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 HeadshotDr. Jeremy Hirota, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Respiratory Medicine, 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.
As Co-Director of COERD, 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

Agnes Yuen – Research Technician

dsc_4478Agnes has a Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutritional Sciences from UBC. She joined the COERD group in December, 2014 and she brings to the team extensive 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 assists in sample processing. Her current study towards a diploma in accounting at 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 recommends.

Andrew Lee – Lab Engineering Technician

AndrewAndrew recieved a Bachelor of Applied Science in Chemical and Biological Engineering from UBC. At COERD, he oversees Air Pollution Exposure Lab (APEL) during human exposures. He also ensures randomization, blinding and counterbalance in experimental procedures, as well as develops and operates new exposures systems. Andrew is a professional Trumpet player, and a member of The Ruffled Feathers (a Vancouver-based band). He is also a Curler in the Pacific Rim Curling League (Rookie of the Year 2013) and a singer in East Side Choir (an East Vancouver pop cover choir).

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.

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 – Masters Student

danayDanay completed her Bachelor of Science with honors in Biochemistry at the University of Havana, Cuba. She has gained a wide variety of skills throughout her experience working in both academia and industry settings. Ranging from the molecular cloning of monoclonal antibodies in transgenic plants, to the development of cell separation products to isolate different cell types from human whole blood samples; she represents a valuable addition to the COERD team. During her MSc in Experimental Medicine at UBC, Danay will be the leader of “PAIR” [Phthalate-Allergen Immune Response]; a clinical study to determine the immunological changes that occur after a phthalate exposure in human atopic subjects. 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!

Mitch Syberg-Olsen – Co-op student

mitchsybergolsen_headshot-pdfMitch is an undergraduate student in Microbiology & Immunology at UBC. His passion lies in understanding how the world is shaped by microbial activity and cellular processes, and how we can gain insight in to the microscopic world through high throughput sequencing and microscopy. Mitch’s work at COERD will aim to provide insight in to how human cells respond to diesel exhaust in vitro as well as how the gut and lung microbiomes are affected by diesel exhaust. He also assists with various ongoing clinical studies, serological testing and maintaining cell cultures. Mitch also works with a research group studying the genomic evolution of protists and is an active member of the UBC iGEM synthetic biology team. Apart from his laboratory work Mitch is a certified lifeguard and enjoys swimming, hiking, live music and any adventure he can get.

Jason Zhou – Directed Studies Student

11230648_10206338235828167_5227117775567778861_n (1)Jason (Jin) Zhou, is a 4th year Integrated Science Student studying Pharmacology and Physiology at UBC. He is ambitiously passionate about lung health and wants to work towards a future where no one has to suffer from not being able to breathe. He is currently enrolled as a directed studies student and is working on the COPA study under the guidance of Min. On top of gaining insight into how clinical studies are coordinated, Jason is responsible for evaluating current data management systems, recruiting new study participants and implementing changes necessary to improve data collection and storage practices. In his spare time, Jason enjoys travelling, playing soccer, volunteering and meeting new people.

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. Under the supervision of Dr. Olga Pena, Juma supports advertisement for study recruitment, general laboratory tasks and serological testing. Juma is also in charge of website maintenance and assists with social media. In his spare time, he enjoys dancing salsa-rueda, playing football, watching movies and socializing with friends.

Adrian Karunaratne, Undergraduate student

adrian-01Adrian is a Biology student at UBC who is currently a volunteer with COERD. Prior to volunteering, he served as a co-op student with the lab, performing sample processing as well as clinical work for COPA and DE3 studies. Adrian is now assisting the lab with clinical and administrative duties. He hopes to pursue a career in the field of public policy and occupational health. Beyond school and work, Adrian enjoys spending his time camping, backpacking, and exploring British Columbia.

Visiting Collaborating Researchers

Sarah Koch – PhD Student (Dr. Koehle’s lab)

SarahSarah completed a German Diploma in sport and exercise science, and a MSc at UBC in Kinesiology. Currently she is completing her PhD also in Kinesiology, working on a project that investigates how physical activity in air pollution and the use of asthma medication (IBAs) affect lung health in asthmatics. This research will improve our understanding of the effects of inhaled β2-agonists in the treatment of respiratory symptoms due to air pollution exposure in asthmatics. Sarah is also a coach of the Vancouver Special Olympics’ FUNdamentals sport group. Additionally, she enjoys all kinds of outdoor activities such as hiking in B.C.

Current members


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