FAER Awards Dr. Quinones Research Training Grant

Quintin Quinones, MD, PhDThe Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research has awarded Duke Anesthesiology’s Quintin Quinones, MD, PhD, a two-year, $175,000 mentored research training grant, titled “Reversible Immunomodulation as a Strategy for Ischemia Tolerance in Hibernation.” His mentor for this grant is Dr. Mihai Podgoreanu, chief of the Cardiothoracic Anesthesia Division.

During surgery or critical illness, patients sometimes suffer organ dysfunction related to uncontrolled inflammation. There are currently no drugs that effectively treat this problem. To work towards new treatments, Dr. Quinones and a team of investigators have developed a surgical model to study a hibernating mammal known as the arctic ground squirrel (AGS). These animals show a remarkable, natural resistance to injury in a robust surgical model that closely mirrors what humans experience during major heart surgery. To understand how arctic ground squirrels are different, they’re comparing them to rats in the same surgical model; rats do not show any natural resistance and suffer organ dysfunction much in the way that humans do.

The focus of the study is a unique trait found in hibernators – the AGS can regulate its innate immune system to decrease inflammation following surgical injury. Dr. Quinones and his co-investigators will examine protein levels and the function of white blood cells in the AGS vs. the rat. They will also look at protein levels in human white blood cells. By understanding how the AGS is able to regulate its innate immune system, they hope to identify potential targets that will lead to treatments for human patients during surgery and critical illness.

There is a fundamental knowledge gap regarding the role of innate immunity in injury during ischemia and reperfusion in the perioperative period and during critical illness. Hibernating mammals enjoy natural resistance to ischemia/reperfusion injury as a result of adaptations that allow them to survive winter torpor-arousal cycles without injury. One such adaptation is natural reversible modulation of innate immunity that reduces responses to danger-associated molecular patterns and pathogen-associated molecular patterns. A comparative biology approach provides the opportunity to study animals that are naturally adapted to survive ischemia and reperfusion. Dr. Quinones hypothesizes that hibernator resistance to ischemia/reperfusion is secondary to reversible modulation of innate immunity.

Dr. Quinones is an assistant professor of anesthesiology in the department’s Cardiothoracic Anesthesia Division. His research on hibernation biology has been featured in several publications, including the journal, Anesthesiology (June 2016), as well as the 2016 edition and 2013 edition of Duke Anesthesiology’s annual BluePrint magazine.

Chris KeithFAER Awards Dr. Quinones Research Training Grant
Read More

Dr. Habib Appointed to SOAP Board of Directors

Ashraf S. Habib, MBBCh, MSc, MHSc, FRCAThe Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology (SOAP) has elected Duke Anesthesiology’s Dr. Ashraf Habib to serve as the director at large on its board of directors. The announcement was made at the society’s 49th annual meeting, titled “Beyond the Obstetric Suite.”

SOAP’s mission is to improve the pregnancy-related outcomes of women and neonates through the support of obstetric anesthesiology research, the provision of education to its members, other providers, and pregnant women, and the promotion of excellence in clinical anesthetic care.

Dr. Habib is the chief of Duke Anesthesiology’s Women’s Anesthesia Division. He has been a SOAP member for the past 17 years in which he has been active in a number of SOAP committees, including the international outreach committee (member 2004-2008, chairman since 2008), the research committee (since 2008), and the resident affairs committee (since 2009). He has also  served on a number of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) committees related to obstetric anesthesia, including the ASA abstract review subcommittee on obstetric anesthesia and perinatology (member 2009-2013, chair since 2013), and the ASA education track subcommittee (since 2013).

Dr. Habib says the experience he has gained through his work, participating in and leading several international outreach trips teaching obstetric anesthesia overseas (Croatia, Egypt and Romania), has made him appreciate the opportunities that SOAP can have as a leader in improving the care of pregnant women worldwide.

Chris KeithDr. Habib Appointed to SOAP Board of Directors
Read More

Simulation Specialist Receives Patient Safety Grant

Jeffrey M. Taekman, MDDurham Casualty has awarded Duke Anesthesiology’s Dr. Jeffrey Taekman $108,668 in funding for a patient safety project titled, “Simulation-Based Crisis Resource Management as a Risk Reduction Strategy for the Health System.”

