A new research centre at the University of Saskatchewan will attempt to bring experts together to help people suffering from respiratory illnesses.

It's a broad mandate, says Donna Goodridge, the director of the new centre.

'We want to make a difference in the lives of people.' - Donna Goodridge, U of S respiratory research centre director

"Respiratory health has been really unrecognized as a really important health problem, so we want to bring it to the forefront. We want to help people to live better."

But the centre will also tackle problems that have the potential to impact everyone.

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In this Aug. 29, 2017 photo, water from Addicks Reservoir flows into neighborhoods from floodwaters brought on by Tropical Storm Harvey in Houston. Flooding can lead to mould, which can affect people with breathing problems. (The Associated Press)

"We are not sure of the implications of climate change," Goodridge said. "We know that the environment is changing. We are not sure how the environment is actually affecting breathing."

With climate change, there are more events like wildfires that can fill the air with thick smoke, or floods that can leave troublesome mould behind. Goodridge said that some of those environmental conditions can seriously exacerbate chronic breathing problems, and may impact others.

"I think we still have a lot of questions about the actual impact and we don't have a lot of knowledge about the lengths of exposure, what the risk factors are," she said.

It's those answers that Goodridge and the new research centre will try to answer, by drawing together all of the expertise available at the U of S.

"We want to make a difference in the lives of people."