Dr. Myrna Dolovich

Division of Respirology

Myrna B. Dolovich

B.Eng., P.Eng

Professor(Part-time), Division of Respirology, Department of Medicine

Department of Medicine, St. Joseph's Healthcare





Professor Myrna Dolovich has been active in aerosol research for the past 40 years. Graduating from McGill University with a degree in electrical engineering, she worked, in the early years of her career, with renowned pulmonary physiologists Drs Joseph Milic-Emili and David Bates to expand our understanding of regional ventilation in the normal and diseased lung using gamma scintigraphic methods.  Similar imaging techniques were applied to establish the methodologies currently used for assessing distribution of inhaled therapeutic aerosols in the lung. At St Joseph’s Hospital and McMaster University, working with Drs M Newhouse, J Sanchis and G Coates, she studied deposition and mucociliary clearance from the lung using these scintigraphic methods, also assessing performance of therapeutic inhalers for delivering drug to the lungs of asthmatics, cystic fibrosis and COPD patients. Development of the Aerochamber™ for patient use was a focus of early research for the St Joseph’s Hospital Aerosol Group. Most recently, newer 3D imaging methods, namely positron emission tomography (PET), have been applied to assess the sites of inflammation in patients as well as mapping deposition patterns of inhaled aerosols in 3D.

Research Interests

Research interests involve the in vitro and in vivo characterization of vaccine and medical aerosols from various types of drug delivery systems; use of both 2D and 3D PET imaging modalities to investigate factors which influence the deposition and distribution of aerosolized drugs in the lung. A related interest is the investigation of epithelial cell cilia function and structure utilizing nasal and bronchial cilia obtained from patients with various respiratory diseases. The data provides an assessment of the ability of the lung to clear secretions as well as the effects on this key lung defence mechanism of a variety of traditional and experimental therapies. Cell culture using human bronchial and nasal epithelial primary cells have been established to provide model systems for investigating disease mechanisms.

Other Activities

Aerosol School, 3-day teaching program with practical laboratory experience in aerosol basics, aerosol measurements and techniques and applications to research and pharmaceutical laboratory and clinical settings was established by Dolovich in 2009 with support from the International Society for Aerosols in Medicine (ISAM). It has become an annual program and is currently scheduled for October 2015.

Myrna has served on the Board of Directors of ISAM and is a member of the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Aerosol Medicine and Pulmonary Drug Delivery and Pediatric Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. She is a member of the Health Canada Scientific Advisory Committee – Respiratory and Allergy Therapies (SAC-RT), joining in 2006. In 2009, she was awarded the ISAM Career Achievement Award for contributions to medical aerosol research.


Publications include a recognized resource text on aerosols (Aerosols in Medicine: Principles, Diagnosis and Therapy. 1st and 2nd editions, eds. Morén F, Dolovich M. Newhouse M, Newman S. Elsevier Science Publishers 1989,1994). Selected research papers of major importance to the field are:

  1. Aerosol Penetrance: A Sensitive Index of Peripheral Airways Obstruction. M. Dolovich, J. Sanchis, C. Rossman, M.T. Newhouse. J Appl Physiol 1976; 40(3): 468-471. Defined a method for assessing delivery of aerosols to target sites in the lung.
  2. A comparison of submicronic technetium aerosol with xenon-127 for ventilation studies. Coates G, Dolovich M, Newhouse M. Proceedings of 3rd World Congress of Nuclear Medicine and Biology, Paris, France: Pergamon Press, 1982; II: 2014-2020. Validated the first use of a submicronic (extra-fine) aerosol to measure lung ventilation.
  3. The Effect of Preferential Deposition of Histamine in the Human Airway. R.E. Ruffin, M.B. Dolovich, R.K. Wolff, M.T. Newhouse. Am Rev Respir Dis 1978; 117(3):485-592. Importance to response in targeting aerosols to different sites in the lung.
  4. Clinical Evaluation of the Aerochamber: A Simple Demand Inhalation MDI Aerosol Delivery Device. M. Dolovich, R. Ruffin, D. Corr, M. Newhouse. Chest 1983; 84:36-41. Validation for the Aerochamber® aerosol delivery system, (developed at St Joseph's Hospital for pMDIs) and the clinical effects of tailoring inhalant aerosols.
  5. Device selection and Outcomes of Aerosol Therapy: American College of Chest Physicians /American College of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology Evidence-Based Guidelines. Dolovich M, Ahrens R, Hess D, Anderson P, Dhand R, Rau J, Smaldone GC, Guyatt G.. Chest 2005;127: 335-371; Systematic review of aerosol drug delivery devices.
  6. Dolovich MB. 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomographic imaging of pulmonary functions, pathology, and drug delivery. Proc Am Thorac Soc. 2009 Aug 15;6(5):477-85. doi: 10.1513/pats.200904-023AW. PubMed PMID: 19687222.
  7. Dolovich MB, Dhand R. Aerosol drug delivery: developments in device design and clinical use. Lancet. 2011 Mar 19;377(9770):1032-45. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(10)60926-9. Epub 2010 Oct 29. Review. PubMed PMID: 21036392.
  8. Mitchell J, Dolovich MB. Clinically relevant test methods to establish in vitro equivalence for spacers and valved holding chambers used with pressurized metered dose inhalers (pMDIs). J Aerosol Med Pulm Drug Deliv. 2012 Aug;25(4):217-42. doi: 10.1089/jamp.2011.0933. Review. PubMed PMID: 22857273
  9. Dolovich MB, Bailey DL. Positron emission tomography (PET) for assessing aerosol deposition of orally inhaled drug products. J Aerosol Med Pulm Drug Deliv. 2012 Dec;25 Suppl 1:S52-71. doi: 10.1089/jamp.2012.1Su6. PubMed PMID: 23215847.
  10. Yaghi A, Zaman A, Cox G, Dolovich MB. Ciliary beating is depressed in nasal cilia from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease subjects. Respir Med. 2012 Aug;106(8):1139-47. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2012.04.001. Epub 2012 May 17. PubMed PMID: 22608352.

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