Dr. Ji Receives Prestigious Award

Ru-Rong Ji, PhD

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Ru-Rong Ji, distinguished professor of anesthesiology, has been selected to receive the prestigious 2020 American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) Excellence in Research Award. It recognizes individuals for outstanding achievement in research who has or is likely to have an important impact on the practice of anesthesiology. The individual’s work represents a body of original, mature and sustained contribution to the advancement of the science of anesthesiology. This is only one of two awards presented each year by the ASA to recognize the research accomplishments of members of our specialty.

“Several current and previous members of this department have received this award, and I am very proud to be one of them,” says Ji, chief of basic pain research and co-director of the department’s Center for Translational Pain Medicine (CTPM). “I really appreciate the full support I have received from the department over the last eight years.”

Ji’s work has significant translational potential in almost all areas of pain medicine. He currently serves as the director of the Sensory Plasticity and Pain Research Laboratory. Ji’s research focuses on molecular and cellular mechanisms of chronic pain, including but not limited to mediators of inflammation and pain, neuropathic pain, and cancer pain. He is internationally-recognized for his contributions to demonstrating critical roles of MAP kinase signaling pathways, glial cells, and neuroinflammation in the pathogenesis of chronic pain. His work has demonstrated powerful antinociceptive actions of pro-resolution lipid mediators (e.g., resolvins). His lab has shown that resolvins are among the most potent inhibitors for inflammatory pain and TRP channels. He also determined the down-stream GPCR signaling in macrophages and sensory neurons that mediates the potent actions of these lipid mediators. Recently, Ji’s work has focused on unique neuronal signaling of pattern recognition receptors, such as toll-like receptors (TLRs) and their contribution to pain and itch. And, Ji is notably among the first to establish a connection between mediators of cancer and pain processing showing that tumor cells produce PD-L1 to suppress not only the immune system, but also pain perception permitting cancer growth and metastasis. Ji also has established a broad collaboration with CTPM and Duke University School of Medicine faculty members to develop novel pain therapeutics.

“Dr. Ji is an outstanding scientist and colleague. He has a keen wit and is able to move scientific thought to the next level. Furthermore, he has the ability to implement his thoughts and ideas into productive, high-impact research. He clearly merits this award,” says Dr. William Maixner, vice chair for research and co-director of the CTPM.

Ji lectures internationally and reviews papers for numerous international journals. His research has been published in more than 200 peer reviewed manuscripts in high-impact journals, such as Science and Nature. Ji is one of 54 Duke researchers who made the global list of ‘Highly Cited Researchers’ for 2019; a list he also made in 2018. Ji also serves on editorial boards of Anesthesiology, Pain, Journal of Neuroscience, Neuroscience, and Neuroscience Bulletin. He previously served as an associate professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, before joining the Duke faculty in 2012. He earned a PhD in neurobiology at Shanghai Institute of Physiology and completed postdoctoral training at Peking (Beijing) University Medical School, Karolinska Institute, and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Please join us in congratulating Ji on receiving this well-deserved award.

Stacey HiltonDr. Ji Receives Prestigious Award
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Class of 2020 Virtually Graduates from Duke Anesthesiology Training Programs

Class of 2020 Virtually Graduates from Duke Anesthesiology Training Programs

Duke Anesthesiology’s Class of 2020 virtually graduated from their residency and fellowship programs on June 13 and 14 – a virtual first for the department. During the ceremonies, leaders shared the virtual stage to deliver remarks to the 44 graduates and nearly 200 guests. To celebrate the occasion, the graduates gave their commencement speeches via video and were surprised with several congratulatory video messages from Duke leaders and celebrity alumni.

The Duke Anesthesiology Fellowship Education Program is led by Dr. Mark Stafford-Smith. The Duke Anesthesiology Residency Program is led by Dr. Annemarie Thompson, with assistant residency program directors, Drs. Brian Colin and Ankeet Udani.

Four fellowship program directors were recognized for their years of service: Drs. John Freiberger, Jeffrey Gadsden, Lance Roy, and Christopher Young. Resident leadership positions were also recognized:

Chief Residents: Drs. Alison Brown and Delbert Lamb
Education Chiefs: Drs. Bridger Bach and Andrew Wong
ACES Chief: Dr. John McManigle

Congratulations to all of the graduates!

