Category Archives: Research Themes

Pulmonary Research Themes

According to the WHO, respiratory disorders are leading causes of death world-wide (second only to heart attack & stroke). These include diseases such as obstructive lung diseases and pulmonary infections. As a result, our research is focused around four main pulmonary research themes. These include: chronic airways disease, lung injury and infection, neuromuscular dysfunction in respiratory diseases, and sleep-disordered breathing.

Above all, a multidisciplinary approach is used to study the basic mechanisms of a number of diseases. These include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pulmonary infections, cystic fibrosis, sleep apnea, respiratory muscle disorders, pulmonary fibrosis, lung injury, and rare respiratory diseases. Research at the Meakins also involves the study of human physiology and tissues in parallel with relevant animal and cell culture models. Furthermore, research is facilitated by the availability of a variety of core facilities for both clinical and fundamental studies.

Learn more about our research themes here.

Below you will see posts and news items related to our research themes.

β-Glucan Induces Protective Trained Immunity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection: A Key Role for IL-1

Using β-glucan to help fight TB Infection

Congratulations to Dr. Nargis Khan and Dr. Eva Kaufmann, postdoctoral fellows with Dr. Maziar Divangahi for their latest Cell Reports publication. Their work shows that β-glucan induces protective trained immunity in human monocytes infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, as well as in mice infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Their work is paving the way for both prophylactic and therapeutic use of β-glucan in TB.

Some highlights from the article:

  • β-glucan induces protective trained immunity in human monocytes infected with Mtb
  • β-glucan induces protective trained immunity in mice infected with Mtb
  • β-glucan-mediated protection against Mtb is dependent on IL-1 signaling
  • β-glucan increases expansion of hematopoietic progenitors and myelopoiesis via IL-1

Read the entire paper here: https://www.cell.com/cell-reports/fulltext/S2211-1247(20)30587-8

Opinion: All levels of government must take decisive, co-ordinated action now before it's too late opinion piece by salman qureshi and colleagues from the critical care network

Stepping up to COVID-19

Read the opinion piece co-written by Dr. Faiz Ahmad Khan in the Hill Times – published March 25, 2020 here:

With the arrival of COVID-19, Canada’s health-care system is being tested as never before. Canadian leaders must elicit the assistance of private industry to ensure its continued success, as health-care supplies and equipment are rapidly depleted. A substantial increase in testing for the virus together with significant financial investments in research, aimed at a deeper understanding of the virus and development of a vaccine, should also be top priorities. Solid financial support for all those impacted by the virus will ensure a rapid return to normal once the crisis has abated. Maintaining open communication and collaboration between leaders, the government, and with partners across the board is the key to our ultimate success.

Opinion piece by Salman Qureshi and colleagues from the Critical Care Infectious Disease Network in Canada: All levels of government must take decisive, co-ordinated action now before it's too late

COVID-19 Need for coordinated action

Dr. Salman Qureshi and colleagues from the Critical Care – Infectious Diseases Network in Canada speak to the critical actions needed as we experience this public health crisis.

Read the full new article in the National Post published on March 17, 2020 here:

Canadian leaders can reduce the damage caused by COVID-19 to Canadians and Canadian society by paying close attention to decisions taken in countries currently experiencing severe outbreaks. Strategies to mitigate the spread of the virus amongst the population, minimizing the strain of our healthcare system at any one time, coupled with a sharing of resources across boundaries as the demand for health-care fluctuates, will together play an important role on the ultimate long-term effect of this virus on our society.

