious Distinguished  Achievement award from the American Thoracic Society, among other honours.  She has been a driving force behind the collaboration of UBC,  national and international scientists who are involved in epidemiological and basic science research of occupational and environmental lung diseases.
One of her many noteworthy contributions is her discovery of plicatic acid as the agent responsible for Western Red Cedar asthma. Since Dr. Chan-Yeung began her research in the Department of Medicine in 1968, she has published over 350 manuscripts and 5 books.

Dr. Michael Brauer, Collaborating Faculty Member

mike_brauer Dr. Michael Brauer, PhD, is a Professor in the School of Environmental Health at UBC.  He is recognized internationally for his air quality research  in environmental and occupational exposure assessment with regards to health effects. In addition, his research focuses on air pollution from transportation, vegetation fires and indoor, the air quality in Asia and the development of sampling and analysis methods for air pollutants.
For more information about Dr. Brauer, please visit:

Dr. Michael Koehle, Collaborating Faculty Member

small_Michael KoehleDr. Michael Koehle, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in both the School of Kinesiology and the Division of Sports Medicine in the Department of  Family Practice at UBC. His current areas of research include the interaction between exercise and environmental pollution and the effect of altered  environments (hypoxia, hyperbaria, hyperthermia).  He is also working on research with regards to the cardiorespiratory system and prevention  and treatment of other illnesses and/or injuries associated with exercise.
For more information on Dr. Koehle’s Environmental Physiology Laboratory, please visit:

Dr. Anette KocBach Bolling, Collaborating Scholar

passbilde_anette_kocbachAnette Kocbach Bølling is a researcher at the National Institute of Public Health (NIPH) in Oslo, Norway. She has more than 15 years’ experience in different research fields including biological physics, particle toxicology, as well as toxicity of environmental chemicals (phthalates and bisphenol A) and dental materials. She is currently managing a 3 year research project concerning effects of inhalation and prenatal exposure to phthalates on airway immunology, involving collaborations with COERD and the Swedish mother-child study SELMA at Karlstad University, Sweden. She was a visiting researcher in COERD for a year (2014/2015) and is still strongly involved in the phthalate inhalation study (PAIR) Staff.
For  more information about Dr. Bolling, please visit

Staff Members

Agnes Yuen, Research Manager

dsc_4478Agnes received her Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutritional Sciences from UBC. She joined the COERD group in December 2014 and brings to the team an extensive array of experience in molecular techniques and histology from her previous tenure in a plant genetics lab. Within COERD, Agnes coordinates the tasks involved in various projects, oversees the recruitment needs of ongoing studies, and manages the day-to-day activities of the lab. Her Diploma in Accounting from UBC also allows her to positively contribute to administrative work involving budgeting and finances within the lab. In lieu of working and studying, Agnes has a passion for theatre arts and live musical performances. She also loves to travel and to try different restaurants or cuisine and would always welcome food recommendations.

Ryan Huff, Research Technician

ryan-photoRyan received his Bachelor of Medical Sciences in Biochemistry from the University of Western Ontario, and completed his MSc in Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia in 2015 under the supervision of Dr. Marco Marra at the Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre.  His MSc thesis focused on using genome-engineering tools to investigate the gene KMT2D, which encodes an epigenetic modifier frequently mutated in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  Ryan is now focused on applying his knowledge of in vitro cell line models and molecular biology to investigate the ABC transporter ABCC4 (MRP4) in airway epithelial cells.  The aim of his research is to examine new molecular pathways in lung immunology that could potentially be therapeutically targeted.   Outside of the lab Ryan is an avid long distance runner, hiker, and skier.

Kevin Lau, Research Technician

LAU, Kevin-squareKevin received his BSc in Cell Biology and Genetics with a Minor in Commerce from UBC, and completed his MSc in Reproductive and Developmental Sciences at UBC under the supervision of Dr. Peter Leung. His MSc thesis focused on elucidating the role of bone morphogenetic protein 2 in ovarian cancer cell migration using a cell line model. At COERD, he does sample processing for the various research studies, clinical serological testing for the province, and maintains and optimizes workflow in the lab. Outside of the lab, Kevin plays volleyball and does wedding photography.

Cedric Chou, Research Technician

chou, cedricCédric graduated from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich in Atmospheric Sciences. At COERD, he is responsible of operating/maintaining air quality instruments and in charge of human exposures to emissions from diesel engines. His work also involved the development and implementation of a new system to study the effect on lung cells of particles emitted from biomass burning. During his free time, he enjoys playing the guitar and also plays tennis, badminton and you can sometimes find him at the boxing gym.

Trainee/Student Members:

Dr. Chris Rider, Postdoctoral Researcher

201236_Rider_ChristopherChris joined the lab in January 2015 after completing a PhD at the University of Calgary supervised by Drs. Robert Newton and Mark Giembycz. His PhD work focused on glucocorticoid resistance and how this could be combated with long acting beta2-adrenoceptor agonists, in the context of asthma and COPD. Chris is applying his expertise with in vitro epithelial cell models to examine how air pollution alters immune responses in COPD and asthma, examining effects on DNA methylation, miRNA and gene expression. Through collaborations with researchers in the Tebbutt, Sin and Kobor labs at UBC, he is leveraging his bioinformatics skills to analyse data collected from current and earlier clinical trials. When not in the lab or at a computer, Chris enjoys running, sailing, kayaking, camping and snowboarding.

Jason Currant, PhD Student

Jasoncurranj is a Bridge CIHR Strategic Training Fellow in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia. His current research examines the effects of traffic pollution on learning and cognition. He holds a MPH from Simon Fraser University, as well as degrees in journalism (Ryerson University) and biological sciences (University of Alberta). Jason worked in communications for the David Suzuki Foundation in Vancouver, and Capital Health in Edmonton.

