Asthma in the Age of Epigenetics & Microbiomics: Research, Clinical Practice & Policy


  • Stuart Turvey
    University of British Columbia
  • Kyla Hildebrand
    BC Children's Hospital Research Institute, University of British Columbia 


Lungs are for life, but we don't think about them much. Yet even small babies and children can have serious lung diseases, like asthma. In asthma, the breathing tubes become red, swollen and 'twitchy' so they sometimes go into spasm, making it very hard to breathe.

Asthma is the most common chronic disease of childhood and the number one reason children miss school and are admitted to hospital. It is also expensive, costing around $2 billion per year in Canada. Treatments are available to help manage symptoms, but there is no cure and no accurate way to predict which children will go on to have lifelong asthma.

Our event will bring together researchers, doctors, policy makers, and families impacted by asthma to discuss how we can work together to help diagnose, treat, and prevent asthma. For example, researchers who study how air pollution, housing quality, and green space affect asthma risk will meet people who work on urban planning and housing policies; doctors will meet researchers investigating the link between asthma and the microorganisms living in our intestines. By bridging the gaps between research, medical care, and public policy, we aim to give people the tools they need to help reduce the incidence and impact of asthma.