Dr. Gasier Awarded Grant for High Resolution Imaging Research

The Office of Naval Research has awarded Duke Anesthesiology’s Heath Gasier, PhD, RD, a $241,938 grant for his project titled, “DURIP Repair Mechanisms of Oxidative Tissue Damage.”

It has been known for more than a century that breathing oxygen at increased atmospheric pressure is toxic to the lungs and central nervous system. Reported more recently, breathing oxygen at greater than one atmosphere absolute (ATA), hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2), affects skeletal muscle function that is accompanied by decreased post-dive work performance. A past and present goal of the USN is to safely extend diving operations at greater depths. Understanding pathological mechanisms of HBO2 is critical for achieving this goal. 

Gasier’s study aims to determine how HBO2 causes oxidant damage and activates repair mechanisms in tissues and cells by procuring a next generation confocal laser scanning microscope to be housed within Duke’s Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Environmental Physiology. This microscope system will be used for research and as an instructional tool for students, residents and fellows. The microscope will define abnormalities in tissue/cellular structure and function initiated by HBO2. “High-resolution imaging improves our understanding of how cells and organelles respond to stress, disease and therapies,” says Gasier, associate professor in anesthesiology.

Other applications may include HBO2 therapy, hypoxia, and diseases characterized by oxidant stress and inflammation. This instrumentation is expected to strengthen current research projects funded by the Office of Naval Research and will support research-related education of many young scientists who are enthusiastic in advancing a Department of Defense topic area.