• The Jason T Maynes Lab

    Improving Patient Outcomes by Intersecting Clinical Care,

    Disease Pathophysiology, and Biophysics


    Our Mission is to Link Patient Disease with Molecular Mechanism and Generate New Therapeutic Avenues in the Pediatric Population

    Focal Adhesion Imaging in iPSC-cardiomyocytes

    Heart Failure, Cardiac Dysfunction and Stem Cell-Derived Tissue

    Integrin-linked Kinase and New Therapies for Heart Failure

    Integrin-linked kinase (ILK) is a pseudo-kinase (i.e. kinase fold without protein phosphorylation activity) that scaffolds focal adhesion proteins in many cell types, including cardiomyocytes. We have illustrated how ILK can also improve cardiac inotropy through the regulation of cellular calcium currents. Using iPSC-cardiomyocyte models, we have shown how ILK interacts with the calcium pump SERCA-2a and how upregulation of ILK can prevent cancer chemotherapy-induced cardiac dysfunction and reduce arrhythmias. We continue to determine key ILK protein:protein interactions that affect cardiomyocyte function and develop new therapeutics for heart failure based on ILK. This includes investigating the role of ILK in potential regenerative cardiac therapies.

    Mitochondrial and Peroxosome Imaging

    Mitochondrial Function, Cellular Energy and Metabolomics

    Mitochondrial Form and Function in Disease States

    Mitochondrial function is increasingly being discovered to be important in disease processes. Using biophysical methods, we study how both the function of the mitochondrial and the shape of the organelle is altered by disease and pharmacology. Mitochondrial shape (covered by fusion and fission) is a newly discovered mechanism by which mitochondria repair their protein and DNA components, in particular under the constantly oxidative environment of the mitochondria.

    Examples of projects ongoing in this area include:

    • the biochemical and biophysical characterization of proteins involved in mitochondrial fusion and fission
    • metabolomics of cardiac disease, including heart failure and pulmonary hypertension
    • how anesthetic agents alter cellular metabolism and affect patient outcome
    Drug Effects on Ion Currents in iPSC-cardiomyocytes

    Disease Modelling, Assay Development and Drug Screening

    Identifying novel treatments for cardiac fibrosis, heart failure, and viral infection

    High attrition rates within clinical trials, due to safety or efficacy reasons, poses a significant barrier to drug development. More predictive disease models and assays are needed to improve the translation of research findings to patients. Addressing methodological gaps and creating better tools to study disease is an important goal of the research conducted in the Maynes laboratory. We employ a multidisciplinary approach, incorporating clinicians, scientists, and engineers with unique areas of expertise, to design comprehensive assays for drug screening. Our screening efforts have yielded a number of promising therapeutic candidates for the treatment cardiac fibrosis, heart failure, and viral infection.


    Examples of projects ongoing in this area include:

    •  Development of in vitro platforms for accurate quantification of cardiac function (e.g. beat rate, rhythm, contractility) using iPSC-derived tissue
    • in silico screening to identify modulators of ILK protein-protein interactions for the treatment of heart failure
    • Identification of secreted therapeutic factors from patient-derived cardiac samples for the treatment of cardiac fibrosis
    • Development and application of novel screening assays to discover antiviral treatments for respiratory syncytial virus and SARS-CoV-2
    Drug Effects on Ion Currents in iPSC-cardiomyocytes

    The Cellular Effects of Anesthetics

    Determining How Anesthetic Agents Affect Cellular Processes

    One of the largest issues facing pediatric anesthesia and surgery is the potential adverse effects of anesthetics on the developing brain. We investigate how pharmaceuticals used in a common anesthesia - inhalational and IV anesthetics, opiates, benzodiazepines - affect various cellular processes including protein function and metabolism.


    Examples of projects ongoing in this area include:

    • the effects of anesthetics on protein folding
    • how autistic patients are affected by anesthesia
    • how anesthetic agents affect gene transcriptional regulation

    Current Lab Members

    Jason T Maynes, PhD/MD

    aka Gru, Chief Man, Boss man

    Jason T Maynes, PhD/MD is the Director of Research for Anesthesia and Pain Medicine and a Staff Anesthesiologist at The Hospital for Sick Children. He has research training in biophysics from the University of Alberta, Los Alamos National Weapons Lab and Washington University.


    Favorite Food or Drink: Scotch

    Favorite Quote: " Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts." - Richard Feynman

    Ramesh Vanama, PhD

    Lab Manager

    aka The Man

    Ramesh Babu Vanama, PhD. is the Lab Manager in the Maynes Lab at the Hospital for Sick Children. He previously completed his PhD in Genetics from the University of Osmania. His past work experience includes working as a Research Associate in the Hybrid Rice department at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, a Postdoctoral fellow in the department of Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto, and a Lab Manager in the Department of Immunology at University Health Network. He is currently working on mitochondrial fission factor protein.


    Libo Zhang, MD

    Research Associate

    I received my MD degree and an M.Sc. degree in Surgery from Dalian Medical University. After working as a surgeon for 3 years, I moved to Canada and received my M.Sc. degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Calgary. Since 2004, I have been working as a Research Associate at SickKids, specializing in pediatric cancer research. In 2017, I joined this wonderful team and started working on proteomic analysis in cardiovascular diseases. My goal is to find out why people suffer from “broken hearts” and how we can heal them from molecular level.

