Group Website:
Vision Statement:

My research focus is on mechanisms of lung inflammation, particularly, lung inflammation caused by infection, cigarette smoking and air pollution. This research covers a broad range of clinical conditions such as pneumonia, chronic bronchitis and emphysema and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Current research efforts address the pivotal role of the systemic inflammatory response induced by lung inflammation and the downstream effects of this systemic response on other organ systems in particularly the vascular system. The systemic response is an integral part of acute and chronic lung inflammatory conditions and an important prognostic signature. The research is multidisciplinary and integrated research efforts include work at molecular, cellular, organ, intact animal and human levels.

Research Interests:

Respiration, Immunology, Cardiology, Physiology, cell biology

Research Summary:

There is a strong association between acute lung conditions such as pneumonia and heart attacks or chronic lung conditions such as COPD and disease such as heart disease, diabetes mellitus, osteoporosis and cancer. Systemic inflammation is thought to be the link between lung disease and these other conditions. The mechanisms how inflammatory lung conditions such as pneumonia, COPD causes vascular and heart disease, are poorly understood. Experiments from our own and other laboratories have shown when air pollution particles or cigarette smoke are inhaled, they cause inflammation in the lungs, but also increase inflammatory molecules in the circulating blood. We postulate that inflammation in the lung spills over in the blood stream, activates the circulating blood cells and blood vessels promoting the formation of atherosclerosis that results in heart attacks and stroke. In recent published studies we have made two novel observations; 1) excess inflammatory molecules in the circulation are cleared or removed by the lung, 2) during lung inflammation this clearing function of the lung is compromised. In this study we proposed to study the links between lung inflammation and systemic inflammation that are thought to promote blood vessel disease. We will focus on event in the lung that is; how does the lung remove key inflammatory molecules from the circulation and secondly, what molecules spill over from the lung to the blood stream during lung inflammation caused by infection and exposure to air pollutants. We will use animal models to study the mechanisms how the lung clear the circulation of harmful molecules and what happened when the lung become inflammated to compromise this crictical important lung function. We will also test this hypothesis in humans and determine what harmful molecules are removed from blood by the lung and how this is compromise with lung disease. We will use several state of the art techniques to identify these molecules. We expect that these experiments will identify new or novel molecules and clarify how the lung function as a organ the keep the blood stream clean.

We believe this research will identify key molecules that participate in the systemic inflammatory response and will allow the development of therapeutic interventions targeting these molecule. Ultimately targeting the systemic inflammatory response will reduce the morbidity and mortality related to acute (pneumonia) and chronic (COPD) lung conditions.

Dr. van Eeden graduated from the University of Stellenbosch, Cape Town, South Africa in 1975, and after four years as a family practitioner resumed his studies in Internal Medicine at the same University. He trained and certified in Pulmonology and Critical Care in 1985, did his Masters degree and was promoted to Director of Critical Care, Tygerberg Hospital, University of Stellenbosch in 1989. He did his PhD in the Department of Experimental Medicine, University of British Columbia with Dr James C Hogg as his supervisor. He graduated in 1995 and completed his Canadian specialist examination (FRCPC) in 1996.
Recent Publications:

