Ling Liu, B.MD, M.MD, PhD

Head, Air Health Effects Research

Build a culture of performance excellence and sound People Management.

Effectively develop, coordinate and implement research projects.

Provide effective communication and knowledge transfer of research projects. Support and contribute to national/ international activities in the area of environmental health science research and regulatory activities.

Health Canada

Current research and/or projects

  1. Evaluation of the effects of industrial emissions of air pollutants on hospital admissions for childhood asthma and adult cardiovascular disease.

  2. Development of methodology to study whether or not government regulatory/non-regulatory actions on industrial emissions have made significant differences on population health.

  3. Investigation of influence of various sizes and chemical and biological components of particulate matter in ambient air on clinical health measures (oxidative stress, inflammation, neural markers, cardiovascular function, respiratory function).  The effects of traffic emissions are also studied.

Research and/or project statements

  • Work closely with risk assessors, air pollution regulators, and climate change regulators, to seek opportunities for the AHERS to conduct research that develops tools to support risk assessment, risk management, and risk communication.

  • Conduct research to quantify the impact of industrial air pollution emissions on community health, which will assist estimating the cost/benefits of reducing industrial emissions, and set priorities in air quality management actions on specific industrial sectors.

  • Develop methods to evaluate whether or not government regulatory/non-regulatory actions on industrial emissions have made significant differences on population health.

Professional activities / interests

  • Epidemiological and clinical research
  • Risk assessment on air pollution

Education and awards

Ph.D 1992.  Pharmacology and Toxicology.  Queen's University, Canada

Master of Medicine, Public Health (M.MD) 1985. Beijing Medical University, China

Bachelor of Medicine (B.MD) 1982.  Beijing Medical University, China


2018 Assistant Deputy Minister Award for Leadership, Healthy Environments and Consumer Safey Branch, Health Canada 

Key publications

Publications in Scientific Journals (selective)

Liu L1, Urch B2, Szyszkowicz M3, Evans G2, Speck M4, Van Huang A5, Leingartner K3, Shutt RH3, Pelletier G3, Gold DR6, Brook JR7, Godri Pollitt K8, Silverman FS9.  Metals and oxidative potential in urban particulate matter influence systemic Environ Int. 2018. 121(Pt 2):1331-1340. doi:10.1016/j.envint.2018.10.055. 


Stieb DM, Shutt R, Kauri LM, Roth G, Szyszkowicz M, Dobbin NA, Chen L, Rigden M, Van Ryswyk K, Kulka R, Jovic B, Mulholland M, Green MS, Liu L, Pelletier G, Weichenthal SA, Dales RE.  Cardio-respiratory effects of air pollution in a panel study of winter outdoor physical activity in older adults.  J Occup Environ Med. 2018 Apr 17. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001334. [Epub ahead of print]

David M. Stieb, Robin Shutt, Lisa Kauri, Sarah Mason, Li Chen, Mieczyslaw Szyszkowicz, Nina A. Dobbin, Marc Rigden, Branka Jovic, Marie Mulholland, Martin S. Green, Ling Liu, Guillaume Pelletier, Scott A. Weichenthal, Robert E. Dales, and Isaac Luginaah. Cardio-Respiratory Effects of Air Pollution in a Panel Study of Outdoor Physical Activity and Health in Rural Older Adults. 2017. JOEM. 59:356-364

Ling Liu, Bruce Urch, Mieczyslaw Szyszkowicz, Mary Speck, Karen Leingartner, Robin Shutt, Guillaume Pelletier, Diane R. Gold, James A. Scott, Jeffrey R. Brook, Peter S. Thorne, Frances S. Silverman.  Influence of exposure to coarse, fine and ultrafine urban particulate matter and their biological constituents on neural biomarkers in a randomized controlled crossover study.   Environ Int. 2017. 101:89-95

Guillaume Pelletier, Marc Rigden, Lisa Marie Kauri, Robin Shutt, Mamun Mahmud, Sabit Cakmak, Premkumari Kumarathasan, Errol M. Thomson, Renaud Vincent, Gayle Broad, Ling Liu, Robert Dales. Associations between urinary biomarkers of oxidative stress and air pollutants observed in a randomized crossover exposure to steel mill emissionsOriginal Research Article.  2016. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health.  2017. 220(2):387-394

Robin H. Shutt, Lisa Marie Kauri, Scott Weichenthal, Premkumari Kumarathasan, Renaud Vincent, Errol M. Thomson, Ling Liu, Mamun Mahmud, Sabit Cakmak and Robert Dales.  Exposure to air pollution near a steel plant is associated with reduced heart rate variability: a randomised crossover study.  Environmental Health.  2017. 16:4.  DOI 10.1186/s12940-016-0206-0.

