Department of
Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine

Clinical & Translational Research

Our current clinical &  translational research programs cover an extensive range of subject areas, including:

gloved hands filling a syringe from a medication vial

Acute Pain

Jacques E. Chelly, MD, PhD, MBA
Dr. Chelly is Director of the Center for Innovation in Pain Medicine and the Center of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. He is currently research studying the role of a local anesthetic gel, auriculotherapy, hypnosis, aromatherapy, and CDB in the perioperative avoidance of opioids, as well as the management of mood disorders and pain. Read more about Dr. Chelly’s research 

Steven Orebaugh, MD
Dr. Orebaugh has led multiple successful projects with numerous past residents and fellows. He is considered one of the most productive resident research mentors. Read more about Dr. Orebaugh’s mentored research

Nicholas Schott, MD
Dr. Schott has worked on research on the advancement of regional anesthesia techniques in lung transplantation and trauma.

Brian Williams, MD, MBA
Dr. Williams is pursuing translational clinical research at the VA Pittsburgh Health System to develop multimodal single-injection perineural analgesia, with the specific goals of maximizing the duration of sensory analgesia while minimizing the duration of motor and proprioceptive block.

triangle representing the relationship between time, cost, and quality

Anesthesia Practice Management

Mark Hudson, MD, MBA
Dr. Hudson has led multiple successful research projects in the area of practice management.

blood cells

Blood Transfusion and Coagulation

Gerhardt Konig, MD
Dr. Konig’s current interests include blood transfusion, coagulation, and perioperative innovation. 

Jonathan H. Waters, MD
Dr. Waters' research focus has been blood management and optimizing services that minimize transfusion.  

anesthesiologists examining cardiac image on an OR monitor

Cardiac Anesthesiology

Kathirvel Subramaniam, MD, MPH, FASE
Dr. Subramaniam’s research interests include fast track cardiac anesthesia, cardiothoracic transplantation anesthesia, and pain management in cardiac surgery. He has completed numerous resident-led clinical projects as a research mentor.

Dr. Kaynar and trainees working in the Kaynar lab

Critical Care Medicine

A. Murat Kaynar, MD, MPH

Dr. Kaynar’s overarching research program continues to focus on the long-term effects of sepsis and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The Kaynar Lab is studying the role of zinc and matrix metalloproteinases to elucidate their role in sepsis and ARDS, with the subsequent aim of applying the findings to the management of these diseases.

Chronic Pain

Trent D. Emerick, MD, MBA
Dr. Emerick's research involves a myriad of quality improvement projects, including clinic and operating room efficiency analyses, inpatient chronic pain service consult analyses, and development of new protocols within the chronic pain division. Dr. Emerick is also interested in neuromodulation research, addiction medicine topics, and medical device innovation and startup environments. 

Ajay D. Wasan, MD, MSc
Dr. Wasan’s current research interests are in the areas of tracking pain treatment outcomes using electronic records, mechanism-based treatment studies of negative affect in pain, quantitative sensory testing, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and preventing prescription opioid misuse in patients with chronic pain.  

audience watching and listening to a lecture


Phil Adams, DO
Dr. Adams is Chair of our Resident Wellness Committee. His research interests involve factors influencing anesthesiology resident well-being. He has presented numerous projects regarding resident well-being at national meetings, publications, and workshops.

William McIvor, MD, FASA
Dr. McIvor is interested in developing and implementing simulation education for medical students, resident-physicians, and practicing physicians.

Stephen McHugh, MD
Dr. McHugh's research interests include resident education on evidence-based medicine and analysis of the medical literature, the use of virtual reality in medical education, perioperative care (including preoperative optimization), and point-of-care ultrasound.

David G. Metro, MD, FASA
As Vice Chair for Education and Director of our residency program, Dr. Metro has been involved in numerous educational research projects.

Tetsuro Sakai, MD, PhD, MHA, FASA
Dr. Sakai’s educational research includes resident scholarly facilitation, faculty development, and faculty promotion. 

ERAS protocol

Enhanced Recovery

Stephen Esper, MD, MBA
As Director of UPMC’s Enhanced Recovery Program (ERP), Dr. Esper has led numerous ERP-related outcome studies. He is also interested in transfusion and coagulation in ECMO patients.

a brain


Benedict Alter, MD, PhD
Dr. Alter’s research explores how the brain modulates pain and how endogenous pain dampening systems can be systematically leveraged for novel pain therapies. Projects addressing these questions use an array of systems neuroscience, translational, and clinical research approaches. 

