Improving patients' lives through research

The Department of Anesthesiology at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is currently involved in many clinical and basic science studies. Our research efforts are interdisciplinary across a wide spectrum and include multiple investigators. Although the Department of Anesthesiology is involved in many clinical studies of investigational drugs, medical-monitoring devices, clinical techniques and biomedical mechanisms, many of its research projects involve the causes of cardiovascular disease.

Exciting research opportunities exist in these areas for students, postdoctoral researchers, residents, basic researchers and medical scientists.
Collaboration and research areas

Collaboration and research areas

The Department of Anesthesiology has an association or partnership with many departments, divisions and institutions that are involved in biomedical research. This research spans across several areas of interest.

Brain Activation Caused by Pain

The nervous system is also an area of investigation. One study involves brain activation caused by pain and the signal attenuation over time within activated areas of the brain. The amount and duration of pain signal attenuation over time was examined. We found significant differences between pain and tingling in the ipsilateral cerebellum, contralateral thalamus, secondary somatosensory cortex, primary somatosensory cortex and anterior cingulate cortex. Highly significant signal decay was found to exist across each single pain task, but the signal was found to be restored after a four-minute rest period. This work shows that serial pain tasks can be used for functional magnetic resonance imaging studies using electrical nerve stimulation as a stimulus, as long as sufficient time is allowed between the two tasks.

Gastrointestinal Nervous System

Another line of investigation involves the gastrointestinal nervous system (the human enteric nervous system). In this research, we are determining the effects of histamine on gastric mobility and complications in bowel disease by establishing the mechanisms by which histamine alters nerve function. We are establishing the localization of specific histaminergic receptor subtypes to functionally identified neurons in the human enteric nervous system.

Ischemic Spinal Cord Injury Studies

The department is also conducting ischemic spinal cord injury studies in thoracic aortic aneurysm patients and animal models. The department's completion of a wireless telemetry informatics suite (operating room model) enables the system to be used at Ohio State's Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital. This telemetry informatics suite includes high-security military grade encryption and the implementation of Microsoft's new web services. The success of the project is such that Microsoft has decided to showcase this work at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center on an international level.

Myocardial Impedance Device

The myocardial impedance device, invented by our department, allows real-time assessment of myocardial ischemia and graft viability. This simple, minimally invasive device is capable of determining changes in ischemia in a single minute and has already been used to test graft viability prior to the end of surgery, avoiding serious cardiovascular complications and improving patient safety and recovery while reducing the incidence of repeat surgeries due to ineffective grafts. We are also pursuing this technology for very rapid detection of acute rejection of the transplanted heart. 

Additional research areas

  • Cardiovascular research
  • GI and CNS research
  • Optical imaging techniques
  • Myocardial monitoring
  • Molecular biology
  • Second messenger systems
  • Animal models of disease for vascular
  • Peripheral vascular
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Heart failure/bio-impedance and inflammatory bowel disease to preconditioning in humans with supportive animal studies ongoing
  • System response during disease states by purine receptors and c-reactive proteins
  • Effects of down-regulation of b-receptors in heart failure and their influence on clinical management
  • Critical care medicine
  • Extracorporeal life support (ECLS and ECMO)