University of Arizona Anesthesiology faculty Amol Patwardhan, MD, PhD and Mohab Ibrahim, MD, PhD both received notice of awards from NIH this month. Dr. Patwardhan, MD, PhD received an NIH-K08 Mentored Clinician-Scientist Award while Dr. Ibrahim, MD PhD was awarded an RO1. This marks the first time in many years that the Department of Anesthesiology has NIH funding. The new Department Chair Randal Dull, MD, PHD said this is just the start we need towards rebuilding Anesthesiology into a premier academic department.
Amol and Mohab represent the kind of success that can be achieved at the UA when clinician-scientists team up with outstanding basic scientists to tackle patient-related issues. Both investigators work closely with members of the Department of Pharmacology including Chairman Todd Vanderah, PhD; Frank Porreca, PhD, and Rajesh Khanna, PhD and Philip Malan, MD, PhD. (see https://pharmacology.arizona.edu/faculty). “This mentoring team has been a tremendous help for both Amol and Mohab and I am grateful for their dedication towards the development of these outstanding faculty members” said Dr. Dull. In fact, the depth of expertise on this mentoring team could not be found in most major research universities and is testament to the strength of our basic science department. The Departments of Anesthesiology and Pharmacology have enjoyed close ties for many years and we look forward to developing this collaboration into other clinically-relevant areas and leveraging this success in the recruitment of NIH-funded faculty into both departments.
Amol Patwardhan, MD, PhD
Left to Right: Randal Dull, MD, PhD (Chair of Anesthesiology); Frank Porreca PhD;
Amol Partwardhan MD, PhD; Todd Vanderah, PhD (Chair of Pharmacology) and Rajesh Khanna, PhD.
Dr. Patwardhan is an interventional pain physician, anesthesiologist and pharmacologist who studies novel mechanisms for inhibiting spinal pain transmission. His grant will assess the molecular mechanism by which contulakin-G (CGX), a peptide derived from snail venom, produces analgesia but without adversely affecting motor neuron function. Developing novel therapeutic compounds that are not related to opioids represent a huge opportunity in anesthesiology and neuro-pharmacology. Dr. Patwardhan and his team have proposed several hypotheses regarding the sites of action for CGX and plan to characterize the receptors and channels that are inhibited by CGX. A second major aspect of these studies is the observation that CGX does not result in tolerance, a common and rate limiting aspect of many pain medications. Characterizing how to avoid the development of tolerance for analgesics opens the possibility of improving the efficacy of existing analgesic drugs. We look forward to following the success of this very talented team of scientists.
Dr. Amol Patwardhan receives NIH Mentored Clinician-Scientist Award.
Mohab Ibrahim, MD PhD
Left to Right: Randal Dull MD, PhD (Chair of Anesthesiology); Mohab Ibrahim, MD, PhD;
Frank Porreca, PhD; Rajesh Khanna, PhD; and Todd Vanderah, PhD (Chair of Pharmacology).
Dr. Ibrahim is also an interventional pain physician, anesthesiologist and pharmacologist. His research focuses on the treatment of chronic pain in patients with HIV. Antiretroviral therapy, the mainstay of HIV treatment, is associated with an increased incidence of chronic pain. Dr. Ibrahim and his research team completed a pilot study to determine if different wavelengths of light have specific analgesic effect. They found that rats with chronic, HIV-related neuropathic pain experienced analgesia when exposed to green light in the range of 525 nm for 8 hours per day. In this 5-year NIH funded study, Dr. Ibrahim will study the mechanisms by which green light induces analgesia. Specifically, they will characterize neuroinflammatory pathways in the brain and spinal cord to understand how green light reduces neuropathic pain. Non-pharmacological therapies hold great promise for the treatment of chronic pain as they are cost-effective, devoid of most drug-related side effects and economically scalable for use in medically challenged areas, cultures and countries.