I am delighted to announce that Dr. Jose Moron-Concepcion has graciously agreed to serve as the interim Chief of the Division of Basic Research (DBR) in the Department of Anesthesiology. In this role, Dr. Moron-Concepcion will be responsible for working with Dr. Rob Gereau, Vice Chair for Research, on strategic planning and goal setting for the division, working with Dr. Ellen Lockhart, Vice Chair for Faculty Affairs, on mentorship of the DBR faculty, and he will have oversight of division policies as well as postdoc, graduate student, and resident training within the DBR labs.
Dr. Moron-Concepcion is a Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology, where he leads a successful and highly productive research program investigating the basic biological underpinnings of opioid addiction and the intersection with pain. Dr. Moron-Concepcion is an exceptionally well funded investigator, currently holding 3 R01s and running a very active training program in his lab. He is internationally renowned in the field of the neurobiology of opioid systems, the neurobiology of pain, and the mechanisms underlying addiction.
Dr. Moron-Concepcion completed his PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Barcelona in Spain and was awarded a fellowship to join the intramural program at NIDA to work in the laboratory of Dr. Toni Shippenberg, a pioneer in the field of opioid pharmacology. He then continued his postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Lakshmi Devi at Mount Sinai, where he worked on the mechanisms of opioid dependence. After completing his training, Dr. Moron-Concepcion was faculty at both Mount Sinai and the University of Texas – Galveston before moving to Columbia University in New York, where he was faculty for six years before being recruited to Washington University in 2015.
Dr. Moron Concepcion has published more than 45 peer reviewed papers and is regularly invited to speak all over the world on his work. Dr. Francis Collins, the Director of the NIH, invited him to participate in one of three high level meetings that brought together representatives from the pharmaceutical industry, the FDA, and academia to discuss the neurobiology of pain and development of non-opioid analgesics. Dr. Moron-Concepcion has also been a member of the National Academy of Sciences committee that created a report for the FDA on Pain Management and the Opioid Epidemic and updated the Institute of Medicine on this topic. The resulting report will provide an update to the 2011 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report Relieving Pain in America, which includes a further characterization of the evolving role that opioid analgesics play in pain management. The report will also make recommendations on the options available to the FDA in addressing the prescription opioid overdose epidemic, from both the individual and public health perspectives, and to otherwise further advance the field. Additionally, Dr. Moron-Concepcion has also been appointed as a member of the Interagency Committee on Pain Research which will provide advice to the NIH and the Department of Health and Human Services on how to manage resources for pain research in the U.S.
Dr. Moron-Concepcion is extraordinarily qualified to step into this interim role and ensure that the DBR standards in knowledge generation, funding, and support for its faculty, trainees, and staff are upheld. We are delighted that Dr. Moron-Concepcion has agreed to serve in this important leadership position, and we look forward to his success in this position!
Michael Avidan, MBBCh, FCASA
Dr. Seymour and Rose T. Brown of Anesthesiology
Head of the Department of Anesthesiology