Our lab and clinical research efforts focus on the the elucidation of mechanisms underlying ischemic injury to tissues and organs. Building on this knowledge, we hope to identify promising therapeutic targets with the hope of intervening at the patient's bedside. The ultimate goal is to improve outcomes in patients who suffer ischemic injury to their vital organs.
What is Ischemia
Ischemia occurs when the blood supply to an organ is either totally or partially cut off. When blood flow is then restored to an organ, it can then undergo further injury which can severely impair organ function. This process is termed ischemia - reperfusion injury., and is the main focus of the research conducted in our laboratory. This situation occurs in a number of clinical scenarios, such as traumatic injury, myocardial infactions (heart attacks), strokes, or during surgical procuedures, such as, vascular surgery, surgery to remove tumors and cancer or transplant surgery. The mechanisms involved in this kind of organ injury are complex and include inflammatory cells and molecules, the immune system, the blood vessels themselves, and a myriad of other factors yet to be determined. We seek to elucidate the mechanisms, identify therapeutic targets, and test our laboratory findings at the bedside.
Translating Discoveries from Bench to Bedside
Our laboratory, led by an anesthesiologist and a transplant surgeon, is uniquely positioned to investigate these clinically relevant issues and to translate these findings into trials that may change the way we practice medicine and surgery in an extremely rapid fashion. We literally go back and forth between findings in the clinic, and findings in the laboratory which direct our research in both arenas. We perform research both in the experimental laboratory as well as on outcomes related to patients.
As two examples of this kind of research, we have found that mild hypothermia is extremely beneficial at ameliorating ischemia-reperfusion injury of the liver, even in fatty livers which are exceedingly susceptible to ischemic injury. We have also found that high blood sugar is can greatly exacerbate ischemic injury of the kidney. Both of these findings may have an immediate impact on how we deal with ischemia of the liver or of the kidney in a variety of settings, including vascular, urologic, oncologic and transplant surgery.