Bridger Bach, MD

Bridger Bach, MD
Post Residency: Pain Fellowship at Vanderbilt University

Alison Brown, MD

Alison Brown, MD
Duke University

Stephan Frangakis, MD, PhD

Stephan Frangakis, MD, PhD
Duke University

Charles Horres, MD

Charles Horres, MD
Duke University

Luca La Colla, MD

Luca La Colla, MD
Post Residency: Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology Fellowship at University of Pittsburgh

Delbert Lamb, MD

Delbert Lamb, MD
Post Residency: Pediatric Anesthesiology Fellowship at Boston Children’s

William Lane, MD

William Lane, MD
Post Residency: Pain Fellowship at University of Pittsburgh

John McManigle, MD, DPhil

John McManigle, MD, DPhil
Duke University

Jared Roberts, MD

Jared Roberts, MD
Post Residency: Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology Fellowship at Texas Heart Institute

Robin Schiller, MD

Robin Schiller, MD
Duke University

Bharat Sharma, MD

Bharat Sharma, MD

Andrew Wong, MD

Andrew Wong, MD
Duke University

Rosalie Yan, MD

Rosalie Yan, MD
Post Residency: Pain Fellowship at Emory University

Adult Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology

Rebecca Anderson, MD

Rebecca Anderson, MD
Future Location: Hollywood, FL

Marcus Behrens, MD

Marcus Behrens, MD
Future Location: Seattle, WA

Mark Berguson, MD

Mark Berguson, MD
Future Location: Plymouth Meeting, PA

Christopher Collins, MD

Christopher Collins, MD
Future Location: Hershey, PA

Stephen Ellison, MD

Stephen Ellison, MD
Future Location: Wilmington, NC

Robert Feng, MD

Robert Feng, MD
Future Location: Stanford, CA

Mark Friedland, MD

Mark Friedland, MD
Future Location: St. Louis, MO

Anne Hicks, MD

Anne Hicks, MD
Future Location: Portland, ME

Kerri Lydon, MD

Kerri Lydon, MD
Future Location: Jacksonville, FL

Steven Maler, MD

Steven Maler, MD
Future Location: Fullerton, CA

Michelle McGauvran, MD

Michelle McGauvran, MD
University of Washington
Adult Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology Fellowship at Duke University

Akeel Merchant, MD

Akeel Merchant, MD
Future Location: Fort Worth, TX

Zachary Woodward, MD

Zachary Woodward, MD
Future Location: Lakewood, CO

Critical Care Medicine

Michael Devinney, MD

Michael Devinney, MD, PhD
Future Location: Durham, NC

William Fox, MD

William Fox, MD
Future Location: Japan

Lauriane Guichard, MD

Lauriane Guichard, MD
University of Michigan
Critical Care Medicine Fellowship at Duke University

David Luu, MD

David Luu, MD
Future Location: Dallas, TX

Ingrid Moreno Duarte, MD

Ingrid Moreno Duarte, MD
Future Location: Dallas, TX

Calvin Motika, MD

Calvin Motika, MD
Future Location: Bismarck, ND

Daniel Rosenkrans, MD

Daniel Rosenkrans, MD
Future Location: Colorado Springs, CO

Anrew Villion, MD

Anrew Villion, MD
Future Location: Valhalla, NY

Obstetric Anesthesiology

Katherine Herbert, MD

Katherine Herbert, MD
Future Location: Charleston, SC

Pain Medicine

Madison Foushee, MD

Madison Foushee, MD
Future Location: TBD

Scott Frieary, DO

Scott Frieary, DO
Future Location: Greenville, NC

Pediatric Anesthesiology

Jon Andrews, MD

Jon Andrews, MD
Duke University
Pediatric Anesthesiology Fellowship at Duke University

Elizabeth Finucane, DO

Elizabeth Finucane, DO
Future Location: Greensboro, NC

Regional Anesthesiology and Acute Pain Medicine

Anne Castro, MD

Anne Castro, MD
Future Location: Milwaukee, WI

An Chen, MD

An Chen, MD
Future Location: Rockville, MD

Kenneth Mullen, MD

Kenneth Mullen, MD
Future Location: Charlottesville, VA

Peter Shin, MD

Peter Shin, MD
Future Location: TBD

Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine

Martin Sayers, MD

Martin Sayers, MD
Future Location: Hollywood, FL

Stacey HiltonClass of 2020 Virtually Graduates from Duke Anesthesiology Training Programs
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Frito-Lay Honors Couple’s Sacrifice for Patient Care with 76K Bags of Chips

By Morag Maclachlan, Duke Health

Dr. Melanie Hollidge and her husband, Murray Lubja

Dr. Melanie Hollidge and her husband, Murray Lubja

Melanie Hollidge, MD, PhD, jokes that her anesthesiology and critical care medicine colleagues at Duke University Hospital (DUH) say she’s “all that and a bag of chips.”

