Canadian Respiratory Research Network


The Canadian Respiratory Research Network (CRRN), in close partnership with the Canadian Lung Association and other partners, will improve patient care and outcomes through the creation of an enduring national network of investigators and research platforms. The network will enable innovative, collaborative, respiratory health research that influences decision making and ensures high quality training and career development of a new generation of investigators.

Health burden addressed

The Canadian Respiratory Research Network will focus on chronic lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, which together affect almost 15% of Canadians. Overall, chronic lung disease accounts for more than 6% of annual health-care costs in Canada, and COPD is the leading cause of hospitalization. A large number of Canadians with COPD and asthma also remain undiagnosed. As the network matures, other lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis and neonatal lung disease will be studied.


The Canadian Respiratory Research Network will bring researchers across disciplines together to improve our understanding of the origins and progression of chronic lung diseases in Canada. Research objectives include:

  • Identifying novel risk factors (such as air pollution and poor control of lung disease during pregnancy and childhood) that may contribute to the origins and progression of chronic lung disease.
  • Discovering novel biomarkers in blood and sputum that may help us understand and control chronic lung disease.
  • Investigating the health and economic burden of undiagnosed asthma and COPD in Canada.

Key Investigators and Staff

Name Role in CRRN Main Affiliation
Dr. Shawn Aaron Director Senior Scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Head of the Division of Respiratory Medicine at The Ottawa Hospital, Professor of Medicine at the University of Ottawa
Dr. James Martin Co-Director Professor of Medicine and Chairman of the Department of Medicine, McGill University
Dr. Denis O'Donnell Theme Leader (Physiology) Queen's University
Dr. Grace Parrage Theme Leader (Imaging) University of Western Ontario
Dr. Don Sin Theme Leader (Biomarker Discovery) University of British Columbia
Dr. Chris Carlsten Theme Leader (Air Pollution Exposure Studies) University of British Columbia
Dr. Andrew Halayko Theme Co-Leader (Basic Science and Discovery + Training and Development University of Manitoba
Dr. Martin Stampfli Theme Co-Leader (Basic Science and Discovery) McMaster University
Dr. Mohsen Sadatsafavi Theme Leader (Health Economics) University of British Columbia
Dr. Francine Ducharme Theme Leader (Pharmaco-Epidemiology) University of Montreal
Dr. Andrea Gershon Theme Leader (Population Health) University of Toronto
Dr. Teresa To Theme Leader (Environmental Health) University of Toronto
Dr. Jean Bourbeau Theme Co-Leader (Cohort Studies) McGill University
Dr. Wan Tan Theme Co-Leader (Cohort Studies) University of British Columbia
Dr. Samir Gupta Theme Co-Leader (Knowledge Translation) University of Toronto
Dr. Louis-Philippe Boulet Theme Co-Leader (Knowledge Translation) Laval University
Dr. Ian Graham Theme Co-Leader (Knowledge Translation) Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Michelle McEvoy Coordinator of Training, Development and Knowledge Transfer Canadian Lung Association
Katherine Vandemheen Coordinator of Network Research Programs Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Funding partners

  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research: $4,350,000
  • Canadian Lung Association: $1,085,000
  • Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd.: $568,000
  • AstraZeneca: $550,000
  • GSK: $550,000
  • Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc.: $250,000
  • British Columbia Lung Association: $200,000
Date modified: