Errol Thomson, PhD

Research Scientist, Inhalation Toxicology Laboratory

Leading a research program investigating mechanisms underlying health impacts of inhaled pollutants and identifying determinants of toxicity. 

Current research and/or projects

Biological mechanisms that mediate and modify risks to health posed by airborne pollutants. Identification of determinants of toxicity. Development of tools and procedures to assess the toxic potency of inhaled materials.

Research and/or project statements

  • Elucidating mechanisms underlying health impacts of air pollutants
  • Identifying factors underlying susceptibility to pollutants, including the role of stress
  • Developing approaches to assess health impacts of multiple stressors
  • Identifying determinants of toxicity in complex airborne mixtures
  • Establishing in vitro models for inhalation toxicology

Key publications

Rose M, Filiatreault A, Guenette J, Williams A, Thomson EM. 2020. Ozone Increases plasma kynurenine-tryptophan ratio and impacts hippocampal serotonin receptor and neurotrophic factor expression. Environmental Research 185:109483.

Thomson EM. 2019. Air pollution, stress, and allostatic load: linking systemic and central nervous system impacts. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 69(3):597-614.

Bushnik T, Wong S, Holloway AC, Thomson EM. 2019. Association of urinary polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and obesity in children ages 3 to 18: Canadian Health Measures Survey 2009-2015. Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, Dec 6:1-9. doi: 10.1017/S2040174419000825. Online ahead of print.

Thomson EM, Filiatreault A, Guénette J. 2019. Stress hormones as potential mediators of air pollutant effects on the brain: Rapid induction of glucocorticoid-responsive genes. Environmental Research. 2019 Nov;178:108717. 

Thomson EM, Kalayci H, Walker M. 2019. Cumulative toll of exposure to stressors in Canadians: an allostatic load profile. Health Reports 30(6):14-21.

Thomas J, Guénette J, Thomson EM. 2018. Stress axis variability is associated with differential ozone-induced lung injury and inflammation. Environmental Research 167:751-758.

Thomson EM, Breznan D, Karthikeyan S, MacKinnon-Roy C, Vuong NQ, Dabek-Zlotorzynska E, Celo V, Charland J-P, Kumarathasan P, Brook JR, Vincent R. 2016. Contrasting biological potency of particulate matter collected at sites impacted by distinct industrial sources. Particle and Fibre Toxicology 13(1):65.

Thomson EM, Pal S, Guénette J, Wade MG, Atlas E, Holloway AC, Williams A, Vincent R.  2016. Ozone inhalation provokes glucocorticoid-dependent and independent effects on inflammatory and metabolic pathways. Toxicological Sciences 152(1):17-28.

Thomson EM, Breznan D, Karthikeyan S, MacKinnon-Roy C, Charland J-P; Dabek-Zlotorzynska E, Celo V, Kumarathasan P, Brook JR, Vincent R. 2015. Cytotoxic and inflammatory potential of size-fractionated particulate matter collected repeatedly within a small urban area. Particle and Fibre Toxicology 12(1):24.

Liu Y, Liggio J, Li S-M, Breznan D, Vincent R, Thomson EMKumarathasan P, Das D, Abbatt J, Antiñolo M, Russell L. 2015. Chemical and toxicological evolution of carbon nanotubes during atmospherically relevant aging processes. Environ. Sci. Tech. 49(5):2806-14.

Thomson EM, Vladisavljevic D, Mohottalage S, Kumarathasan P, Vincent R.  2013. Mapping acute systemic effects of inhaled particulate matter and ozone: multi-organ gene expression and glucocorticoid activity. Toxicological Sciences 135(1): 169-181.

Thomson EM, Williams A, Yauk CL, Vincent R. 2012. Overexpression of tumour necrosis factor-α in the lungs alters immune response, matrix remodelling, and repair and maintenance pathways.  Am J Pathol 180: 1413-30.

Thomson E, Williams A, Yauk C, Vincent R. 2009. Toxicogenomic analysis of susceptibility to inhaled particles in mice with chronic lung inflammation. Particle and Fibre Toxicology 6:6.

Research facility

251 Sir Frederick Banting Driveway
Ottawa, ON K1A 0K9


  • Research Scientist, Environmental Health Science and Research Bureau, Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch, Health Canada
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa