A core mission of the Department of Anesthesiology is to generate new knowledge that will advance the understanding and practice of Anesthesiology.

The Department is heavily funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, and for over 15 years has ranked among the top five anesthesiology departments in NIH dollars.

The Department’s research efforts are organized into three divisions, the Division of Basic Research, the Washington University Pain Center (WUPC), and the Division of Clinical & Translational Research (DoCTR).

Another major research initiative was the establishment, in partnership with Dermatology, of the Center for the Study of Itch & Sensory Disorders. This Center seeks to understand the fundamental underlying mechanisms of itch and translate these findings into treatments for patients suffering from intractable itch.

Additionally, the Department of Anesthesiology and the St. Louis College of Pharmacy has established the Center for Clinical Pharmacology that is focused on human-oriented research with the goal of improving the use of current and new therapeutics and diagnostics.

The Division of Basic Research consists of nine principal investigators studying general anesthetic mechanisms, ion channel structure and function, novel intracellular signaling pathways, and sepsis.

The WUPC consists of ten principal and six affiliated investigators whose labs investigate the neurobiological bases of nociceptive conditions including migraine, acute and chronic pain, itch, and opioid systems mediating analgesia and reward.

Ten principal investigators form the core of DoCTR, which has a wide range of research areas, including perioperative outcomes; postoperative delirium; postoperative patient-reported outcomes; functional neuroimaging of anesthesia and drug disposition; perioperative mental health; machine learning and artificial intelligence; human factors; telemedicine; persistent post-surgical pain; perioperative and peripartum sleep apnea; and integration of electronic health information to optimize safety and outcomes.

Research projects for students, residents, and postdoctoral fellows are currently available in all three divisions.