Dr. John Boyd is a clinician scientist whose research program focuses on the inflammatory response to severe infection. While beneficial when controlled, this response frequently leads to cardio-pulmonary failure. Following his pulmonary and critical care training at McGill University, Boyd undertook research training at the Meakins Christie Labs in Montreal with Dr. Basil Petrof. He studied diaphragmatic muscle dysfunction as a result of severe infection and discovered that parts of the immune system called Toll-like receptors are also present in skeletal muscle, and identified for the first time that the calcium-regulated protein calcineurin plays a role in muscular inflammation. By proving that the diaphragm recognizes pathogens with subsequent inflammatory signaling, this work was directly relevant to the clinical problem of weaning mechanical ventilation in patients with sepsis. Through extending this research, Boyd found that Toll-like receptors are also found in cardiac myocytes, and that their stimulation during infection results in sudden heart failure.
Boyd’s clinical research program is focused upon improving outcomes through novel diagnostic approaches and therapies for patients arriving to the hospital with serious infections.