The phrase describes someone you believe is all that and more. And in this case, it can also be taken literally as Hollidge’s husband worked with Frito-Lay to surprise Duke Health with a donation of 76,752 bags of chips.

“He knows I like to take a bag of chips with me when I work the overnight shift,” Hollidge said. “He saw an ad on TV from Frito-Lay asking people to share stories of how they are supporting their community during the pandemic. So, he submitted our story.”

76,000 bags of chips from Frito-LayHollidge and her husband, Murray Lubja, are originally from Ontario, Canada. When it became clear in mid-March that COVID-19 was quickly spreading throughout the United States, the couple made a difficult decision. Lubja, who has three chronic immunocompromising conditions, would return to Canada so Hollidge could care for patients with COVID-19 without the risk of exposing him. They haven’t seen each other in person since.

“I am so lucky to have such a supportive partner. Throughout my career, he has never once complained when I’ve worked late or picked up extra shifts,” Hollidge said. “He understood that I wanted to keep him safe and that I needed to be here. I don’t see this as a job. It is a privilege to serve patients in their most vulnerable time.”

The Frito-Lay donation is one of the largest food donations Duke Health has received since the COVID-19 crisis, said Aaron West, CPPS, the administrative director at the DUHS Patient Safety and Quality office. Robin Thomas, executive director of Engineering and Operations at Duke Health, said four members of her team unloaded the shipment of 26 pallets and will assist with distributing the snacks across the health system.

“I’m really grateful to Frito-Lay for responding to Murray’s request with such a big gesture,” Hollidge said. “I hope it brings a smile to people’s faces because I’m sure there are lots of coworkers making sacrifices to put patient care first.”

Stacey HiltonFrito-Lay Honors Couple’s Sacrifice for Patient Care with 76K Bags of Chips
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Duke Anesthesiology’s ‘Academic Evening’ Goes Virtual

2020 AE Winners

Members of Duke Anesthesiology gathered virtually for the first time on May 5 to share the results of their research pursuits and celebrate scientific excellence at its 28th Annual Academic Evening, an event that aims to advance anesthesia, critical care and pain management. The department’s junior-level investigators and faculty presented 81 poster abstracts this year, ranging from basic science, clinical trials and case reports.

“Part of the magic of Academic Evening has always been the social nature of it – investigators from far-flung areas of the department getting together and sharing their ideas with each other. A couple of years ago I heard a story of a basic scientist finding an unlikely clinical collaborator for her project while standing at a cocktail table eating Thai chicken skewers,” says Dr. Jeffrey Gadsden, program co-director and chief of the department’s Orthopaedics, Plastics and Regional Anesthesiology Division. “These have been a challenging few months for all of us [given the COVID-19 crisis], and we knew that people would be focused on other things – performing their clinical jobs and staying healthy being at the top of that list. At the same time, we believed that our department would want to – and deserved to – celebrate our wonderful and diverse academic accomplishments with each other.”

Vesna Jevtovic-Todorovic, MD, PhD, MBAThis year’s guest judge was Dr. Vesna Jevtovic-Todorovic, endowed professor of anesthesiology and pharmacology and chair of the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. She spoke to a virtual crowd of at least 130 faculty, trainees, students and staff with the message, “be the person who blazes the trail.” She also provided inspiration through three quotes from one of her role models, Eleanor Roosevelt:

“One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes…and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.”

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.”

“You must do things you think you cannot do.”

She went on to say that “our lives should be about the great discovery of human talents and human potential” and that everyone who joined Academic Evening is living proof of how important the talents are for the profession and specialty of anesthesia. “It is a life-long lesson for all of us that life is not about living forever, but forever living every moment and chasing our dreams until our last breath,” says Todorovic. “The environment and culture that we create as a group and as an individual is what allows us all to realize our dreams. And what an environment you all have created. This is incredible.”

