Faculty Member

Frances Silverman PhD.

Email Address(es)
Office Phone
(416) 978-5883
Office Address
Gage Occupational and Environmental Health Unit 223 College St. Toronto, Ontario M5T 1R4
Occupational & Environmental Health Division
Associate Professor Emerita
SGS Status
Member Emerita
Appointment Status

Research Interests

– inter-disciplinary research on health effects of air pollutants and the role they play in the development of inflammation and disease

– studies using state-of-the-art human exposure facilities of the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the cardiovascular and respiratory effects of ambient particulate matter (fine, coarse, ultrafine), gaseous pollutant inhalation (e.g., ozone), inhaled allergens, endotoxin and VOCs, as well as “forest bathing” exposures to lower blood pressure using VOC substances derived from plants and trees known as phytoncides

outcome measures of cardiorespiratory response, markers of inflammation, systemic inflammation, endothelial activation/vascular dysfunction, blood pressure, markers of autonomic dysfunction, heart rate variability, cardiac electrophysiology including spatial dispersion of myocardial repolarization and T-wave alternans, epigenetics (hypomethylation) and response to interventions (e.g., methyl-donor supplementation)

– neurophysiologic responses to ultrafine particle exposure using a controlled exposure facility

– exposure assessment and examining associations of particulate matter constituents (e.g. organic carbon) and traffic counts with health effects

– collaborative studies with researchers in Brazil on health effects of air pollution

– effects of exercise and air pollution using controlled exposure studies

– effects of ambient pollution during sporting events with elite and recreational athletes (e.g Pan Am games)

– effects of respiratory muscle training on G-force tolerance

– Canadian Longitudinal Birth Cohort Study of Asthma and Allergy in Childhood

– eicosanoids in breath condensate in asthma and COPD

– self-reported knowledge of the health effects of air pollution among general practitioners and respirologists

– occupational exposure prevention and the co-occurrence of work-related skin and respiratory symptoms and disease

Education & Training History

1978 McGill University, Montreal, Doctorate, Respiratory Physiology

1967 McGill University, Montreal, Master of Science (Physiology)

1963 McGill University, Montreal, Bachelor of Science (Science)

Professional Summary & Appointments

Emeritus Professor, Medicine, University Toronto

Member, Institute of Medical Science

Associate, Institute for Environmental Studies

Member, Cardiovascular Sciences Collaborative Program

Member, Institute of Medical Science Appointments Committee

Adjunct Scientist, The Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, Keenan Research Centre

Allied Health Care Staff, Dept. of Occ. & Env. Health, St. Michael's Hospital

Senior Staff Scientist, University Health Network (The Toronto Hospital)

Associate (non-medical), Toronto Western Hospital

Honours & Awards

2005 Recipient, Institute of Medical Sciences, 2005 Graduate Course Director Award

Current Research Projects

2012-2016 Carlsten C., Silverman F, Brauer M, Brook J, Kobor M, Ellis A, Kollman, Miller, Takaro T, Turvey. “Strengthening the case for ongoing reduction of exposure to traffic-related air pollution (SCORE-TRAP).” AllerGen NCE. $335,200

2012-2016 Kobor M. Silverman F, Carlsten C, Ellis A, Brook J, Gavreau G, Tebutt .“Rapid environmental effects on genes: the lens of epigenetics (REEGLE).AllerGen NCE. $400.000

2012-2014 Baccarelli A., Silverman F, Gold D, Coull B. “Air pollution, epigenetics and cardiovascular health: a human intervention trial”. US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Exploratory/Development grant. $270,000

2011-2013 Silverman F. Cardiovascular health effects of controlled chamber exposures to particulate matter. Health Canada. $288,500.00

2010-2013 Nanthakumar N, Silverman F. Modulation of spatio-temporal dispersion of human mysocardial repolarization by air pollution. Heart and Stroke Foundation Canada. $282,278

Representative Publications

  1. Bellavia A, Urch B, Speck M, Brook RD, Scott JA, Albetti B, Behbod B, North M, Bertazzi PA, Silverman F, Gold D, Baccarelli A. Blood DNA hypomethylation mediates the effects of ambient particulate matter on blood pressure: results from a controlled human exposure experiments. JAHA. (accepted May 2013).
  2. Kusha M, Masse S, Farid T, Urch B, Silverman F, Brook RD, Gold DR, Mangat I, Speck M, Nair K, Poku K, Meyer C, Mittleman MA, Wellenius GA, Nanthakumar K. 2012. Controlled exposure study of air pollution and T-wave alternans in volunteers without cardiovascular disease. Environ Health Perspect 120:1157-1161.
  3. Fritscher L, Post M, Rodrigues M, Silverman F, Balter M, Chapman K, Zamel N. “Profile of eicosanoids in breath condensate in asthma and COPD”. Journal of Breath Research. 6 (2012) 026001 (5pp) doi:10.1088/1752-7155/6/2/026001
  4. Rastogi N, McWhinney RD, Akhtar US, Urch B, Fila M, Abbatt JPD, Scott JA, Silverman FS, Brook JR, Evans GJ. Physical characterization of the University of Toronto coarse, fine, and ultrafine high-volume particle concentrator systems. Aerosol Science & Technology March 2012
  5. Amatullah H, North ML, Akhtar US, Rastogi N, Urch B, Silverman FS, Chow C-W, Evans GJ, Scott JA. 2012. “Comparative cardiopulmonary effects of size-fractionated airborne particulate matte”r. Inhal Toxicol 2012 Feb;24(3):161-7
  6. McWhinney RD, Rastogi N, Urch B, Silverman F, Brook JR, Evans GJ, Abbatt JPD. “Characterization of the University of Toronto concentrated aerosol particle exposure facility (CAPEF) — effects on fine and ultrafine nonrefractory aerosol composition”. Feb 2012. Aerosol Sci Technol 46:697-707.
  7. North ML, Amatullah H, Khanna N, Urch B, Grasemann H, Silverman F, Scott JA. 2011. Augmentation of arginase 1 expression by exposure to air pollution exacerbates the airways hyperresponsiveness in murine models of asthma. Respir Research 12:19
  8. Sivagangabalan G, Spears D, Masse S, Urch B, Brook RD, Silverman F, Gold DR, Lukic KZ, Speck M, Kusha M, Farid T, Poku K, Shi E, Floras J, Nanthakumar K. 2011. The Effect of air pollution on spatial dispersion of myocardial repolarization in healthy human volunteers. J Am Coll Cardiol 57(2):198-206.
  9. Victoria H. Arrandale, Michael Brauer, Jeffrey R. Brook, Bert Brunekreef, Diane Gold ,

Stephanie London, David Miller, Halûk Özkaynak, Nola Ries, Malcolm R. Sears,

Frances Silverman, Timothy Takaro. “Exposure Assessment in Cohort Studies of Childhood Asthma”. Environmental Health Perspectives. May 2011 119:519-597

  1. Urch B, Speck M, Corey P, Wasserstein D, Manno M, Brook JR, Liu L, Coull B, Schwartz J, Gold D, Silverman F. “Concentrated ambient fine particles and not ozone induce a pulmonary and systemic interleukin-6 inflammatory response in humans”. Inhalation Toxicology. 2010 Feb;22(3):210-8.