Vice Chair for Innovation Appointed

Evan Kharasch, MD, PhD

We are pleased to announce that one of the great leaders in our specialty, Evan Kharasch, MD, PhD, joined Duke Anesthesiology on July 1 as professor of anesthesiology and vice chair for innovation. He was also appointed as the director of academic entrepreneurship within the Duke University School of Medicine. Dr. Kharasch joins us from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis where he was the Russell D. and Mary B. Shelden Professor of Anesthesiology, and the director of the Division of Clinical and Translational Research in the Department of Anesthesiology and then founding director of the Center for Clinical Pharmacology. He is widely-known for his current role as editor-in-chief of Anesthesiology, the official medical journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists and the leading journal in our specialty.

Dr. Kharasch is a nationally-renowned academic anesthesiologist and physician-scientist, specifically in the field of translational research, who has made significant contributions in advancing the understanding and practice of clinical pharmacology. His research interests also include drug metabolism, drug interactions and mechanisms of drug toxicity, with a focus on anesthetic and analgesic drugs, drugs of abuse and addiction therapies. He is particularly known for his work on the influence of genetics, age, and drug interactions on individuals’ responses to opioids. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health for two decades, aimed at optimizing drug disposition, drug safety and clinical effectiveness. This work has fundamentally improved the way in which we use anesthetics and analgesic agents. Dr. Kharasch was instrumental in helping to elucidate mechanisms of volatile anesthetic hepatic and renal toxicity, and safety, ultimately resulting in the approval of what has now become the most frequently used inhalational anesthetic agent, sevoflurane. And, he currently holds patents for non-invasive biomarkers for population screening and differential diagnosis of kidney cancer, and other molecular diagnostics technologies, which are undergoing commercialization.

Dr. Kharasch received his MD and PhD in pharmacology from Northwestern University in Illinois and completed his training in anesthesiology at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he remained on faculty for 17 years serving as a professor of anesthesiology, vice chair for research and assistant dean for clinical research at the School of Medicine. He joined Washington University in 2005, where he was a professor in the Departments of Anesthesiology and Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics and held appointments in the Washington University Pain Center and Siteman Cancer Center. From 2009 to 2014, Dr. Kharasch served as the vice chancellor for research where he oversaw one of the largest academic biomedical research enterprises in the nation and led a university-wide initiative in research and entrepreneurship, aimed at expanding the university’s culture in research commercialization.

In 2013, Dr. Kharasch was notably elected as a member of the prestigious organization, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, now known as the National Academy of Medicine. He also served as the chair of the ASA Committee on Research, vice chair for grants and on the Executive Committee of the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research, an organization that awarded him with its Mentoring Excellence in Research Award in 2010. He is the author of more than 260 papers and book chapters, and the editor of two major textbooks on anesthetic pharmacology.

On January 17 of this year, Dr. Kharasch delivered Duke Anesthesiology’s 28th Annual Merel H. Harmel Grand Rounds Lecture, and we are honored that he has formally joined our department. He currently resides in Durham with his wife, Karen, who serves as the director of research strategy and operations at the Duke Cancer Institute.

Please join us in welcoming the Kharaschs to Duke Anesthesiology.

Stacey HiltonVice Chair for Innovation Appointed