Margaret R. Becklake Fellowship in Respiratory Research at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre

Dr. Margaret Becklake Fellowship

DETAILS ABOUT THE DR. MARGARET BECKLAKE FELLOWSHIP

  • Full application details can be found here: https://www.meakinsmcgill.com/trainee-funding/
  • Application Deadline: April 1, 2020
  • The first winner of the Dr. Margaret Becklake Fellowship will be chosen to start his or her fellowship in July 2019
  • Selection of recipients will be made by a committee consisting of the directors of the MUHC respiratory division, the Meakins-Christie Laboratories and the Respiratory Epidemiology and Clinical Research Unit

DR. MARGARET BECKLAKE: A PIONEERING LEADER IN RESPIRATORY MEDICINE

The Montreal Chest Institute Foundation is proud to honour Dr. Becklake’s legacy and immense contribution in developing generations of respiratory clinicians and researchers by launching the Dr. Margaret Becklake Fellowship. This fellowship will be awarded to at least one trainee in respiratory research every year and will pay her or his salary as s/he conducts research under the supervision of scientists at the Montreal Chest Institute of the McGill University Health Centre.

Recipients will be chosen from low- and middle-income countries as well as from Canadian Indigenous communities. 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. Dr. Becklake also trained and hosted students in respiratory research from lower-income countries, who then became leaders in research and care in those countries.

Help us train the next generation of researchers and specialists in areas of the world where the need is greatest. Help us share the expertise we have at the Montreal Chest Institute around the globe. Help us continue Dr. Becklake’s legacy.

Dr. Margaret Becklake immigrated to Montreal in 1957 from South Africa. Her impact on respiratory care, research and teaching was profound. With other members of the McGill faculty, she worked on occupational lung disease, an interest she maintained from her early medical career in South Africa. She established the now well-known Respiratory Epidemiology and Clinical Research Unit at McGill and at the Montreal Chest Institute.

Dr. Becklake was renowned for her insistence upon the importance of a clearly stated, relevant research question and more generally for her clarity and insight. She was also unfailingly devoted to her patients and their families. The research unit she founded flourishes today, as it continues to emphasize respiratory research of direct relevance to patients and communities.

Read more here: https://mcifoundation.ca/dr-margaret-becklake-fellowship/

funding news for the Meakins-Christie Laboratories

Five CIHR Project Grants awarded!

Five CIHR Project grants were awarded to Meakins and RECRU members in the Fall 2019 competition. Congratulations to ALL!

Basil Petrof. Co-Applicant: Sabah Hussain. Title: Understanding the basis of diaphragmatic weakness in critical illness. Ranked 1st in the Respiratory System Peer Review Committee!

Maziar Divangahi. Title: Reprogramming HSCs to generate protective trained immunity against TB. Ranked 2nd in the Immunology & Transplantation Peer Review Committee!

Maziar Divangahi. Title: Targeting the eicosanoid/macrophage axis to enhance host defense against influenza virus infection.

Carolyn Baglole. Co-Principal Investigator: Ilan Azuelos. Co-Applicants: Andrea Benedetti, Imed Gallouzi. Title: Prognostic and Therapeutic Utility of Human Antigen R (HuR) in Fibrosis.

Faiz Ahmad Khan. Co-Principal Investigators: Glenda Sandy, Christopher Fletcher, Neil Andersson. Co-Applicants: Marie Rochette, Carmen Sicilia, Dick Menzies, Stephanie Law, Richard Long, Alison Doucet. Title: Community Health Workers in Tuberculosis Prevention & Care Services in Nunavik.

Funding from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to Maziar Divangahi at the Meakins-Christie Laboratories

Grant to investigate HSCs & innate immunity

Congratulations to Maziar Divangahi for his new grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The project will investigate the impact of beta glucan on hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and innate immunity.

Project title: Beta-glucan induced trained innate immunity.

Maziar Divangahi is a faculty member at McGill University and the Meakins-Christie Laboratories and scientist within the RI-MUHC Respiratory Program.

Quebec Respiratory health network logo

Epigenetics of vaping project funded by QRHN

Congratulations Carolyn Baglole! The Quebec Respiratory Health Network (QRHN) awarded one (1) year funding for her collaborative project entitled “Evaluate the Epigenetic Lung Effects of Vaping“. The project was funded through the Priority Projects Grants Program (2019-2020).

The Mentorship program of the QRHN also funded Tania Janaudis-Ferreira. Title: Improving ACCEPTance and uptake of Pulmonary Rehabilitation after acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – The ACCEPT PR STUDY. Dr. Janaudis-Ferreira is an Associate Member of the Meakins-Christie Laboratories and an investigator at the RI-MUHC Respiratory Program.

