air pollution, respirology, public health, occupational lung disease, gene-environment interactions, epigenetics
The Air Pollution Exposure Laboratory (APEL) focuses on how inhaled pollutants affect the lungs, and on what we can do to mitigate adverse consequences therein. A particular focus is on understanding how multiple such pollutants and allergens interact to alter physiology, within the context of global environmental health threats such as climate change. APEL is state-of-the-art, unique in its ability to safely expose human subjects to multiple pollutants at precise and well-characterized concentrations, test interventions, and collect a wide range of samples and associated data that shed light on these relationships. APEL is integrated with our “wet” laboratory, in which the biological specimens obtained from these controlled exposures are analyzed by a number of advanced techniques, and our “dry” laboratory, in which we use computing power and advanced informatic and statistical techniques to distil the data. Our investigations, featuring a powerful randomized crossover design with more than 15 years’ experience and track-record for safety, have given plausibility to epidemiologic observations and illuminated genetic and demographic susceptibility factors across individual to population levels. Supported by hundreds of generous participants, all of our projects are rooted in a framework of knowledge translation and stakeholder engagement, supported by the Legacy for Airway Health.