Environmental Health and Climate Change Research in Canada
A RACE AGAINST THE CLOCK: Environmental Health and Climate Change Research in Canada
Across Canada we have seen a definite change in climate events—an increase in prolonged heat waves, torrential rainstorms, wind storms and even drought. There are health hazards associated with direct exposure to these changes in weather patterns and Canadians are at risk of adverse health outcomes from the impacts of climate change. This includes:
- Increased incidence of heat-related illnesses and respiratory and cardiovascular disorders due to increasing temperatures and reduced air quality
- Increased risk of transmitted diseases by insects and other vectors due to rising summer temperatures, shorter winters, and faster maturation cycles for pathogens (i.e., West Nile virus, Lyme disease)
- Aggravated allergy symptoms and respiratory conditions due to increased pollen and spore production with longer summers and shorter winters
- Increased risk of injury, illness or loss of life due to damage and weakening of infrastructure as a result of extreme weather events (i.e., flooding, ice and wind storms)
Research at this second virtual reception will be presented under the following themes including Environmental Health, Climate Change and Infectious Diseases, Environmental Health, Climate Change and Respiratory Health, and The Indirect Health Impacts of Climate and Environmental Change.
Rose Goldstein, MD, FRCPC
Professor of Medicine, McGill University
Chair of Research Canada
Dr. Rose Goldstein is a professor in the Faculty of Medicine and the former Vice-Principal of Research and Innovation at McGill University from 2010 to 2017. In 2017, Dr. Goldstein completed the Directors Education Program (DEP) from the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD). Dr. Goldstein earned her Bachelor of Science and Medical degrees from McGill and completed her clinical training at the Universities of Toronto, Ottawa, and Texas. Dr. Goldstein became Chair of Research Canada in June 2020.
Christopher Carlsten, MD, MPH
Professor and Division Head of Respiratory Medicine, Department of Medicine, UBC
Canada Research Chair in Occupational and Environmental Lung Disease
Director, Air Pollution Exposure Lab
Dr. Christopher Carlsten is a clinician-scientist, focusing on how air pollution affects our lungs and immune system in a public health context. Dr. Carlsten leads a team of healthcare professionals, researchers, and trainees conducting human exposure studies to common air pollutants, including diesel exhaust. He uses clinical and laboratory techniques to understand how air pollution exposures impact chronic lung diseases and utilizes this knowledge to advocate for emissions guidelines and develop approaches to reduce health impacts in Canada.
Anne K. Ellis, MD, MSc, FRCPC
Professor, Department of Medicine, Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, Queen’s University
Dr. Anne Ellis is a Professor and Chair of the Division of Allergy and Immunology in the Department of Medicine with a cross-appointment to the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences at Queen’s University. Her role is one of a Clinician Scientist with approximately 70% of her academic portfolio dedicated to research. She is the Director of the Environmental Exposure Unit and the Allergy Research Unit at Kingston General Hospital. Dr. Ellis studies aggravated allergy symptoms and respiratory conditions due to increased pollen and spore production with longer summers and shorter winters in some regions of Canada, yet more intense, shorter seasons that now overlap in other regions.
Samira Mubareka, MD, FRCPC
Clinician Scientist, Veterans Research Program, Sunnybrook Research Institute
Infectious Diseases Consultant, Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Dr. Samira Mubareka is a Clinician-Scientist, Medical Microbiologist and Infectious Disease consultant at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. She is also Assistant Professor in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. Dr. Mubareka serves on the Chief Science Advisor of Canada, Dr. M. Nemer’s COVID-19 Expert Panel, the Implementation Committee of the Genome Canada-led Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network (CanCOGeN) Viral Sequencing Project and the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development COVID-19 Therapeutics Task Force. Dr. Mubareka studies themes of viral transmission and spread.
Nathan Peters, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology Immunology and Infectious Diseases
University of Calgary
Dr. Nathan Peters’ Lab studies infection in the context of vector transmitted pathogens. The lab maintains colonies of sand flies, the insect vector for the parasitic disease Leishmaniasis. The microbiota of the infected fly gut influences the development of Leishmania infection in the fly, impacting vector competence and transmission. Dr. Peters’ current work examines the impact of the insect microbiome on vector competence and the impacts of this on vector transmitted diseases of people, domestics animals, and wildlife.
Greg Ross, PhD
Professor, Northern Ontario School of Medicine
Chair in Environment and Health Surveillance
Vice-President, Academic and Research Impact, Health Sciences North Research Institute
The Environment and Health Surveillance group at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine focuses on environmental changes that affect people’s health. Two examples of issues being studied are the impact of wildfires on air quality and the effects of harmful algae blooms on water quality. Both of these events are highly influenced by weather patterns, and are becoming a major concern with climate change. Our goal is to provide Public Health with more timely and accurate information as to the timing and areas affected by these events, in order to reduce exposure and risk. Providing this information will help Canadians to avoid negative health outcomes resulting from environmental exposures associated with climate change.
