Dr. Kjetil Ask

Division of Respirology

Kjetil Ask


Associate Professor, Division of Respirology, Department of Medicine

Associate Member, Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences

Associate Member, McMaster Immunology Research Centre




Education and Professional Standing

  • MSc, Cell Biology and Physiology, University of Burgundy, France, 1998
  • MSc, Clinical Pharmacology, University Henri Poincaré, France, 1999
  • PhD, Biochemical Pharmacology, University of Burgundy, France, 2003
  • Postdoctoral research fellowship in pulmonary fibrosis with Dr. Jack Gauldie, McMaster University, 2004
  • Postdoctoral research fellowship in therapeutic intervention of pulmonary fibrosis with Dr. Martin Kolb, McMaster University, 2005
  • Visiting postdoctoral fellowship in molecular biology with Drs. Martha Vaughan and Joel Moss in the Translational Medicine Branch, NHLBI, NIH, Bethesda, MD, 2008
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine and the Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health, 2011

Research Interests

The Ask lab is studying a molecular pathway termed the unfolded protein response (UPR) that is activated when proteins are not folded correctly in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). This pathway is associated with many chronic lung diseases and inflammatory conditions but it is still unclear if the response contributes to maintain chronic inflammation and disease progression. Dr. Ask research program is cross disciplinary and translational in scope where key collaborations with respiratory clinicians (Drs. Kolb, Hambly), molecular pathologists (Drs. Cutz and Naqvi) as well as biomedical researchers interested in chronic inflammation and fibrogenesis (Drs. Dickhout and Austin) are ongoing. The central hypothesis of the Ask lab is that UPR activation is associated with inflammation and fibrosis. Increased understanding of the molecular pathways involved in thisbiological response may enable us to identify novel molecular targets responsible for progression of inflammatory and fibrotic lung disease.

Educational Activities

Dr. Ask is the Director of McMaster Demystifying Medicine Seminar Series. This seminar series was created in 2102 and involves comprehensive presentations providing a perspective for a specific disease from the viewpoint of a patient, a clinician and medical scientist. These translational presentations are CME accredited, recorded and posted on the McMaster Demystifying Medicine website for public viewing using our YouTube and iTunesU channels. Please see website for further information.

A 4th year student-initiated cross-disciplinary course in knowledge translation (HTH SCI 4DM3) was implemented in 2013. Drs. Ask and Labiris are currently facilitating this course. Please see more information here.


  1. Carlisle RE, Brimble E, Werner KE, Cruz GL, Ask K, Ingram AJ, Dickhout JG. 4-Phenylbuturate inhibits tunicamycin-induced acute kidney injury via CHOP/GADD153 repression. 2013 (In Press) PLOS one
  2. Hirota JA, Hiebert PR, Gold M, Wu D, Graydon C, Smith JA, Ask K, McNagny K, Granville DJ, Knight DA: Granzyme B deficiency exacerbates lung inflammation in mice following acute lung injury. Am J Resp Cell MolBiol 2013 May 3, PMID:23642129
  3. Wei J, Rahman S, Ayaub E, Dickhout JG, Ask K. Protein Misfolding and Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress in Chronic Lung Disease. Chest, 2013 Apr 1; 143(4):1098-105. PMID: 23546482
  4. Hirota JA, Ask K, Farkas L, Smith JA, Ellis R, Rodriguez-Lecompte JC, Kolb M, Inman MD: In vivo role of platelet-derived growth factor-BB in airway smooth muscle proliferation in mouse lung. Am J Resp Cell MolBiol 2011, 45:566-572.PMID: 21216974
  5. Ask K, Eickelberg O, Gauldie J, Kaminski N, Kolb M. Have advanced research technologies made real impact on respiratory medicine? Respirology. 15(6):876-80. 2010.PMID:20646243
  6. Moeller A, Gilpin S, Ask K, Cox G, Cook DJ, Gauldie J, Margetts PJ, Farkas L, Dobranowski J, Boylan C, O’Byrne PM, Strieter R and Kolb MRJ. Circulating Fibrocytes Are an Indicator for Poor Prognosis in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Am J RespirCrit Care Med. 179:588-94, 2009. PMID:19151190
  7. Ask K, Moeller A, Farncombe T, Labiris R, Kolb M. The use of small animal imaging in respiratory drug discovery. Drug Discovery Today. Therapeutic Strategies; 5-2, 2008. [external link]
  8. Ask K, Labiris RN, Farkas L, Moeller A, Froese AR, Farnecombe T, McClelland G, Inman MD, Gauldie J and Kolb M. Comparison between conventional and clinical assessment of experimental lung fibrosis. J Transl Med. Apr 10; 6:16, 2008:PMID:18402687
  9. Ask K, Bonniaud P, Nejman B, Maass K, Eickelberg O, Margetts PJ, Waburton D, Groffen J, Gauldie J and Kolb M. Progressive pulmonary fibrosis is mediated by TGF-beta isoform 1 but not TGF-beta 3. Int J Biochem Cell Biol; 40:484-495, 2008.PMID:17931953
  10. Moeller A, Ask K, Gauldie J and Kolb M. The bleomycin animal model: a useful tool to investigate treatment options for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis? Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 40:362-382, 2008.PMID:17936056
  11. Ask K, Martin GEM, Bonniaud P, Kolb M and Gauldie J. Strategies Targeting Fibrosis in Pulmonary Disease. Drug Discovery Today: Therapeutic Strategies. 3(3): 389-394, 2006.[External link]
  12. Ask K, Martin GEM, Kolb M and Gauldie J. Targeting Genes for Treatment in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis: Challenges and Opportunities, Promises and Pitfalls. Proc Am Thorac Soc. 3:389-93, 2006.PMID:16738206
  13. Ask K, Décologne N, Ginies C, Låg M, Boucher J-L, Holme JA, Pelczar H and Camus P. Nilutamide metabolism in rat lung. BiochemPharmacol. 71(3):377-85, 2006.PMID:16313887
  14. Ask K, Décologne N. Asare N, Pelczar H, Artur Y and Camus P. Metabolic activation of nilutamide and distribution of nitroreductase activity in rats. ToxApplPharmacol. 15;201(1):1-9, 2004.PMID:15519603
  15. Ask K, Dijols S, Giroud C, Casse L, Frapart Y-M, Sari M-A, Kim K-S, Stuehr DJ, Mansuy D, Camus P and Boucher J-L. Reduction of the nitroaromatic antiandrogen nilutamide by NO synthases. Implications for the adverse effects of this antiandrogen drug. Chem Res Toxicol. 16(12):1547-54, 2003.PMID:14690368