Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine >> Administration >> Faculty News & Awards

Faculty News and Awards

Faculty at the University of Washington come from all over the world to teach, learn new techniques and conduct research. Faculty have offices and labs in many of the city's hospitals. They have a wide range of interests and residents are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to learn varied approaches to anesthesia practice.

The Department of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine is pleased to highlight a few of the recent accomplishments by its faculty.

September 2018

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Dr. John Lang

Congratulations, Dr. Lang!

John D. Lang, Jr., MD — Professor & Chief, UWMC Clinical Svs Effective July 1st Dr. Lang became Chief of UWMC Clinical Services, to replace former Chief Dr. Alan Artru who retired at the end of June. Dr. Lang started in the department in 2006 as Associate Professor at VAPSHCS in the positions of Director of Anesthesia & Perioperative Medicine, and Medical Director of the Surgical Intensive Care Unit. His credentials are as follows:

  • Board-certified: Internal Medicine, Anesthesiology, Critical Care Medicine
  • Completed NIH K30 Clinical Research Training Fellowship
  • Previous faculty appointments: UTMB, Galveston, TX; UAB, Birmingham, AL
  • Medical Director, Surgical Intensive Care Unit, UAB, Birmingham, AL
  • Medical Director, Pre-anesthesia Clinic, UAB, Birmingham, AL
  • Chief of Anesthesiology, VA Puget Sound, UW Dept. of APM, 2006-2011
  • Associate Chief, UWMC, UW Dept. of A&PM, 2011 - current
  • Clinical Director of Operative & Perioperative Operations, UWMC, 2014 – current
  • Promoted to Professor in 2017 (physician-scientist track)
  • Senior examiner for American Board of Anesthesiology
  • Over 60 peer-reviewed manuscripts and chapters (e.g., first author papers in Journal of Clinical Investigation, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Anesthesiology)

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Dr. First Last

Congratulations, Dr. Abhijit Lele!

Abhijit V. Lele, MBBS, MD, MS, FNCS — Associate Professor & Director, Neurocritical Care Service, Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine, UW Medicine — Effective June 1, 2018, Dr. Lele was recognized as a Fellow of the Neurocritical Care Society (FNCS). This recognition takes into account his achievements in: Program Development | Education, Scholarly Activity & Leadership | Academic/Research Achievements | Professionalism and working with allied professionals and those from outside of one’s primary profession/specialty.

Dr. Lele will be formally recognized and presented to the Society during the NCS Annual Meeting on Tuesday, September 25 at 5:00 pm at the Boca Raton Resort & Club in Boca Raton, Florida.

Other recipients of this recognition: Drs. Mike Souter, Art Lam, Andy Kofke and Luke James.

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Dr. Jennifer Rabbitts

Congratulations, Dr. Jennifer Rabbitts!

Jennifer Rabbits, MB, ChB — Associate Professor, UW Medicine - Seattle Children's — Funding Agency: National Institutes of Health (NIH); National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
Total RO1 Award: $3,088,710
Principal Investigator: Jennifer Rabbitts
Project Period: 07/12/2018 - 06/30/2023
Project Title: Mechanisms of Transition from Acute to Chronic Pain in Youth undergoing Musculoskeletal Surgery
Project Description: Chronic postsurgical pain (CPSP) is a disabling condition affecting 20% youth undergoing major surgery. This grant will support a 5-year multi-site study which aims to develop acute recovery indices associated with chronic pain after major pediatric surgery, and to identify the psychophysical and psychosocial risk and resilience mechanisms that underlie the transition from acute to CPSP. This is expected to enable identification of youth at risk for CPSP, and inform novel therapeutic targets for the development of early interventions to reduce exposure to opioids and decrease the overall incidence of CPSP.

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Dr. Neels Groenewald

Congratulations, Dr. Neels Groenewald!

Cornelius B. (Neels) Groenewald, MB ChB — Assistant Professor Dr. Neels Groenewald received a NIH K23 award from NHLBI! Project period: 04/01/18 – 03/31/2023
Project Title: “Sleep Disturbances and Long-Term Outcomes after Critical Illness in Children.” (Sponsor: Tonya Palermo, PhD)
Project Objective – Primary aims are to:
1) characterize the nature, trajectories, and impact of sleep deficiency experienced by children following critical illness (study 1),
2) identify risk factors associated with persistent sleep deficiency over 12 months in children following critical illness (study 1), and
3) identify, directly from children and their parents, perspectives on the barriers and facilitators of implementing interventions to manage sleep deficiency following critical illness (study 2).