Allan Brand, Kathleen E McLean, Sarah B. Henderson, Michel Fournier, Ling Liu, Tom Kosatsky, Audrey Smargiassi.  Respiratory hospital admissions in young children living near metal smelters, pulp mills and oil refineries in two Canadian provinces.  Environmental International.  2016.  94:24-32. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2016.05.002.

Krystal J. Godri Pollitt, Caitlin L. Maikawa, Amanda J. Wheeler, Scott Weichenthal, Nina Dobbin, Ling Liu, Mark S. Goldberg.  Trace metal exposure is associated with increased exhaled nitric oxide in asthmatic children.  Environ. Health.  2016.  15:94.  DOI: 10.1186/s12940-016-0173-5

Caitlin L. Maikawa, Scott Weichenthal, Amanda J. Wheeler, Nina A. Dobbin, Audrey Smargiassi, Greg Evans, Ling Liu, Mark S. Goldberg, and Krystal J. Godri Pollitt.  Particulate Oxidative Burden as a Predictor of Exhaled Nitric Oxide in Children with Asthma.  Environ. Health Perspective.  2016. 124:1616–1622;

Ling Liu, Bruce Urch, Raymond Poon, Mietek Szyszkowicz, Mary Speck, Diane Gold, Amanda Wheeler, Jeffrey R Brook, Peter S. Thorne, Frances Silverman.  Effects of ambient coarse, fine and ultrafine particles and their biological constituents on systemic biomarkers: A controlled exposure study.  Environ. Health Perspect.  123:534-540.  2015

Jia Zhong, Bruce Urch, Mary Speck, Brent Coull, Petros Koutrakis, Peter S. Thorne, James Scott, Ling Liu, Robert D. Brook, Behrooz Behbod, Heike Gibson, Frances Silverman, Murray Mittleman, Andrea A. Baccarelli, and Diane R. Gold.  Endotoxin and beta-1,3-D-Glucan in Concentrated Ambient Particles Induce Rapid Increase in Blood Pressure in Controlled Human Exposures. Hypertension.  66(3):509-16. 2015

Sabit Cakmak, Lisa Kauri, Robin Shutt, Ling Liu, Martin S. Green, Marie Mulholland, Dave Stieb, Robert Dales.  The association between ambient air quality and cardiac rate and rhythm in ambulatory subjects.  Environ. International.  73:365-371.  2014

Sabit Cakmak, Robert Dales, Lisa Marie Kauri, Mamun Mahmuda, Keith Van Ryswyk, Jennifer Vanos, Ling Liu, Premkumari Kumarathasan, Errol Thomson, Renaud Vincent, Scott Weichenthal.  Metal composition of fine particulate air pollution and acute changes in cardiorespiratory physiology.  Environmental Pollution.  189:208-214.  2014.

Audrey Smargiassi, Mark  S. Goldberg; Amanda  J. Wheeler; Céline Plante; Marie-France Valois; Gary Mallach; Lisa Marie  Kauri; Robin  Shutt; Susan Bartlett; Marie  Raphoz; Ling Liu.  Associations Between Personal Exposure to Air Pollutants and Lung Function Tests and Cardiovascular Indices among Children with Asthma Living Near an Industrial Complex and Petroleum Refineries.  Environmental Research.  132: 38-45.  2014

Li Chen, Paul J. Villeneuve, Brian H. Rowe, Ling Liu, David M. Stieb.  The Air Quality Health Index as a predictor of emergency department visits for ischemic stroke in Edmonton, Canada.  J. Expo. Sci. and Enviro. Epidemiol.  24(4):358-364.  2014

Ling Liu, Lisa Marie Kauri, Mamun Mahmud, Scott Weichenthal, Sabit Cakmak, Robin Shutt, Hongyu You, Errol Thomson, Renaud Vincent, Premkumari Kumarathasan, Gayle Broad, Robert Dales.  Exposure to air pollution near a steel plant and effects on cardiovascular physiology:  A randomized crossover study.  Int. J. Hyg. Environ. Health.  doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2013.06.007. [Epub ahead of print].  2013. 

Dales R, Kauri LM, Cakmak S, Mahmud M, Weichenthal S, Van Ryswyk K, Kumarathasan P, Thomson E, Vincent R, Broad G, Liu L. Acute changes in lung function associated with proximity to a steel plant: a randomized study. Environ.Int. 55:15-19.  2013

Stieb DM, Liu L. Chapter 7 - Air Quality Impacts on Health. In Taylor E and McMillan A (eds.) Air Quality Management: Canadian perspectives on a Global Issue. Springer, 2013.

Cakmak S, Dales R, Leech J, Liu L. The influence of air pollution on cardiovascular and pulmonary function and exercise capacity: Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS). Environ Res 111: 1309-1312. 2011.