Bradly Wouters, PhD, BEng
Executive Vice President, Science and Research, University Health Network
Senior Scientist, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
Dr. Bradly Wouters is an internationally recognized leader in the field of molecular radiation oncology and cancer researcher. Dr. Wouters joined the UHN in 2008 as a Senior Scientist and the Director of the Princess Margaret Hypoxia Program and has since held faculty appointments at the University of Toronto in the Department of Medical Biophysics and the Department of Radiation Oncology. He served as the Interim Director of Research at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre for two years before becoming the Executive Vice-President of Science and Research at the University Health Network (UHN) in 2016. As EVP of Science and Research, he focuses on creating an environment that incentivizes, facilitates, and rewards excellence in basic, translational, and clinical research across all elements of the UHN.
Isaac Bogoch, MD
Clinician Investigator, Toronto General Hospital Research Institute (TGHRI)
University Health Network
Dr. Issac Bogoch completed medical school and internal medicine training at the University of Toronto. He then pursued an infectious diseases fellowship through the Harvard Partners program, and an HIV fellowship at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He holds a Master’s Degree in clinical epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health, and a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene from the Gorgas Memorial Institute and the Instituto de Medicina Tropical in Lima, Peru. Dr. Bogoch divides his clinical and research time between Toronto and several countries in Africa and Asia. He collaborates with a team that models the spread of emerging infectious diseases, and studies innovative and simple diagnostic solutions to improve the quality of medical care in low-resource settings.
Jean Bourbeau, MD, MSc, FRCPC
Professor, Departments of Medicine and Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McGill University
Director of the McConnell Centre for Innovative Medicine, Research Institute McGill University Health Centre
Director COPD clinic and Pulmonary Rehabilitation, Montreal Chest Institute
Dr. Bourbeau is Professor at McGill University and Director of the Center of Innovative Medicine. He is clinician-scientist, award-winning of the Canadian Thoracic Society “CTS Distinguished Achievement Award 2017” and “Distinguished CHEST Educator 2017, 2018 and 2019”. He holds a Research Chair GSK-CIHR McGill University. He is past President of the CTS and sits on the scientific committee of Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD). His research, for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), including the Canadian Cohort Obstructive Lung Disease (CanCOLD), and the self-management program ‘Living Well with COPD’, has had impact in clinical practice and patient education.
Dr. Kerri A. Johannson, MD, MPH, FRCPC
Clinical Associate Professor, Departments of Medicine & Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary
Dr. Kerri Johannson is a Pulmonologist and clinician-researcher at the University of Calgary. Her research is focused on understanding the relationship between inhaled exposures and the development and worsening of fibrotic Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD). Using epidemiology and exposure assessment, she aims to characterize the impact of inhaled exposures on the pathobiology of ILD, with the ultimate goal of disease prevention through risk mitigation.
Maureen G. Reed, PhD
Assistant Director, Academic, School of Environment and Sustainability
UNESCO Co-Chair in Biocultural Diversity, Sustainability, Reconciliation and Renewal
Distinguished Professor, University of Saskatchewan
Dr. Maureen G. Reed is Distinguished Professor and UNESCO Chair in Biocultural Diversity, Sustainability, Reconciliation and Renewal at the graduate School of Environment and Sustainability at University of Saskatchewan. Dr. Reed and Dr. Amber Fletcher (Regina) examine how social characteristics such as gender, socio-economic status, ethnicity, and other intersecting factors affect how rural people in Saskatchewan experience climate hazards (fire and flood) and how we can develop policies and practices that consider diversity and foster inclusion.
Director, Government Affairs and Public Policy, AstraZeneca Canada
Todd Hatchette, MD
Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Dalhousie University
Chief, Division of Microbiology; Nova Scotia Health, Central Zone
As Head of the Division of Microbiology, Dr. Todd Hatchette oversees the diagnostic laboratory for the largest health zone in Nova Scotia and provides reference services to other laboratories in Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada. He is involved in studies evaluating the epidemiology and diagnosis for Lyme disease and other zoonotic infections and is a member of the Canadian Lyme Research Network, co-chair of the CPHLN Lyme disease diagnostic working group and past president of AMMI Canada.
