The Anesthesiology, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Engineering Research (ACkER) Laboratory, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), operates at the intersection of neuroscience, engineering, and clinical medicine. The primary objective is to bring groundbreaking discoveries from the bench directly to the patient bedside. Dr. Leah Acker, the lab’s principal investigator, is an engineer, neuroscientist, and practicing neurosurgical anesthesiologist. She is dedicated to creating non-invasive, drug-free neuromodulation technologies that enhance brain function post-surgery, particularly for older adults. Overall, the ACkER lab is wholly focused on creating technologies that aid in patient recovery following major surgical procedures.
In our pursuit,
- We collaborate with patients to comprehend the elements that contribute to a complete and resilient recovery post-surgery.
- We analyze the basic principles of cognitive neuroscience to identify suitable targets for neuromodulation.
- We create "age-friendly" technologies aimed at addressing obstacles that range from surgery-related anxiety to physical pain and cognitive dysfunction.
- We thoroughly test non-pharmacologic, non-invasive neuromodulation technologies in patients. These tools aim to mitigate problems such as anxiety, inflammation, memory issues, and pain without causing medication-related side effects.
- We are paving the way in understanding brain-heart-immune connections as a unique approach to encourage resilience during the around-surgery period.
In the News
- Acker L, Ha C, Zhou J, Manor B, Giattino CM, Roberts K, Berger M, Wright MC, Colon-Emeric C, Devinney M, Au S, Woldorff MG, Lipsitz LA, Whitson HE. Electroencephalogram-Based Complexity Measures as Predictors of Post-operative Neurocognitive Dysfunction. Front Syst Neurosci. 2021 Nov 10;15:718769. doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2021.718769. PMID: 34858144; PMCID: PMC8631543.
- Vasunilashorn SM, Devinney MJ, Acker L, Jung Y, Ngo L, Cooter M, Huang R, Marcantonio ER, Berger M. A New Severity Scoring Scale for the 3-Minute Confusion Assessment Method (3D-CAM). J Am Geriatr Soc. 2020 Aug;68(8):1874-1876. doi: 10.1111/jgs.16538. Epub 2020 Jun 1. PMID: 32479640; PMCID: PMC7429287.
- Vasunilashorn SM, Lunardi N, Newman JC, Crosby G, Acker L, Abel T, Bhatnagar S, Cunningham C, de Cabo R, Dugan L, Hippensteel JA, Ishizawa Y, Lahiri S, Marcantonio ER, Xie Z, Inouye SK, Terrando N, Eckenhoff RG; NIDUS Delirium Network. Preclinical and translational models for delirium: Recommendations for future research from the NIDUS delirium network. Alzheimers Dement. 2023 May;19(5):2150-2174. doi: 10.1002/alz.12941. Epub 2023 Feb 17. PMID: 36799408.
- David-Bercholz J, Acker L, Caceres AI, Wu PY, Goenka S, Franklin NO, Rodriguiz RM, Wetsel WC, Devinney M, Wright MC, Zetterberg H, Yang T, Berger M, Terrando N. Conserved YKL-40 changes in mice and humans after postoperative delirium. Brain Behav Immun Health. 2022 Nov 17;26:100555. doi: 10.1016/j.bbih.2022.100555. PMID: 36457825; PMCID: PMC9706140.