Division of Respirology

Paul O’Byrne


Professor, Division of Respirology, Department of Medicine

Chair, Department of Medicine, McMaster University Medical Centre

St. Joseph's Healthcare


Education and Professional Standing

The Firestone Institute is led by Director, Dr. Paul O´Byrne, the E. J. Moran Campbell Professor of Medicine and Chair of the Department of Medicine at McMaster University. Dr. O´Byrne is world renowned for his research on asthma that is the result of allergies.

His current research interests focus on the mechanisms and treatment of asthma, with particular reference to the role of environmental allergens and the mechanisms by which these cause airway inflammation. Dr. O´Byrne is a prolific publisher, as evidenced by his 250-plus peer-reviewed papers in highly regarded journals. He has also edited eight books and has written more than 70 review papers and is a frequent lecturer at international meetings.

Dr. O´Byrne is also the Chair of the Executive Committee for the Global Initiative for Asthma, the WHO and NHLBI sponsored initiative to develop global guidelines for asthma diagnosis and treatment, and a member of the Executive Committee, World Health Organization’s Global Alliance against Chronic Respiratory Diseases.

Awards and Distinctions
Medical Research Council of Canada Scholar (1984-89)
Medical Research Council of Canada Scientist (1989-1994)
Medical Research Council of Canada Senior Scientist (1995-2000)
Robert A Cooke Memorial Lecturer, AAAAI Annual Meeting (1998)
EJ Moran Campbell Professor of Medicine (1998-present)
Honorary Fellowship, Faculty of Medicine, University College, Dublin (1999)

Research Interests


  • Canadian Institutes for Health Research: "Pathogenesis of allergen-induced asthma" (2001-2006)
  • "Cytokines and airway inflammation (2002-2007; PI: M Jordana)
  • GlaxoSmith Klein" (PI: PM O'Byrne, Assoc PI: FE Hargreave, LP-Boulet, A Cartier) The effects of a humanized monoclonal antibody (SB 240563) on asthma control and airway eosinophilia
  • Biolipox: The effects of inhaled eoxin on airway function in normal subjects
  • AstraZeneca: The time course of cellular infiltrates and associated receptor expression in bronchial biopsies and induced sputum post allergen challenge in mild asthmatics.
  • AstraZeneca: The effects of inhaled budesonide and inhaled formoterol and budesonide on allergen-induced changes in the epitelial-mysenchymal unit: an ultrastructural and molecular examination.
  • Pfizer: The effects of rofumilast on allergen-induced airway responses

Selected Publications

  1. Wilson AM, O´Byrne PM, Parameswaran K. Leukotriene receptor antagonists for allergic rhinitis: a systematic review and meta analysis. Am J Med 2004; 116:338-44.
  2. Matsumoto K, Narita S, Rerecich T, Snider DP, O´Byrne PM. Different profiles of IL-10 production in circulating T-cells of atopic asthmatics from atopic non-asthmatics and healthy subjects. Can Respir J 2004; 11:33-38
  3. Dorman SC, Sehmi R, Gauvreau GM, Watson RW, Foley R, Jones GL, Denburg JA, Inman MD O´Byrne PM. The kinetics of eosinophilopoiesis and associated cytokines after allergen inhalation. Am J Respir Crit Care Med: 2004; 169:565-72.
  4. Dorman S, Efthimiadis A, Babirad I, Hargreave FE, O´Byrne PM, Sehmi R. Increases in CD34+IL-5Ra+ cells in induced-sputum from atopic asthmatic subjects following allergen inhalation challenge: evidence for in situ eosinophilopoeisis. Am J Respir Crit Care Med: 2004;169:573-577
  5. O´Byrne PM, Inman MD, Adelroth E. Reassessing the Th2 cytokine basis of asthma. TIPS: 2004; 25:244-248
  6. Parameswaran K, Watson R. Ellis R, Fanat A, Gauvreau GM, Rereich T, Sehmi R, O´Byrne PM. The effect of Pranlukast, a leukotriene receptor antagonist, on allergen-induced airway eosinophilia and bone marrow eosinophil progenitors in asthmatic subjects. Am J Respir Crit Care Med: 2004; 169:915-20.
  7. Parameswaran K, Liang H, Fanat A, Watson R, Snider DP, O´Byrne PM. A role for cysteinyl leukotrienes in allergen-induced change in circulating dendritic cell number in subjects with asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2004; 114:73-9.
  8. O´Byrne PM, Bisgaard H, Godard PP, Pistolesi M, Palmqvist M, Zhu Y, Ekstrom T, Bateman ED. Budesonide/formoterol combination therapy as both maintence and reliever medication in asthma. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2005; 171:129-36
  9. Subbarao PJ, Dorman SC, Rerecich T, Watson RM, Gauvreau GM, O´Byrne PM. Protection by budesonide and fluticasone on allergen-induced airway responses following discontinuation of therapy. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2005; 115:745-50.
  10. Dorman SC, Babirad I, Post J, Watson RT, Foley R, Jones GL, O´Byrne PM, Sehmi R. Progenitor egress from the bone marrow after allergen challenge: role of SDF-1a and eotaxin. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2005; 115:501-7

Team Members

Graduate Students: L. Saleh, E Farrell

Postdoctoral Fellows: MyLihn Duong, T Yokoyama, R Fujiki, J Brannan