Meakins-Christie Laboratories Directors
Basil Petrof (2017 – current)
Basil Petrof, MD is a Professor of Medicine at McGill University and Associate Director of the Meakins-Christie Laboratories. He is a practicing physician specialized in respiratory and sleep medicine, a member of the Department of Experimental Medicine and associate member in the Department of Neurology. His research interests are both clinical and basic, and he is an expert in respiratory muscle pathologies associated with muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, sleep apnea, sepsis, and the use of mechanical ventilation. Dr. Petrof’s research has led to over 100 peer-reviewed publications (e.g., PNAS, PLoS Genet, EMBO Mol Med). He was recognized by a National Researcher (Chercheur National) award, and has been funded by a variety of federal, provincial, and not-for profit sources (CIHR, FRQS, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation). Dr. Petrof has taken a leadership role within the research community: a past vice-president of the FRQS Réseau en santé respiratoire, he regularly chairs and organizes symposia at international meetings and is a member of numerous grant panels. Dr. Petrof is also Director for the RI-MUHC Translational Research in Respiratory Diseases Program. As director of both the Meakins-Christie Laboratories and the RESP program, he will continue to promote interdisciplinary research, take an active role in the mentorship of new faculty members, and work to ensure the success of collaborative research partnerships within and beyond the Meakins-Christie community.
Qutayba Hamid (2008 – 2017)
Qutayba Hamid, MD, PhD is a Professor of Medicine at McGill University and Dean of College of Medicine at the University of Sharjah. He held the prestigious James McGill Chair and Clinical Strauss Chair in Respiratory Medicine, and in 2013 was elected to be a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada Fellows. Dr. Hamid received his MD from Mosul University, Iraq, and his PhD from the University of London, UK. He has been a professor at McGill University and the Meakins-Christie Laboratories since 1993. In 2004, Dr. Hamid was part of a research team whose landmark study identified a new therapeutic target in controlling asthma, and to date he has published over 450 scientific articles in prominent international journals and has contributed more than 150 chapters and review articles. He is also the editor of 2 textbooks for Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology and Respiratory Physiology. Dr. Hamid was the Co-Editor of the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Allergy and Section Editor for the Journal of Allergy, Asthma, and Clinical Immunology. His research draws millions of dollars in grants on an annual basis, and his lab is an important training ground for respiratory professionals in Montreal. In 2018, Dr. Hamid was awarded the ATS Distinguished Achievement Award due to his outstanding contributions to fighting respiratory disease through research, education, patient care or advocacy. Dr. Hamid’s research interests include the pathogenesis of asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), the role of cytokines and chemokines in airway inflammation, and developing new therapies in asthma, allergic rhinitis and COPD.
James G Martin (1994 – 2008)
James Martin, MD, is a Professor of Medicine at McGill University. He served as Chair of the Department of Medicine of McGill University; Harry Webster Thorp Professor of Medicine; and Physician-in-Chief of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) from January 2014 until January of 2020. Dr. Martin brings a wealth of experience that spans close to 35 years at McGill University. A Professor of the Department of Medicine and Associate Member of the Department of Physiology, he has served as the Department of Medicine’s Executive Vice-Chair, Faculty Affairs; Senior Physician at the Royal Victoria Hospital of the MUHC; Research Director of the Meakins-Christie Laboratories; and Leader of the Respiratory Health Axis, Research Institute of the MUHC (RI-MUHC). Dr. Martin is also a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. After completing undergraduate training at University College, Cork in his native Ireland, Dr. Martin moved to Baltimore, where he served as an “Osler marine” on the house staff at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He then came to McGill for his training in respiratory medicine and a subsequent research fellowship at the Meakins-Christie Laboratories under the late Dr. Ludwig Engel. He has remained at the Meakins-Christie Laboratories ever since, building a distinguished research career and serving as an outstanding mentor and leader. The author of more than 250 publications, Dr. Martin is internationally known for his work on small animal models of asthma and on numerous aspects of asthma pathophysiology including the role of airway smooth muscle proliferation, mechanical interdependence, T-cell driven inflammation and oxidative stress. In 2005, he was awarded a Doctor of Science from the National University of Ireland, Cork. As Chair of the Department of Medicine, Dr. Martin is responsible for overseeing the largest clinical department of the McGill Faculty of Medicine, one that includes the MUHC, the Jewish General Hospital and the St. Mary’s Hospital Center of the McGill academic health network. His responsibilities include enhancing undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate education and residency training; active participation in academic appointments, promotions and tenure of faculty members; further developing clinical activities with McGill’s hospital partners; and enhancing and coordinating research pursuits.