Suzanne King, PhD
Researcher, Douglas Research Centre
Full Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Associate Member, Department of Psychology, McGill University
Associate Member, Department of Psychology, Université de Montréal
Dr. Suzanne King is a research psychologist. The primary objective of her research is to increase understanding of the effects of prenatal maternal stress on the cognitive, behavioral, physical, and motor development of the unborn child. Her work is unique in the use of five natural disasters (ice storm, floods, wildfire) as quasi-random stressors, approximating the experimental method used in animal research. Her unique psychosocial methods assess objective, subjective, and cognitive aspects of women’s stress experience.
Grace Parraga, PhD
Tier 1 Canada Research Chair and Professor,
Department of Medical Biophysics and Robarts Research Institute, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, School of Biomedical Engineering, Western University
Dr. Grace Parraga is the Canada Research Chair in Lung Imaging to Transform Outcomes at Western University. Her lab focuses on the discovery and development of novel MRI tools for the sensitive measurement of lung structure and function. Her lab’s results strongly support recent Canadian epidemiological findings that demonstrated a link between regional air quality which is related to climate and climate change and the progression of asthma to irreversible chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Vikram Misra, PhD
Professor, Department of Microbiology, Western College of Veterinary Medicine
Associate member, Dept. of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan
Dr. Vikram Misra is a professor of Microbiology at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine and the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. Dr. Misra has also served as the coordinator of One Health initiatives, an area of priority for the university. His research studies how stress influences the host-virus relationship. His research group – The Bat Zoonoses Laboratory – is examining the benign relationship bats have with their viruses and how stress can unbalance this relationship leading to spillover of viruses to people.
Tarik Möröy, PhD, FCAHS
Director, Hematopoiesis and Cancer Research Unit, Montréal Clinical Research Institute (IRCM)
Full Research Professor, Department of Microbiology, Infectiology and Immunology, Université de Montréal
Dr. Tarik Möröy is the Director of the Hematopoiesis and Cancer Research Unit at the Montréal Clinical Research Institute/Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM). He is also a Full IRCM Research Professor, a Full Research Professor at the Université de Montréal and an Adjunct Professor at McGill University. Dr. Möröy has been a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Hematopoiesis and Immune Cell Differentiation since 2007 and was the President and Scientific Director of the IRCM from 2006 to 2019.
Nancy C. Doubleday, PhD
Associate Professor, Philosophy, McMaster University
Director, Water Without Borders Joint Graduate Diploma Program, McMaster University and UNU INWEH
Dr. Nancy C. Doubleday is Associate Professor in Philosophy and Director of the Water Without Borders Joint Graduate Diploma Program of McMaster University and UNU INWEH. Dr. Doubleday conducts environmental and legal research at the intersection of ethics, rights and nature with particular attention to the SDGs and their policy relevance to northern contaminants, governance, and health. Linking drivers selected from ecology, contaminants, climate, migration, environmental ethics, and Indigenous rights, with health through agency, governance and co-management, her current research targets individual and community agency within polycentric governance in our changing world for Global Water Futures, Participedia, and Ocean Canada, research partnerships.
Erin Fraser, BSc, DMV, MSc
Public Health Veterinarian, Communicable Diseases & Immunization Service, BC Centre for Disease Control
Clinical Assistant Professor, School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia
Dr. Erin Fraser is a graduate of the University of Guelph and has over 20 years of experience as an epidemiologist, public health veterinarian, researcher, and was the first executive director of Veterinarians without Borders-Canada. Her current work includes surveillance of zoonotic diseases, foodborne pathogens, antimicrobial resistance, and climate change and tickborne diseases. She is leading a consortium of partners from AB, BC, and SK in a one health initiative, funded by PHAC, to improve prediction and response to climate-driven tick borne diseases in Western Canada.
Tom Kovesi MD, FRCP(C)
Full Professor and Pediatric Respirologist, University of Ottawa,
Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario
Dr. Tom Kovesi is a pediatric respirologist and researcher at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa. His primary research focus is indoor air quality in the homes of indigenous Canadian children, and its relationship to lung health in this population. Dr. Kovesi’s research has shown that ventilation is usually inadequate in children’s homes in Nunavut and remote First Nations communities in northwestern Ontario, and improving ventilation reduces respiratory infections in Inuit children.
Paul Villeneuve, PhD
Professor, School of Mathematics and Statistics, Department of Neuroscience, Carleton University
Adjunct Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, McGill University
Dr. Paul Villeneuve is an environmental and occupational epidemiologist. His research area includes studies that examined the health impacts of air pollution and the benefits of urban greenness and walkability. More recently, he has led a number of studies that show how urban greenness in Canada reduces harmful environmental exposure of air pollution and noise, and has reported health benefits of urban greenness on a number of health-related outcomes including active transportation, physical activity and obesity, quality of sleep, and even mortality.
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