2017 IARS Mentored Research Award

Jessica Bowser, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Dr. Bowser’s Research

Targeting Epithelial Regeneration for Perioperative Organ Protection.

Bacteria movement into the blood and excessive inflammation due to intestinal injury is a significant cause of multiple organ failure (MOF) in surgical and critically ill patients. Anesthesiologists and intensivists commonly encounter patients with MOF, which is a devastating concern worldwide as it is the cause of more than 50% of deaths in the perioperative setting. Clinical trials targeting intestinal inflammation for reducing MOF have had very little success. Uncovering new molecular mechanisms and druggable targets for intestinal injury and thereby MOF are greatly needed. A key to this may be preventing intestinal injury and subsequent bacteria translocation by promoting the regeneration (increase cell division) of the epithelial cells. Current therapy approaches for epithelial regeneration are limited to medically extensive procedures, which have a high incidence of serious complications. No drugs are known to be able to increase epithelial regeneration. Our previous studies have shown adenosine signaling protects intestinal epithelial cells during intestinal inflammation. Our exciting preliminary data indicates that adenosine signaling promotes epithelial cells to divide efficiently. Increasing the efficiency of cell division may increase epithelial regeneration and thereby promote intestinal healing, which would prevent MOF. We proposed to: 1. Study the mechanism of adenosine signaling in promoting efficient intestinal epithelial cell division; 2. Define adenosine signaling as a therapeutic target and druggable approach for increasing epithelial regeneration and thereby healing intestinal injury. Adenosine signaling is an attractive therapeutic target, as many drugs targeting this pathway are already in clinical trials for other diseases/health conditions. Thus, if our studies are successful, there is a real opportunity to move this work towards clinical studies for MOF.

Encourage, stimulate, and fund ongoing anesthesia-related research projects that will enhance and advance the specialty, and to disseminate current, state-of-the-art, basic and clinical research data in all areas of clinical anesthesia, including perioperative medicine, critical care, and pain management. The IARS is focused solely on the advancement and support of education and scientific research related to anesthesiology.

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IMRA Awards

This award is intended to support investigations that will further the understanding of clinical practice in anesthesiology and related sciences. Up to four research projects are selected annually, with a maximum award of $175,000 each, payable over two years.

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