The Quebec Respiratory Health research Network (QRHN) is one of 20 thematic networks funded by the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé. It brings together more than 490 researchers, pulmologists, health professionals and students. The goal of the Network is to provide a provincial structure in respiratory health based on the participation of researchers in this field, to promote the integration of the different research components, namely clinical, evaluative, epidemiological and fundamental research.

Meakins Workshop Lipid Biology in Respiratory Diseases

Lipid Biology in Respiratory Diseases

Workshop Topic: Lipid Biology in Respiratory Diseases

Date: March 28, 2020POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
Location: Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, 1001 Boul Décarie, Montreal, QC – Cruess Amphitheatre ES1.1129

The 22nd Meakins-Christie Laboratories Workshop will focus on Lipid Biology in Respiratory Diseases.

Keynote Christie Lecture by Dr. William Powell – Perspectives on a Life in Lipids

Faiz Ahmad Khan was funded through the OBCIA program for his innovative tuberculosis research program that will examine the impact of artificial-intelligence based tools for diagnosing tuberculosis

OBVIA funds innovative AI program

Congratulations Faiz Ahmad Khan! The project submitted by his team has just been awarded funding by l’Observatoire International sur les impacts sociétaux de l’IA et du numérique (OBVIA). OBVIA is supported by the FRQS. It aims to support communities, organizations, and individuals to maximize the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) and digital health technologies. As part of the fist call for research proposals, funded projects will examine the societal impacts of AI and digital health.

Faiz’s project was ranked 1st and is among the first projects funded through this innovative competition. Congratulations Faiz! Using tuberculosis as an example, the study will evaluate the effectiveness and impact of diagnostic tools based on artificial intelligence to see how they influence health equity.

Project title.
AI “solutions” to global health challenges: an inter-disciplinary case study to critically evaluate the development and implementation of an artificial-intelligence based tool for diagnosing tuberculosis, the world’s leading infectious killer.

Team Members: Faiz Ahmad Khan (McGill University), Pierre-Marie David (Université de Montréal) and Sabaa Khan (University of Eastern Finland, School of Law).

Read the entire Press Release here

Faiz Ahmad Khan is an Associate member of the Meakins-Christie Laboratories and a Junior Scientist within the RI-MUHC Respiratory Program.

Dr. Jean Bourbeau named 2019 distinguished CHEST Educator

Jean Bourbeau named distinguished CHEST Educator

Dr. Jean Bourbeau was honoured as a 2019 Distinguished CHEST Educator by the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST). He also received this recognition in 2017 and 2018. The designation provides recognition of excellence in continuing medical education, placing Dr. Bourbeau within the top 4% of CHEST faculty worldwide.

Congratulations Dr. Bourbeau!

“The greatest achievement someone can consider is seen in the people we train. Real values in what we are doing in medicine, besides taking care of patients, live by being handed down to others,” … “CHEST has given me the privilege over the years to advance best patient outcomes through innovative chest medicine education. However, this would not have been possible without the contribution of all the people working with me, in particular those at the MUHC and McGill University, and my patients who have always been an inspiration.”

Dr. Jean Bourbeau

About the award: The Distinguished CHEST Educator designation recognizes the achievements of members who have made significant and long-term contributions to the leadership, development, and delivery of CHEST education by serving as CHEST committee chairs, vice-chairs, faculty, content developers, members, and peer reviewers for programs and activities, such as CHEST Annual Meeting, CHEST Board Review courses, CHEST SEEK™ education, Live Learning, CHEST Immersion, e-Learning, and more.

Dr. Bourbeau is a member of RECRU, the RI-MUHC RESP Program, and an associate member of the Meakins-Christie Laboratories. His research expertise are in COPD, rehabilitation, disease and self-management (Living Well with COPD — livingwellwithcopd.com), health and behaviour, and clinical evaluative research.

Read the full article here on McGill e-News