Advancing knowledge related to the perioperative care of patients.

Zubieta-Pain-Prensentation-550-310The research mission of the Department of Anesthesiology is to advance knowledge related to the perioperative care of patients. We have a particular focus in developing and enhancing safe and effective perioperative anesthesia care and pain management and in being a leading center of research excellence in the field. In the past year, our outstanding achievements have earned us the most NIH awards in the Chicago area among peers in our specialty. Our current research portfolio includes $8.4 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health and industry funding including Google.

Examples of research innovation include enhanced monitoring of cerebral hemodynamics and effects on cognitive outcomes and perioperative renal function in cardiac surgery; the prevention of chronic pelvic pain after childbirth; non-surgical treatments for knee pain from osteoarthritis; novel use of stellate ganglion nerve blocks for patients with hot flashes from menopause or cancer treatment; treatment disparities in care of patients; neuromodulation for chronic pain; and a variety of drug trials to improve postoperative pain with urologic and colorectal surgeries.

Established programs in basic science investigations of acute and chronic pain are internationally acclaimed for their excellence in understanding mechanisms and bringing forth non-opioid treatments for pain. This includes integral research collaboration with the Center for Translational Pain Research.

A growing research program in applied engineering and advanced technologies, including AI and wearable sensors, is rapidly providing advances in care and care delivery. Through deep integrations with the hospital system, collaborations with investigators across the university and novel partnerships small and large technology firms, next-generation diagnostics are being developed and validated, and their impact on real care is being measured.

Our Investigators

 Charles W. Hogue, MD

Chair, Department of Anesthesiology; James E. Eckenhoff Professor of Anesthesiology

Dr. Hogue has an extensive research track record involving clinical investigations aimed at improving cognitive and organ function after high-risk surgery particularly cardiac surgery. His team has over 15 years of continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health developing and implementing novel methods to monitor cerebral blood flow autoregulation at the point of patient care to personalize blood pressure management during surgery and in the intensive care unit. Other programs include a developing method to attenuate depressive symptoms in elderly patients as a means for improving cognitive and other outcomes from surgery.

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 David R. Walega, MD

Vice Chair for Research, Department of Anesthesiology; Chief of Pain Medicine in the Department of Anesthesiology; Associate Professor of Anesthesiology

Dr. Walega has been conducting clinical trials to study genicular nerve ablation for the treatment of chronic knee pain from osteoarthritis, in addition to chronic knee pain following total joint replacement surgery. He has research funding from the National Institute on Aging to study the effects of stellate ganglion blockade on vasomotor symptoms in women with hot flashes and is also studying the effects of this treatment for women with breast cancer and men with prostate cancer who suffer this symptom as a result of chemotherapy.

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 Apkar V Apkarian, PhD
Director of Center for Translational Pain Research in Feinberg School of Medicine; Center of Excellence for Research in Chronic Pain and Drug Abuse; Professor of NeuroscienceAnesthesiology and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Dr. Apkar Vania Apkarian is the director of Center for Translational Pain Research in Feinberg School of Medicine as well as the Center of Excellence for Research in Chronic Pain and Drug Abuse. In addition to his position in Anesthesia, he is professor in the Department of Neuroscience and in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He is a neuroscientist and has been studying brain mechanisms of acute and chronic pain in humans and in animal models. His research has been continuously funded for the last 30 years, from more than 6 NIH institutes. He has mentored a large number of graduate and postgraduate students, many of whom now hold academic positions. Latest research in his lab is examining biomarkers for predicting development of chronic pain in osteoarthritis, mechanisms of placebo analgesia, limbic brain chemogenetic and optogenetic control of pain behavior in rodents, development of drug therapies for chronic pain and for transition to chronic pain, and impact of opioid use on brain function in chronic back pain patients.

