FAER News & Events

FAER Announces Spring 2017 Grant Recipients

With approval of $1.125 million, the FAER Board of Directors were able to extend grant opportunities to six anesthesiologists.  Dr. James C. Eisenach, FAER President and CEO, stated “Funding new investigators is at the core of FAER’s mission. We funded approximately 1/3 of the applications in this Spring’s cycle, a much higher pay line than the NIH, and are thrilled with the quality of the awardees.”


Awards were:

Aaron J. Norris, M.D., Ph.D.
Washington University
Mentored Research Training Grant - Basic Science
“Examination of Isoflurane Activated Neural Circuits”

This project seeks to better understand the relationship between the neurocircuits involved in sleep and those involved in the loss of consciousness induced by anesthetics. Sleep is a fundamental yet poorly understood activity of nervous systems. Anesthetic agents are an essential tool in medicine. The neural circuits responsible for the reversible loss of consciousness caused by anesthetic agents and sleep remain to be elucidated. Recent studies raised the possibility that sleep and anesthetic agents induce unconsciousness through a common neuronal circuit. This project will use optogenetics (activation of neurons using light) to test the hypothesis that sleep-active neurons are activated by isoflurane. We will reactivate, using light, neurons activated by isoflurane within pro-sleep brain regions and examine changes in brain activity. We anticipate that these studies will show isoflurane acts on sleep active neurons and will provide insights that will allow for development of future sedatives and anesthetics.


Adam J Kingeter, M.D.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Mentored Research Training Grant - Healthcare Services Research
“Use of a Value-Driven Electronic, Milestone-Based Clinical Pathway to Improve Value for Patients Undergoing Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting Surgery”

Health care value is defined as quality of outcomes relative to cost and is at the heart of value-based payment reform.  Value-based payments present multiple challenges to providers and institutions; complications and wasteful practices are not reimbursed and become expenses.  In order for providers to meet these challenges and deliver high value healthcare, they must have access to relevant cost and outcome information to help guide their clinical decision making.  We will test the hypothesis that a value-driven electronic, milestone-based clinical pathway (V-EMP) will decrease direct costs and decrease complications in 350 patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting surgery compared to 350 historic controls.  The V-EMP will define and outline the expected course of care while tracking patient-specific outcome and cost information spanning from pre-operative evaluation to 90 days post-operatively.  The results of this project will help guide the development of other value-driven clinical pathways and give guidance to providers and institutions as how to best meet the challenges posed by the shift to value-based reimbursement. 


Quintin J. Quinones, M.D., Ph.D.             
Duke University
Mentored Research Training Grant - Basic Science            
“Reversible Immunodulation as a Strategy for Ischemia Tolerance in Hibernation”

During surgery or critical illness, patients sometimes suffer organ dysfunction related to uncontrolled inflammation. There are currently no drugs that effectively treat this problem. To work towards new treatments, our laboratory has developed a surgical model to study a hibernating mammal known as the arctic ground squirrel. These animals show a remarkable, natural resistance to injury in a robust surgical model that closely mirrors what humans experience during major heart surgery. To understand how arctic ground squirrels are different we compare them to rats in the same surgical model; rats do not show any natural resistance and suffer organ dysfunction much in the way that humans do. The focus of our study is a unique trait found in hibernators, the arctic ground squirrel can regulate its innate immune system to decrease inflammation following surgical injury. Our studies will be focused on looking at protein levels and the function of white blood cells in the arctic ground squirrel vs. the rat. We will also look at protein levels in human white blood cells. By understanding how the arctic ground squirrel is able to regulate its innate immune system we hope to identify potential targets that will lead to treatments for human patients during surgery and critical illness.


Andrew M. Slupe, M.D., Ph.D.
Oregon Health and Science University
Research Fellowship Grant
“Axon pruning governed by Bax during development and following exposure to volatile anesthetic”

Development of the mammalian nervous system is an intricate process of cellular proliferation and growth as well as death and degeneration.  Volatile anesthetics commonly used during the care of pediatric patients undergoing surgery have been shown to disrupt neuronal development in animal models and may cause cognitive and behavioral deficits in humans.   Toxicity associated with volatile anesthetics likely arises from disruption of intracellular signaling processes necessary for development.  Using state of the art genetic manipulation techniques the signaling processes that contribute to neuronal death and degeneration will be selectively probed in the context of exposure to volatile anesthetics during the neonatal period.  The results of this work are expected to provide insight into the intersection of physiological neuronal development and toxicity associated with exposure to volatile anesthetics at a young age. 


Keith M. Vogt, M.D., Ph.D.         
University of Pittsburgh
Mentored Research Training Grant - Clinical or Translational        
“Human memory encoding under anesthesia: how pain affects hippocampal and amygdalar contributions to memory”

Past experiences shape subsequent human behavior, most often through events we can explicitly recall.  Implicit memories can also subconsciously affect us, and this type of influence is more common during aversive conditions and when our attention is averted.  The experience of pain under anesthesia presents such a situation, where consciousness is altered by drugs while the brain is receiving painful input.  This project will quantify the formation of both explicit and implicit memories during the combined experience of pain and light sedation with two distinct anesthetics (midazolam and ketamine).  In addition to memory performance and monitoring data from subjects, advanced brain imaging will be used.  This will reveal which brain structures contribute to aversive subconscious memories.  The expected results should improve our understanding of how the brain forms memories during the experience of pain and how this process is affected by different anesthetics.


Peter D. Yim, M.D.
Columbia University
Mentored Research Training Grant - Basic Science
“GABAA Modulation of Myogenic Tone in Vascular Smooth Muscle- Novel Therapy of Hypertension”

This proposal will determine the feasibility of targeting GABAA receptors expressed on resistance arterial vascular smooth muscle as a novel therapeutic target for resistant hypertension. Although evidence exists linking decreased blood pressure to GABA ligand therapies, a direct functional link between resistance arterial smooth muscle GABAA activation and myogenic tone remains unexplored. Increased myogenic tone has been associated with hypertension in experimental models and is the functional corollary of vascular smooth muscle contractility. We hypothesize that targeting of GABAA receptors on vascular smooth muscle of resistance arteries will decrease myogenic tone and elucidate a potential novel target for the treatment of hypertension. We will address this hypothesis by studying the effects of subunit selective CNS sparing GABAA agonists on three models (invitro cultured vascular smooth muscle model, exvivo myogenic tone model and invivo hypertensive animal models). Completion of these studies will add to the understanding of anesthetic-mediated hypotension and may lead to novel treatments for refractory hypertension.


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: +1-847-268-9216