Throughout medicine, safe and effective delivery of health care has relied on proper team coordination and communication. The Joint Commission cites failures of teamwork and communication as a root cause of more than 50 percent of sentinel events. These events can have both economic and patient safety implications. In perioperative medicine, communication breakdowns represent the second leading cause of preventable intraoperative error, resulting in patient harm, second only to technical error. Analysis of closed claims by the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) and the American College of Surgeons (ACS) implicate poor communication as a major preventable cause of adverse events.

In order to combat communication errors, Dr. Taekman proposes to implement an interprofessional simulation-centric crisis resource management (CRM) learning experience within Duke University Hospital. The expected outcome of this project includes decreased malpractice liability exposure and improved patient outcomes.

The proposed program, with interprofessional simulation at its core, will be carried out in collaboration with the Department of OB/Gyn and the faculty and staff of the Duke Birthing Center. Dr. Taekman’s collaborators include Ankeet Udani, Zaneta Strouch, Chad Grotegut, Andrea Fiumefreddo, Joe Chapman, Trish Fletcher, and Jennifer Justice.  Dr. Taekman’s vision is to build a similar program for each of the high risk surgical/perioperative services.

Dr. Taekman is the assistant dean for educational technology and the director of the Duke Human Simulation and Patient Safety Center, a joint project of Duke Anesthesiology, the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing.

Chris KeithSimulation Specialist Receives Patient Safety Grant
Read More

Duke University Awards Dr. Maixner Distinguished Professorship

William Maixner, DDS, PhDWe are pleased to announce that Duke Anesthesiology’s William Maixner, DDS, PhD, has received one of the highest honors in academia with his appointment as the Joannes H. Karis, MD, Professor of Anesthesiology, designated by the Duke University School of Medicine. This endowed professorship recognizes Dr. Maixner’s extraordinary achievements in advancing medical science, significantly shaping the field of pain research and education, profoundly impacting patient care and exemplifying superior mentorship.

Endowed professorships established within Duke Anesthesiology are awarded to the department’s most distinguished physician-scientists who have exhibited both outstanding accomplishments and strong potential for future pursuits. These highly coveted, permanently named memorials, promote scientific discovery and the advancement of anesthesia care.

Dr. Maixner is an internationally-renowned pain researcher who has dedicated his career to unraveling the mysteries of chronic pain and is committed to translating basic discoveries into novel diagnostics and treatments that will impact research, education and patient care, worldwide. He is the director of Duke Anesthesiology’s Center for Translational Pain Medicine (CTPM), established in January of 2016 to further expand the department’s clinical and research program in pain medicine. Bringing together leading basic scientists, clinicians and clinical researchers who have a common core mission of developing novel therapies to improve patient care, this center is rapidly becoming internationally-recognized as the best-in-class translational pain medicine program. Dr. Maixner was also a driving force in the development of Duke Innovative Pain Therapies, a first-of-its-kind multispecialty pain practice in Raleigh that opened its doors to patients in September of 2016. He plays a key role as a knowledge leader in the field of pain; Dr. Maixner was recently named president elect of the American Pain Society and currently serves on our nation’s Health and Human Services Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee and the National Institute of Health’s Pain Consortium, which shapes the direction of our nation’s future national strategies in pain research, education and patient care. Additionally, Dr. Maixner was appointed as a member in the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER) Academy of Research Mentors in Anesthesiology. His mentorship skills are evidenced by the success of the more than 20 students, trainees and mid-career scientists whom he has mentored throughout the past 30 years.

“It’s a wonderful honor to be recognized by Duke University and the Karis family,” says Dr. Maixner. “Dr. Karis was a pioneer in the area of translational research where he developed and implemented new ways of treating patients in the operating room. I hope to be able to follow in his footsteps by developing new ways of treating patients with pain conditions, an area that he was beginning to pursue late in his career. This endowed professorship will truly enable myself and my colleagues to push the frontiers forward as Dr. Karis did in his own career.”

In 2012, Duke Anesthesiology proudly announced the Joannes H. Karis Professorship, made possible through the generous donations of the Karis family, including Dr. Karis’ wife, Martha, and their children, Drs. Martha Karis Fikrig and John Karis, in effort to preserve his legacy.

