Category Archives: MUHC Breathe Easier

Dr. Basil Petrof is interviewed about the Montreal Chest Institute on the MUHC Foundation's Health Matters, February 28, 2021

The Historic Montreal Chest Institute

On February 28, 2021 Basil Petrof MD and Director of the Meakins-Christie Laboratories, was interviewed on Health Matters by Julie Quenneville, President of the MUHC Foundation. With the merger of the Montreal Chest Institute Foundation and the MUHC Foundation fast approaching, Dr. Petrof spoke of the historic Montreal Chest Institute, how it became and continues to be, a world-class institute for respiratory care.

“Every day when I walk into the Chest I feel privileged to work with great colleagues and to be in a world-class institution.”

Basil Petrof, MD

The Montreal Chest Institute is renowned for the first-rate clinical care its patients receive. Top international specialists in the field of respiratory care are drawn to work at the MCI because of its reputation. The MCI’s highly specialized clinics, such as for the treatment of cystic fibrosis and TB, are known to have the best treatment outcomes in the world. The MCI’s prestigious position can also be attributed to the wholistic approach taken to patient care. Multidisciplinary teams collaborate on the development of treatment plans, ensuring the highest quality of care for each patient.

Two world-class research units are associated with the MCI; the Meakins-Christie Laboratories and the Respiratory Epidemiology and Clinical Research Unit. These multidisciplinary units have a mix of MD and PhD scientists who have together made significant contributions to the better understanding of respiratory issues and treatment options.

Training is also an important component to the success of the MCI. Many alumni have continued on in their career to hold prestigious positions and to become leaders of research in their field. The newly established Dr. Margaret Becklake Fellowship in Respiratory Research, funded by the MCI Foundation in honor of Dr. Margaret Becklake, will be a significant component in the future of training at the MCI.

“…I just want to mention that we are really pleased about the newly established Margaret Becklake Fellowship which will continue this tradition. This Fellowship is in honor of Dr. Becklake, who was a trailblazing female physician hired back in the 50’s, back at a time when there weren’t that many females in medicine and who founded our respiratory epidemiology unit and who was really a giant in the area of respiratory epidemiology.”

Basil Petrof, MD

Listen to Dr. Petrof’s interview with Julie Quenneville here:

Dream Big. Breathe Easier

Now that the Montreal Chest Institute Foundation and the MUHC Foundation have joined forces, they launched a $10 million dollar respiratory campaign. The Dream Big: Breathe Easier campaign will invest in both Breathtaking Research and Breath-Giving Care.

Did you know that we take more than 500 million breath in our lifetime? When our lungs are healthy, we don’t think twice abut our breathing and often take it for granted. However, for someone who is living with a respiratory disease, they are constantly faced with breathing difficulties and every breath can be a struggle. Respiratory diseases are on the rise globally. Over 3 million people die from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) annually, an estimated 6% of all deaths worldwide. 235 million people suffer from asthma. And outdoor air pollution causes over 4 million premature deaths each year.

Both foundations are working tirelessly to ensure their patients can breath easier. Together, they will continue to provide highly specialized patient care. Conduct cutting-edge medical research. And train the next generation of respiratory specialists and leaders.

Plan to help Montrealers Breathe Easier


Innovation Grants. Respiratory Clinical Trials. The Translational Research in Respiratory Diseases Program of the RI-MUHC, the Respiratory Epidemiology and Clinical Research Unit and the Meakins-Christie Laboratories are pursuing new knowledge to change the course of respiratory medicine.


Personalized Medicine. Home Monitoring. The Respiratory Day Hospital will be transformed into a living laboratory. Home monitoring will use wearable technologies to follow patients’ symptoms at home, helping predict medical episodes before they happen.

MUHC and MCI foundation campaign breath easy. Investing in breathtaking research and breath-giving care

Dr. Margaret Becklake Fellowship 2020-2021 recipient: Dr. Mikashmi Kohli

2020-2021 Dr. Margaret Becklake Fellowship

Recipient of the 2020-2021 Dr. Margaret Becklake Fellowship: Dr. Mikashmi Kohli

It is with great pleasure that we announce Dr. Mikashmi Kohli as the recipient of the inaugural 2020-2021 Dr. Margaret Becklake Fellowship in Respiratory Research. Dr. Kohli obtained her PhD in molecular medicine from the AII India Institute of Medical Sciences. Since 2018, Dr. Kohli has been working as a postdoctoral fellow under the mentorship of Dr. Madhukar Pai. During this time, her research has focused on tuberculosis (TB) diagnostics, and she was involved in an international project to assess the availability and accessibility of diagnostics at primary health care centres in India. To date, Dr. Kohli has contributed to 18 publications, four as first author, including a paper in Lancet Infectious Diseases. She is also lead author on two Cochrane systematic reviews and has been a part of two WHO guideline meetings at which she presented her systematic reviews and meta-analyses on TB diagnostic tests.

In order to formalize her training in Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Dr. Kohli will start her MSc in the Fall of 2020 under the supervision of Dr. Pai. Her MSc project will evaluate access to TB and other essential respiratory diagnostic tests in India. The project will require field work and will result in the development of a survey tool for use in primary health centres across India. This research will provide a comprehensive national scorecard on access to essential tests, and enable national health authorities to address major gaps and improve access.

Dr. Kohli aspires to continue working in the field of global health and to pursue research that can be used to inform important policy decisions. With support from the Dr. Margaret Becklake Fellowship, Dr. Kohli will be able to continue her training at McGill University. This will allow her to continue her active involvement in the Indian healthcare system. We are proud to honour Dr. Becklake’s legacy and immense contributions through this Fellowship, and we wish Dr. Kohli every success in her research career.

About the Dr. Margaret Becklake Fellowship:

The Montreal Chest Institute Foundation and the MUHC Respiratory Division are proud to support the Dr. Margaret Becklake Fellowship. Over the course of her career, Dr. Becklake had a major interest in respiratory health in lower-income countries, including in childhood asthma and occupational lung disease. She conducted research in this area for many years. She also trained and hosted students in respiratory research from lower-income countries, who then became leaders in research and care in those countries. Beginning with the inaugural award for 2020-21, the Dr. Margaret Becklake Fellowship will be awarded to at least one trainee in respiratory research every year as they conduct research under the supervision of scientists at the Montreal Chest Institute of the McGill University Health Centre. Recipients are chosen from low- and middle-income countries as well as from Canadian Indigenous communities. This fellowship will help us train the next generation of respiratory researchers and specialists in areas of the world where the need is greatest.