APOM Laboratory Research Faculty
Nabil J. Alkayed, MD, PhD; Professor and Vice Chair
Dr. Alkayed is a Professor and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine (APOM) at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). He holds joint appointments in Neurology, Neurological Surgery and Physiology & Pharmacology. He serves on the graduate faculty of the Program for Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (PMCB) and the Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP). Dr. Alkayed’s research is funded through two R01 grants from the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke (NINDS) to study the role of small organelles called peroxisomes in ischemic brain injury, and the mechanism of vascular endothelial dysfunction after stroke in postmenopausal females.
Dr. Alkayed sits on the editorial boards of Stroke, The American Journal of Physiology–Heart and Circulation, Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism and Translational Stroke Research. He is a Fellow of the American Heart Association (AHA) Stroke Council and a member of the AHA Brain Study Section. He is also a member of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) College of CSR Reviewers and frequently serves on NIH study sections. He is a member of the Association of University Anesthesiologists (AUA).
Dr. Alkayed grew up in Amman, Jordan. He earned his medical degree from Stavropol State Medical Academy in Russia and a PhD in Physiology from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, WI. After completing a postdoctoral research fellowship at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Alkayed launched his academic career as Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology & Critical Care Medicine at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1998.
He joined OHSU in 2003 as Associate Professor, and in 2008 he was promoted to Professor. In 2011, he became the Vice Chair for Research.
Ansgar M. Brambrink, MD, PhD; Professor
Dr. Ansgar Brambrink relocated from Germany in August 2003 and is Professor of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine at OHSU.
Dr. Brambrink is active as both a clinician and a research scientist. His clinical research pursuits have included effects of modified immune response following severe trauma, techniques for regional anesthesia and innovative airway devices in pediatric anesthesia. Dr. Brambrink has also studied experimental ischemia in a variety of animal models. He has worked on strategies for preconditioning with pharmaceuticals such as antibiotics, exploring their neuroprotective mechanisms and their potential for clinical application in neuroanesthesia and the neuro-ICU. Most recently, his research interests have focused on regeneration and plasticity after experimental stroke. His long-term goal is to investigate the effects of preconditioning and gender on post-ischemic neurogenesis and the underlying mechanisms.
Dr. Brambrink received the M.D. from Westfälische Winlhelms-University in Münster, Germany. In 1993, he completed his residency in Anesthesiology at the Johannes Gutenberg-University in Mainz, Germany; and in 1994, he earned the Ph.D. in Medical Psychology. From 1993 to 1995, Dr. Brambrink worked as a Clinical and Research Fellow at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and he attributes this experience as a turning point in his medical career. After he returned to Mainz, he completed a Critical Care Fellowship; and in 2002, he completed his "Habilitation", based on his experimental work, and earned the prestigious "Venia Legendi" from the Johannes Gutenberg-University, recognizing him as a Lecturer ("Privat Dozent") in the field of Anesthesiology.
Dr. Brambrink enjoys photography, listening to music, and spending time with his family.
Catherine (Kasia) Davis, PhD; Instructor
After completing her doctoral studies at University College London, Dr. Kasia Davis relocated to Oregon in January 2009 to pursue a postdoctoral fellowship in the Research Division of our department. Dr. Davis' work focuses on the role of STAT3 in cerebrovascular endothelial cells following cerebral ischemia in a mouse model. The STAT3 transcription factor is familiar to Dr. Davis since her doctoral thesis focused on the effects of STAT3 signaling on the survival and myelination of Schwann cells in vitro and in vivo. Her other projects include investigating the effect of local anesthetics on peripheral nerve myelination and a collaboration with the Cardiovascular Research Division studying the effects of ultrasound on endothelial cells.
When she takes a break from her research, Dr. Davis enjoys fitness training and going to movies, art galleries, and museums. She is also fluent in Polish and is especially interested in Polish literature.
Wei Fan, MD; Assistant Scientist
Dr. Fan joined the research faculty with the Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine as an Assistant Scientist in August 2013. He was affiliated with the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Clinical Nutrition, Department of Medicine and the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at OHSU as a Research Assistant Professor. His research focuses on the relationship between weight control, energy homeostatis and cardiovascular disease; specifically as it relates to understanding metabolic syndrome and the mechanisms underlying obesity, diabetes and hypertension, with the ultimate goal of developing effective remedies to flight these diseases.
