• Lavoie, Pascal

    Clinician Scientist, CFRI

    Associate Professor, Partner Institute, Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia
    Neonatologist, BC Children's Hospital and BC Women's Hospital & Health Centre

    Degrees / Designations
    Primary Area of Research
    Immunity in Health & Disease
    Secondary Area(s) of Research
    Lab Phone
    604-875-2345 ext. 6705
    Mihoko Ladd
    Assistant Phone
    Lab: 6705; Pager 41-01750 (first, dial 604 875-4200 from an external line)
    Mailing Address
    Child & Family Research Institute
    Room A4-147, 4th floor Translational Research Building

    950 West 28th Avenue
    Vancouver, BC V5Z 4H4


    Affiliate Websites
    Research Areas
    • Neonatal Immunity
    • Infection/Inflammation
    • Inheritance/Genetics of Neonatal Morbidities
    • Neonatal Chronic Lung Disease

    As a neonatologist, I am regularly involved in the medical care of infants needing intensive medical care at birth. Newborns are particularly vulnerable to infections. Infection and prematurity are leading causes of mortality and long-term health problems. My lab focuses on understanding the development of the immune system in humans before and at birth, and how to use this knowledge to prevent diseases in this age group.

    We also work on understanding why some human individuals are more susceptible to infections or auto-immune/inflammatory conditions compared to others, in the general population and across development. To do so, we employ a combination of translational research approaches (population-based clinical studies, epidemiology, but lab-based human immunology and molecular biology, but also clinical trials/interventional studies. We also have ongoing collaboration nationally and internationally (US/Europe) to understand risk factors for neonatal infections, genetics of BPD, HIV, vaccine development, microbiome and human immunology traits.

    Current Projects
    Innate and adaptive immune defences in human neonates across development 

    We aim to define characteristics of innate and adaptive immune system in newborns as well as preterm infants that sometimes fail to protect them against infection and inflammatory-mediated neonatal diseases. We study adaptive T cell function in the context of vaccine responses. We develop small scaled immunoassays to characterize the immunological phenotype of these infants from 24 weeks to the term of gestation. We employ molecular and human cell-based immunology approaches (advanced flow cytometry). Our current focus is on the Toll-like receptor/inflammasome innate immune pathways as well as neonatal T cell differentiation. 

    Heritability of bronchopulmonary dysplasia

    Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) is a form of chronic inflammatory-mediated lung disease affecting thousands of infants born prematurely each year in Canada. BPD is a serious disease which often results in significant morbidity and mortality. Clinicians lack a cure for BPD and current treatments can have serious side-effects. Evidence suggests that susceptibility to this condition is in part genetically inherited. In this study, we collaborate with other neonatal centres internationally to examine the role of common gene polymorphisms in clinically well-characterized cohorts of preterm infants, in order to understand how genetic factors interact in the regulation of inflammation and how they predispose infants to BPD and neonatal conditions more generally.

    Anti-inflamatory treatment for bronchopulmonary dysplasia

    We are one of the leading centres of the CIHR-funded MOBYDICK Canadian multi-centre randomized clinical trial to determine whether maternal omega-3 supplementation effectively reduces bronchopulmonary dysplasia in very preterm infants.

    Functional diversity of immune responses in humans

    We employ system-based approaches to understand what factors make human individuals respond differently to immune stimulation. We work on generating genomics datasets in healthy reference humans across blood immune cell types and age groups (24 weeks to 65 years of age) to investigate components of the immune responses regulating cellular biological outcomes. 

    Selected Publications
    Innate immune defences and infections in neonates born early in gestation
    Impaired NLRP3 inflammasome activity during fetal development regulates IL-1β production in human monocytes. Sharma AA, Jen R, Kan B, Sharma A, Marchant E, Tang A, Gadawski I, Senger C, Skoll A, Turvey SE, Sly LM, Côté HC, Lavoie PM. Eur J Immunol. 2015 Jan;45(1):238-49. doi: 10.1002/eji.201444707. Epub 2014 Nov 17. PMID: 25311115

    Zhang P, Lavoie PM, Lacaze-Masmonteil T, Rhainds M, Marc I. Omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids for extremely preterm infants: a systematic review. Pediatrics. 2014 Jul;134(1):120-34. doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-0459. Epub 2014 Jun 9. Review. PMID: 24913791