Mr. and Mrs. KarisJoannes H. Karis, MD, is one of Duke Anesthesiology’s most distinguished emeritus faculty. He is known as a remarkable leader, scientist, pioneer, and philanthropist who was instrumental in the growth and development of both the cardiac and pediatric divisions at the Duke University School of Medicine. In 1975, Dr. Karis’ mentor, Dr. Merel H. Harmel, the “founding father of Duke Anesthesiology,” recruited him to Duke where he spent the final 18 years of his career doing cardiac anesthesia. Through his groundbreaking research, Dr. Karis helped to uncover the dangers of ultraviolet radiation in the operating room and identify the physiologic mechanisms of neuromuscular blockade agents. He served as the director of one of the world’s first surgical intensive care units and was a key player in refining early physiological monitoring and anesthesia delivery systems that have evolved to become essential components of the modern operating room.

In a “Career Reflections” article written by Dr. Karis in 2012, he said, “My wife and I hope that our sponsorship of an endowed chair within the Duke University Department of Anesthesiology will help to build on the phenomenal level of research, teamwork, patient care, and physician education with which I am honored and proud to be affiliated.”

Dr. Maixner is the fifth faculty member of Duke Anesthesiology to be named a distinguished professor. The department believes that investing in the promotion of its faculty’s professional growth and the enhancement of learning for students is vital to the future of medicine. Creating endowed professorships provides distinguished faculty with the means to discover unprecedented breakthroughs, adding to the thriving academic environment at Duke, and to attract world-class faculty for generations to come.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Maixner on being named the Joannes H. Karis, MD, Professor of Anesthesiology as we wish him continued success in his career.

Chris KeithDuke University Awards Dr. Maixner Distinguished Professorship
Read More

Dr. Kwatra Awarded Funding in the Fight Against Glioblastoma

Madan M. Kwatra, PhDDelMar Pharmaceuticals has awarded Dr. Madan Kwatra a three-year, $715,500 grant, titled “Development of VAL-083, alone or in combination with other agents, to inhibit the growth of specific subsets of glioblastoma (personalized drug development).”

Glioblastoma (GBM) is a deadly brain cancer, and attempts to control its progression have been limited. The current standard of care consists of surgery followed by radiation and chemotherapy using temozolomide. However, temozolomide only works for about 40 percent of GBM patients who have a methylated MGMT promoter.  In contrast, VAL-083 is a novel chemotherapeutic agent that has activity against GBM with both methylated and unmethylated MGMT promoters. Thus, VAL-083 is a more versatile chemotherapeutic agent that may help a wider subset of GBM patients.

The completion of the proposed pre-clinical studies will identify molecular characteristics of GBM tumors that are more likely to respond to VAL-083 therapy either alone, or through combination therapies. This personalized medicine approach will be used to initiate clinical trials in newly diagnosed GBM patients.

Chris KeithDr. Kwatra Awarded Funding in the Fight Against Glioblastoma
Read More

Dr. Taekman Awarded Funding for Microbiome Clinical Trial

Jeffrey M. Taekman, MDClasado/Host Therabiomics has awarded Duke Anesthesiology’s Dr. Jeffrey Taekman $69,885 in funding for a clinical trial titled, “Exploring the Impact of Perioperative Galacto-Oligosaccharides (GOS) on Stress, Anxiety and Cognition.”

Studies link the gut microbiota to the function of the central nervous system, both in behavior and cognition. Prebiotics stimulate growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. The overall objective of this proposal is to explore, in the perioperative period, the association between the administration of the prebiotic GOS and pain, anxiety and cognitive function. His central hypothesis is subjects who consume GOS in the perioperative period will demonstrate lower levels of salivary cortisol before, during, and after their operative procedures. In addition, he expects subjects who consume GOS to have lower perceived levels of anxiety during the perioperative period. Finally, he hypothesizes that subjects who consume perioperative GOS will perform better on tests of cognition in the postoperative period.

Dr. Taekman is a professor of anesthesiology, the assistant dean for educational technology, and the director of the Duke Human Simulation and Patient Safety Center. He is currently a fellow in the University of Arizona’s Center for Integrative Medicine where he is pursuing his interests in the medicinal use of food as well as mind-body medicine.

Chris KeithDr. Taekman Awarded Funding for Microbiome Clinical Trial
Read More