November 12, 2014

Anesthesiology boosts research efforts by adding five prominent scientists

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SOM stream bannerThe Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham recently added five new research faculty. The five new hires have active research grant funding totaling more than $5 million, which is projected to boost the department into the top 10 in funding from the National Institutes of Health, up from 16th, according to the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research.

Jiangou Gu, M.D., Ph.D., was recruited from the University of Cincinnati. He serves as editor-in-chief of the journal Molecular Pain and will be the director of pain research for the department.

Aftab Ahmad, Ph.D., and Shama Ahmad, Ph.D., come from the University of Colorado, Denver. The Ahmads will join other UAB researchers in the federal CounterACT program, funded by the National Institutes of Health. CounterACT is a translational research program aimed at the discovery and/or identification of better therapeutic medical countermeasures and technologies against chemical threat agents. CounterACT was launched following the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, as awareness grew of potential threats from chemical agents.

Jennifer J. DeBerry, Ph.D., returns to UAB from the University of Pittsburgh. DeBerry earned her undergraduate and doctoral degrees at UAB. Her research focus is in understanding the sensory pathways and mechanisms underlying urinary bladder pain and dysfunction and ulcerative colitis.

Kevin Harrod, Ph.D., joins UAB from the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute in Albuquerque, N.M. He is an expert in influenza and respiratory syncytial virus and is leading research into emerging respiratory viruses such as avian influenza and SARS-COV.

“These five outstanding scientists bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to UAB,” said Sadis Matalon, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor and vice chair for research in the Department of Anesthesiology. “They will all be involved in translational research in fields ranging from pain management to bettering our understanding of flu and other respiratory viruses. They will be instrumental in helping UAB develop new knowledge that will improve the health of people in Alabama and around the world.”