Message from the Vice Chair of Research

Research in the Department of Anesthesiology at Columbia University is conducted across a broad spectrum of basic and clinical investigations. Our laboratories support NIH-funded research from molecular to whole animal models, addressing topics in physiology and pharmacology in several organ systems.

Basic research topics include organ ischemia reperfusion injury, purinergic receptor signaling in sepsis, anesthetic effects on the electroencephalogram and post-anesthesia outcomes, inflammatory and fibrotic lung diseases, elucidation of protein structure/function via cryo electron microscopy techniques, mitochondrial bioenergetics, mechanisms of anesthetic neurotoxicity, and mechanisms of acute and chronic pain. 

Our clinical research includes direct interventional research/clinical trials as well as large data outcome studies using sophisticated statistical approaches. Clinical studies include investigations into biomarkers of kidney and liver injury in the perioperative/ICU environment, delirium and cognition changes in the perioperative period, protective strategies against ventilator-induced lung injury, perioperative pain and opioid management, complications in the pediatric patient after surgery/anesthesia, and the impact of palliative care in cancer patients. Large data studies address research topics related to pediatric anesthetic neurotoxicity, intraoperative predictors and interventions for kidney injury, anesthetic complications in obstetrical anesthesia, and risks for cognitive decline and delirium after anesthesia and ICU care.

A robust culture of scholarly activity suffuses our missions of patient care, clinical education, and research. The Department of Anesthesiology is legendary for developing research leaders in anesthesiology and perioperative medicine. Along with department-funded research support and our long-standing NIH T32 training grant, we train the next generation of outstanding physician-scientists with a dedicated research track in clinical residency, the Virginia Apgar Scholars Program. Apgar Scholars receive close mentorship during residency and beyond as they embark on research careers in basic, clinical, translational, epidemiological, and educational research studies.

Charles Emala, MD, MS

Henrik H. Bendixen Professor of Anesthesiology and Vice Chair of Research