Min Hyung Ryu, PhD Student

MinMin is a young, enthusiastic and ambitious student who wants to make scientific discoveries that will improve the lung health of Canadians, by contributing to and influencing the leading respiratory research that Canadians are globally recognized for. Currently, the primary focus of Min’s study is to understand the link between traffic-related air pollution and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Min works with COERD team to coordinate controlled human exposure study and to conduct laboratory experiments. His interest in the subject stems from diverse research training he received as M.Sc. and B.Sc. at the University of Manitoba and the Queen’s University, respectively. During M.Sc. under the supervision of Dr. Andrew Halayko, Min studied the impact of the environmental pollutant on asthma susceptibility using a unique murine model. At Queen’s, he received B.Sc. (Honor) in Life Sciences with Subject of Specialization in Cardiorespiratory stream and early exposure to experimental medicine. Min enjoys traveling, socializing with friends and exploring Vancouver, as well as meeting new people.

Danay Maestre-Batlle, PhD Student

Danay Maestre-Batlle

Danay joined the COERD team in 2015 and since then she assumed the leading role in the Phthalate-Allergen Immune Response (PAIR) clinical study. Her goal is to understand how inhaled environmental pollutants, like phthalates, may alter the immune response to an allergen in the human airway and at a systemic level. Surrounded by a multidisciplinary team with vast expertise in the field of airway immunology, she aims to improve the lives of Canadians, specifically vulnerable groups who suffer from chronic inflammatory airway diseases like asthma. Danay received her B.Sc. (Hons) in Biochemistry at the University of Havana, Cuba and has a strong background working in the Canadian biotechnology industry. As a current part-time employee at Stemcell Technologies (RND) and DeNovo Software (consultant), while conducting successfully her PhD project, she is continuously expanding her skill-set in both academic and industry settings. In her spare time, she likes to hike, run, dance salsa and unwind watching classic movies and documentaries about politics, religion, science and technology. Her passion is to travel and learn about different cultures around the world.

Denise Wooding, Masters Student

SONY DSCDenise is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Experimental Medicine where her research focuses on how air pollution modulates the immune response in the lungs. Specifically, she is investigating whether inhaled air pollution changes the behavior of neutrophils, our immune system’s first-responders. She hopes that elucidating these mechanisms will help us find new therapeutic targets for people who are at-risk, and strengthen the body of evidence needed to encourage policy-driven air quality improvement worldwide. Denise obtained a Bachelor of Kinesiology in 2016 from the University of Toronto where she fell in love with biology and the human body. She then joined COERD to pursue her true passion of helping people with disease. She competed for U of T’s varsity volleyball team and represented Canada at the U23 beach volleyball world championships. If the sun is shining, you can be sure to find her at the courts on Kits beach!

Juma Orach, Undergraduate Student

keeperJuma Orach is a Microbiology and Immunology student at UBC who is currently involved as a volunteer at COERD. He aspires to be at the vanguard of momentous medical research in human immunology and disease in BC, and globally. Juma supported general laboratory tasks and serological testing, but currently focuses on website maintenance and social media. Through this he contributes to: advertisement for study recruitment, and increases awareness on pollution and opportunities at COERD. In his spare time, he enjoys dancing salsa-rueda, playing football, watching movies and socializing with friends.

Wayne Tse, Undergraduate Student

 Wayne_TseWayne Tse is a 2nd year undergraduate student at UBC studying pharmacology. One day, Wayne hopes to be able to make a tangible and meaningful contribution to the medical community. From joining COERD, he wants to understand how a ubiquitous pollutant such as diesel exhaust can trigger NETosis. Currently, Wayne is volunteering under the guidance of Denise, assisting in sample processing and microscopy work. Beyond COERD and classes, Wayne enjoys taking photos, walking his miniature Goldendoodle, and working at the Chapman Learning Commons.

Brandon Sum, Undergraduate Student

 Brandon_SumBrandon is a 3rd year Integrated Science student and joined COERD as a volunteer in January 2017. He found out about COERD when he was looking for an overlapping area between his interests in Human Physiology and Geographical Sciences. After discovering the unique in vivo studies that the lab conducts, he built his Integrated Sciences degree around how air pollution in the atmosphere can affect human health. Brandon’s volunteer duties include: serological testing, differential cell counts, maintaining cell cultures and general inventory and sorting of samples. In his spare time, he enjoys travelling, playing badminton and discovering new places to eat.

Angela Yang, Undergraduate Student

Angela_YangAngela is an anthropology student minoring in public health at UBC who is currently involved as a volunteer with COERD. She is passionate about health care and excited to apply her background in medical anthropology to this field in the future. Angela currently assists the lab with administrative duties. In her spare time, Angela enjoys outdoor activities, curling, and watching movies.

COERD Researchers


COERD Alumni

Nick Birger Jessie Dhillon Tyrone Maguire Francesco Sava Vincent Zenarosa
Scott Brown Anne Dybuncio Bianca Malouf Catherine Steer Zhihong Zhang
Leslie Chan Elkie Fung Zahra Mamdani Helen Ward Jeff Zong
Sarah Charlesworth Erica Jelly Jasjit Singh Mankoo Sze Wing Wong  Xin Zhang
Arminta Chicka Meaghan MacNutt Minh Nguyen Masatsugu Yamamoto  Tonje Steensen
Rachel Cliff Ali Hosseini Evelyn Gunawan Marabeth Kramer  Darren Sutherland
Olga Pena Astrid Van Beirs Nirmal Sadasivuni Adrian Karunaratne Jason (Jin) Zhou
Mitch Syberg Olsen Berling Chen Robbin Klaassen Andrew Lee Sarah Koch