Duke Anesthesiology Ranked #4 in the Nation Among Specialties

Duke Anesthesiology - 4th in the Nation!

U.S. News & World Report assessed 120 medical schools and once again ranked the Duke University School of Medicine among the best in the nation, placing it 12th. The medical school’s physical therapy program ranked No. 7 among 244 programs evaluated. Seven of the School of Medicine’s clinical departments ranked in the top 10 among specialties: 

  • Surgery (fourth)
  • Anesthesiology (fourth)
  • Internal Medicine (fifth)
  • Radiology (tied, fifth)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology (tied, fifth)
  • Psychiatry (tied, tenth)
  • Pediatrics (tied, ninth)

Earlier this year, the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research ranked Duke eighth among the nation’s top medical schools for funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Eight Duke School of Medicine departments and one basic science discipline also ranked among the top ten in the country for NIH funding:

  • Pediatrics (first)
  • Surgery (third)
  • Internal Medicine (fourth)
  • Neurosurgery (fourth)
  • Orthopedics (fifth)
  • Ophthalmology (seventh)
  • Anesthesiology (eighth)
  • Psychiatry (ninth)
  • Genetics (tenth)

In addition to its national rankings, Duke is also ranked among the top 10 United States medical schools in the World University Rankings.

“Our stature as one of the preeminent medical schools in the nation and world is a direct reflection of our exceptional faculty, students and staff who consistently raise the bar for medical research, education and patient care,” said Mary E. Klotman, M.D., dean of Duke University School of Medicine. “I am especially proud of our departments and medical education programs which consistently rank in the top among their peers each year.”

“Our school of medicine is ranked amongst the best in the world, thanks to the extraordinary talent, and commitment of our faculty, staff and trainees,” said A. Eugene Washington, M.D., chancellor for health affairs at Duke University and president and chief executive officer of the Duke University Health System. “Year after year, the Duke University School of Medicine has consistently pushed our patient care, research and education missions to higher levels of excellence and impact and for that, we are very proud.”

Source: Duke University School of Medicine’s Med School Blog (Durham, NC – March 17, 2020)

Stacey HiltonDuke Anesthesiology Ranked #4 in the Nation Among Specialties
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Dr. Ji Receives Founders Award

Ru-Rong Ji, PhD

The American Academy of Pain Medicine has selected Duke Anesthesiology’s Ru-Rong Ji, PhD, as the 2020 recipient of its Founders Award, recognizing his outstanding contributions to the science or practice of pain medicine. This award is given for continued contributions for the basic or clinical science of pain medicine or for demonstration of clinical excellence or innovation in the practice of pain medicine.

“I am very pleased to get recognized in the field. I hope I can continue to make contributions to the research and education in pain research and medicine,” says Ji, chief of pain research for Duke Anesthesiology.

Ji is a distinguished professor of anesthesiology in the Duke University School of Medicine. He serves as the director of the Sensory Plasticity and Pain Research Laboratory and co-director of the department’s Center for Translational Pain Medicine. The long-term goal of his lab is to identify molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie the genesis of chronic pain and to develop novel pain therapeutics that can target these mechanisms.

Stacey HiltonDr. Ji Receives Founders Award
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Dr. Warner Awarded NIH Funding to Improve Stroke Outcomes

David S. Warner, MDThe National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) has awarded Duke Anesthesiology’s David S. Warner, MD, a $475,175, two-year grant for his project, titled “Pharmacologic Suppression of Reperfusion Injury Following Endovascular Thrombectomy in Stroke.”

Ischemic stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in the United States. This often is attributable to thrombus formation at an atherosclerotic plaque or thromboembolism. Patients who present within 4.5 hours of symptom onset are eligible for thrombolysis with tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). This serves less than five percent of victims. Recently, major advance has been made with proven efficacy from endovascular mechanical thrombectomy in combination with tPA. Despite this, less than 50 percent of treated patients have a good recovery.

Basic and clinical science indicate that abrupt restoration of oxygen delivery to ischemic tissue causes reperfusion injury that amplifies/propagates adverse cascades initiated by the initial ischemic insult. There has been widespread call for pharmacologic intervention to mitigate reperfusion injury. The mechanistic basis for reperfusion injury is diverse, but fundamentally associated with rapid onset dysfunction of intracellular mechanisms responsible for regulation of oxygen metabolism. This leads to oxidative stress, inflammation, apoptosis, blood-brain barrier disruption and tissue damage.

Warner and members of his Multidisciplinary Neuroprotection Laboratory are working closely with chemists who have synthesized manganese porphyrins (MnP). MnP have been highly characterized for structure-activity and serve as potent catalytic oxidoreductants. MnP have extraordinary efficacy to favorably modulate redox-mediated activation of transcription factors (e.g., NF-kB, Nrf2) and MAPK and phosphatases. MnP also serve as potent catalytic reductants of reactive oxygen/nitrogen species. They have repeatedly shown enduring improvement in experimental stroke long-term outcome after therapeutic MnP dosing. MnP, now in human trials as a radioprotectant for normal tissue in the context of radiotherapy for brain malignancy, have achieved GMP synthesis, scale-up technology, and requisite preclinical toxicological screening.

Based on highly encouraging pilot data, Warner proposes MnP, given at endovascular thrombectomy reperfusion onset, as an adjunct pharmaceutical to optimize endovascular thrombectomy outcome. In Phase 1, he and his team of investigators will define optimal dosing and maximal ischemia duration before reperfusion and treatment onset that retains efficacy, measure long-term functional outcome in aged, metabolic syndrome, and spontaneously hypertensive rats, define interactions with tPA activity, and obtain independent laboratory efficacy validation. A clinical trial consulting team, consisting of independent stroke experts, will work in collaboration to monitor go/no-go end-points and develop protocols for human dose-escalation trials.

“This project is the preclinical culmination of nearly 15 years of investigation in our laboratory, which was enabled by the discovery of superoxide dismutase at Duke by Irwin Fridovich, PhD,” says Warner, a distinguished professor of anesthesiology. “Dr. Fridovich recently passed away. We are honored to continue his legacy of oxidative stress research by pursuing the very real possibility that these molecules he envisioned and created in collaboration with Ines Batinic-Haberle, PhD, will interrupt degradative enzymatic and transcriptional events initiated by ischemic insults and improve human stroke outcome.  It also is my honor to have worked side by side with Dr. Huaxin Sheng, without whom’s expertise this work would never have happened.”

Stacey HiltonDr. Warner Awarded NIH Funding to Improve Stroke Outcomes
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