1. Sin DD, van Eeden SF and Man SFP. Slaying the CVD dragon with steroids. Eur Respir J. 36(3): 466–468, 2010.
2. Tranfield EM, van Eeden SF, Yatera K, Hogg JC, Walker DC. Ultrastructural changes in atherosclerotic plaques following the instillation of airborne particulate matter into the lungs of rabbits. Can J Cardiol. 26(7):e258-269, 2010
3. Kido T, Tamagawa E, Bai N, Suda K, Yang HH, Li Y, Chiang G, Yatera K, Mukae H, Sin DD, Van Eeden SF. Particulate Matter Induces IL-6 Translocation from the Lung to the Systemic Circulation. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 44(2):197-204, 2011
4. Giles LV, Barn P, Kuenzli N, Romieu I, Mittleman MA, van Eeden S, Allen R, Carlsten C, Stieb D, Noonan C, Smargiassi A, Kaufman JD, Hajat S, Kosatsky T, Brauer M.: From Good Intentions to Proven Interventions: Effectiveness of Actions to Reduce the Health Impacts of Air Pollution. Environ Health Perspect. 119(1):29-36, 2011
5. Miyata R, Van Eeden SF. Treatment of Acute Lung Injury: Time to Think outside the Box? Respiration. 81(1)6-8, 2011
6. Allen RW, Carlsten C, Karlen B, Leckie S, van Eeden S, Vedel S, Wong I, Brauer M. An air filter intervention study of endothelial function among healthy adults in a woodsmoke-impacted community. Am J Respir Crit Care Med, 183(9):1222-30, 2011.
7. van Eeden SF, Hogg JC. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Do Regtional Differences in Tissue Inflammation Matter? Respiration, 81(5):359-61, 2011.
8. Bai N, Kido T, Kavanagh TJ, Kaufman JD, Rosenfeld, van Breemen C, van Eeden SF. Exposure to diesel exhaust up-regulates iNOS expression in ApoE knockout mice. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol, 255(2):184-192, 2011.
9. Kido T, Bai N, Yatera K, Suzuki H, Meredith A, Mukae H, Rosenfield ME, van Eeden S. Diesel exhaust inhalation induces health shock protein 70 expression in vivo. Inhal Toxicol (10)593-601, 2011.
10. Bai N, Takashi K, Suzuki H, Yang G, Kavanagh TJ, Kaufman JD, Rosenfeld ME, van Breemen C, van Eeden SF. Changes in atherosclerotic plaques induced by inhalation of diesel exhaust. Atherosclerosis 255(2):184-92, 2011.
11. Suda K, Tsuruta M, Eom I, Or C, Mui T, Jaw JE, Li Y, Bai N, Kim J, Man J, Ngan D, Lee J, Hansen S, Man SP, Eeden SF, Sin DD. Acute Lung Injury Induced Cardiovascular Dysfunction: Effects Of IL-6 and Budesonide/Formoterol. Am J Resp Cell Mol Biol, January 21, 2011 [Epub ahead of print].
12. Hackett TL, Singhera GK, Shaheen F, Hayden P, Jackson GR, Hegele RG, van Eeden S, Bai TR, Dorscheid DR, Knight DA. Intrinsic phenotypic differences of asthmatic epithelium and its inflammatory responses to RSV and air pollution. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol, June 3, 2011 [Epub ahead of print].
13. Ling SH, McDonough JE, Gosselink JV, Elliott WM, Hayashi S, Hogg JC, van Eeden SF. Patterns of retention of particulate matter in lung tissues of COPD: potential role in disease progression. Chest, June 9, 2011 [Epub ahead of print].
14. Querido JS, Sheel AW, Cheema R, van Eeden S, Mulgrew AT, Ayas NT. Effects of 10A days of modest intermittent hypoxia on circulating measures of inflammation in healthy humans. Sleep Breath, July 9, 2011 [Epub ahead of print].
15. Suda K, Eom J, Jaw JE, Mui T, Bai N, Or C, Ngan D, Li Y, Man SP, van Eeden S, Sin DD. Endotoxin-induced cardiovascular function in mice: effect of simvastatin. J Appl Physiol July 21, 2011 [Epub ahead of print].
16. Miyata R, van Eeden SF. The innate and adaptive immune response induced by alveolar macrophages exposed to ambient particulate matter. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. Sep 17, 2011 [Epub ahead of print].

Awards & Recognition:
  •  1989 Laser Medical Award, Best Publication in S.A. Critical Care Journal
  • 1990 Duncan Flockhart Pulmonary Fellowship for Overseas Study (R65,000 for 2yrs)
  • 1990 Medical Research Council (SA) Postgraduate Research Award (R79,000, 2yrs)
  • 1991 Mushet Travel Award (R5,000)
  • 1992 Medical Faculty Award for Overseas Study, University of Stellenbosch (R17,000)
  • 1993-1995 B.C. Lung Association Research Fellowship ($30,000/y for 2 years)
  • 1996-1998 St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation Scholarship ($50,000/y for 2yrs)
  • 1999 Department Medicine, St Paul’s Hospital UBC, ($17,500)
  • 2000-2003 American Lung Association, Career Investigator Award (US$35,000/yr for 3yrs)
  • 2001 Canadian Institute of Health Research, Investigators Award ($65,000/yr for 5 years)
  • 2002 St Paul’s Foundation, Scholarship (jointly with CIHR for 5 yrs)
  • 2003 Killiam Award 2003 ($15,000)
  • 2006 Michael Smith Foundation: Senior Senior Research Scholar Award (5 years)
  • 2009-2014 CIHR / GlaxoSmithKleine Chair in COPD

Other Awards

  • 1998 Martin M Hoffman Award for Excellence in Research
  • 1999-2000 Department of Medicine Faculty Research award
  • 2001 The Kurt Wiederhielm Award, “Microcirculation” for most cited publication between 1997-2001 ($1,000US)
  • 2002-2005 William Thurlbeck Distinguished Researcher Award ($40,000/y for 3 years)
  • 2004 Martin M Hoffman Award for Excellence in Research