• 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.

    Cardiac Fibroblasts

    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
    • New mechanisms of drug cardiotoxicity, including local anesthetics
    • 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

    broken image

    Jason T Maynes, PhD/MD

    aka Gru, Chief Man, Boss man, Big Daddy

    Jason T Maynes, PhD/MD is the Chief of Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, the Associate Chief of Research (Surgical Services) 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

    broken image

    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.


    broken image

    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.

    broken image

    Loukmane Karim, PhD

    Research Associate

    Originally from Algeria, I completed my PhD at the University of Strasbourg (France) in Molecular and Cell Biology with a particular interest in mitochondrial biology. After a Postdoctoral training at Temple University (Philadelphia, USA) and a short industrial experience at AstraZeneca (Cambridge, UK) both in the Pulmonary diseases field, I moved to Canada in 2022 and joined Dr. Maynes lab at the SickKids as a Research Associate. I'm involved in the preclinical evaluation of new therapeutics in the treatment of Cardiac dysfunctions. In addition to my passion for sciences, I enjoy playing volleyball and soccer.

    broken image

    Abdelkader Daoud

    Research Project Manager

    Abdel is a Lab Research Project Manager, splitting his time between Dr. Maynes and Dr. Bear’s labs to support the SickKids Tissue Avatars for Therapies (STAT) project. Abdel received his PhD in China and completed his Postdoctoral training at the Medical University of South Carolina. His work focuses on using patient-derived stem cells for precision medicine and drug screening. In his spare time, Abdel enjoys playing soccer and traveling with his family.



    broken image

    Wenkun Dou

    Post-Doctoral Fellow

    Hello, I am Wenkun! I completed my BSc at the Dalian university of Technology and PhD in mechanical engineering at the University of Toronto. I am currently a Postdoctoral research fellow at the U of T and SickKids. My project focuses on developing micro-engineered platforms, biosensors, and Heart-on-a-Chip technologies to characterize the contractile function of in vitro cardiac models for drug testing and cardiac disease modeling. I like to play with the “engineering toys” I developed for heart research. In my spare time, I like swimming and hiking with friends.



    broken image

    Matteo Ponzoni

    Post Doctoral Fellow

    I am a cardiac surgeon specializing in congenital heart surgery and innovative treatment approaches for end-stage heart failure. I earned my MD in Milan, Italy, and completed my cardiac surgery residency in Padua, Italy. I moved to Toronto in 2022, and I joined this amazing team as research fellow, focusing in animal models of heart failure and regenerative medicine. Currently, I hold the position of clinical fellow in the cardiovascular surgery department at The Hospital for Sick Children. I love cooking (of course, since I am Italian!), playing basketball, and freediving!



    broken image

    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!



    broken image

    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.



    broken image

    Nicholas Chan

    Graduate Student

    Hi, I’m Nick! I am currently a graduate student in Biochemistry at the University of Toronto. Before joining the Maynes lab, I completed my undergraduate degree in the same program at the University of Calgary, which is where I was also born and raised. My research project in the lab is to investigate the potential role of ion channels in adipose tissues and its connection to cardiovascular health. Beyond the lab, I enjoy going out with friends, listening to music, and sneaking in naps whenever I can!



    broken image

    Nikki Zamani Farahani

    Graduate Student

    Hi, I’m Nikki! I previously completed my BSc. in Pathobiology at the University of Toronto, and I have now switched over to Biochemistry for my graduate studies. My research in the lab focuses on the phase separation of focal adhesion proteins in cardiac fibroblasts, and their relationship to force transduction in the heart. Outside of the lab you can find me at the climbing gym, volleyball court, or searching for a cozy coffee shop.

    broken image

    Adam Feng

    Graduate Student

    Hello, I am Adam! I completed my Bsc in Biochemistry at the University of Toronto in 2020 and am currently enrolled in the same program for my graduate studies. My research project in the JTM lab is to study the epigenetics of a focal adhesion protein called beta parvins, and its relationship to the contractility of the heart. In my spare time, I love trying out new restaurants, traveling with my friends, and going to karaoke. If anyone is down for going to karaoke, I would be delighted if anyone wants to join but be warned beforehand of my terrible singing.



    broken image

    Kaley Hogarth

    Lab Research Project Manager

    Hi, I’m Kaley! I am currently a Lab Research Project Manager 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!



    broken image

    Jennifer Zhang

    Research Project Coordinator

    Jennifer is a research project coordinator in the JTM lab. She received MD from Tongji Medical University, completed PhD and plastic surgery residency training at Peking Union Medical College. Jennifer moved to Toronto as a post-doctoral research fellow at Sickkids, where she now has been working as a research project coordinator. Her work primarily involves in animal transplant models, mechanisms of genetic alterations of human malformations in mouse, and approaches to enhance peripheral nerve regeneration. She is currently focusing on analysis of cardiac fibrosis and cardiomyocyte in heart failure. Jennifer enjoys practicing yoga, dancing and traveling.



    broken image

    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

    broken image
  • Past Lab Members

    Most are missed.....

    Fellows/Research Associates (current location/position)

    • Azadeh Yeganeh (Health Canada)
    • 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)

    • Manpreet Malhi: Business Analyst, Lifescience Dynamics Limited (Toronto)
    • Lawrence Wengle: University College Cork (Cork, Ireland) -> University of Toronto (Toronto, Canada) -> Physician
    • Megan Banting: McMaster Univeristy (Hamilton, Canada) -> Physician (Toronto)
    • David Pompili: University of Toronto (Toronto, Canada)
    • Henry Mah: Lawyer, University of Western Ontario (London, Canada)
    • Jae Eun Lee (in Korean, Pi-Squished H-Zero Over Bed): Physician, University of Sydney (Australia)
    • Shirley Chung: Biotech sector (Toronto, Canada)
    • Julia Plakhotnik: Biotech sector, Benchshi (Toronto, Canada)
    • Shirley Chung: Biotech sector (Toronto, Canada)
    • Doorsa Tarazi: Toronto, Canada



    • Michael Tropak: Hospital for Sick Children
    • Olga Chernysh


  • Never Make the Same Mistake Twice

    broken image

    Please don't ever become a stranger whose laugh I could recognize anywhere

  • Contact Us

    Shine on you crazy diamond.




    Department of Anesthesia and Pain Medicine

    Hospital for Sick Children

    Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    M5G 1X8


    broken image