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Geoffrey Maksym

Director, Associate Professor, School of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science


My laboratory work on projects ranging from measuring cell function at the nanoscale to developing new medical devices for research and commercialization.


Geoffrey Maksym, PhD
Email: gmaksym@dal.ca
Phone: 902-494-2624
Fax: 902-494-2624
Web: http://maksymlab.com

Our Group

We conduct research on airway smooth muscle function and why the airways of asthmatics narrow too easily and too much. We also develop biomedical instrumentation to measure both airway constriction in humans and also to measure cell structure-function under the microscope.


Mechanotransduction: To undertake this work we are examining a more basic behaviour of all cells: The ability of cells to alter their structure and function in response to mechanical deformation. The ability of a cell to respond and alter its response to mechanical stimulation is essential to blood pressure regulation, bone growth, wound healing, muscle growth, and its malfunction is increasingly implicated in many diseases including osteoporosis, cancer, muscular dystrophy, and asthma.  
Medical Devices Development and Research: We are also engaged in collaboration with physicians at the QEII and a medical device company in Montreal. We are also developing methods for measuring airway health and function in patients, both in children and adults. This exciting project is under patent application and is supported by Dalhousie's Technology transfer office and NSERC idea to innovation program. We are developing advanced signal analysis methods including time-frequency and wavelet analysis and advanced instrumentation technologies.
Asthma and Airway Smooth Muscle Function: The medical focus of this research is to find ways to combat asthma, by better understanding how the muscle surrounding our airways function, and how they behave in dysfunction - causing airway constriction, impaired breathing and sometimes death. In our lab, we apply the specific engineering tools that we have developed to measure the contractile behaviour of cultured smooth muscle cells. Using these tools we can measure differences in mechanical function between different cell populations. We investigate the how the cell structure leads to changes in cell function.



Effects of airway tree asymmetry on the emergence and spatial persistence of ventilation defects. Leary D, Winkler T, Braune A, Maksym GN. J. Appl. Physiol. (2014) 117(4):353-62. 
A study of artifacts and their removal during forced oscillation of the respiratory system. Bhatawadekar SA, Leary D, Chen Y, Ohishi J, Hernandez P, Brown T, McParland C, Maksym GN. Ann. Biomed. Eng. (2013) 41(5):990-1002. 
Airway contractility and remodeling: links to asthma symptoms. West AR, Syyong HT, Siddiqui S, Pascoe CD, Murphy TM, Maarsingh H, Deng L, Maksym GN, Bossé Y. Pulm. Pharmacol. Ther. (2013) 26(1):3-12. 
Development and characterization of a 3D multicell microtissue culture model of airway smooth muscle. West AR, Zaman N, Cole DJ, Walker MJ, Legant WR, Boudou T, Chen CS, Favreau JT, Gaudette GR, Cowley EA, Maksym GN. Am. J. Physiol. Lung Cell Mol. Physiol. (2013) 304(1):L4-16. 
Regional pulmonary response to a methacholine challenge using hyperpolarized (3)He magnetic resonance imaging. Costella S, Kirby M, Maksym GN, McCormack DG, Paterson NA, Parraga G. Respirology (2012) 17(8):1237-46. 
Modeling stochastic and spatial heterogeneity in a human airway tree to determine variation in respiratory system resistance. Leary D, Bhatawadekar SA, Parraga G, Maksym GN. J. Appl. Physiol. (2012) 112(1):167-75.