Dr. Fan obtained his medical and research training in China. He acquired his postdoctoral research training in Dr. Mike Andresen's laboratory in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at OHSU, were he studied the neuronal control of cardiovascular function. He also trained in Dr. Roger Cone's laboratory in the Vollum Institute studying the role central melanocortin regulation of energy balance in health and disease. His current research is focused on studying the role of mechanisms of melanocortins in brain protection and recovery after brain injury, including stroke and traumatic brain injury.
Wei enjoys sports such as volleyball, ping-pong and hiking with his family and friends.
Michael Hutchens, MD, MA; Assistant Professor
Dr. Michael Hutchens is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). He also serves as an Attending Intensivist in the Cardiac and Surgical Intensive Care Unit. His current research interests involve ischemic renal failure. He is particularly interested in the profound sexual dimorphism in incidence and outcome of ischemic renal failure and the consequential implications for intervention.
Dr. Hutchens originally planned a career as a professor of English, receiving the baccalaureate degree at Oberlin College. While studying for the Master of Arts in literature at Binghamton University, however, he became focused on medicine. He subsequently completed premedical studies at Goucher College and entered the University of Maryland where he earned his medical degree. After finishing a residency in Anesthesiology at OHSU, Dr. Hutchens trained as a fellow in Critical Care Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, before returning to OHSU in July 2005.
Dr. Hutchens has just been awarded a K08 mentored scientist grant to study "Sex Difference in Renal Injury After Cardiac Arrest: Mechanisms of Estrogen Action."
When he is not at the hospital, Dr. Hutchens enjoys gardening, bird-watching and playing cricket with his family.
Jeffrey J. Iliff, PhD; Assistant Professor
Dr. Jeffrey Iliff is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University. He also holds a joint appointment as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Center for Translational Neuromedicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Dr. Iliff's research follows two main paths. This first is the exploration of how the brain's support cells, called glia, contribute to maintaining the proper environment for neuronal function and how their failure in conditions like vascular dementia, stroke and traumatic brain injury leads to neurodegeneration. The second seeks to define the basic cellular mechanisms by which brain blood flow is coordinated up and down the vascular tree.
Dr. Iliff grew up in Sequim, Washington and completed his doctoral training in 2009 in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at OHSU. He then completed two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, NY, where he was promoted to a research faculty position in 2012. Dr. Iliff joined the department in 2013.
When not doing research, Dr. Iliff enjoys hiking, reading, and being with his family.
Ines P. Koerner, MD, PhD; Assistant Professor
Dr. Koerner arrived at Oregon Health & Science University in 2003 for postdoctoral training, including a critical care fellowship, in the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine (APOM). In January 2007, she joined the APOM faculty as Visiting Assistant Professor and attending physician in the Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit. In August 2007, she accepted a permanent position as Assistant Professor in APOM.
Dr. Koerner’s special clinical interest is neurocritical care. Her research interests include the contribution of neuroinflammation to brain injury. She investigates treatments aimed at altering the injurious response of microglia, the brain’s resident immune cells, which contribute to injury and cell death after stroke and cardiac arrest. She was recently awarded a K02 Independent Scientist grant from NIH to study "Microglial uptake and inactivation of epoxyeicosatrienoic acid in stroke injury."
Dr. Koerner earned her medical degree in 1997 at Albert Ludwigs University in Freiburg, Germany. She went on to complete doctoral studies and a residency in anesthesiology and intensive care medicine at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz.
When she takes a break from her research and clinical duties, Dr. Koerner enjoys camping and hiking with her husband.
Matthias Merkel, MD, PhD; Assistant Professor
Dr. Matthias Merkel is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine and has been a member of the faculty since April 2004. He serves as an Anesthesiologist/Intensivist in the Cardiothoracic Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). His research interests are currently focused on the mechanism of opioid-induced cardioprotection and the related sex-gender differences.
Dr. Merkel earned the MD-PhD from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, Germany where he then pursued advanced training in Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine. During this time he participated in clinical research and investigated the use of inhaled vasodilators in acute respiratory distress syndrome and acute right heart failure. He also served as an Emergency Physician in the German Emergency Medicine System. Immediately prior to his arrival at OHSU, he was an ICU attending in the Cardiac Surgery Intensive Care Unit at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University.
