How common genetic variants alter anesthesia and analgesia

Approximately 40% of Asian Americans that are descendants from East Asia possess a genetic variant severely limiting their ability to metabolize drugs we use during surgery in addition reactive aldehydes. We are developing personalized treatment strategies for this patient population to ultimately provide the best anesthetic and analgesic care during surgery. 

Opioid-related side effects are a tremendous burden in society today

Opioid related side effects are a tremendous burden on society:

Opioid analgesics have serious unwanted side effects including abuse, dependence, addiction and death.  

We are currently working on developing an analgesic for pain control through targeting protein-protein interactions that may eventually replace prescribing opioids to treat chronic pain.

How the nociceptive and cardioprotective signaling pathways are linked

We are presently looking at how pain and pain relieving channels may be part of the cellular cross-talk between pathways that provide endogenous mechanisms of cardioprotection and nociception. Our goal is to separate these functions for nociceptors in order to provide pain relief while also enabling endogenous mechanisms of organ protection from ischemia-reperfusion injury.  Together we may find novel ways to treat persistent chest pain while also uncovering natural mechanisms how the heart protects itself from injury during a heart attack.

By also studying how opioids reduce myocardial injury, we are also designing next generation analgesics that are safe to use for those with cardiovascular disease. My previous basic science research background involves examining the mechanism of how opioids and volatile anesthetics protect tissue from ischemia-reperfusion injury and what are the molecular mechanisms involved both through in vivo and cellular models of ischemia-reperfusion injury.