“Dr. Todorovic was a wonderful guest judge, and she clearly embraced the Zoom format, jumping in and out to ask questions and provide feedback to the presenters, as if she were standing right next to them,” says Gadsden.

Ashley McNeil, MDOne of the anticipated highlights of the annual event is the presentation of the Bill White Award for resident research. White was involved in the design, data control and examination, and statistical analysis of biomedical studies in both observational and clinical trials within Duke Anesthesiology for more than 20 years. Dr. Ashley McNeil, CA-1 resident, received first place in this category for her project, titled “Pulmonary Hypertension and Pregnancy: A Preliminary Report of 22 Duke Cases.”

“I am honored and grateful to be selected for this year’s resident research award. Having others recognize the importance of my topic motivates me to continue pursuing the research,” says McNeil. “The progress I have made would not have been possible without the support and inspiring passion of Dr. Marie-Louise Meng and the department’s dedication to resident education.”

Todorovic ended the evening thanking the crowd for this “extraordinary opportunity” and reminded them to “believe in something and that belief will propel you to the next level and take you where you want to be. Don’t look at the past, look to the future.” But not to forget that “we need our families…we need the support of our loved ones… this is what gives you the energy and meaning in life.”

“It was incredible to see the passion that all of the participants shared when it came to their research. As soon as the announcement for abstract submission was made, we had dozens of entries, and just like previous years, the depth and breadth of scientific inquiry in our department was inspiring,” adds Gadsden.

Congratulations to each of the award winners listed below.

2020 Academic Evening Award Winners:

Post Doc Basic Science

1st Place: Shin Hyung Kim: “Elucidating the Role of Ectopic Heat Shock Protein 90 (eHsp90) in Inflammatory Pain”

2nd Place: Gabriel Bassi: “Transcutaneous sciatic stimulation controls gluconeogenesis via Kupffer cell-derived acetylcholine signaling in hepatocytes”

3rd Place: Zilong Wang: “Intrathecal morphine induces itch via opioid receptors on spinal GABAergic inhibitory interneurons”

Fellow Clinical Research (Dick Smith Award)

1st Place: Lauriane Guichard: “Risk Factors for Increased Opioid Use in the Intensive Care Unit After Surgery”

2nd Place: Steven Maler: “Investigating the Opioid Sparing Effects of Lidocaine After Cardiac Surgery”

3rd Place: Anne Hicks: “Is perioperative red blood cell transfusion associated with early alloimmunization following lung transplantation?”

Resident Research (Bill White Award)

1st Place: Ashley McNeil: “Pulmonary Hypertension and Pregnancy: A Preliminary Report of 22 Duke Cases”

2nd Place: RJ Krom: “Post-operative Liver Transplant Opioid Use, Protocols, and Pain Scores in the ICU: A Need for Consistency”

Medical Student Research

1st Place: Tim Beck: “Test of Cross Corrections for Altitude Air/Nitrox Diving at 8,000, 10,000 and 12,000 ft”

2nd Place: Angel Chen: “Associations Between Perioperative Crystalloid Fluid Volume And In-hospital Outcomes in Major Spine Surgeries”

CRNA/DNP/Grad/Undergrad Research

1st Place: George Cortina: “Machine Learning Model to Predict Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit Readmission or Mortality After Cardiothoracic Surgery”

Case Report

1st Place: Katie Herbert: “How Low Can You Go: ROTEM Guidance for Neuraxial Anesthesia in a Pregnant Patient with Severe Pulmonary Hypertension and Thrombocytopenia”

Stacey HiltonDuke Anesthesiology’s ‘Academic Evening’ Goes Virtual
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Postdoctoral Fellow Wins Highly-Competitive Awards

Christopher Donnelly, DDS, PhD

The American Association for Dental Research (AADR) and the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) has awarded Christopher Donnelly, DDS, PhD, postdoctoral fellow with Duke Anesthesiology, first place in both the AADR Hatton Awards competition (Postdoctoral category) and the IADR Unilever Hatton Awards competition (Senior – Basic Science category) for his project, titled “STING Agonism as a Therapeutic Strategy to Treat Chronic Pain.”

Donnelly competed against 26 finalists in the AADR Hatton Awards competition. As winner of that competition, he was selected to compete among 48 individuals from 24 IADR divisions and four sections selected in the IADR Unilever Hatton Awards competition.

