Dr. Pollak Appointed to Residency Leadership

Angela Pollak, MD, Assistant Residency Program Director

We are pleased to announce that Angela Li Pollak, MD, assistant professor of anesthesiology, has been appointed the assistant program director for the Duke Anesthesiology Residency Program, effective December 1st.

In this role, Dr. Pollak will serve as an integral part of the residency program’s leadership team, assisting with recruitment, resident advising and mentoring, and enhancement of the clinical and educational environment of the program.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the residency leadership team to support the continued success and growth of the Duke Anesthesiology Residency Program,” says Dr. Pollak. “I am a proud alumnus of the program, and I am excited to support the personal and professional success of current and future Duke Anesthesiology trainees.”

Dr. Pollak brings a wealth of experience to this role. She obtained her BA in biochemistry from Washington University in St. Louis and taught in a charter high school serving low-income students in Boston before going on to receive her medical degree from Weill Cornell Medical School in New York. In 2018, Dr. Pollak completed anesthesiology residency here at Duke in which she served as chief resident. That same year, she was selected to participate in the Feagin Leadership Program, designed to foster the development and training of future academic leaders. Dr. Pollak went on to complete Duke’s Adult Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology Fellowship where she served as a chief administrative fellow. She is also a 2021 scholar of our department’s Academy for Building Leadership Excellence (ABLE) Program. During her time at Duke, Dr. Pollak has been dedicated to medical education in several capacities, including simulation and crisis resource management. Furthermore, she is an active educator in the areas of Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) and transesophageal echocardiography, and she serves as co-director of the Duke Anesthesiology Resident Coaching Program.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Pollak on her new position and welcoming her to the residency leadership team.

Stacey HiltonDr. Pollak Appointed to Residency Leadership
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Dr. Karhausen Awarded NIH Grant for Septic Shock Study

Jorn Karhausen, MDThe National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences has awarded Duke Anesthesiology’s Jorn Karhausen, MD, a four-year, $1,719,290 R01 grant for his project, “Platelet-Mast Cell Interactions as Determinants of the Vascular Pathology in Septic Shock.”

Development of shock in sepsis defines a dramatic deterioration of clinical status and is linked to a significant increase in morbidity and mortality rates. However, the cellular and molecular mechanisms determining the vascular pathology of septic shock remain undefined.

Karhausen’s previous work established mast cells (MC) as key effector cells of vascular pathology in different disease contexts. Because MC products are found in the plasma in shock, but not during sepsis alone, this supports that MC activation is a central event leading to septic shock.

Based on extensive preliminary work, they hypothesize that specific signaling interactions between platelets from within the blood stream and MCs, which are located close by, but outside of the blood vessels, drive the vascular pathology of septic shock. The objectives of this study are to 1) comprehensively define the mechanisms of MC-mediated vascular pathology in sepsis, 2) elucidate the specific mechanism by which platelets trigger MC responses and resultant vascular pathology and 3) better define the clinical sepsis phenotype using biomarkers of platelet-, vascular- and MC- activation in patients.

To provide first evidence how MCs shape key features of shock in sepsis, Karhausen and his co-investigators will employ state-of-the- art technologies ranging from dynamic photoacoustic imaging of the microvasculature to gene expression modeling from clinical samples. This comprehensive approach will be made possible through a strong collaborative team, including groups from the School of Engineering, the Center for Applied Genomics and Precision Medicine and the Department of Pathology at Duke, as well as the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology at UNC.

“Together, this project constitutes a key step towards our long-term goal to establish MC responses as a biomarker of sepsis biology,” says Karhausen, associate professor of anesthesiology, “and to develop novel therapeutic strategies that may directly target the mechanisms of disease progression in sepsis.”

Stacey HiltonDr. Karhausen Awarded NIH Grant for Septic Shock Study
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