Mike Schnetz, MD, PhD
Dr. Schnetz’s research interest is intraoperative hemodynamics monitoring. Using intraoperative BP, BIS, and MAC data, he has identified five groups of patients co-related with post-surgical outcomes.

James W. Ibinson, MD, PhD
Dr. Ibinson's perioperative research program broadly aims to improve our understanding of postoperative pain and cognitive dysfunction by identifying the neural correlates underlying the development of these phenomena. He is a recognized leader in the field of perioperative neurocognitive disorders and is involved in several ongoing projects using functional MRI (fMRI) to detect perioperative brain changes that correlate to long-term cognitive dysfunction. Dr. Ibinson's previous projects have spanned clinical multimodal pain management and the development of imaging-based biomarkers for acute and chronic pain.  As an anesthesiologist and researcher at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, his research interests also broadly include improving the health of our nation's veterans. 

Keith M. Vogt, MD, PhD
Dr. Vogt's research uses behavioral measures and fMRI to better understand human neuroscience relevant to anesthesiology and perioperative medicine. His primary research project, funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, aims to determine how human memory formation is affected by diverse anesthetic agents in the context of acute pain. An additional area of Dr. Vogt's research focuses on improving patient outcomes using perioperative data from the electronic medical record. He has done previous work in collaboration with Dr. Ibinson on pain imaging biomarkers, as well as noise reduction in fMRI. 

doctor holding a baby after delivery

Obstetric Anesthesiology

Patricia Dalby, MD
Dr. Dalby is engaged in various research projects related to emergency obstetric care and obstetric anesthesia and pain. 

Grace Lim, MD, MS
Dr. Lim's research focuses on the primary themes of obstetric anesthesia and perinatology; pain and physiology in special populations; and advancing acute care medicine for outcomes optimization. 

child and baby

Pediatric Anesthesiology

Phillip Adams, DO
Dr. Adams is investigating the developmental, hemodynamic, and postoperative outcomes of congenital heart disease (CHD) and CHD surgery. He is also interested in post-cardiopulmonary bypass acute kidney injury and using near infrared spectroscopy assessment as a means of early detection. 

Franklyn Cladis, MD
Dr. Cladis is investigating: 1) Retrospective evaluation of ketamine PCA in children and adolescents with non-operative pain; 2) Rectus sheath block for ileocecectomy-case series; and 3) Predictors of postop pain in adolescents undergoing Nuss Barr.

Daniela Damian, MD
Dr. Damian’s is interested in pediatric liver transplantation research.

Mihaela Visoiu, MD
Dr. Visoiu's research aims to develop new techniques for the placement and use of ultrasound-guided nerve blocks in children, infants, and neonates, and compare them with established methods for pain control. She collaborates with various surgical services to implement new protocols for postoperative pain control. She is interested in investigating clonidine as an adjustment for pediatric regional anesthesia and participates in a few funded prospective studies investigating the safety and efficacy of various analgesics. In addition, Dr. Visoiu is investigating postoperative pain control outcomes and pain perception in teenagers and the transgender population.

medication drip bag

Transplantation Anesthesiology

Ezeldeen Abuelkasem, MBBCh, MSc
Dr. Abuelkasem is interested in clinical research focused on perioperative hemostasis and blood management, given their critical importance to improving care and outcomes after major surgeries including major trauma, transplantation, cardiovascular, and thoracic surgeries. He is also interested in research related to applications of cardiovascular ultrasound, especially myocardial deformation imaging and point of care ultrasound.

Ibtesam A. Hilmi, MB, CHB, FRCA
Dr. Hilmi’s research interest includes renal dysfunction in cirrhotic patients, renal dysfunction (AKI) in post-liver transplant recipients, and post-reperfusion syndrome during liver transplantation.

Tetsuro Sakai, MD, PhD, MHA, FASA
As President-Elect of the Society for the Advancement of Transplant Anesthesia, Dr. Sakai has organized a number of multi-institutional adult liver transplantation research studies (ex., intraoperative cardiac arrest, standard practice of live donor liver transplantation anesthesia, intraoperative coagulation management).

Raymond M. Planinsic, MD, FASA
Dr. Planinsic’ s research interests include coagulation monitoring and treatments, transplantation outcome studies in orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT), and cardiac risk assessment and monitoring in OLT.  Read more about Dr. Planinsic’s research interests