Newswise — CHICAGO – The Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER), a charitable arm of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), today announced its spring round of grant recipients who will receive a total of $1.4 million. FAER’s board of directors unanimously approved grants to nine physician scientists.

“FAER is dedicated to developing the next generation of physician-scientists in anesthesiology,” said Paloma Toledo, M.D., M.P.H., chair of the FAER board of directors. “It is essential that we as a specialty continue to support the development of new knowledge. Each of these projects will not only help make important scientific contributions but will continue a long tradition of anesthesiologists improving the quality and safety of the care that we deliver to our patients.”

Mentored Research Training Grants help physician anesthesiologists develop the skills, preliminary data for subsequent grant applications, and research publications needed to become independent investigators. These grants are eligible to faculty members who have completed their core anesthesiology residency training within the past 10 years. Each grant recipient receives $175,000 for a duration of two years. The seven grant recipients are:


  • Anne D. Cherry, M.D., Duke University (Durham, North Carolina)

Interface of Mitochondrial Quality Control and Immune Activation in Heart Transplant

For heart transplant patients, primary graft dysfunction (PGD) is a devastating complication, resulting in prolonged hospitalization and 35 percent one-year mortality. This research will test in mice whether mitochondrial dysfunction underlies both slow recovery and immune activation, leading to PGD. The long-term goal of this study is to develop novel treatments to enhance transplant viability and improve transplant organ function.

  • Thomas T. Joseph, M.D., Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)

Anesthetic Interactions with Ryanodine Receptor 1 in Malignant Hyperthermia

It has been known for many years that mutations in the ryanodine receptor 1 (RYR1) result in anesthetic-triggered opening of this channel to release calcium from stores within the cell, leading to malignant hyperthermia. This research will determine how these mutations of the ryanodine receptor-1 alter anesthetic binding sites to the receptor, knowledge needed to create new and specific preventative treatments.

  • Ashish K. Khanna, M.D., Cleveland Clinic Foundation (Ohio)

A Randomized, Pilot Trial of Continuous Postoperative Hemodynamic and Saturation Monitoring

Hypotension and hypoxemia are common in postoperative wards and are associated with myocardial injury, the leading cause of postoperative death. This study will randomize 216 surgical patients to continuous postoperative monitoring of blood pressure and oxyhemoglobin saturation with nurses being aware of the measurements or not, relying instead on standard “spot” checks of these parameters. The study is aimed to support a large, definitive study determining whether continuous monitoring reduces postoperative myocardial injury, respiratory catastrophes, and death.

  • Vijay Krishnamoorthy, M.D., Ph.D., Duke University (Durham, North Carolina)

Mechanisms and Clinical Impact of Myocardial Injury Following Traumatic Brain Injury

Patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) often have hypotension due to cardiac dysfunction caused in part by sympathetic nervous system activation and leading to cerebral hypoperfusion. This study will determine the effect of TBI on autonomic nervous system function, whether autonomic dysfunction contributes to myocardial injury, and examine the impact of myocardial injury on measures of clinical outcomes. Results of this work will support a larger trial to test novel methods to improve neurologic outcomes after TBI.

  • Ross P. Martini, M.D., Oregon Health and Science University (Portland, Oregon)

Role of Eicosanoid Pathway Manipulation on Neurovascular Inflammation and Neurophysiology of Delayed Ischemia After Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

Subarachnoid hemorrhage results in cognitive disability in more than half of survivors in part due to delayed cerebral ischemia after the event.  This research will examine the effect of an inhibitor of an enzyme which metabolizes epoxyeicosatrienoic acids, hypothesized to reduce inflammation and preserve cerebral autoregulation in patients after subarachnoid hemorrhage, and to examine biomarkers for long-term cognitive dysfunction for use in developing other treatments.

  • Vafi Salmasi, M.D., Stanford University (California)

Comparing Effectiveness of Duloxetine and Desipramine in Patients With Chronic Pain: A Pragmatic Randomized Controlled Trial Using Point-of-Care Randomization

Over 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain resulting in annual cost of $635 billion. Generalizing which treatment is most useful to treat chronic pain from tightly controlled clinical trials is difficult. To address this, this clinical trial will randomize patients to two common treatments and collect data using an open-source learning health care system to monitor patients’ progress: Collaborative Health Outcomes Information Registry (CHOIR). CHOIR can then be applied for numerous future trials to advance our knowledge in perioperative and pain medicine.

  • Yu Shi, M.D., M.P.H., Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minnesota)

Longitudinal Assessment of Affect, Behavior and Cognition in Children Undergoing General Anesthesia

Surgery in infants and children is thought to have both short- and long-term effects on cognition and behavior. In this study, 100 children between the ages of 2 ½ and 6 years will be assessed with standard behavioral and cognitive methods as well as new constructs, laying the foundation for a larger, definitive clinical trial and specifically testing the idea that family functioning moderates postoperative behavioral change in children.

One Research in Education Grant, which provides anesthesiology residents and fellows with the opportunity to obtain significant training in research techniques and scientific methods was approved for a two-year duration for $100,000.

  • Thomas J. Ebert M.D., Ph.D., Medical College of Wisconsin (Milwaukee)

Beyond Milestones; using Holistic Ratings to Evaluate Trainee Performance

Milestone assessments are resource intensive and risk becoming checkboxes aligned with level of training rather than proof of competencies mastery. This study will build on earlier work using “gut” instinct as a global assessment tool to track development of resident competency by generating case-based, specialty-specific scenarios termed Interpreted Professional Activities (IPAs) and global assessment questions that touch on professionalism, communication, and other soft competencies. This work may lead to a more informative way to assess competencies and provide residents more useful information on skill development.

One Research Fellowship Grant, which provide anesthesiology residents and fellows with the opportunity to obtain significant training in research techniques and scientific methods was approved for a one-year duration for $75,000.

  • Katharine N. Gurba, M.D., Ph.D., Washington University (St. Louis)

Preclinical Evaluation of Analgesia Mediated by a Novel Muscarinic M4 Positive Allosteric Modulator

The opioid epidemic has created an urgent need for effective, nonopioid analgesics, and previous work suggests analgesic efficacy from the M4 subtype of the muscarinic receptor. Although highly selective, direct agonists of this receptor do not exist, the current study will examine the effects in mice of a highly selective M4 positive allosteric modulator on pain behaviors under normal, inflammatory, and neuropathic conditions. This may result in future clinical development of a non-opioid analgesic.



The Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER) is a related organization of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. For over 30 years, FAER has been dedicated to developing the next generation of physician-scientists in anesthesiology. Charitable contributions and support to FAER help fuel the future of anesthesiology through scientific discovery. Funding priorities include: Research, Education, and Training. FAER has awarded $38.125 million in research grants since 1986.  For more information on FAER or to donate, visit


Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 52,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology. ASA is committed to ensuring physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care every patient deserves.

For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists online at To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit Like ASA on Facebook; follow ASALifeline on Twitter.


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