Behrooz Behbod, Bruce Urch, Mary Speck, James A Scott, Ling Liu, Raymond Poon, Brent Coull, Joel Schwartz, Petros Koutrakis, Frances Silverman, Diane R Gold.  Endotoxin and Concentrated Coarse and Fine Ambient Air Pollution Particles Induce Acute Systemic Inflammation in Controlled Human Exposures.  Occup. Environ. Med.  70;761-767.  2013.

Robert Dales, Sabit Cakmak, Judith Leech, Ling Ling Liu.  The association between personal care products and lung function.  Annals Epidemiology.  55:15-19.  2013.

Ling Liu, Raymond Poon, Mietek Szyszkowicz, Bruce Urch, Mary Speck, Jeffrey R Brook, Diane Gold, Frances Silverman.  Controlled Human Exposure to Fine and Coarse Ambient Particles and Effects on Systemic Biomarkers.  Air & Waste Management Association Annual Conference.  2011-A-312-AWMA.  2011

Sabit Cakmak, Robert Dales, Judith Leech, Ling Liu.  The influence of air pollution on cardiovascular and pulmonary function and exercise capacity: Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS).  Environ Res.  111:1309-12.  2011

Ling Liu, Terrence Ruddy, Mary Dalipaj, Raymond Poon, Mieczyslaw Szyszkowicz, Hongyu You, Robert E. Dales, Amanda J. Wheeler.  Effects of indoor, outdoor and personal exposure to particulate air pollution on cardiovascular physiology and systemic mediators in seniors.  J. Occup. Environ. Med.  51:1088-98. 2009.

Ling Liu, Raymond Poon, Li Chen, Paolo Montuschi, Giovanni Ciabattoni, Amanda Wheeler, Robert Dales.  Acute effects of air pollution on pulmonary function, airway inflammation and oxidative stress in asthmatic children.  Environ. Health Perspect.  117:668-674. 2009.

Bruce Urch, Mary Speck, David Wasserstein, Michael Manno, Paul Corey, Jeff Brook, Ling Liu, Brent Coull, Joel Schwartz, Diane Gold, Frances Silverman.  Concentrated Ambient Fine Particles Induce an Interleukin-6 Inflammatory Response in Asthmatics and Non-Asthmatics.  Inhalation Toxicology.  Accepted for Publication.  22(3):210-218. 2010

Robert Dales, Li Chen, Anna Maria Frescura, Ling Liu, Paul Villeneuve.  Acute effects of air pollution on respiratory symptoms, medication and peak flow: a panel study of elementary schoolchildren with asthma.  Eur. Respir. J.  34:316-323.  2009

R. Dales, A. J. Wheeler, M. Mahmud, A. M. Frescura, and L. Liu, The influence of neighborhood roadways on respiratory symptoms among elementary schoolchildren, J. Occup. Environ. Med., 51:654-660.  2009

Robert Dales, Amanda Wheeler, Mamun Mahmud, Anna-Maria Frescura, Marc Smith-Doiron, Elizabeth Nethery, Ling Liu.  The influence of living near roadways on spirometry and exhaled nitric oxide in elementary schoolchildren. Environ. Health Perspect.  116:1423-7. 2008.

Robert Dales, Ling Liu, Amanda J. Wheeler, Nicolas L. Gilbert.  Quality of indoor residential air and health.  CMAJ. 179:147-52.  2008.

Ling Liu, Mary Dalipaj, Mietek Szyszkowicz, Terrance Ruddy, Hongyu You, Raymond Poon, Amanda Wheeler, Robert Dales.  Influence of personal exposure to particulate air pollution on cardiovascular physiology, and biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress in subjects with diabetes.  J. Occup. Environ. Med.  49:258-265.  2007.              

Robert Dales, Ling Liu, Mietek Szyszkowicz, Mary Dalipaj, Jeff Willey, Ryan Kulka, Terrence D Ruddy.  Particulate air pollution and vascular reactivity: the bus stop study.  Int. Arch. Occup. Environ. Health.  81:159-164.  2007

Robert Tardif, Ling Liu, Mark Raizenne.  Exhaled ethanol and acetaldehyde in human subjects exposed to low levels of ethanol.  Inhalation Toxicology.  16:203-207.  2004.

Terrence D. Ruddy, Ling Liu, Jeffrey R. Brook, Mary M. Dalipaj, Meredith Franklin, Robert Dales.  Impaired Endothelial Function of the Brachial Artery with Increasing Fine Particulate Air Pollution in Elderly Females.  Submitted for publication.  2003.

S. Petrovic, B. Urch, E. Downar, S. Tarlo, J. Purdham, J. Brook, B. Zimmerman, P. Corey, L. Liu, and  F. Silverman. Cardiorespiratory Effects of Concentrated Ambient PM2.5: A Pilot Study Using Controlled Human Exposures. Inhal. Toxicol. 12(Supplement 1):173-188, 2000.