    Sharma AA, Jen R, Brant R, Ladd M, Huang Q, Skoll A, Senger C, Turvey SE, Marr N, Lavoie PM. Hierarchical maturation of innate immune defences in very preterm neonates. Neonatology. 2014;106(1):1-9. doi: 10.1159/000358550. Epub 2014 Mar 6. PMID: 24603545

    Marr N, Wang TI, Kam SH, Hu YS, Sharma AA, Lam A, Markowski J, Solimano A, Lavoie PM, Turvey SE. Attenuation of respiratory syncytial virus-induced and RIG-I-dependent type I IFN responses in human neonates and very young children. J Immunol. 2014 Feb 1;192(3):948-57. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1302007. Epub 2014 Jan 3. PMID: 24391215

    Segal I, Kang C, Albersheim SG, Skarsgard ED, Lavoie PM. Surgical site infections in infants admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit. J Pediatr Surg. 2014 Mar;49(3):381-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2013.08.001. PMID: 24650461

    Sharma AA, Jen R, Butler A, Lavoie PM. The developing human preterm neonatal immune system: a case for more research in this area. Clin Immunol. 2012 Oct;145(1):61-8. doi: 10.1016/j.clim.2012.08.006. Epub 2012 Aug 17. Review. PMID: 22926079

    Chang BA, Huang Q, Quan J, Chau V, Ladd M, Kwan E, McFadden DE, Lacaze-Masmonteil T, Miller SP, Lavoie PM. Early inflammation in the absence of overt infection in preterm neonates exposed to intensive care. Cytokine. 2011 Dec;56(3):621-6. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2011.08.028. Epub 2011 Sep 21. PMID: 21940177

    Chang BA, Quan J, Huang Q, Chau V, Ladd M, Kwan E, McFadden DE, Lacaze-Masmonteil T, Miller SP, Lavoie PM (2011). Early inflammation in the absence of overt infection in preterm neonates exposed to intensive care. Cytokine; 56(3):621-6. PMID: 21940177

    Lavoie PM, Huang Q, Jolette E, Ladd M, Nuyt AM, Audibert F, Speert DP, Lacaze-Masmonteil T, Soudeyns H, Kollmann TR (2010). Profound lack of IL-12/23p40 in neonates born early in gestation influencing the risk of early-onset sepsis. J Infect Dis; 202(11):1754-63. PMID: 20977341

    Corbett NP, Blimkie D, Ho KC, Cai B, Sutherland DP, Kallos A, Crabtree J, Rein-Weston A, Lavoie PM, Turvey S, Hawkins NR, Self SG, Wilson CB, Hajjar AM, Fortuno ES, Kollmann TR (2010). Ontogeny of Toll-Like Receptor mediated cytokine responses of human blood mononuclear cells. PloS One; 5(11):e15041. PMID: 21152080

    Lavoie PM, Lavoie JC, Watson C, Rouleau T, Chang BA, Chessex P (2010). Inflammatory response in preterm infants is induced early in life by oxygen and modulated by total parenteral nutrition. Pediatr Res; 68(3):248-51. PMID: 20703144

    Abu-Sharar Z, Robinson A, Lavoie PM (2010). Incidence of septicemia immediately following elective gastrointestinal contrast procedures in infants: A cohort study. J Pediatr Surg; 45(3):507-12. PMID: 20223312

    Lavoie PM (2009). Earlier initiation of enteral nutrition is associated with lower risk of late-onset bacteremia only in most mature very low birth weight infants. J Perinatol; 29(6):448-54. PMID: 19212326

    Neonatal Natural Killer T cell development
    Sharma A, Chew L, Ladd M, Jen R, Lavoie PM (2011). Ex vivo purification and characterization of human invariant natural killer T cells. J Immunol Methods; 373(1-2):1-7. PMID: 21854781

    Ladd M, Sharma A, Huang Q, Wang AY, Xu L, Genowati I, Levings MK, Lavoie PM (2010). Natural Killer T cells constitutively expressing the IL-2 receptor alpha chain early in life are primed to respond to lower antigenic stimulation. Immunology; 131(2):289-99. PMID: 20545784

