SAN DIEGO – The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) today presented Alex Proekt, M.D., Ph.D., with its 2021 James E. Cottrell Presidential Scholar Award in recognition of his exemplary work in anesthesia and translational research. His research is vast, diverse and has significantly improved the understanding of how anesthesia impacts the brain. The award is presented annually to an ASA member who has dedicated their formative career to research.
Dr. Proekt is associate professor of anesthesiology and critical care at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. His research focus is on neuronal mechanisms of loss and recovery of consciousness using a combination of neurophysiological and computational methods.
Dr. Proekt has led numerous projects, including a pioneering study conducted at the Donald Pfaff Laboratory at Rockefeller University in New York City that examined how the brain recovers from anesthesia, as well as how it functions and recovers from other states of interrupted consciousness, including brain injuries. Dr. Proekt and his research team’s findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Proekt’s work has been published in more than 60 research publications, abstracts and editorials, and he serves as a reviewer for nine medical journals. He has also given dozens of lectures nationally and internationally. With two current National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01 grants — highly competitive grants that provide up to five years of support for mature, hypothesis-driven research projects — and another presently under NIH review, he is truly transforming the science and practice of anesthesiology.
Additionally, as a clinician scientist who spends part of his time as a neuroanesthesiologist caring for patients who present with pathology of the brain and spine, Dr. Proekt is sought after clinically. In the operating rooms at the University of Pennsylvania, he is a prized teacher to residents and medical students and has consistently scored among the highest rated attendings in the department since he joined the faculty in 2015. He has also been a mentor to several Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER) Medical Student Anesthesia Research Fellows.
“I applaud Dr. Proekt on this well-deserved achievement,” said ASA President Beverly K. Philip, M.D., FACA, FASA. “His considerable advances in our understanding of the anesthetized brain, and the way in which it transitions to and from states of unconsciousness, are helping to improve patient safety and outcomes during surgery.”
Dr. Proekt received his bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and graduated from the joint M.D.-Ph.D. program at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. He completed his anesthesiology residency at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City, followed by postdoctoral fellowships in neuroscience and physics at Rockefeller University. He is board-certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology.
THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF ANESTHESIOLOGISTS
Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 54,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology. ASA is committed to ensuring physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care every patient deserves.
For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists online at asahq.org. To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit asahq.org/madeforthismoment. Join the ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2021 social conversation today. Like ASA on Facebook, follow ASALifeline on Twitter and use the hashtag #ANES21.
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