Basic Science Research

Message from the Vice Chair for Basic Science Research

Jeffrey J. Iliff, PhD

The mission of the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine Basic Science Research Division is to extend the boundary of our knowledge about disease and dysfunction associated with the perioperative and critical care settings. This includes understanding the molecular mechanisms contributing to ischemic and traumatic brain injury, the long-term effects of anesthesia on both the developing and the aging brain, and the factors, such as vascular disease or sleep disruption, that render the aging and injured brain vulnerable to ongoing degenerative processes. By understanding the basic biology underlying these pathologic conditions, new therapeutic approaches can be translated into the clinical arena, and better clinical management strategies can be implemented.

The Basic Science Research Division consists of ten independent faculty members, including five clinician-scientists and five basic science researchers whose research focuses primarily on the cellular mechanisms underlying neural injury. Using cutting-edge molecular and imaging approaches, investigators focus on the regulation of endothelial and vascular function, astrocytic and microglial biology, neurogenesis, neuroplasticity and neuroprotection. These basic science perspectives are applied across several translational settings, including animal models of stroke, cardiac arrest, traumatic brain injury, vascular and Alzheimer's dementia, and neuropathic pain.

APOM Basic Science research is fundamentally translational. In addition to our close relationship with the APOM Clinical Research Division, to connect our science to our understanding and treatment of human disease our researchers collaborate actively with units throughout OHSU and its affiliated institutions:

Knight Cardiovascular Institute
The Vollum Institute
Advanced Imaging Research Center
Layton Aging & Alzheimer's Disease Center
Department of Neurological Surgery
Neuro-Oncology Blood Brain Barrier Program
Oregon National Primate Research Center

Our faculty work collaboratively in a state-of-the-art 10,000 ft2 lab space divided into five shared Research Cores, each directed by expert research faculty members and staffed by skilled Research Assistants and Associates:

  • Molecular and Cell Biology Core
  • Animal Models and Surgery Core
  • Histology Core
  • Imaging Core
  • Behavioral Core

Basic Science research in APOM is funded by several million dollars in research support, including federal sources (the National Institutes of Health, Department of Veteran's Affairs and Department of Defense), foundation sources (Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research, American Heart Association, Paul G. Allen Family Foundation), and industry partners.

The APOM Basic Science labs are home to trainees of many kinds. Graduate students from the OHSU Neuroscience Graduate Program and the Program in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, postdoctoral fellows, APOM residents and fellows work with professional research staff and research faculty to develop bench skills and participate in weekly departmental research conferences, lab meetings and journal clubs to develop an understanding of academic biomedical research. 

 We believe that the development of new clinical treatments and the improvement of clinical management requires ongoing communication and collaboration between the clinicians, clinician-scientists and basic scientists;investigators, staff and trainees. The APOM Basic Science Research Division is a place where this happens, where future discoveries impacting perioperative and critical care are made.

Please browse our website to see the exciting projects underway in the Division. If you have any questions, interest in collaborating with us or in joining us, please contact me. Welcome!