L. Liu, J.A. Leech, R.B. Urch, R. Poon, B. Zimmerman, J. M. Kubay, F. S. Silverman.  A comparison of biomarkers of ozone exposure in human plasma, nasal lavage, and sputum. Inhal Toxicol 11:657-674. 1999.

L. Liu, J.A. Leech, F.S. Silverman, and R.B. Urch. In vivo salicylate hydroxylation: A potential biomarker for assessing acute ozone exposure and effects in humans. Am. J. Respir.Care Med.  156, 1405-1412, 1997.

L. Liu, P. Kumarathasan, J. Guénette, and R. Vincent.  Hydroxylation of salicylate to 2,3-dihydroxybenzoic acid in the respiratory tract: Effects of aging and ozone exposure in Fischer 344 rats.  Am. J. Physiol.  271, L995-L1003, 1996.

L. Liu and P.G. Wells.  Potential molecular targets of chemical teratogenesis: In vitro peroxidase-catalysed phenytoin bioactivation and oxidative damage to proteins and lipids in murine maternal and embryonic tissues.  Toxicol Appl. Pharmacol. 134, 71-80, 1995. 

L. Liu and P.G. Wells.  DNA oxidation as a potential molecular mechanism mediating drug-induced birth defects: Phenytoin and structurally related teratogens initiate the formation of 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine in vitro and in vivo in murine maternal hepatic and embryonic tissues.  Free rad. Biol. Med. 19, 639-648, 1995.

L. Liu and P.G. Wells.  In vivo phenytoin-initiated oxidative damage to proteins and lipids in murine maternal hepatic and embryonic tissue organelles: Potential molecular targets mediating chemical teratogenesis.  Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol. 125, 247-255, 1994.  

L. Liu and P.G. Wells.  In vitro and in vivo cytochromes P450- and peroxidase-catalyzed formation of phenytoin-DNA adducts in murine maternal hepatic and embryonic tissues.   Proceedings of 10Th International Symposium on Microsomes & Drug Oxidations.  10, 555, 1994.

L. Liu and P.G. Wells.  Formation of 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine:  In vivo evidence for phenytoin-initiated oxidative DNA damage in murine maternal hepatic and embryonic tissues, and in vitro  horseradish peroxidase-catalysed bioactivation and 2'-deoxyguanosine oxidation by phenytoin and structurally related teratogens.  Proc. ISSX. 4, 113, 1993.

L. Liu, K. Nakatsu, and T.E. Massey.  In vitro cytochrome P450 monooxygenase and prostaglandin H-synthase mediated aflatoxin B1 biotransformation in guinea pig tissues:  Effects of ß-naphthoflavone treatment.  Arch. Toxical. 67, 379-385, 1993.

L. Liu and P.G. Wells.  In vivo phenytoin-induced lipid peroxidation and protein degradation in murine maternal hepatic and embryonic tissues.  Toxicologist.  13, 253, 1993.

L. Liu and T.E. Massey.  Bioactivation of aflatoxin B1 by lipoxygenases, prostaglandin H synthase and cytochrome P450 monooxygenase in guinea pig tissues.  Carcinogenesis. 13, 533-539, 1992.

L. Liu, K. Nakatsu, and T.E. Massey.  NADPH-dependent formation of aflatoxicol from aflatoxin B1 in guinea pig kidney microsomes.  Toxicologist. 12, 326,1992.

L. Liu and P.G. Wells.  Phenytoin-induced lipid peroxidation and protein degradation catalyzed by prostaglandin H synthase in murine hepatic microsomes.  Proc. Can. Fed. Biol. Soc. 35, 101, 1992.

L. Liu, R.K. Stewart and T.E. Massey.  Activation of aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) by arachidonic acid (AA)- and NADPH-dependent mechanisms in guinea pig tissues.  Toxicologist. 11, 1304 1991.

L. Liu, J.M. Daniels, R.K. Stewart, and T.E. Massey.  In vitro prostaglandin H synthase-and monooxygenase-mediated binding of aflatoxin B1 to DNA in guinea pig tissues.  Carcinogenesis. 11, 1915-1919, 1990.

Publications of Federal Documents

Update of Science Assessment Document For Particulate Matter (1997-2002).  Health Canada Document. 2003.

National Ambient Air Quality Objectives for Particulate Matter.  1. Science review document.  Chapter 10, Toxicology; Chapter 11, Human health effects - clinical studies.  Health Canada document.  1999.

National Ambient Air Quality Objectives for Ground-Level Ozone.  1. Science review document.  Chapter 10, Toxicology; Chapter 11, Human health effects - clinical studies.  Health Canada document.  1999.

Assessment Report for Particulate Matter.  Canadian  Environmental Protection Act, Priority Substances List.  1998.

Acid Rain: Science assessment substantiation document. Volume 1. Impacts on Human Health.  Health Canada document.  1997



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