The Asthma Canada National Research Program invests in Canadian research through annual Lead Investigator Awards and Graduate Student Research Grants.


Graduate Student Research Grants

By investing in emerging Canadian researchers and supporting their promising research, we ensure continued efforts to search for a cure for asthma while making real strides towards better treatment options for Canadians living with asthma. To that end, we partnered with AllerGen NCE Inc. to award training grants to emerging researchers. This initiative not only supports promising research, but also fosters the next generation asthma researchers in Canada.

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Below are the recipients of the Asthma Canada /AllerGen NCE Graduate Student Research Awards.


Investigating the Effects of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and Rostral Fluid Shift on the Pathophysiology of Asthma

Xiaoshu Cao, University of Toronto

2018-2019 recipient, PhD student

Bastable-Potts Graduate Student Research Award

Cao receives $20,000 from Asthma Canada and AllerGen NCE Inc. to conduct important research investigating the causal link between asthma and obstructive sleep apnea. Cao hopes the outcome of her research will help both patients and physicians recognize the overlap between asthma and OSA, and potentially lead to new treatment options.


Diesel Exhaust Induces Glucocorticoid Resistance (DIGR) 

Ryan Huff, University of British Columbia

2018-2019 recipient, PhD student

Bastable-Potts Graduate Student Research Award
Huff receives $20,000 from Asthma Canada and AllerGen NCE Inc. to investigate the relationship between air pollution and inhaled corticosteroids in a rigorous controlled human clinical study. He hopes that his research project  can help inform and enhance the treatment of severe asthma.


Exploring Low Cotinine Levels as a Biomarker of Tobacco Use and Dietary Intake

Jaclyn Parks, Simon Fraser University

2018-2019 recipient, MSc student

Goran-Enhorning Graduate Student Research Award

Parks receives $10,000 from Asthma Canada and AllerGen NCE Inc. to conduct research into indoor environmental exposures in early life as a predictor of childhood asthma and wheeze. She hopes that the findings of this work will inform future use of cotinine as a biomarker of tobacco smoke exposure, and contribute to the growing knowledge of early-onset asthma.


An Immunomodulatory Innate Defence Regulator (IDR) Peptide Alleviates Airway Inflammation and Hyperresponsiveness

Hadeesha Piyadasa, University of Manitoba

2018-2019 recipient, PhD student

Goran-Enhorning Graduate Student Research Award

Piyadasa receives $20,000 from Asthma Canada and AllerGen NCE Inc. to conduct asthma research.


Effects of Phthalate Inhalation on Airway Immunology: A Controlled Human Exposure Study                       

Danay Maestre-Batlle, The University of British Columbia, 2017-2018

  • Bastable-Potts Graduate Student Research Award
  • $20,000 to support investigations into late-onset asthma by a PhD student

Danay Maestre-Batlle is conducting cutting-edge research on the respiratory and immunological health effects of inhaled environmental pollutants. The goal of her research is to improve the lives of Canadians, specifically vulnerable groups who suffer from chronic inflammatory airway diseases such as asthma.


Understanding the Role of Protein Prenylation in Asthma                                                 

Thomas Mahood, University of Manitoba, 2017-2018

  • Goran-Enhorning Graduate Student Research Award
  • $20,000 to support investigations into early-onset asthma by a PhD student

Thomas Mahood is investigating the role of protein modifications in asthmatic lungs. His research will provide a better blueprint for understanding the mechanisms of asthma – giving us an insight into how we can treat the disease and help people living with asthma breathe easier.


The Role of Human Rhinovirus Infections in the Pathogenesis of Airway Remodelling in Asthma       

Diana Pham, University of Calgary, 2017-2018

  • Goran-Enhorning Graduate Student Research Award
  • $10,000 to support investigations into early-onset asthma by an MSc student

Diana Pham is conducting research to expand our understanding of the molecular mechanisms contributing to the development of asthma. Her findings will help determine the appropriate pharmaceutical target or preventative measure for the airway remodelling that occurs in early childhood asthmatics.