Dr. Merkel enjoys outdoor activities with his family including hiking, mountain biking and skiing. He also likes to play the drums.
Stephanie J. Murphy, VMD, PhD, DACLAM; Professor
In 2003, Dr. Stephanie Murphy joined the research faculty of the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine (APOM) at the Oregon Health & Science University. She is a Diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine, a Professor in our department, and the Director of the APOM Core Animal Laboratories and Training.
Dr. Murphy’s main research interest and the focus of a recently funded National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke (NINDS) R01 grant is on exploring the role of gender and female sex steroids in perioperative stroke risk using a mouse model of anesthetic preconditioning and experimental stroke. She is also examining how male gender and testosterone act in an age-specific manner during experimental stroke in preconditioned brain. Clinically, she is recognized for her expertise in animal stroke models, rodent surgery and anesthesia and breeding management of genetically engineered mouse colonies. Dr. Murphy has published more than two dozen articles, reviews and book chapters related to her research and clinical interests.
Dr. Murphy received her V.M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, where she investigated mechanisms by which the dopaminergic system contributes to hypoxic injury in neonatal piglet brain. She then began a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Comparative Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. During this time she received a postdoctoral fellowship award from the American Heart Association, Mid-Atlantic Affiliate that allowed her to examine the neuroprotective potential of progesterone in cerebral ischemia using a rat focal stroke model. After completing her postdoctoral fellowship, Dr. Murphy accepted an appointment as Assistant Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology & Critical Care Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She also received a National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) K01 award that she applied to clarify the neuroprotective importance of estrogen, alone or in combination with progesterone, in postmenopausal stroke using reproductively senescent female rats.
Julie Saugstad, PhD; Associate Professor
Dr. Saugstad joined the Department of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine (APOM) at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) as an Associate Professor in 2012, and is the new Director of the APOM Core Molecular Laboratories & Training. Dr. Saugstad is also an adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology, and serves on the graduate faculty of the Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP).
Dr. Saugstad 's research is funded through an R01 grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke (NINDS) to study the role of microRNAs as effectors of ischemic preconditioning-induced tolerance. Her goal is to identify novel therapeutic targets for the treatment or prevention of stroke and other neurological and neurodegenerative disorders.
Dr. Saugstad earned her PhD in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology in 1991 at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City, OK. After completing a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Vollum Institute at OHSU, she joined the Department of Pharmacology at Emory University in Atlanta, GA as a Research Assistant Professor. Dr. Saugstad was subsequently recruited to the Robert Stone Dow Neurobiology Laboratories at Legacy Research Institute in Portland, OR as a Scientist. She joined the Department of APOM as an Associate Professor in 2012.
When she takes a break from her research, Dr. Saugstad enjoys spending time relaxing with her husband and their furry children, gardening, cooking, and enjoying the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
Eric Schnell, MD, PhD; Staff Anesthesiologist
Dr. Schnell received a B.A. degree in Psychobiology from Harvard University, an M.A. degree in Pharmacology from the University of Cambridge (UK), and his Ph.D. degree in Neuroscience from the University of California, San Francisco. He subsequently completed medical school, an internal medicine internship and anesthesiology residency at UCSF, serving as a chief resident in his final year. He joined the Portland VA Anesthesiology Service and OHSU Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine in 2008, and was appointed to the Neuroscience Graduate Program faculty in 2013.
Dr. Schnell’s main research interest is to understand how synapses between neurons in the central nervous system are formed, maintained, and regulated, with the eventual goal of using these insights to develop therapeutic strategies for neurologic disease. His recent work focuses on the study of adult neurogenesis, which is the generation of new neurons in the adult brain. This process is an important aspect of recovery from acute neurologic injuries such as traumatic brain injury (TBI) and ischemic stroke. As these newborn neurons must be integrated into existing neuronal circuits in order to contribute to information processing, an understanding of how synapse formation onto these cells is regulated and modulated will have profound clinical implications. Dr. Schnell is interested in understanding how post-injury medical care influences the magnitude and efficacy of post-injury neurogenesis, with the goal of preserving and possibly enhancing the beneficial contributions that these cells make to functional recovery.