    Azadeh Yeganeh, PhD

    Research Associate

    I did my undergrad in Food Science and since I was so fascinated with what food does to our body, I studied Human Nutritional Sciences at University of Manitoba (U of M) for my Masters degree. During my PhD at the department of Physiology and Pathophysiology at U of M, I studied the mechanisms involved in the anti-obesity effect of Conjugated Linoleic Acid in 3T3-L1 adipocytes, and obese db/db mice. I moved to Toronto to continue my training and after 4 years of postdoctoral training on stem cell research at the SickKids and UHN, I joined Maynes lab in 2019. I currently study the role of secreted factors from neonatal heart-derived stem cells on heart repair. Besides stem cell research I enjoy baking and gardening.



    Julia Plakhotnik

    Graduate Student

    Hi, I'm Julia! I am currently a PhD student in the Department of Biochemistry at UofT, and previously graduated co-op Biochemistry at the University of Waterloo. I study proteins that relay tension in the heart. I pretend to rule over the elements, but really, I just mix colourful liquids.



    Manpreet Malhi

    Graduate Student

    I am a PhD candidate in the Maynes laboratory focusing on research pertaining to drug discovery and development. More specifically, I am investigating novel small molecular inhibitors of respiratory syncytial virus. Prior to joining the laboratory, I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and a Master’s of Biomedical Technology from the University of Calgary.



    Doorsa Tarazi

    Graduate Student

    I did my undergrad in biochemistry at McGill and decided to move back to Toronto because of the wonderful performance of our sports teams. I am currently investigating the effects of anesthetics and analgesics on cancer metabolism, methylation, and growth. I’m mesmerized by dry ice. If you have some by your desk, be assured, I will be popping by to ‘borrow’ a piece or two.



    Tim Lee

    Graduate Student

    Hello, I’m Tim! I am originally from Vancouver and I completed my BSc in Pharmacology at the University of Alberta. Now that I am a grad student at the UofT I can’t help but think I will eventually end up somewhere further East because I just keep moving in that direction throughout my education. I am interested in the pathophysiology of heart diseases, disease prevention and drug discovery. Currently, I study an ion channel mutation in the heart that leads to arrhythmias and cardiomyopathies. When I am not in the lab you can expect to find me at the climbing gym or on the basketball court, staying active is good for your cardiovascular health!



    Fatemeh Mirshafiei Langari

    Graduate Student

    I did my bachelor’s degree in biology at the American University of Sharjah in the UAE. Then I moved to the second coolest London in the world and did my masters in Neuroscience at Western University before joining the Maynes lab for my PhD. I am currently studying the metabolic effects of neonatal heart-derived secretome on cardiomyocytes and cardiac fibroblasts or how my non-scientist friends like to say: “studying secretome of baby hearts and what is special about them”. I am also a cat enthusiast, so if you ever need a cat sitter, you know who to call.



    Kaley Hogarth


    Hi, I’m Kaley! I am currently a laboratory technician in the JTM lab. Prior to starting here, I completed an undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology & Genetics and Biomedical Sciences and a master’s degree in Pharmacology & Toxicology, both from the University of Guelph. When I’m not working on my power swing, I find time to study the effects of various anesthetics on mitochondrial function. Still working on hitting for the Krebs cycle!



    Carolyne Pehora

    Research Nurse

    I graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree and obtained my Master of Nursing Degree from Athabasca University. By day, I help coordinate research studies in the Department of Anesthesia and Pain Medicine and am responsible for various nursing/research-related tasks. By night I am a part time fitness/Zumba instructor and also enjoy tap dancing, playing the piano and traveling the world.



  • Equipment Bookings

    For booking for lab equipment specific to the Maynes Lab, or change to HSC equipment page

  • Lab Fuel

  • Past Lab Members

    Most are missed.....

    Fellows/Research Associates (current location/position)

    • Yunong Li, WuXi Biologics (Shanghai)
    • Juliana The: Research Associate, University of Toronto
    • Ami Perri: Michener Institute of Education at UHN
    • Yanan Tang: Assistant Professor, Sichuan University (China)
    • Rick Bagshaw: Nucro-Technics (Toronto)
    • Daniel Stocki: Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (Tel-Aviv, Israel)
    • Dean Bunbury: Middlemore Hospital (Auckland City, New Zealand)
    • Sindu Balakrishnan: Hamad General Hospital (Doha, Qatar)
    • Matthew Coghlan: Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin (Dublin, Ireland)
    • Diana Raj: Gartnaval Royal Hospital (Glascow, Scotland)
    • Vannessa Chin: Boston Children's (Boston, USA) -> Hospital for Sick Children (Toronto, Canada)
    • Grant Stewart: Greater Ormond Street Hospital (London, England)

    Students (current location/last identified position)

    • Lawrence Wengle: University College Cork (Cork, Ireland) -> University of Toronto (Toronto, Canada)
    • Megan Banting: McMaster Univeristy (Hamilton, Canada)
    • David Pompili: University of Toronto (Toronto, Canada)
    • Henry Mah: University of Western Ontario (London, Canada)
    • Jae Eun Lee (in Korean, Pi-Squished H-Zero Over Bed): University of Sydney (Australia)



    • Michael Tropak: Hospital for Sick Children
    • Olga Chernysh


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    Department of Anesthesia and Pain Medicine

    Hospital for Sick Children

    Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    M5G 1X8