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Dr. Faith Ross

Congratulations, Dr. Faith Ross!

Faith Ross, MD — Assistant Professor, UW Medicine, Seattle Children's — Dr. Faith Ross was recently awarded a $25,000 grant from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons Access and Publications Task Force. The grant will provide data analysis support and access to the STS Database.
Project Title: “Associations between Anthropometric Indices and Outcomes of Congenital Heart Operations in Infants and Young Children: An Analysis of Data from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons Database”
The study is a follow up to her study using the data from SCH that showed an association between indices of malnutrition and adverse outcomes after pediatric cardiac surgery. Dr. Ross’ initial study was funded by department seed money.

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Dr. Simon Johnson

Congratulations, Dr. Simon Johnson!

Simon Johnson, PhD — Postdoctoral Fellow, Morgan & Sedensky Lab, Seattle Children’s Research Institute — Dr. Simon Johnson received a grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) to support his study on “The Role of mTOR in Mitochondrial Encephalopathy”
PI - K99/R00 (NIGMS), 09/17 – 08/19, 09/19-08/22

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Dr. Philip G. Morgan

Congratulations, Dr. Philip G. Morgan!

Philip G. Morgan, MD — Professor, UW Medicine, Seattle Children's Dr. Phil Morgan received a grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) to support his study on “Isoflurane Inhibition of Synaptic Endocytosis”
PI - R01 (NIGMS) 05/18-02/22

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Dr. Margaret M. Sedensky

Congratulations, Dr. Marge Sedensky!

Margaret M. Sedensky, MD — Professor & Vice Chair for Basic Research, UW Medicine, UW Medical Center — Dr. Marge Sedensky received a grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) to support her study on “A Mouse Model Linking Anesthetic Sensitivity to Mitochondrial Function”
PI - R01 (NIGMS) 05/18-04/22

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Dr. Jake Sunshine

Congratulations, Dr. Jake Sunshine!

Jake Sunshine, MD, MS — Assistant Professor, UW Medicine, UW Medical Center — Dr. Jake Sunshine received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support his study on “Transforming Mobile Devices into Active Sonar Systems for Medical Applications”
Co-PI (NSF) 07/18 – 06/21

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Dr. Monica Vavilala

Congratulations, Dr. Monica Vavilala!

Monica S. Vavilala, MD — Professor & Vice Chair, Strategic Affairs; Professor, Pediatrics; Director, Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center (HIPRC), UW Medical Center.

click to enlarge

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Dr. Marc Van Gilst

Congratulations, Dr. Marc Van Gilst!

Marc Van Gilst, PhD — Research Assistant Professor — Dr. Van Gilst received an R01 Award from the National Institutes of General Medical Sciences ($1.8 million—9/1/18 – 8/31/23)
Project Title: Hypoxic Injury and Tumor Formation in the C. elegans Germline
The general strategy of this proposal is to investigate hypoxic injury in the C. elegans germline, which provides a unique environment for understanding how metabolic and cellular functions determine the cell specific consequences of hypoxia.
Specific Aims:

  • Identify general and tissue specific modifiers of hypoxia response and injury.
  • Elucidate a mechanism for making cells hypoxia resistant in inducible fashion.
  • Characterize hypoxia dependent tumor formation and its relationship to human cancers.

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Dr. Srdjan Jelacic
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Dr. T. Andrew Bowdle
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Dr. Bala Nair

Congratulations, Drs. Srdjan Jelacic, T. Andrew Bowdle and Bala Nair!

2018 APSF Safety Recognition Award Best Practices for Safe Medication Administration during Anesthesia Care.

Drs. Bowdle, Jelacic, Nair, and colleagues were selected as the awardees for this year’s APSF Medication Safety Award. Award presentations will be made at the Stoelting Conference in Phoenix, AZ, on Wednesday September 5, 2018.

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Dr. Daniel Low

Congratulations, Dr. Daniel Low!

