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Department ranks in top 3 in NIH research funding in 2022

The Department of Anesthesiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis again ranked among the nation’s top three anesthesiology departments in terms of research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

According to the latest data compiled by the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research (BRIMR), the department ranked No. 3 overall for NIH dollars awarded to more than 50 anesthesiology departments in fiscal year 2022. This is the 16th consecutive year the department has ranked in the top five.

Some department faculty and researchers who received NIH funding in 2022 include:

  • Dr. Robert Gereau, the Dr. Seymour & Rose T. Brown Professor of Anesthesiology and Vice Chair for Research. The Gereau Lab focuses on novel approaches to provide new therapeutic strategies to reduce pain and its impact on patient quality of life.
  • Dr. Hongzhen Hu, Professor of Anesthesiology. The Hu Lab is part of the Center for the Study of Itch & Sensory Disorders and studies the cellular and molecular mechanisms of pain and itch focusing on transient receptor potential channels in the skin and primary sensory neurons under physiological and pathophysiological conditions.
  • Dr. Alex Evers, the Henry E. Mallinckrodt Professor of Anesthesiology. The Evers Lab focuses on the protein chemistry of GABAA receptors to identify and characterize drug binding sites, sequence variants and post-translational modifications as well as to define the protein complexes in which GABAA receptors reside in vivo.
  • Dr. Ben Palanca, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology. The Palanca Lab leverages sleep and circadian markers towards novel interventions and elucidation of neuropsychiatric disorders.
  • Dr. Qin Liu, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology. The Liu Lab is part of the Center for the Study of Itch & Sensory Disorders and focuses on the peripheral neural mechanisms of somatosensations, including itch, pain and mechanosensation.
  • Dr. Baron Chanda, Professor of Anesthesiology. Research in the Chanda Lab probes the physical and chemical underpinnings of electrical signaling in cells, particularly in cellular ion channels.
  • Dr. Jose Moron-Concepcion, the Henry E. Mallinckrodt Professor of Anesthesiology and Division Chief, Division of Basic Research. The Moron-Concepcion Lab examines the neuronal mechanisms underlying the effects of opioids on synaptic plasticity and their link to the behavioral effects of opioids. It also examines how persistent pain alters the rewarding and motivational properties of opioids.

“We are proud of the contributions from our faculty,” said Robert W. Gereau, PhD, the Dr. Seymour and Rose T. Brown Professor of Anesthesiology and Vice Chair for Research. “The sustained robust funding numbers are impressive and reflect a thriving research environment in the Department of Anesthesiology. What is more important is that these funds are being deployed to execute groundbreaking research into some of the most vexing problems facing the health of our nation.”

In total, WashU anesthesiology researchers were awarded over $17.3 million in NIH funding for 41 projects. Additionally, the department also received $8.17 million of additional external support, including funding from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to compare two common anesthetic drugs to determine which offers better patient recovery experiences.

In addition to the impressive departmental rankings, WashU Medicine recently ranked No. 3 for national funding to academic medical centers in 2022 with just over $569 million in research grants from the NIH.

Learn more about research in the Department of Anesthesiology.