Anesthesia and Preoperative Medicine

Kenneth Catchpole, Ph.D.

We research clinical care delivery systems with a view to improving safety, efficiency and quality of care. It's great grounding as a medical student because by exploring the engineering and process side of care delivery, you get to understand and analyze how care is delivered. It also gives early insights into a range of specialties. Current projects including improving process and communication in robotic surgery; engineering better ways to deliver anesthesia medications; sterile processing of instruments; and a range of other projects related to the delivery of acute care.

David Gutman, M.D., MBA

Study #1
A Randomized Controlled Trial of Playing “The Most Relaxing Song in the World” During Labor Epidural Placement and its Effects on Anxiety and Satisfaction.

The objective of the study is to determine if playing “Weightless” by Marconi Union during labor epidural placement, decreased laboring parturient anxiety and improved satisfaction with the experience.
Our hypothesis is that playing “Weightless” by Marconi Union will decrease patient anxiety by 30% from pre-procedure to post-procedure and improve their satisfaction score overall.

Study #2
A Trial of Adding Lung Protective Strategies to Existing Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) Protocols and its Effect on Improving Post-Operative Lung Function

The objective of this study is to determine whether the addition of lung protective strategies to existing enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocols for colorectal surgeries and hepatobiliary surgeries will improve post-operative lung function.
The hypothesis is that prospective patients undergoing hepatobiliary and colorectal surgeries that have lung protective strategies added to their base ERAS protocols will have improved lung function as measured by post-operative PACU mean incentive spirometry tidal volumes compared to the control group who had the base ERAS protocols without lung protective strategies uniformly applied.

Michael Scofield, Ph.D.

Project #1
Contributions of Nitrergic Interneurons and NO Signaling in Cocaine Relapse

Project Description: Cocaine addiction produces alterations in neuroplasticity within key brain regions responsible for the vulnerability to relapse that typifies addiction. In animal models, exposure to cocaine-conditioned cues causes an enhancement of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity and dendritic spine head enlargement, both of which are linked to relapse. One mechanism for activation of MMPs is S-nitrosylation of the MMP pro-domain by nitric oxide (NO), a chemical transmitter produced by a population of interneurons. We hypothesize NO signaling in the brain is critical for relapse. We are currently recording NO and glutamate levels in the NAcore of behaving animals, to assess in real time how cue exposure impacts NO release. Further, during freely moving recordings we will manipulate inputs to nNOS interneurons to determine how the system functions at the circuit level.

Student Role: Students will be involved in the preparation and implementation of equipment used to record glutamate and nitric oxide levels in the rodent brain during rodent cocaine self-administration and relapse studies. These tasks include constructing rodent indwelling jugular vein catheters and calibrating electrodes prior to implantation. Additionally, students will be involved in the collection, organization and analysis of behavioral, electrochemical and video data collected during rodent cocaine taking and seeking.

Project #2
Role of Non-Neuronal Cells in Drug Addiction

Project Description: Astrocytes, the primary non-neuronal cells in the brain, have an ability to influence neuronal communication and play a role in the cellular mechanisms underlying drug addiction. Data from our lab and others suggest that drug exposure not only impacts neuronal morphology but also fundamentally alters morphology, as well as the program of gene expression in non-neuronal cells. As we learn more about neuron-astrocyte interaction and the importance of this physical interaction has become apparent, we propose that the level of synaptic contacts made by astrocytes represents a new biomarker of relapse vulnerability. Studies on this project will target understanding how the program of synaptic insulation by astrocytes along dendritic segments contributes relapse vulnerability and how this association is altered by drugs of abuse.

Student Role: Students will be involved in the preparation of rodent brain tissue for immunofluorescent staining, conducting freely floating fluorescent staining, and mounting of tissue slices. Students will also get a in introduction to confocal microscopy and computer aided rendering and analysis of morphological aspects of astroglia and microglia that are impacted by exposure to drugs of abuse, using the tissue that they stained.