In Donnelly’s project, they identified a new role for a protein, called STING, in the regulation of pain. STING is a well-known activator of the innate immune system, facilitating the elimination of infectious agents (bacteria, viruses) and potentially cancerous host cells. For this reason, STING has emerged as a promising target for cancer immunotherapy. In his study, they found that activation of STING in sensory neurons can provide robust and long-lasting pain relief in several chronic pain conditions, including cancer pain. Donnelly is hopeful that they can translate these encouraging results into human patients suffering from chronic pain, with a particular emphasis on patients suffering from severe and debilitating cancer pain. STING-based “neuroimmune” therapies could even provide a “two birds, one stone” approach to treating both the cancer itself and cancer-associated pain.

“I’m really fortunate to have been selected for both of these awards. At my career stage, this is considered one of the top honors a trainee can win in the field of dental and craniofacial research,” says Donnelly, a member of Dr. Ru-Rong Ji’s Sensory Plasticity and Pain Research Laboratory. He went on to say, “This project has been a huge undertaking by myself and many others. I’m happy to be recognized, but to me it’s more important to emphasize the contribution of my incredible mentors and collaborators, including Drs. Ji and William Maixner (Duke Anesthesiology), our collaborator at Wake Forest University, Dr. Mei-Chuan Ko, and my mentor at University of Michigan, Dr. Yu Lei, who helped inspire the project. I also want to recognize members of the Ji and Ko labs who have contributed significantly to this research, including Changyu Jiang, Kaiyuan Wang, Amanda Andriessen, Zilong Wang, Michael Lee, and Huiping Ding.” Donnelly is in his second year of postdoctoral studies at Duke, working under the supervision of Ji and Maixner.

“To me, winning this award affirms the translational potential of this project, the hard work and ingenuity of this amazing team of mentors and investigators, and underlines the impact of being in an outstanding research environment and a department invested in basic science research. I had high hopes in coming to Duke and it has exceeded all of my expectations. I look forward to seeing what we can continue to accomplish in the coming years,” adds Donnelly.

Stacey HiltonPostdoctoral Fellow Wins Highly-Competitive Awards
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Duke Anesthesiology Awarded Program Project Grant

Duke Anesthesiology Awarded Program Project Grant

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded Duke Anesthesiology a five-year, $8,566,593 million Center of Excellence award that is supported via the NIH’s Program Project Grant (PPG) mechanism. This is of substantial significance to the department and university because it marks the funding of a new national center and represents the first PPG to the department in 40 years.

The designation as a Center of Excellence within Duke Anesthesiology’s Center for Translational Pain Medicine (CTPM) by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) brings this department both national and international recognition; there are only 1-3 Centers of Excellence funded as PPGs by NCCIH in the country. The new center represents a new and unique resource to investigators world-wide who have interest in translational pain research; it represents a nidus that not only advances Duke Anesthesiology’s mission in translational pain research, but brings it increased visibility in the pain field, which will further expand international collaboration and increase its value and recognition as a leader in translational pain medicine.

William Maixner, DDS, PhDWe want to sincerely thank everyone who helped drive the Center of Excellence initiative that has resulted in this extraordinary outcome. This award and designation is the culmination of a nearly three-year effort by the CTPM, initiated by the center’s co-directors, including Dr. William Maixner, who worked closely to develop the proposal with the center’s members and affiliates (*see complete list of names below).

The title of the PPG is “Resolution of Neuroinflammation and Persistent Pain by Complementary Approaches.” The overarching aims of the PPG is to identify new and novel complimentary approaches to the treatment of pain conditions. The PPG will support the intellectual development of the Center of Excellence and the infrastructure for three scientific projects and three support cores. These units will further bring together Duke Anesthesiology’s basic science and clinical groups to advance translational pain research.

*P01 collaborators: William Maixner, Shad Smith, Andrey Bortsov, Andrea Nackley, Sven-Eric Jordt, Niccolo Terrando, Luis Ulloa (Anesthesiology), Wolfgang Liedtke and Yong Chen (Anesthesiology and Neurology), Fan Wang (Neurobiology), and Staci Bilbo (Psychology and Neuroscience)

Stacey HiltonDuke Anesthesiology Awarded Program Project Grant
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