Our laboratory has a long-standing interest in the mechanism of action of volatile anesthetics. We have exploited the animal model C.elegans to examine this problem, primarily to use the powerful genetic tools available in this organism. This work has led us to appreciate the role of mitochondria in determining different aspects of behavior, including sensitivity to anesthetics.
Our current research includes translational studies to understand mitochondrial disease. We are exploring whether children with mitochondrial dysfunction are more sensitive to a gaseous anesthetic. In addition, we plan to study whether particular intravenous anesthetics are safe in children with mitochondrial disease.