Category Archives: News

Respiratory Research News from the Meakins-Christie Laboratories and the RESP program of the RI-MUHC. View our latest funding results, faculty and trainee awards, and our research featured in the media.

Dr. Carolyn Baglole received a CIHR catalyst grant: Health Effects of Vaping for her grant entitled: Utility of a Preclinical Model to Study the Impact of Vaping Products on Cardiopulmonary Outcomes.

Impact of Vaping on Cardiopulmonary Outcomes

Dr. Carolyn Baglole, with Dr. Koren Kathleen Mann, received a CIHR Catalyst Grant: Health Effects of Vaping. The title of the grant is: “Utility of a Preclinical Model to Study the Impact of Vaping Products on Cardiopulmonary Outcomes.”.

The objective of the grant is to investigate the effects of vaping products on cardiopulmonary outcomes, alone and in conjunction with SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Congrats Carolyn and the rest of the team!

Graphical abstract: Targeting the OXE receptor as a potential novel therapy for asthma. William Powell

Promising treatment option for eosinophilic-driven disorders

Liminal BioSciences, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, has acquired a preclinical research program of small OXE molecule antagonists. This program is based on the research of Dr. William Powell, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Medicine at McGill University, working in collaboration with Dr. Joshua Rokach of the Florida Institute of Technology.

Investigational therapies developed in this program target a key chemoattractant and activator of eosinophils, which play a key role in Type 2 inflammation-driven diseases through tissue repair and resolution of inflammation. Drs. Powell and Rokach developed a series of potentially first-in-class, oral, selective OXE receptor antagonists against 5-oxo-ETE, one of the most potent human eosinophil chemoattractants. Migration of eosinophils to body sites including the lungs and intestines is mediated by eosinophil chemoattractants such as 5-oxo-ETE. Eosinophils play a key role in Type 2 inflammation-driven diseases, including certain respiratory and gastro-intestinal diseases. Dr. Powell will serve as an advisor to Liminal BioSciences on the Fairhaven R&D Program.

“Compared to biologics, small molecule OXE receptor antagonists offer a promising and potentially more cost-effective treatment option for eosinophilic-driven disorders. I am looking forward to working with Liminal BioSciences to continue development on this exciting R&D program initiated by work carried out at McGill University and FIT.”

Dr. Powell

Read the entire press release by Liminal BioSciences here

Jean-Philippe Leduc-Gaudet is the winner of the 2019 Early Investigator prize

2019 Early Investigator Prize winners

Congratulations to Jean-Philippe Leduc-Gaudet, PhD student with Dr. Sabah Hussain and Olivier Reynaud of UQÀM, who have been awarded the 2019 Early Investigator Prize by the Journal of Physiology, in the Exercise and Muscle category.

The prize was awarded for the following manuscript:
Leduc-Gaudet JP, Reynaud O, Hussain SN, Gouspillou G. Parkin Overexpression Protects from Ageing-Related Loss of Muscle Mass and Strength. J Physiol. 2019 Apr;597(7):1975-1991. doi: 10.1113/JP277157. Epub 2019 Jan 30.

SARS-CoV-2 How do we eliminate this virus?

Defeating SARS-CoV-2: A Team Effort

In his opinion piece appearing in the July 13, 2020 edition of The Gazette, Dr. Maziar Divangahi of the Meakins-Christie Laboratories addresses the question: “How can we eliminate this virus?” Dr. Divangahi speaks to the growth of the knowledge base about this virus to date and some of the many remaining questions to be answered.

The complete article can be read by clicking here.

Dr. Richard Menzies, Canada Research Chair in Tuberculosis Research, Tier 1

Congratulations to Dr. Richard Menzies!

Dr. Richard Menzies has been awarded the Canada Research Chair in Tuberculosis Research, Tier 1, by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR). Dr. Menzies is an Associate Member of Meakins-Christie Laboratories, a full member of the McGill International TB Centre and of the RESP Program of the RI-MUHC.

Dr. Menzies is one of 34 McGill researchers to be recognized in the Spring 2019 round of Canada Research Chair awards, and one of only 17 Tier 1 Chairs. As explained in the McGill REPORTER:

The Tier 1 Chairs . . . are for outstanding researchers, acknowledged by their peers as world leaders in their field.

