Dr. Malcolm King

Malcolm King

Dr. Malcolm King, PhD


Division of Pulmonary Medicine
Department of Medicine

Research Interests

I obtained my doctorate in polymer chemistry from McGill University in Montreal in 1973. After serving as an assistant professor, I moved to the University of Alberta in 1985, and in 1990, was promoted to full professor in the Department of Medicine. I have published some 160 scientific papers over a 25-year academic career, and supervised the training of a large number of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from around the world.

My major research interests are in the field of respiratory health, focusing on the mechanisms involved in mucus secretion and clearance in cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive lung disease. I have been developing new approaches to mucolytic therapy, using agents designed to improve the clearability of mucus where this is a problem. Two of these agents, nacystelyn and low molecular weight dextran, are currently undergoing clinical trials. I am also interested in the cytoprotective role of mucus, and the adaptation of epithelial disease as it relates to smoking and air pollution.

With Dr. Gustavo Zayas, we have begun to develop pharmacological approaches to decrease the aerosolization of airborne pathogens from the respiratory tract while maintaining or improving normal lung clearance mechanisms. Such treatments have the potential to reduce the spread of tuberculosis and influenza, diseases with worldwide impact. Drawing on my Aboriginal heritage, I have set up a program to study traditional preparations for respiratory disorders using current research technology. My goal is to link this knowledge ultimately with clinical investigations of new treatments of lung disease.

Types of Bonds Occurring in a Mucous Gel
In October 2001, through the CIHR Institute of Aboriginal People’s Health, I was the recipient of a major grant as Principal Investigator to establish a training program for Aboriginal health research. Called the Alberta ACADRE Network, we are a part of a national network of researchers whose goal is to foster the development of capacity in the emerging field of Aboriginal health research, thereby contributing to raising the health status of Canada’s Indigenous peoples.

I was the national President of the Canadian Thoracic Society in 1999-2000, and served on the Governing Council of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research from 2000-2004. I received the Alberta Lung Association Lorraine Award of Excellence in Research and the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Medicial Research in March 1999, and in September 2003, the University of Alberta Board of Governors’ Award of Excellence.

Highlighted Publications

  • Sun F, Tai S, Lim T, Baumann U, King M. Additive effects of dornase alfa and nacystelyn on transportability and viscoelasticity of cystic fibrosis sputum. Canadian Respiratory Journal 2002; 9:401-406.
  • King M, Rubin BK. Pharmacological approaches to discovery and development of new mucolytic agents. Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews 2002; 54:1475-1490.
  • O’Brien DW, Morris MI, Lee MS, Tai S, King M. Ophiopogon root (Radix Ophiopogonis) prevents ultra-structural damage by SO2 in an epithelial injury model for studies of mucociliary transport. Life Sci 2004; 74:2413-2422.
  • King M. The biophysical properties of mucus. Chapter 2 of Rubin BK, Van der Schans C, eds. Therapy of Mucus-Clearance Disorders. New York: Marcel Dekker, 2004.

For a complete list of publications, click here.