    Heritability of bronchopulmonary dysplasia
    Huusko JM, Karjalainen MK, Mahlman M, Haataja R, Kari MA, Andersson S, Toldi G, Tammela O, Rämet M, Lavoie PM, Hallman M; A study of genes encoding cytokines (IL6, IL10, TNF), cytokine receptors (IL6R, IL6ST), and glucocorticoid receptor (NR3C1) and susceptibility to bronchopulmonary dysplasia.Gen-BPD Study Group. BMC Med Genet. 2014 Nov 1;15:120. doi: 10.1186/s12881-014-0120-7. PMID: 25409741

     Marr N, Hirschfeld AF, Lam A, Wang S, Lavoie PM, Turvey SE. Assessment of genetic associations between common single nucleotide polymorphisms in RIG-I-like receptor and IL-4 signaling genes and severe respiratory syncytial virus infection in children: a candidate gene case-control study.PLoS One. 2014 Jun 20;9(6):e100269. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0100269. eCollection 2014. PMID: 24949794

    Ali S, Hirschfeld AF, Mayer ML, Fortuno ES 3rd, Corbett N, Kaplan M, Wang S, Schneiderman J, Fjell CD, Yan J, Akhabir L, Aminuddin F, Marr N, Lacaze-Masmonteil T, Hegele RG, Becker A, Chan-Yeung M, Hancock RE, Kollmann TR, Daley D, Sandford AJ, Lavoie PM, Turvey SE. Functional genetic variation in NFKBIA and susceptibility to childhood asthma, bronchiolitis, and bronchopulmonary dysplasia. J Immunol. 2013 Apr 15;190(8):3949-58. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1201015. Epub 2013 Mar 13. PMID: 23487427

    Lavoie PM, Ladd M, Hirschfeld AF, Huusko J, Mahlman M, Speert DP, Hallman M, Lacaze-Masmonteil T, Turvey SE. Influence of common non-synonymous Toll-like receptor 4 polymorphisms on bronchopulmonary dysplasia and prematurity in human infants. PLoS One. 2012;7(2):e31351. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0031351. Epub 2012 Feb 14. PMID: 22348075

    Lavoie PM, Dubé MP. Genetics of bronchopulmonary dysplasia in the age of genomics. Curr Opin Pediatr. 2010 Apr;22(2):134-8. doi: 10.1097/MOP.0b013e328336eb85. Review. PMID: 20087186

    Lavoie PM, Pham C, Jang KL. Heritability of bronchopulmonary dysplasia, defined according to the consensus statement of the national institutes of health. Pediatrics. 2008 Sep;122(3):479-85. doi: 10.1542/peds.2007-2313. PMID: 18762515

    Lavoie PM, Ladd M, Hirschfeld AF, Huusko J, Mahlman M, Speert DP, Hallman M, Lacaze-Masmonteil T, Turvey SE (2012). Influence of common non-synonymous Toll-like receptor 4 polymorphisms on bronchopulmonary dysplasia and prematurity in human infants. PloS One; 7(2): e31351. PMID: 22348075

    Lavoie PM, Dubé MP (2010). Genetics of bronchopulmonary dysplasia in the age of genomics. Curr Opin Pediatr; 22(2):134-8. PMID: 20087186

    Lavoie PM, Brant R (2009). Twin zygosity studies and the genetic basis of neonatal morbidities – author’s reply. Pediatrics; 123(2):e352-3. PMID: 19171586

    Lavoie PM, Pham C, Jang KL (2008). Heritability of bronchopulmonary dysplasia, defined according to the consensus statement of the National Institute of Health. Pediatrics; 122(3):479-85. Related commentary by Abman S et al. Pediatrics; 122(3):658-9. PMID: 18762515

    Other publications can be found on PubMed.


    CIHR Operating Grant – Project: "Maternal Omega-3 supplementation to reduce Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia in very Preterm Infants : A Randomized Controlled Trial (MOBYDIck Trial)" (2014-2019)

    CIHR Operating Grant – Project: "Understanding the immunological basis for early-life infections in preterm infants" (2012-2017)

    Honours & Awards
    Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research – Career Investigator Award – 2011-2019
    CFRI Clinician-Scientist Award – 2008-2013
    Research Group Members

    Bernard Kan – Graduate Student (PhD)
    Elizabeth Marchant - Graduate Student (PhD)
    Ashish Sharma - Graduate Student (PhD)
    Hamid Reza Razzaghian - Post-Doctoral Fellow
    Kristi Finlay - Research Nurse
    Jennifer Claydon - Research Coordinator