Dr. Basil Petrof Seeks a Better Understanding of How Our Lung Muscles Function

Dr. Basil Petrof is the head of the Laboratory of Respiratory Muscle Biology and the Interim Director of the renown Meakins-Christie Laboratories. His research focuses on respiratory muscle dysfunction, injury and repair. He and his team are studying disorders of the diaphragm and other breathing muscles. Our respiratory muscles pump air into and out of our lungs. If these muscles are defective, patients are at risk of respiratory failure and even death.

Some disorders of the respiratory muscle are genetic (inherited), such as muscular dystrophies. Other patients can acquire such a disorder as a consequence of another illness (for example, patients with chronic lung diseases such as emphysema and cystic fibrosis). Disorders of the respiratory muscles are especially frequent in critically ill patients who become dependent on mechanical ventilation (breathing machines).


Dr. Petrof and his team investigate the cellular and molecular mechanisms which contribute to these disorders. Their goal is to find a way to strengthen the breathing muscles by developing new therapies that will help reverse and/or prevent the development of respiratory muscle weakness and failure in patients.

His research has been published in a number of peer-reviewed journals including:

  • Human Molecular Genetics,
  • EMBO Molecular Medicine,
  • Journal of Pathology,
  • American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
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