clinical research

Anthony R. Brown, MBChB, FFA (SA)
Clinical Professor of Anesthesiology

Dr. Brown’s interests include orthopedic and regional anesthesia, as well as the management of acute and postoperative pain. He has promoted the use of regional anesthetic techniques within the institution, with emphasis being placed on the use of upper and lower limb peripheral nerve blocks for orthopedic procedures. In addition, he uses perineural infusions of local anesthetics to provide postoperative analgesia, particularly to patients presenting with the "frozen shoulder" syndrome. Current research is directed towards techniques that may be used to optimize the clinical practice of regional anesthesia as well as postoperative pain management.




Eric J. Heyer, MD, PhD
Professor of Clinical Anesthesiology and Neurology

Dr. Heyer’s principal research is to elucidate mechanisms of surgical-associated cerebral injury that manifest itself as cerebral dysfunction determined by performance on a battery of neuropsychometric tests. The types of surgery associated with cerebral dysfunction are cardiac operations in which patients undergo cardiopulmonary bypass and vascular operations in which carotid endarterectomy is performed. The immediate goals are to document the incidence of cerebral injury, determine appropriate measures of injury, and postulate mechanisms that produce injury. Subsequently, strategies to ameliorate cerebral injury will be formulated and tested that will involve intraoperative procedures and cerebral protective medications.






Caleb Ing, MD
Assistant Professor of Clinical Anesthesiology

Dr. Ing’s area of research deals with the examination of peri-operative and post-operative outcomes in children.  His current research looks at the long-term neurocognitive effects of anesthetics on infants and small children by using an established patient cohort.  His work centers around which neurodevelopmental outcomes may be affected by exposure to surgery and anesthesia as well as what types of exposure may be associated with long-term effects.  In addition, he is a collaborator in the Pediatric Anesthesia and NeuroDevelopment Assessment (PANDA) study, a prospective study looking at neurocognitive effects of surgery and anesthesia in children undergoing hernia repair.




Guohua Li, MD, DrPH
M. Finster Professor of Anesthesiology and Epidemiology

Dr. Li’s expertise is in the areas of injury epidemiology and clinical epidemiology. His research encompasses innovative research methodology, development of surveillance data systems, and application of novel designs and analytical techniques in studies of the causes and prevention of injuries and adverse outcomes in perioperative care, critical care, and emergency care.  He is the founding Director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention and the Center for Health Policy and Outcomes Research in Anesthesia and Critical Care, and the founding Editor-in-Chief of Injury Epidemiology.  He teaches two accredited courses at the Mailman School of Public Health, Injury Epidemiology (P8448) and Clinical Epidemiology (P8450). Dr. Li is a recipient of the Kenneth Rothman Prize (1999), the Guggenheim Fellowship (2005), the John Paul Stapp Award (2009) from the Aerospace Medical Association, and the Excellence in Science Award (2015) from the American Public Health Association’s Injury Control and Emergency Health Service Section.

Dr. Li joined the Department of Anesthesiology at Columbia University in July 2007. As the M. Finster Chair, he is charged with building a center of excellence in health policy and outcomes in anesthesiology and critical care, mentoring junior faculty and clinical research fellows at the Department of Anesthesiology, and playing an active role in research and education programs at the Department of Epidemiology. The center of excellence in health policy and outcomes focuses on several substantive areas relevant to the safety, effectiveness, and efficiency of perioperative care and critical care, including the development of practical tools for measuring risks and clinical outcomes, identification of and intervention on risk factors for adverse outcomes, and examination of the health effects of volatile anesthetics in vulnerable population groups (e.g., children, elderly, and patients with specific comorbidities).    


Robert N. Sladen, MD
Professor of Anesthesiology and Vice Chair

Dr. Sladen and his colleague in the ICU, Dr Hugh Playford, are focussing on two primary areas of research interest: prediction of ICU outcome and pharmacologic organ protection in critically ill patients. Studies are in progress to compare a simple predictor of ICU length of stay with more complex scoring systems, and to evaluate the role of the multiple organ dysfunction score (MODS) in outcome assessment. The analgesic efficacy of the alpha-2 agonist, dexmedetomidine, is being tested in postoperative thoracic surgery patients. The relative renal effects of two dopaminergic agents, dopamine and fenoldopam, are being compared in cardiac surgical patients. In collaboration with Dr HT Lee and his group, a combined laboratory and clinical investigation is being conducted into renal cell apoptosis as a predictor of adverse postoperative renal outcome.


Gebhard Wagener, MD
Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology

Dr. Wagener’s principal research centers on the early detection of acute kidney injury by investigating noval  biomakers that allow early the detection of renal injury. The current clinically-used biomarkers such as serum creatinine are highly insensitive and slow to appear. Biomarkers such as urinary Neutrophil Gelatinase-associated Lipocalin (NGAL) increase within hours after renal injury and allow early diagnosis and intervention. Dr. Wagener has studied urinary NGAL after adult cardiac surgery in a large prospective study and evaluated the close relationship of urinary NGAL and acute kidney injury in this population. He demonstrated the superiority of urinary NGAL to detect intra-operative renal injury caused for example by the use of aprotinin or by prolonged cardiopulmonary bypass time compared to serum creatinine. Future studies will evaluate the clinical utility of urinary NGAL in other scenarios of renal injury. His additional research interests include the effect of vasopressin on the portal circulation and the pathophysiology of relative vasopressin deficiency in hepatic failure. In collaboration with Dr. Sladen he developed an intuitive scoring system to predict length of ICU stay after cardiac surgery, the Surgical Procedure Assessment (SPA) score and he studies the effect of preoperative hyperglycemia on postoperative outcome variables.




Columbia University Medical Center Department of Anesthesiology