- Elucidating the mechanisms underlying emergence from general anesthesia
- Actively controlling the process of emergence from general anesthesia
- Developing novel methods to assess return of cognitive function after general anesthesia
- Analysis of neurophysiological recordings during general anesthesia and active emergence
Description of Research
I began investigating anesthetic mechanisms in medical school, where I studied biophysical interactions between halogenated anesthetics and model proteins that mimic putative molecular sites of anesthetic action. As a senior resident and junior faculty member in the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine at MGH, I studied anesthetic-induced changes in the function of neuronal ion channels. For several years I used two-electrode voltage-clamp and patch-clamp electrophysiology with ultra-rapid solution exchange techniques to study ion channel physiology under simulated synaptic conditions.
Since 2008 my laboratory work has focused on investigating the mechanisms of emergence from general anesthesia using a systems neuroscience approach. Evidence suggests that arousal pathways in the brain play important roles in promoting emergence from general anesthesia. My team currently studies these pathways and developing novel methods to actively induce emergence from general anesthesia in surgical patients. In 2011, we published a manuscript describing the active induction of emergence from general anesthesia with methylphenidate in rats, and we are now probing the role of dopaminergic neurotransmission in active emergence. Our work may eventually lead to improved pharmacological control over the arousal states of anesthetized patients, better treatments for emergence delirium, better neurophysiological monitors to detect intraoperative awareness, and ultimately a safer and more efficient practice of anesthesiology.