Lead Investigator Awards

Through our National Research Program, we continue to support lead investigators working to expand our understanding of asthma and finding new treatment options for people living with asthma. Past recipients include:


Dr. Michael Brauer  

A Professor at the School of Population and Public Health in the University of British Columbia. He is the first ever recipient of Asthma Canada’s Bastable-Potts Asthma Research Prize for his ground-breaking research into traffic-related air pollution and its relationship to asthma in both adults and children. In his study he showed a prevalence of physician diagnosed asthma and respiratory illness among children aged 0-24 months, who lived near and were regularly exposed to traffic related air pollution. His work is being recognized by the Asthma Canada as a significant contribution to Canadians suffering from allergies and asthma.


Dr. Malcolm Sears 

A Professor in the Department of Medicine at McMaster University. He conducts innovative research into the epidemiology and natural history of asthma with a focus on its frequency, risk factors and characteristics in large populations. One of his most important studies to Asthma Canada was his longitudinal study examining the incidence and impact of asthma in a birth cohort of New Zealand children followed from infancy to adulthood. He is now conducting the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study assessing the influence of genes and the environment on infant development, which we hope will add important information and understanding to the development of asthma in children and its impact in adults.


Dr. Parameswaran Nair 

A Professor of Medicine at McMaster University. He is recognized for his innovative research investigating non-invasive measurements of airway inflammation in the treatment of severe asthma. He directs the AllerGen National Centre of Excellence Clinical Investigators Consortium for Severe Asthma and is a co-investigator of the Canadian Respiratory Research Network. At the Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, he looks after patients with complex obstructive airway diseases, severe asthma, recurrent bronchitis, and lung disorders.


Dr. Shawn Aaron

A Professor in The Department of Medicine, University of Ottawa and a Senior Scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. Dr. Aaron is a respirologist with special research and clinical interests in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma and cystic fibrosis (CF). Dr. Aaron’s research has been focused on clinical and health services research related to the correct diagnosis and treatment of obstructive lung diseases (asthma and COPD) in Canadian communities. Dr. Aaron is Principal Investigator and Director of The Canadian Respiratory Research Network, a CIHR Emerging Research Network whose goal is to bring together researchers across disciplines to work together in a coordinated fashion in order to improve understanding of the origins and progression of asthma and COPD in Canada.

Dr. Shawn Aaron is recognized for the importance of his research examining misdiagnosis of asthma and the prevalence and economic/ health burden of undiagnosed airflow obstruction in Canadian communities. We also recognize his significant life-time achievements in asthma-related research over a very distinguished career.


Dr. Catherine Lemière

Dr. Catherine Lemière MD, MSc is a Professor of Medicine at the Université de Montréal and a Staff Chest Physician at Sacre-Cœur Hospital in Montreal. Dr Lemiere’s research program is mainly focused on work-related asthma, asthma and more specifically, on the assessment of the airway inflammation present in this condition. Her research program, funded by several funding agencies – Canadian Institutes of Health Research, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (CDC), Institut de recherche Robert Sauvé en Santé et Sécurité du Travail, Fonds de recherche du Québec-Santé – has contributed to the improvement of the diagnosis of occupational asthma in clinical practice.

Dr. Lemiere has been part of the Asthma Clinical Assembly of the Canadian Thoracic Society (CTS) since 2001. She chaired the assembly from 2001 to 2004 and was responsible for the 2004 up-date of the Canadian Adult Asthma guidelines. She is one of the co-lead authors of the 2017 Canadian Thoracic Society position Statement: Recognition and management of severe asthma. She is the current President of the CTS.


Research Funds

Asthma Canada is working to provide research grants to scientists who are searching for more effective treatments for controlling asthma, keeping the airways open and making breathing easier for millions of people with asthma. With your support we will continue working to provide assistance to researchers as they strive to find a cure!

We have a number of research funds available for you to support, including:

The Dr. Goran Enhorning Asthma Research Fund

In October 2015, Asthma Canada received a gift on behalf of the Dr. Goran Enhorning Foundation for Pulmonary Research. This donation has been allocated to support further research into finding a cure for asthma and continuing some of the research first started by Dr. Enhorning in the 1990s. Learn more about the work of Dr. Enhorning here.

The Bastable-Potts Asthma Research Fund

In early 2014, Asthma Canada established the Bastable-Potts Asthma Research Fund following the receipt of a bequest from the estate of Gail Suzanne Potts, who died in 2012. Mrs. Potts’ mother suffered from adult onset of asthma. Her desire was to advance research into the multiple factors that contribute to the development of asthma.