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 Louanne Marie Carabini, MD, MA, FASA

Vice Chair for Education, Department of Anesthesiology; Associate Professor of Anesthesiology

Dr. Carabini studies systems-based improvement processes in critical care medicine, including outcomes studies after high-risk spine surgery, survival after in-hospital cardiac arrest and the impact of clinical protocols on blood product utilization rates. With a background in Medical Humanities and Bioethics, she is also involved in qualitative research on moral distress in healthcare providers and the use of routine ethics consultation for ECMO care teams.

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 Mozziyar Etemadi, MD, PhD

Research Assistant Professor of McCormick School of Engineering and Anesthesiology

Dr. Etemadi leads the NM Healthcare Integrated Technologies (HIT) team, which through deep, interdisciplinary partnerships with the health system focuses on three key areas of research and development. First, the team builds clinically actionable artificial intelligence tools, several of which have already been deployed throughout the health system. Second, the team spends a significant effort on system integration middleware, combining data streams from disparate clinical information systems to form unified datasets for AI, frontline provider workflow enhancement and back-office operations. Finally, through significant public funding from the NIH, DARPA and others, the HIT team uses its rapidly customizable hardware platform to build novel hardware devices ranging from wearable physiologic monitors to augmented ultrasound machines.

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 Antoun H. Koht, MD

Chief of Neuroanesthesia in the Department of Anesthesiology; Professor of Anesthesiology, Neurological Surgery and the Ken and Ruth Davee Department of Neurology

Dr. Koht primarily focuses on neurophysiologic monitoring during cerebral aneurysm surgery and neurophysiologic monitoring in head and spine surgeries in general. He also studies anesthesia outcomes in awake craniotomies.

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 Antoun M. Nader, MD

Chief of Acute Pain/Regional in the Department of Anesthesiology; Professor of Anesthesiology and Orthopaedic Surgery

Dr. Nader's work focuses on the categories of neuroanesthesiology, pain medicine, acute postoperative pain management, head and neck pain syndromes and trigeminal neuralgia.

 Feyce M. Peralta, MD

Associate Professor of Anesthesiology

Dr. Feyce M. Peralta is an obstetric anesthesiologist with a research focus in women’s health. She completed a Master of Science program in Health Services and Outcomes Research and has used the knowledge gained to assess outcomes related to post-dural puncture headache after neuraxial labor analgesia, high-degree perineal lacerations, and quality of recovery after birth.​

 Thomas Schnitzer, MD, PhD
Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Anesthesiology and Medicine (Rheumatology)

Dr. Thomas Schnitzer has active research program in bone biology and chronic musculoskeletal pain. In the bone field, research over the past decade has focused on understanding, preventing and reversing changes in bone mass and bone integrity after spinal cord injury. With support from NIH and in collaboration with Dr. Apkarian, research in chronic pain is directed toward understanding brain mechanisms involved in transition and maintenance of the chronic pain state. Dr. Schnitzer is a leader in clinical trial methodology and has led clinical trials of numerous novel therapeutic agents to manage osteoarthritis and chronic back pain, funded by both federal and pharmaceutical sources.

 Paloma Toledo, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology

Dr. Paloma Toledo is an anesthesiologist and health services researcher. Her research has mostly focused on two areas: reducing racial/ethnic disparities in peripartum outcomes and improving recognition and management of peripartum conditions which could result in maternal morbidity or mortality. Her research has been funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, and the Shane Foundation. 

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Explore Our Work

High-Impact Publications

See a list of the most recent work our scientists have had published in major academic journals.


Simulation Research

Our research includes studies conducted at the Northwestern Center for Clinical Simulation on simulation-based education as well as methods to improve the education of physicians.


Resident Research

Residents are encouraged to present research projects at national meetings; explore their past projects and recent publications.


Pediatric Research

Explore the work being done by our faculty within the field of pediatric anesthesiology.

Clinical Trials

As part of an academic medical center, the Department of Anesthesiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine aims to improve the human health through scientific research. Learn about our ongoing trials and find out how you can participate.


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