Identifying the Fundamental Mechanism of Anesthesia
An Interview with IARS Abstract Presenter and 2016 IARS Mentored Research Award Recipient: Dr. Wei Zhou
Wei Zhou, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Anesthesia
University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)
San Francisco, CA
The Orexin Projection to Periaqueductal Gray mediates Anesthesia Arousal
Category: Neuroscience in Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine
Poster #: 50
Xuaner Xiang, Postdoctural Scholar in Anesthesia at UCSF, will present their research at the IARS Annual Meeting.
Poster Session J, Sunday, April 16, 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm MT, Centennial A-D, The Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center
Naturally a curious person, Wei Zhou, MD, PhD, was drawn to the field of anesthesiology and its many unanswered questions, specifically questions related to consciousness. He was motivated to play a part in unraveling the mystery of the human brain and how consciousness can be reversibly suppressed by anesthetics.
Following his curiosity, Dr. Zhou, Associate Professor of Anesthesia at UCSF, narrowed his investigative focus on the interactions between anesthetics and neural networks, in particular, the orexin neurons from the hypothalamus, which regulate arousal, feeding, stress and reward. In 2016, he was recognized for his efforts in advancing this area of study with an IARS Mentored Research Award. Today, his current research project is directly derived from the concept and findings of that 2016 study, which his Postdoctural Scholar Xuaner Xiang will share on his behalf during a poster presentation at the IARS 2023 Annual Meeting. Below, he ponders the potential of this investigation to push the specialty forward in understanding the fundamental mechanisms of anesthesia.
1. For this research, you are…
2. What drew you to the anesthesiology specialty?
As an anesthesiologist, I am trusted by patients and their families with their lives. That is a great honor. In addition, I’m able to help a wide range of patients with different medical conditions and collaborate with physicians and nurses from a variety of specialties.
3. What drew you to this area of research?
I am a curious person. So many unanswered questions in the anesthesia field drew me to this research area. The human brain is an amazing organ; consciousness can be reversibly suppressed by anesthetics. However, we are still trying to understand how that happens.
4. What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your work with this research project (or projects)?
I want to understand more about the interactions between anesthetics and neural networks, in particular, the orexin neurons from the hypothalamus which regulate arousal, feeding, stress and reward.
5. What is the potential impact of your research on the field of anesthesia and patient care?
The findings from my research will push the anesthesia field forward in understanding the fundamental mechanism of anesthesia and will guide us to develop new tools and techniques to optimize anesthesia management.
6. What are the benefits of presenting your research during poster sessions at the IARS Annual Meeting?
I can meet with other physician-scientists to learn from them, get feedback on my project, and establish collaborations.
7. How did the 2016 IARS Mentored Research Award affect your research and professional trajectory?
Tremendously. The award provided my initial funding to start my project, validated my ideas, facilitated more research grant applications and promoted my work to a wider audience. I wouldn’t be able to continue my career as a physician-scientist without this award.
8. How is your current research project / projects influenced by your initial 2016 IARS Mentored Research Award research project?
My current research project is directly derived from the concept and findings of the 2016 project.
9. Outside of your research, what might someone be surprised to learn about you?
I enjoy motorcycling. Although many people might think it is dangerous, besides the feeling of the wind, I consider that riding requires a similar skill and concentration to that of an anesthesiologist – it’s challenging and rewarding.
10. Is there anyone else you wish to acknowledge as part of this research team?
I would like to acknowledge the support from Drs. Michael Gropper and Judith Hellman from the Department of Anesthesia at UCSF.