Return to Home Page

Program Successes

Several scholars have proven the value of the BH Robbins program through a high volume of quality scholarly work.

Thomas Austin, MD, published three articles as a result of research during his BH Robbins fellowship:

  • Kinase regulation of Na+-K+-2Cl- cotransport in primary afferent neurons.” Delpire E, Austin T. J Physiol. 2010 Sep 15;588(Pt 18):3365-73;
  • “Inhibition of KCC2 in Mouse Spinal Cord Neurons Leads to Hypersensitivity to Thermal Stimulation.” Anesthesia & Analgesia. 2011 December; 113(6): 1509-15;
  • “The Use of a Continuous Brachial Plexus Catheter to Facilitate Inpatient Rehabilitation in a Pediatric Patient with Refractory Upper Extremity Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.” Franklin A, Austin T. Pain Practice. 2012 May 2.

Dr. Austin presented his work on the inhibition of KCC2 in mouse spinal cord neurons at the Association of University Anesthesiologists national meeting in 2011 and won the Association’s resident travel award. This abstract was also presented at the American Society of Anesthesiologists 2011 Annual Meeting, where Dr. Austin won the ASA Residents’ Research Award. In 2012, Dr. Austin was awarded a two-year, $175,000 Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER) Mentored Research Training Grant-Basic Science for his project: “Effect of Neuronal K-Cl Cotransporter KCC2 Activation on Pain Perception.” Dr. Austin is mentored by Eric Delpire, PhD.

Patrick Henson, DO, published a review entitled “Complex Regional Pain Syndrome: State-of-the-Art Update in Current Treatment Options” in Cardiovascular Medicine 2010 Apr;12(2):156-67 with his mentor Stephen Bruehl, PhD.  Dr. Henson also received a National Institutes of Health Clinical and Translational Science Award for his study of the fMRI findings in patients with chronic knee pain. He has begun enrollment in his clinical trial. Dr. Henson will complete a Critical Care Medicine Fellowship in 2012, and will then join the faculty.

Christopher Hughes, MD, was awarded a two-year Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER) Mentored Research Grant for his project, “The Role of Endothelial Dysfunction in Intensive Care Unit Delirium and Long-term Cognitive Impairment.” Dr. Hughes has published several original research articles during his BH Robbins Fellowship including:

  • The McGrath video laryngoscope in unstable cervical spine surgery: a case series.” Hughes C, et al. J Clin Anesth. 2010 Nov;22(7):575-6;
  • The effects of perioperative and intensive care unit sedation on brain organ dysfunction.” Hughes C et. al. Anesth Analg. 2011 May;112(5):1212-7;
  • Statins and brain dysfunction: a hypothesis to reduce the burden of cognitive impairment in critically ill patients. Morandi A, Hughes CG, Girard TD, McAuley DF, Ely EW, Pandharipande PP. Chest. 2011 Sep;140(3):580-5;
  • Intraoperative risk factors of acute respiratory distress syndrome in critically ill patients. Hughes C, Weavind L, Banerjee A, Mercaldo N, Schildcrout J, Pandharipande P. Anesth Analg. 2010 Aug;111(2):464-7;
  • Post-shunt hemochromatosis leading to cardiogenic shock in a patient presenting for orthotopic liver transplant: a case report. Hughes CG, Waldman JM, Barrios J, Robertson A. Transplant Proc. 2009 Jun;41(5):2000-2.

Additionally, Dr. Hughes has co-authored two book chapters; the first with Drs. Stuart McGrane and Pratik Pandharipande on “Management of Sedation, Analgesia and Delirium in Anesthetic Pharmacology: Basic Principles and Clinical Practice.” 2nd Edition Cambridge University Press 2011. Editors Alex Evers, Mervyn Maze and Evan Kharasch. The second book chapter was written with Drs. Pandharipande and Dr. Wes Ely on “Management of Pain, Anxiety and Delirium” in Textbook of Critical Care. 6th Edition Saunders 2011. Editors JL Vincent, E Abraham, F Moore and M Fink MD. Dr. Hughes has presented his research at meetings of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, the Society of Critical Care Medicine, the Society of Critical Care Anesthesiologists, and the Association of University Anesthesiologists. He was awarded a National Institutes of Health Clinical and Translational Science Award to study the role of early physical therapy on endothelial function. Dr. Hughes is mentored by Pratik Pandharipande, MD, MSCI, as well as Wes Ely, MD, MPH (Department of Medicine’s Division of Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care).

