Assistant Professor

Interested in working on air pollution research? Do you want to understand how our lungs defend themselves against allergens? Are you interested in drug development and also changing health policy to protect all of society? If so, you have come to the right place.
I am actively looking for highly motivated individuals that are passionate about understanding how the environment that we live in impacts our daily lives; specifically how the air we breathe impacts respiratory mucosal immune responses. I’m looking for someone who loves discovering the details of how things work while simultaneously trying to appreciate how their work fits into a bigger picture. Research after all should benefit both the intellectual interests of you – the scientist, but also the public and industry that help fund the research you are performing in the first place. I enjoy teaching and mentoring and want to help you reach your career goals, whether you stay in medical research in academia, industry, government or if you pursue other creative career goals.
Please contact me via email at jhirota@mail.ubc.ca or via twitter at @jeremyhirota to discuss what undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral trainee opportunities are actively available in my research group.

Twitter: @jeremyhirota

Jack Bell Research Centre Room 239
Vision Statement:

Use a translational research approach to provide sound scientific evidence that can be used by policy makers and industry to improve the quality of life for individuals suffering from airway diseases.  Accomplish this goal by using clear science communication strategies to convey research findings to relevant parties.

Research Interests:

Innate immunity, air pollution, asthma, allergies, airway epithelium, science communication

Research Summary:

My main research interests revolve around respiratory mucosal immunology in the context of airway disease. For my research program I use a translational approach consisting of in vitro studies with primary human airway epithelial and dendritic cells, in vivo mouse models of airway disease, and clinical samples from well phenotyped patients following controlled environmental exposures. My research program focuses on identifying the mechanisms governing how environmental exposures can contribute to allergic sensitization and exacerbations of asthma. To this end, I induce inflammatory responses in human airway epithelial cells and determine how these influence adaptive immunity and chronic inflammation. I am able to induce inflammatory responses using a variety of methods including exposure to urban particulate matter, diesel exhaust particles, allergens, and viruses in both single and multi-exposure models. I parallel my in vitro studies with in vivo models using genetically modified mice that will allow me to explore mechanisms of allergic sensitization in an intact organism. Lastly, I use clinical models and isolated samples from well phenotyped patients to test and confirm observations observed in my in vitro and in vivo studies. My research platform will be focused on asthma but will be adaptable to explore other respiratory diseases including cystic fibrosis and COPD.


Enjoys everything outdoors – trail running, road running, mountain biking, road cycling, snowboarding, fishing, kayaking, and camping to name a few.

McMaster University , BSc
McMaster University , PhD
Recent Publications:
Awards & Recognition:
  • UBC Killam Postdoctoral Research Prize – May 2014
  • Canadian Banting Postdoctoral Fellow – June 2013-December 2014

BC Lung Association – 2012-2014