Episode 5: Inside the Life and Research of a Physician Scientist
Listen in on Dr. Striker’s discussion with Dr. Max Kelz, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Their wide ranging conversation touches on Dr. Kelz's research into how anesthetics work, his advice on securing grants, and his appreciation for the mentors that helped him on his journey. Recorded March 2020.
Dr. Max Kelz is the Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He was inspired by a case of delayed emergence, in which a narcoleptic patient took over six hours to regain consciousness after receiving an anesthetic whose known actions dissipated in minutes. Dr. Kelz began to question where and how general anesthetics exert their hypnotic effects. In the process, he became one of the first to question the notion that exit from the anesthetic state is a passive, mechanistic mirror image of anesthetic induction. His studies in mice, genetically engineered to develop postnatal narcolepsy, demonstrated that neuronal events permitting recovery of consciousness could be distinct from those enabling entry into the anesthetic state. The Kelz Lab also discovered that the brain harbors intrinsic mechanisms to track whether it is awake or unconscious and attempts to resist changes in its arousal state—a process termed neural inertia. As a practicing clinical anesthesiologist and basic scientist, Dr. Kelz has conducted experiments in fruit flies, zebrafish, mice and humans, gaining mechanistic insights across the phylogenetic tree. He has demonstrated that such basic mechanisms leading to hysteresis are highly conserved across invertebrates and mammals and have implications for return of cognition in humans exiting states of general anesthesia.
Adam Striker, MD, FASA
Adam Striker, MD, FASA, is currently Chair of the ASA Committee on Communications, and is the series editor for ASA’s Central Line podcast series. He is an Associate Professor and serves as staff anesthesiologist in the Division of Cardiac Anesthesia at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and in the Division of Pediatric Anesthesia at Kentucky Children’s Hospital as part of the Joint Congenital Heart Care Program. He received his undergraduate degree in engineering from Purdue University and his medical degree from Indiana University. He completed his pediatric anesthesiology fellowship at Northwestern University.