Mark Arcario, MD, PhD, was recently awarded a $250,000 Mentored Research Training Grant from the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER) for his project titled, “Understanding Allosteric Modulation of Pentameric Ligand-Gated Ion Channels by Fatty Acids.”
An innumerable number of anesthetics are safely performed daily across the globe, allowing for the invasive diagnosis and treatment of human disease to occur with minimal patient discomfort. However, despite over a century of research examining how anesthetics work, it is still unclear – on a molecular level – exactly how these drugs affect the function of certain ion channels in the brain.
“With funding from the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research Mentored Research Training Grant, we will use state-of-the-art computational molecular techniques to try to answer how small molecules bind to and communicate with ion channels in the brain, leading to the state of unconsciousness that we call ‘anesthesia,’” said Arcario.
Arcario will lead this research along with co-mentors Wayland Cheng, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the Division of Basic Science Research in the Department of Anesthesiology at Washington University School of Medicine, and Grace Brannigan, PhD, associate professor of physics at Rutgers University–Camden.
Arcario completed an Adult Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology Fellowship from Washington University School of Medicine in 2021 and will graduate from the department’s Academic Scholars Advancement Program in June 2022. After graduating, he will remain with the department as a faculty member in the Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology division in addition to pursuing his research.
FAER’s mentored research training grants help physician-scientists develop the skills, preliminary data for subsequent grant applications, and research publications needed to become independent investigators. An organization of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), FAER is dedicated to developing the next generation of physician-scientists in anesthesiology and fueling anesthesiology’s future through scientific discovery.
More information about FAER and the 2022 grant recipients is available on the ASA website.