Congratulations Dr. Menzies!

Adamo Donovan, PhD student with Dr. Benjamin Smith, assists the Royal Victoria Hospital ICU staff and patients through the ICU Bridge Program

Royal Vic ICU: the faces behind the PPE

Thanks to the initiative of Adamo Donovan, PhD student with Dr. Benjamin Smith, the staff of the MUHC Royal Victoria Hospital ICU Department are now sharing their identity with colleagues and patients despite their PPE. With a photo of their face pinned to the outside of their PPE, staff are now able to clearly identify each other beyond their eye color. Here is an excerpt from the CBC article of July 4, 2020: Faces hidden due to PPE, Royal Victoria ICU nurses don portraits of themselves:

“The nurses of the MUHC’s Royal Victoria Hospital intensive-care unit are now wearing pictures of themselves so that patients and colleagues can recognize them through their face masks, shields and hospital gowns. They took inspiration from American artist Mary Beth Heffernan, who during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Liberia spearheaded the PPE Portrait Project there. The driving force behind the McGill University Health Centre initiative was Adamo Donovan, a PhD student and the co-founder of the ICU Bridge Program, which helps university students volunteer in intensive care.”

To read the article and watch the associated video, click here

Dr. James Martin, recipient of the 2020 ATS Assembly on Respiratory Structure & Function Joseph R. Rodarte Award.

Congratulations to Dr. James Martin!!

Dr. James Martin is this year’s recipient of the ATS Assembly on Respiratory Structure & Function Joseph R. Rodarte Award. Dr. Martin was nominated for this award by Dr. Basil Petrof, Director of the Meakins-Christie Laboratories.

This award is given in recognition of outstanding scientific achievement as a tribute to the outstanding attributes of the late Joseph R. Rodarte, who was an international leader in the fields of respiratory physiology and pulmonary medicine.

The award was presented at the RSF Assembly Virtual Membership Meeting held on Wednesday, June 24, 2020. Congratulations Dr. Martin!

Dr. Jason Bates, winner of the 2020 ATS Assembly on Respiratory Structure and Function Solbert Permutt Trailblazer Award in Pulmonary Physiology and Medicine

Congratulations to Dr. Jason Bates!

Dr. Jason Bates is a Meakins-Christie alumnus. He was a post-doctoral fellow under the supervision of Prof. Joseph Milic-Emili at the Meakins-Christie Laboratories from 1983-1986. Then he was a Meakins-Christie Laboratories research director between 1986-1999.

Dr. Bates is the recipient of the 2020 ATS Assembly on Respiratory Structure and Function Solbert Permutt Trailblazer Award in Pulmonary Physiology and Medicine. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Vermont.

Congratulations Dr. Bates!

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.

Rifampin for Latent TB: Shorter and safer than the standard treatment, but also cheaper

Rifampin for Latent TB: A Better Choice

Dr. Dick Menzies of the RI-MUHC recently carried out a cost-comparison study of two treatments for latent tuberculosis. He compared a four-month course of rifampin to a nine-month course of isoniazid, as a treatment for latent tuberculosis infection. The rifampin was found to be a safer and more cost-effective choice than the isoniazid. Dr. Menzies explains the importance of this finding:

“In this study, we compared the costs of the two regimens from the perspective of the health system, because policymakers do not look only at regimen effectiveness when adopting new regimens, but also consider affordability”.

“There is no time to lose; the evidence base supporting rifampin is strong,” says Dr. Menzies. “We believe that it is time for policymakers and tuberculosis programmes to make four-months of rifampin available as a first-line treatment option for tuberculosis preventive therapy.”

Read the article appearing on the RI-MUHC website by clicking here.

Read the publication here:

Health System Costs of Treating Latent Tuberculosis Infection With Four Months of Rifampin Versus Nine Months of Isoniazid in Different Settings. Bastos ML, Campbell JR, Oxlade O, Adjobimey M, Trajman A, Ruslami R, Kim HJ, Baah JO, Toelle BG, Long R, Hoeppner V, Elwood K, Al-Jahdali H, Apriani L, Benedetti A, Schwartzman K and Menzies D and DOI: https://doi.org/10.7326/M19-3741