The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
McGovern Medical School
Departments of Anesthesiology & Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
I am a physician-scientist trained in anesthesiology and critical care medicine and an NIH-funded investigator studying the role of hypoxia-elicited adaptive responses in the context of acute organ failure. Many surgical patients experience acute organ injury during the perioperative period, which leads to significant morbidity and mortality. At present, therapeutic approaches to prevent or treat acute organ injuries—such as acute kidney or lung injury, intestinal inflammation, or myocardial ischemia—are limited. My laboratory is particularly interested in studying endogenous adaptive pathways under the control of hypoxia-inducible factors. Many of our studies point towards an adaptive role for hypoxia-elicited signaling pathways, for example, by attenuating hypoxia-associated inflammation or promoting ischemia tolerance. We have applied these molecular concepts in a wide range of important disease models pertaining to anesthesiology and critical care medicine, including myocardial ischemia, ischemia or sepsis-induced kidney injury, liver ischemia, acute respiratory distress syndromes (ARDS), and intestinal inflammation. During the pandemic, we extended our pre-clinical studies of hypoxia-inducible factor prolyl-hydroxylases (HIF-PHIs)to include hospitalized COVID-19 patients. We hypothesize that patients assigned to a HIF-PHI will experience attenuated lung inflammation and long-term sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection. We anticipate that some of these findings will lead to novel approaches to prevent or treat acute organ injury in patients who require major surgery or suffer from critical illness.
In addition, my research laboratory is devoted to providing junior investigators with unique training and career opportunities. As such, I have trained many scientists and physician-scientists in the field of anesthesiology, surgery, immunology, and critical care medicine. Several of my trainees went on to become independently-funded investigators (e.g., via NIH K08 or R01 mechanisms) or assume academic leadership roles.
Students who train in my laboratory can participate in projects that address immunologic aspects of organ injury in a wide range of model systems, including the lung, intestine, liver, kidney, or heart. They will have opportunities to work on molecular approaches (PCR, Western blot, gene silencing, etc.) in combination with a variety of studies of murine in vivo model systems.
Education & Training
M.D./Ph.D. - Eberhard Karls University - 1996