Daniel Low, BMedSc, BM, BS, MRCPCH, FRCA — Associate Professor Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine, UW Medicine — Dr. Low was recently recognized on GeekWire by Clare McGrane on June 6, 2018, at 10:49 am
Doctors Without Data:  Why one MD founded a startup just to get metrics on his own patients
Dr. Low is the founder and CEO of a new health technology startup, MDMetrix, that aims to help doctors improve their work by giving them easy access to their own patients’ data.
The program developed by MDMetrix has turned a 20-week, manual process into an automatic data pull that takes just a few minutes to access needed patient information from the hospital database.
The full GeekWire story is available at the following site:

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Dr. Alec Rooke

Congratulations, Drs. Rooke and Van Norman!

G. Alec Rooke, MD, PhD, and Gail A. Van Norman, MD, UW Medicine | Newsroom | Postscript: August 16, 2018
People with pulmonary hypertension – high blood pressure in the vessels that carry blood to the lungs – have higher risks for complications after any surgery...
It turns out, among this patient population, that one question is a quite good predictor of postoperative complications: Can you walk up two flights of stairs without stopping for shortness of breath?
“In the study, researchers reviewed 550 non-cardiac, non-obstetric procedures performed on patients with pulmonary hypertension. “Their impetus was to see if there’s a simpler way to detect risk than echocardiography, the conventional screening,” said co-author Gail Van Norman, a UW Medicine anesthesiologist.”
Full story at:
Shah AC, Ma K, Faraoni D, Oh DCS, Rooke GA, Van Norman GA:  Self-reported functional status predicts post-operative outcomes in non-cardiac surgery patients with pulmonary hypertension.  PLoS One. 2018 Aug 16;13(8):e0201914.

February 2018

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Dr. Chris Lee

Congratulations, Dr. Chris Lee!

Christopher R. Lee, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor at UWMC —

Letter from the UWMC Reward & Recognition Committees:  “The UW Medicine Patients are First Reward & Recognition Committee and the UW Medicine Cares Award Committee at the University of Washington Medical Center commend and congratulate Christopher Lee for being selected as one of the Fall 2017 Cares Award provider recipients.  This award is based on UW Medicine’s Service Culture Guidelines, which are:  respect privacy and confidentiality; communicate effectively; conduct myself professionally; be accountable; be committed to my colleagues and to UW Medicine.”

Dean Paul Ramsey’s Letter:

”Dear Christopher:

Congratulations on your UW Medicine Cares Award!  UW Medicine is more than a health system. It is a collective of outstanding individuals as never before, part of the fabric of UW Medicine, the UW Medicine Cares Award was established to recognize individuals and teams who are nominated by co-workers, patients and others in the community for practicing the Patients Are First Service Culture Guidelines.  These guidelines are professional standards that enable us to deliver great care and service throughout the system to every patient, every time.

You have been selected as an award winner for your exemplary adherence to our guidelines.  In your work and interactions with colleagues and the public, you have shown that you understand and embrace the principles of service excellence.

On behalf of UW Medicine, please accept my congratulations and thanks.  I am personally proud to be on the same team with you.

Paul G. Ramsey, M.D
CEO, UW Medicine,
Vice President for Medical Affairs and
Dean of the School of Medicine,
University of Washington”

Dr. Lee’s nomination letter reads as follows:

“Chris Lee is our medical director at Roosevelt ASC and he is wonderful to work with.  Patients love him as does the staff here.  He truly cares about the patient getting the best and safest care at our facility.  He explains the anesthesia plan to the patients in a way that is understood by them.  If they have specific medical issues that need to be followed up on, he gives them understandable information so that they optimally follow up.

An example is a patient with possible undiagnosed sleep apnea.  He takes the time to explain all the health issues that can stem from this and provides the best way to follow-up.  I can't tell you how many times I've had patients say "nobody has explained that (medical problem) to me before.  I will definitely get the sleep study (or whatever needs to happen).

He also listens to staff and follows through on issues in the unit.  He gets things done quickly and efficiently, is very direct and diplomatic.  Chris Lee is one of the most excellent providers I have worked with in my career of 37 years.  He deserves this award and more!

Chris Lee is an outstanding patient advocate and has outstanding interpersonal relationships with his colleagues. Patients and colleagues love Chris.”

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Dr. Tonya Palermo

Congratulations, Dr. Tonya M. Palermo!