Joseph Milic-Emili (1979 – 1994)
Joseph Milic-Emili was born in 1931 in the village of Sezana, then part of Italy, but now in Slovenia. After obtaining his medical degree from the University of Milan in 1955, he was appointed Assistant Professor in the Dept of Physiology in that institution, and carried out research in the area of exercise physiology with Professor Rodolfo Margaria. He was enticed to move to the University of Liège in 1958 by the Belgian physiologist Jean-Marie Petit, with whom he developed methods to measure pleural pressure with esophageal balloons as well as the electrical activity of the diaphragm using esophagial electrodes. In 1960 Milic moved to Boston to work at the Harvard School of Public Health. His research there resulted in a landmark paper (J Appl Physiol 1964) with Jere Mead on the measurement of pleural pressure, which has been cited nearly 1100 times and continues to be cited even now (as of 2012). In 1963, at the invitation of Professor David Bates, Milic moved to McGill University, where he spent the remainder of his career. His initial work at McGill on the regional distribution of inspired gas in the lung using radioactive xenon resulted in a landmark paper published in J Appl Physiol 1966. He examined respiratory mechanics in mechanically ventilated patients and developed the negative expiratory pressure technique to detect expiratory flow limitation in ICU patients. Milic was Chairman of the Dept of Physiology at McGill between 1973 and 1978, prior to becoming Director of the Meakins-Christie Laboratories in 1979. Throughout his career he received many honors and distinctions. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1980 and inducted into the Order of Canada in 1990. He was granted the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa by the Université Catholique de Louvain (1987), the University of Kunming (1988), Université de Montpellier (1994), the University of Athens (1999), and the University of Ljubljana (1999). He was appointed Professor Emeritus in the Departments of Physiology and Medicine at McGill in 1998. For anecdotes about Milic’s career see papers in J Anesth (2002) and Am J Respir Crit Care Med (2003). Announcement regarding Professor Joseph Milic-Emili (1931-2022).
Peter T Macklem (1972 – 1979)
The late Dr. Peter Macklem was the founding director of the Meakins-Christie Laboratories. Born in 1931, Peter grew up in Kingston, ON, Canada. He obtained a Bachelor’s degree from Queen’s University and an MD from McGill University Medical School in 1956. He pursued his residency training in internal medicine at the Royal Victoria Hospital (Montreal). He then received his research training in the Cardio-Pulmonary Service under Dr. Margaret Becklake. His interest in respiratory mechanics was further developed with Dr. Jere Mead at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, MA, USA. Following his return to Montreal and for the rest of his career he investigated various aspects of the respiratory system with a biophysical perspective. He founded the Meakins-Christie Laboratories in 1972 and was director until his appointment as Physician in Chief of the Royal Victoria Hospital and Chair of the Department of Medicine at McGill in 1979. Among his many contributions to respiratory physiology and medicine were the notion of equal pressure points determining flow limitation during forced expiration, the importance of small airways in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and the concept that respiratory muscles, like other skeletal muscles could undergo fatigue. Peter was a highly decorated scientist and won many awards. This included his induction into the Royal Society and the Order of Canada. Peter also received the Trudeau medal of the American Lung Association, a European Respiratory Society Congress Chairman Award, and honorary doctorates from the Université Libre de Bruxelles and the University of Athens. He set high standards for research at McGill and was a true Canadian icon.