FAER News & Events

FAER Announces Fall 2017 Grant Recipients
December 8, 2017

The Foundation for Anesthesia Research and Education Board of Directors unanimously approved $800,000 to fund 5 physician-scientists.  A total of $1.925 million in funding was approved in 2017, providing eleven anesthesiologists with research opportunities.

Awardees for the Fall 2017 Grant Cycle Include:

Mark C. Bicket, M.D.
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Mentored Research Training Grant- HSR
Consequences of non-optimal opioid prescribing after surgery”

Patients frequently receive opioid prescriptions to treat acute pain after surgery, but personalization of pain prescriptions does not routinely occur. Prescribers often use a “one-size-fits-all” approach which may lead to problems, such as patients without prior opioid exposure transitioning to long-term opioid use or patients having high numbers of unused pills when they stop taking opioids. This project will use claims data to examine the impact of different rates of opioid prescribing on the transition to long-term opioid use after surgery. We will also follow patients after surgery to examine whether patients with high numbers of unused opioid pills experience low-quality pain relief compared to patients who use most of their prescription opioids. We anticipate these findings will guide the development of tools to optimize pain prescriptions after surgery and give guidance to prescribers as to how best meet the challenge of prescribing opioids in the era of the opioid epidemic.

Julie K. Freed, M.D., Ph.D.
Medical College of Wisconsin     
Mentored Research Training Grant- CT
Novel Role of Sphingolipids in Maintaining Vascular Homeostasis”          

The ability of human microvessels to dilate in response to an increase in blood flow is critical in maintaining tissue perfusion. This physiological mechanism is possible through the generation of compounds along the surface of the blood vessel referred to as endothelial-derived mediators. It is now known that the mediator generated in response to increased flow can have a profound impact on the surrounding vascular environment. For instance vessels from healthy adults vasodilate due to formation of nitric oxide, whereas older individuals, or those with disease, rely on the formation of hydrogen peroxide. This transition in mediator, from nitric oxide to hydrogen peroxide, shifts the environment from one that prevents, to one that promotes inflammation, thrombosis and disease. The goal of this work is to understand the role of a novel class of lipids, termed sphingolipids, during this transition, and more importantly, how to restore nitric oxide-dependent vasodilation. Together, these studies may unveil new mechanisms to restore normal endothelial function in disease and provide novel targets for pharmacological intervention to treat or prevent cardiovascular disease and vascular inflammation.

Allison J. Lee, M.D.
Columbia University
Research in Education Grant (REG)
“A mixed methods, RCT comparing two methods of debriefing for a serious game designed to teach novice anesthesia residents (CA1) to perform general anesthesia for emergency cesarean delivery”

The use of general anesthesia (GA) for cesarean section (CS) is steadily declining, primarily because of concern for the risk of difficult intubation. Insufficient exposure of anesthesia residents to GA for CS has warranted the creation of effective alternative teaching tools. Serious video games (SG) facilitate immersive learning. We developed a SG (EmergenCSims©) to train novice CA1s the management of GA for CS. We aim to 1) ascertain the optimal debriefing style for SG-mediated instruction, 2) to evaluate EmergenCsims© as an educational tool and assess perceptions of cognitive load among experienced learners vs. novices, and 3) to compare results of performance and perceptions of EmergenCSims© vs. high fidelity simulation of the same scenario. The use of SGs to teach the management of obstetric emergencies may be as effective for learning as traditional techniques, which should ensure safe maternal care for generations to come.

Loren E. Smith, M.D., Ph.D.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Mentored Research Training Grant-CT
“High Density Lipoprotein Particle Characteristics and the Risk of Acute Kidney Injury After Cardiac Surgery”

Up to 30% of cardiac surgery patients develop postoperative acute kidney injury (AKI). AKI increases a patient’s risk of complications and death. No effective treatments currently exist. Preoperative high density lipoprotein (HDL) levels are associated with a decreased risk of AKI after cardiac surgery. Some HDL particles have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory functions that may attenuate AKI. HDL particle size and protein composition can alter these functions. During this project, we will test the hypothesis that specific HDL particle subpopulations with particular particle sizes, protein compositions, and functional capacities are associated with a decreased risk of postoperative AKI. We will use NMR, ELISAs, enzymatic activity assays, and cell culture techniques to characterize cardiac surgery patients' HDL throughout the perioperative period, collected in a now completed clinical trial with well documented AKI risk factors and outcomes. Regression analysis will identify HDL particle characteristics independently associated with a decreased risk of postoperative AKI. Our long-term goal is to identify novel methods to enrich or potentiate the identified HDL characteristics and functional capacities associated with a decreased risk of AKI in order to diminish postoperative AKI.

Elizabeth L. Whitlock, M.D., MSc.
University of California, San Francisco
Mentored Research Training Grant- CT
Cognitive Trajectories Before and After Coronary Revascularization in the Elderly”

This project uses a large, population-based dataset to study the impact of two common heart procedures performed to improve blood flow to the heart (coronary artery bypass grafting [CABG] and percutaneous coronary intervention [PCI]) on cognition and memory in elderly adults, both at a population and individual level, over a time span of roughly 15 years.  The analysis will also identify subsets of patients who are at unusually high risk of cognitive decline.  Results will help clinicians counsel older patients who need coronary revascularization, because of heart attacks or heart artery blockage, about what cognitive change to expect after a procedure.  Furthermore, this study may provide data to help reconcile the research entity of "postoperative cognitive dysfunction" with long-term, clinically-relevant estimates of cognitive change.


About the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research

The Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER) is a related organization of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. For over 30 years, FAER has been dedicated to developing the next generation of physician-scientists in anesthesiology. Charitable contributions and support to FAER help fuel the future of anesthesiology through scientific discovery. Funding priorities include: Research, Education, and Training.

FAER grants and programs are made possible by the financial support of the ASA and its component societies, anesthesiology subspecialty societies, institutions and practice groups, as well as private individuals.


Rupa Brosseau
Director of FAER
1061 American Lane
Schaumburg, IL  60173
Phone: +1-630-912-2554