Daniel Lonergan, MD, was the second author on original research titled: “Discovery, characterization, and structure-activity relationships of an inhibitor of inward rectifier potassium (Kir) channels with preference for Kir2.3, Kir3.x, and Kir7.1.” Raphemot R, Lonergan DF, Nguyen TT, Utley T, Lewis LM, Kadakia R, Weaver CD, Gogliotti R, Hopkins C, Lindsley CW, Denton JS. Front Pharmacol. 2011;2:75. Epub 2011 Nov 30. He was also second author on a review titled “Small-Molecule Modulators of Inward Rectifier K+ Channels: Recent Advances and Future Possibilities” published in Future Medicinal Chemistry 2010 May;2(5):757-74. Co-authors of the review article were Research Fellow Gautam Bhave, MD, Brian A. Chauder, PhD; and Jerod S. Denton, PhD, one of Dr. Lonergan’s mentors.

Dr. Lonergan joined the faculty of the Division of Pain Medicine in 2011 and is continuing his work in Dr. Denton’s lab on the role of ion channels in the modulation of acute and chronic pain. Additionally, he is pursuing clinical research projects which explore the implications of opioid-induced hyperalgesia in the chronic pain population, and presented an abstract titled “Utilizing a standardized opioid withdrawal protocol for intentional intrathecal pump detoxification” at the 2011 American Society of Anesthesiologists Annual Meeting. In 2010, Dr. Lonergan also presented his research at the American Society of Anesthesiologists Annual Meeting, and he received the Resident Travel Award from the Association of University Anesthesiologists. In addition to Dr. Denton, Dr. Longergan’s mentors include Steve Bruehl, PhD; Ruth Young, MD (Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center); Neal Patel, MD, MPH (Biomedical Informatics, Pediatric Critical Care), and Paul Harris, PhD (Biomedical Informatics).

Amanda Lorinc, MD, is conducting research on a novel compound which has been shown to reduce dofetilide-induced dysrhythmias in isolated rabbit hearts. This work has important implications for moderating dysrhythmias caused by QT prolongation.  Dr. Lorinc presented her research at the 2011 American Society of Anesthesiologists Annual Meeting and the 2012 Association of University Anesthesiologists meeting.  Her research was also presented by her mentor, Sabina Kupershmidt, PhD, and co-investigators at the Biannual Meeting of the Swiss Society for Pharmacology and Toxicology in Zurich, Switzerland, at the Aurora Biomed Ion Channel Retreat, in Vancouver, Canada, and at the Denis Escande Symposium in Nantes, France.  Dr. Lorinc has also begun two additional research projects: Perioperative complications, patient safety and quality improvement, and the evaluation of the skin to epidural space in infants and toddlers using magnetic resonance imaging. Dr. Lorinc is mentored by Sabina Kupershmidt, PhD; Matt Weinger, MD; and Dan France, PhD.

Carrie Menser, MD, is researching the utilization of a pediatric pain service in the perioperative management of pediatric palliative care patients and an evaluation of perioperative complications in pediatric palliative care patients.  Her academic interests include the impact of the perioperative environment and pain management in children with special needs. She is mentored by Gretchen Purcell Jackson, MD, PhD, of the Department of Pediatric Surgery and Dr. Stephen Hays. 

Joseph Schlesinger, MD, is examining multisensory perceptual training, and specifically improving unisensory pulse oximetry pitch perception and attention load processing.  Dr. Schlesinger has received a Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (VICTR) grant for his research, and has submitted a journal article for review.  He will present his research at the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting 2012 and at the American Society of Anesthesiologists 2012 Annual Meeting.  He is mentored by Mark Wallace, PhD, Director of the Vanderbilt Brain Institute.

Heidi Smith MD, MSCI, has ongoing studies, in collaboration with pediatric psychiatry and critical care, include validation of a delirium monitoring instrument for children under the age of five, an observational study evaluating executive dysfunction in critically ill children, an implementation study of delirium monitoring in critically ill children, and an epidemiological study evaluating the prevalence, risk factors and outcomes associated with delirium in critically ill patients. Dr. Smith was the first author on a validation study “Diagnosing delirium in critically ill children: Validity and reliability of the Pediatric Confusion Assessment Method for the Intensive Care Unit.Crit Care Med. 2011 Jan;39(1):150-7, as well as first author on “Delirium: an emerging frontier in the management of critically ill children.” Smith HA, Fuchs DC, Pandharipande PP, Barr FE, Ely EW. Anesthesiol Clin. 2011 Dec;29(4):729-50. Dr. Smith also co authored “Diagnosing delirium in critically ill children: Spanish translation and cultural adaptation of the Pediatric Confusion Assessment Method for the Intensive Care Unit.” Franco JG, Ricardo C, Muñoz JF, de Pablo J, W P, Ely EW, Smith HA. Crit Care Med. 2012 Mar;40(3):1034. Dr. Smith is mentored by Pratik Pandharipande, MD, MSCI from the Department of Anesthesiology, and Wes Ely, MD, MPH (Department of Medicine’s Division of Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care).