Duke Anesthesiology Resident Awarded FAER Grant

Stephan Frangakis, MD, PhD

Stephan Frangakis, MD, PhD

The Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER) has awarded Duke Anesthesiology CA-3 resident, Stephan Frangakis, MD, PhD, a Research Fellowship Grant (RFG) for his project, titled “Analgesic Effects of Perioperative Propranolol Administration for Spine Surgery.” RFGs provide anesthesiology residents and fellows with the opportunity to obtain significant training in research techniques and scientific methods. This grant provides $75,000 in funding for Frangakis’ research over one year.

More than 100 million surgical procedures are performed in the United States each year, with up to 80 percent of patients experiencing postsurgical pain. Patients with higher levels of pain after surgery are more likely to develop persistent pain and opioid usage, feeding into a chronic pain epidemic that has a greater annual societal cost than that for cancer, heart disease and diabetes combined. Expanding efforts to identify non-opioid analgesics and adjuncts have yielded promising results and new therapies, yet despite these advances in pain management, there has been little improvement in post-surgical opioid usage and patient-reported analgesia. There remains a significant necessity for the development of novel analgesics, and the co-opting of existing agents for novel uses in the prevention of pain and reduction in opioid consumption.

Frangakis’ proposed study will investigate the postsurgical analgesic and opioid-sparing properties of the non-selective β-blocker propranolol in patients undergoing lumbar fusion surgery. It will also investigate the effects of perioperative propranolol therapy on immune modulation and expression of inflammatory cytokines. The data is expected to demonstrate the utility of perioperative propranolol for reducing pain and opioid consumption after surgery, and elucidate some of these mechanisms.

“I feel very fortunate to be awarded this grant, and for the mentorship and guidance from my mentors, Drs. William Maixner and Thomas Buchheit. I am excited to have this opportunity to carry out this interesting and important research, and to develop my skills as a physician-scientist,” says Frangakis. “I owe a great deal of thanks to many people in the department, including Drs. Joseph Mathew and Dhanesh Gupta, the ACES program, and the anesthesiology residency program. And of course this grant would not have been able to be put together, submitted, and awarded without the contributions from multiple people in the Duke Anesthesiology Clinical Research Unit and the budget office. I look forward to working with everyone involved in the research.”

FAER is a charitable arm of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, dedicated to developing the next generation of physician-scientists in anesthesiology.

Stacey HiltonDuke Anesthesiology Resident Awarded FAER Grant