Dr. Jane Batt is a Respirologist and Scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital and Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto. Her research focuses on delineating the molecular mechanisms underlying the development of skeletal muscle atrophy and dysfunction in chronic respiratory illness and acute injury. Examples of current projects in the lab include 1) MEND-ICU – a study of the molecular mechanisms underpinning Intensive Care Unit Acquired Weakness (ICUAW), a complication of critical care that results in lifelong disability due to sustained muscle wasting and contractile dysfunction 2) the development of “Smart Garments” (arm sleeves and leg stockings) that will automate the delivery of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) therapy to ICU patients using artificial intelligence/machine learning techniques, to prevent ICUAW and 3) applying ultrasound mediated gene delivery (UMGD) to promote the repair and regeneration of denervated muscle and sustain its receptivity to reinnervation. Working in a rat model of tibial nerve transection, genes in minicircle plasmids coupled to carrier microbubbles are systemically administered, and directed to induce muscle specific transfection and temporary (6-8 week) gene expression by high-power ultrasound mediated microbubble destruction over the target tissue.
Dr Batt is also the Medical Director of the SMH Tuberculosis (TB) Clinic and in collaboration with other SMH scientists is developing a digital database of all patients seen in the TB clinic to enable collaborative clinical research projects. The database consists of variables (clinical, demographic, imaging, lab values, visits/admissions) that are derived from clinical dictations using natural language processing tools and electronic medical records, with digital dashboard navigation capabilities.
Dr. Batt’s research is consistently awarded peer-review funding including grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), OLA/Ontario Thoracic Society, New Frontiers in Research-Exploration and Physician Services Incorporation. She has served on several hospital and University of Toronto advisory committees and is Chair, Division of Respirology Research Advisory Committee (2014 – present).