2012 INDUCTEE Peter Macklem, MD Lungs, Public Health, Health Promotion & Advocacy, Lungs


October 4, 1931

(Kingston, Ontario)


February 11, 2011


MDCM, McGill University (1956)

Awards & Honours:

1979: Medalist of the American College of Chest Physicians

1982: Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada

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Picture of Peter Macklem

Contributed fundamental concepts to the field of pulmonary medicine

Dr. Peter Macklem

A giant in the field of pulmonary research and pulmonary medicine

Beginning in the early 1960s and throughout his brilliant career, spent primarily at McGill University Health Centre’s Royal Victoria Hospital, Dr. Macklem was a remarkably creative and prolific scientist who contributed a number of seminal ideas to the field of respiratory medicine. With a bold curiosity and a gifted intellect, Dr. Macklem’s impact was felt many areas of respiratory disease, ranging from asthma and stuttering to the study of the theory of complexity and its implications for pulmonary function. He continually investigated, questioned and probed the physiology and mechanics of the respiratory system and related his many findings to real clinical problems in a way that guided physicians and benefited patients.

Key Facts

His work constitutes the scientific foundation of the ongoing campaign against smoking by identifying its early pulmonary damage

Developed devices and technologies that permitted the accurate measurement of intrabronchial pressure and collateral ventilation

Published 312 original articles, reviews, editorials and book chapters

Became President of both the Canadian Thoracic Society and the Canadian Society for Clinical Investigation

Professional timeline

Impact on lives today

Dr. Macklem changed the face of pulmonary medicine in Canada forever. His pioneering discoveries such as the concepts of small airways disease and respiratory muscle fatigue helped lead to a better understanding of the role of respiratory muscle in pulmonary disease, which now constitute an important topic in medical school training. Moreover, his contributions have led to direct impacts in the management of patients in hospital intensive care units. Scientists and engineers also now have a clearer picture of the role of the respiratory muscles in pulmonary disease to such a degree that both have developed novel techniques to measure the mechanical behaviour of the small airways. Where Dr. Macklem led, other have enthusiastically followed and his legacy will continue to reach future generations.

Picture of Peter Macklem


  • Peter Macklem Induction

    Peter Macklem inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

    Toronto, Ontario

  • Networks of Excellence

    Realizing the immense value of connecting pulmonary research from across the country, Dr. Macklem became the Scientific Director for Respiratory Health’s Networks of Centres of Excellence.

  • Policy Advancement

    Dr. Macklem’s work included substantial insights for Canadian policy development. In 1990, the Royal Society of Canada appointed Dr. Macklem as Chair of the Scientific Policy Committee.

  • Despite increased international commitments, Dr. Macklem never wavered in his support for Canadian medicine and research

    Public Health, Health Promotion & Advocacy

    In 1989, he became a founding member of the Canadian Institute of Academic Medicine.

  • International Horizons

    Dr. Macklem began to set his sights on more direct involvement with international efforts. From 1985 to 1996, he was Director of the International Respiratory Disease Research Unit of the International Union Against Tuberculosis.

  • Leadership in Research and Practice

    Dr. Macklem’s excellence in research and mentorship quickly became evident to those around him. In 1978, he became Director of Research for the McGill Respiratory Disease Training Program. The following year, he was appointed Physician-in-Chief at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

  • Meakins-Christie Lab doors

    Dr. Peter Macklem founded the Meakins-Christie Laboratories, which emerged as one of the world’s leading centres for pulmonary research


  • Dr. Macklem became Director of the Respiratory Division at the Royal Victoria Hospital


He had an infectious sense of wonder and curiosity that inspired others.