Skip to content

The breath of life

Helping people live better, one breath at a time.

More than 40 years ago, St. Paul’s Hospital became the launch pad for a true golden age in lung research.

It all started when Dr. James Hogg founded the Centre for Heart Lung Innovation (HLI). There were two principal investigators and a single trainee.

Today, HLI has the largest chronic lung disease program in Canada with 68 investigators, 145 students and fellows, 21 named research chairs, and 6 prestigious Canada Research Chairs.[1]

We are a UBC-affiliated, globally-recognized research hub renowned for the research and treatment of lung cancer, asthma, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary fibrosis and sarcoidosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia, and long-COVID.

HLI is ranked first in Canada and third in the world in COPD and asthma research. HLI’s director, Dr. Don Sin, is ranked first in Canada and second in the world. This is a big deal: COPD is the number one cause of hospital admissions and the third most common cause of death in Canada.[2]

Right now at HLI:

  • Dr. Sin is working on a blood test that can predict a breathing crisis before it happens. It could reveal how a patient’s asthma or COPD is progressing. And it could help develop targeted drugs and therapies to treat the unique characteristics of each person’s disease.
  • Dr. Alyson Wong is a respirologist at the post-COVID Respiratory Clinic at St. Paul’s. She’s assessing and treating patients, and collaborating with researchers around the world, to identify and prevent the debilitating effects of long COVID.
  • Dr. Pat Camp is investigating air quality in First Nations communities in north-central BC and looking for ways to deliver better health services to remote and rural communities via telehealth and wearable devices.
  • Dr. Bradley Quon is looking for biomarkers that will help clinicians detect changes in patients with cystic fibrosis to determine the best drugs and the most effective treatment plan.
  • Dr. Chris Ryerson is hoping to find a cure for pulmonary fibrosis. In his quest, he has authored or co-authored almost 40 research papers in the last year alone – making him one of the most productive and ambitious pulmonary fibrosis researchers in the world.

Thanks to the incredible clinician-researchers at St. Paul’s, people with lung disease in BC – and beyond – can breathe a little easier.

For more than four decades, discoveries at HLI have fundamentally changed our understanding of lung disease and how we care for patients. Imagine what the next 40 years will bring?

Give now

I am so grateful to our donors. Your support allows us to fulfill our ultimate mission of providing ‘exceptional care through exceptional science’ for British Columbians with heart and lung disorders.

Dr. Don Sin

Director and de Lazzari Family Chair in Heart Lung Innovation at HLI; Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in COPD