Tonya Palermo, PhD, Professor, UW A&PM, Center for Child Health, Behavior & Development, Seattle Children's Research Institute — Dr. Palermo recently received a perfect score (10) on a NIH R21 grant titled: "Role of Sleep Deficiency in Self-management of Pediatric Chronic Pain.”
This study will be funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) with a budget period of: 4/1/2018 – 3/31/2020.

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Dr. Wang Wang

Congratulations, Dr. Wang Wang!

Wang Wang, MD, PHD, Associate Professor, UW A&PM, South Lake Union — The American Heart Association (AHA) Research Committee has approved activation of the Established Investigator Award to Dr. Wang for 5 years (Jan 1, 2018 to Dec 31, 2022) with a total amount of $400,000.
Project Title: "Mitochondrial Fission Protein DRP1 in Metabolic Heart Disease”
Aim 1: To determine how the decreased NAD+ promotes DRP1 acetylation.
Aim 2: To determine how acetylation increases DRP1 activity and cardiomyocyte death.

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Dr. Neels Groenewald

Congratulations, Dr. Neels Groenewald!

Cornelius B. (Neels) Groenewald, MB ChB, Assistant Professor, UW A&PM, Seattle Children's Hospital — Dr. Groenewald was recently selected by the Society for Pediatric Anesthesia (SPA) Board of Directors and the Grant Review Committee to receive a Young Investigator Research Grant in the amount of $50,000. Funding began January 1, 2018, by the SPA Patient Safety, Education and Research Fund (PSERF).
Project Title: “Associations between Opioid Prescribing Patterns and Opioid Poisonings among Children and Adolescents in the United States” — under the mentorship of Dr. Tonya Palermo.

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Dr. Sheena Hembrador

Congratulations, Dr. Sheena Hembrador!

Sheena Hembrador, MD, UW A&PM, Faculty Fellow, OBA UWMC — Sheena Hembrador, MD, in collaboration with a team of engineers at the UW Center for Intelligent Materials and Systems (CIMS), has been working on developing a novel medical device called the “Artery Mapper.” The Artery Mapper is a device that is designed to improve the first pass success rate of arterial cannulation and ABG sampling. In this way it aims to reduce discomfort to patients, and makes the process easier for the clinician.
Recently, this project was chosen by UW CoMotion as the sole project to represent the University of Washington for the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust Commercialization Initiation Fund. This trust was created by the will of the late M. J. Murdock, who was a co-founder of Tektronix, Inc. of Beaverton, OR. It provides grants to nonprofit organizations in the Pacific Northwest (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington) that seek to “strengthen the region’s educational, social, spiritual, and cultural base in creative and sustainable ways."
We are pleased to report that the Murdock Trust has awarded the Artery Mapper group with a $120k grant to continue research and development of the device for the next year. This research will include building an advanced prototype for testing in a clinical feasibility study. The group plans to start recruiting volunteers for the study in early 2018.
Congratulations, Dr. Hembrador!

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Dr. Michele Curatolo

Congratulations, Dr. Michele Curatolo!

Michele Curatolo, MD, PhD, Professor, UW A&PM, UW Medical Center — Dr. Curatolo’s paper, “Mutations affecting glycinergic neurotransmission in hyperekplexia increase pain sensitivity” (Authors: Vuilleumier PH, Fritsche R, Schliessbach J, Schmitt B, Arendt-Nielsen L, Zeilhofer HU, Curatolo M) won an award at the Annual Meeting of the Swiss Society of Anaesthesia and Reanimation. Interlaken, Switzerland, November 9-11, 2017. The paper was published on January 1, 2018 in Brain;141(1):63-71.

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Dr. Kyota Fukazawa

Congratulations, Dr. Kyota Fukazawa!

Kyota Fukazawa, MD, MB, Associate Professor, UW A&PM, UW Medical Center — Dr. Fukazawa’s paper, “Factors associated with mortality within 24h of liver transplantation,” was selected among the top 10 articles of 2017 by International Liver Transplant Society (ILTS). The paper was published on October 31, 2017.

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Dr. Eliot Grigg

Congratulations, Dr. Eliot Grigg!

Eliot Grigg, MD, Assistant Professor, UW A&PM Seattle Children's Hospital — Recently published Editorial: Grigg EB, Roesler A: Anesthesia medication handling needs a new vision. Anesth Analg 2018 Jan;126(1):346-50.

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