About the Meakins-Christie Laboratories

The Meakins-Christie Laboratories

We are a pulmonary research centre founded in 1972 by Dr. Peter Macklem. Often referred to simply as the “Meakins”, we are the largest group of pulmonary, allergy, and critical care medicine researchers at McGill University and the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC). Since its inception, the Meakins has established itself as one of the premiere centres in the world dedicated to the study of respiratory disorders. The Meakins also serves a key role in training the next generation of respiratory disease researchers, and our alumni have gone on to assume major leadership positions across the globe.

Who We Are

Trainees and Fellows
Trainees and Fellows

The Meakins serves as an important training ground for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows (MD & PhD)

Support Staff
Support Staff

Trainees are supported by the Research Associates,  Research Assistants, Technicians and our Administrative Team

Our Director
Our Director

Our current director is Dr. Basil J Petrof. Learn more about our current and past directors

Our Faculty
Our Faculty

The Meakins comprises the largest group of pulmonary, allergy, and critical care medicine researchers at McGill University and the RI-MUHC

 What We Research

Our research is focused around five main pulmonary research themes :

Chronic Airways Disease • Lung Injury and Infection • Neuromuscular Dysfunction in Respiratory Diseases • Sleep-disordered Breathing • Lung Cancer

Meakins investigators work closely with clinical researchers within McGill University and MUHC hospital units, including :

Respiratory Epidemiology and Clinical Research Unit (RECRU)

Respiratory Epidemiology and Clinical Research Unit (RECRU)

Respiratory Division at McGill University, Department of Medicine

Respiratory Division at McGill University, Department of Medicine

Department of Critical Care Medicine at McGill University

Department of Critical Care Medicine at McGill University

The Meakins-Christie Laboratories are well positioned to address important respiratory health challenges and perform translational research in both pediatric and adult populations.

Examples of diseases we study across the lifespan include asthma and other forms of obstructive pulmonary disease, pulmonary infections, cystic fibrosis, sleep apnea, respiratory muscle disorders, lung injury, and various rare respiratory diseases.

Our Faculty and Associate Members

James Hogg, Jonathan Meakins, David Eidelman from McGill and Meakins-Christie Laboratories
James Hogg (Meakins alumnus) and Jonathan Meakins (whose grandfather lent his name to the Meakins), shown with David Eidelman, received honorary degrees from McGill on March 27, 2015

The core Faculty Members and Associate Members of the Meakins bring together a broad array of complementary skills and expertise. The Meakins faculty are an approximately equal mix of physician-scientists and PhDs with diverse scientific backgrounds spanning physiology, microbiology & immunology, genetics, artificial intelligence & computational biology, biochemistry, pathology, cellular & molecular biology, bioengineering, and neurobiology.

As a result, our members hold primary appointments and cross-appointments in several departments. These include Medicine, Critical Care, Pediatrics, Physiology, Genetics, Pathology, Microbiology & Immunology, Biomedical Engineering, Neurology, and Pharmacology. The Meakins faculty form the largest component of the Translational Research in Respiratory Diseases Program (RESP) of the RI-MUHC, which is funded through the MUHC and the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé.

History of the Meakins-Christie Laboratories

The Meakins-Christie Laboratories opened officially in August 1972. Unofficially, it was in operation long before then in the tightly-knit group of scientists, clinicians and academics who came together at the Royal Victoria Hospital in the late 1950s and early 1960s. This institution evolved from the join cardiopulmonary laboratory into a leading respiratory research centre that welcomed academic freedom, originality and creativity.

HISTORY OF THE MEAKINS-CHRISTIE LABORATORIES

BY PETER T. MACKLEM

Published in Physiological Basis of Respiratory Disease, Q Hamid, J Shannon, and JG Martin, eds, BC Decker Inc, Hamilton, Ontario, 2005. “The first quarter of the twentieth century marks the beginning of the history of the Meakins-Christie Laboratories for Respiratory Research.”

RESPIRATORY MEDICINE AND RESEARCH AT MCGILL UNIVERSITY: A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE

BY JAMES G. MARTIN AND KEVIN SCHWARTZMAN

Published in Canadian Respiratory Journal, Vol 22, No 1, January/February 2015.

COLLAPSE AND EXPAND : ARCHITECTURE AND TUBERCULOSIS THERAPY IN MONTREAL, 1909, 1933, 1954

BY ANNEMARIE ADAMS, KEVIN SCHWARTZMAN, DAVID THEODORE

Published in Society for the History of Technology, Vol 9, October, 2008.

History of our Logo

John Hutchinson (1811-1861) was a surgeon who popularized the spirometer or “breath-meter” in 1846. The spirometer measures lung, or vital, capacity (i.e. the capacity to live). The device was initially described as a “breathing machine” for measuring lung volume and an “inspirator” for measuring power. Scientific papers described the spirometer as an easy and precise way to evaluate respiratory functions in humans with a goal of detecting disease. Mr. Hutchinson evaluated over 2,000 people with his spirometer and developed detailed illustrations and diagrams of his apparatus. He conducted extensive research and evaluations and was described as a pioneer in the investigation of pulmonary physiology and pathology. Diagram 26 from his 1846 paper shows Mr. Hutchinson’s silhouette to illustrate how the body must be positioned before breathing into the spirometer. This diagram inspired the original Meakins-Christie Laboratories logo (1972-2022).

PJ Bishop. A bibliography of John Hutchinson. Med Hist. 1977 Oct; 21(4): 384–396.
EA Spriggs, B Gandevia, PJ Bishop. Abstract: John Hutchinson (1811-1861) Inventor of the Spirometer. Proc R Soc Med. 1976 Jun; 69(6): 450.
TL Petty. John Hutchinson’s mysterious machine revisited. Chest. 2002 May;121(5 Suppl):219S-223S.

A Kouri, R Dandurand, et al., Exploring the 175-yera history of spirometry and the vital lessons it can teach us today. Eur Respir Rev 2021; 30: 210081

THE MEAKINS-CHRISTIE LABORATORIES WOULD LIKE TO THANK ALL THE SUPPORT RECEIVED FROM PRIVATE FOUNDATIONS

  • COSTELLO FAMILY – MRS. YVONNE COSTELLO GOULD
  • RICHARD AND EDITH STRAUSS FOUNDATION
  • LLOYD HARRIS FOUNDATION
  • FELICIA AND ARNOLD AARON FOUNDATION
  • MRS. BARBARA KUPER
  • SEYMOUR HEISLER MEMORIAL LECTURE FUND
  • PETER MACKLEM MEMORIAL LECTURE FUND
  • CHRISTIE MEMORIAL LECTURE FUND