Basic Research

Our anesthesiology research laboratories are comprised of state-of-the-art research facilities. Our researchers hold joint appointments in basic science departments so as to enrich the department with the participation of graduate students conducting research toward their Ph.D. theses. In addition, post-doctoral fellows from around the world contribute to the research productivity of our department. Our faculty is also members of the U-M Center for Sleep Science, an interdepartmental center dedicated to filling in the gaps in our understanding of sleep disorders.

Our Faculty

Steven L. Britton, Ph.D.

Steven L. Britton, Ph.D.
Professor of Anesthesiology
Professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Phone: 734.615.5969.
Fax: 734.615.3292.
E-mail: brittons@umich.edu

Koch-Britton Lab Website

Based upon the strong statistical association between aerobic capacity and all-cause morbidity and mortality, we (Koch and Britton) hypothesized that artificial selection of rats for low and high aerobic exercise capacity would yield models that also contrast for disease risks. If true, this would support the notion that impaired energy metabolism is a common feature that mechanistically underlies disease risks. Twenty-six generations (+13 years) of bi-directional selection have produced lines of low capacity runners (LCR) and high capacity runners (HCR) that differ by over 5-fold in aerobic treadmill running capacity. The LCR score high on numerous health risks including the metabolic syndrome and the HCR score high for health promoting factors such as maximal oxygen consumption. These and other features are studies with collaborators from 25 institutions representing 10 countries. Information obtained from these models immediately suggests pathways for translational studies for more effective modes of diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of complex diseases. This work is supported by a grant from the National Center for Research Resources (a component of the National Institutes of Health). Please see his recent publications.

Victoria Booth, Ph.D.

Victoria Booth, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology
Phone: 734.647.8929.
E-mail: vbooth@umich.edu

Dr. Victoria Booth’s research focuses on biophysical modeling of neurons and neuronal networks with the goal of developing quantitative understanding of physiological mechanisms generating electrical activity patterns in neuronal systems. Her collaborative modeling with experimental neuroscientists provides quantitative support for their experimental hypotheses and generates specific predictions of experimentally-testable behaviors in order to further investigation of brain systems. Current topics of her research include the regulation of sleep and wake states by the brain and the effects of sleep-related neuromodulators on cortical and hippocampal neural circuits. Please see her recent publications.

Kamran Diba, Ph.D.

Kamran Diba, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Anesthesiology
7433 Med Sci I 
Ann Arbor MI 48109-5615
Phone: 734.764.5502
E-mail: kdiba@umich.edu 

Kamran Diba's lab for Neural Circuits and Memory is interested in how different regions in the brain coordinate to encode, store, and transfer information. 

Neuronal circuits generates an assortment of oscillations that vary depending on the behavior and state of the animal, from active exploration to resting and different stages of sleep.  Accordingly, in the recordings of large populations of spiking neurons obtained by the Diba Lab demonstrate state-dependent temporal relationships at multiple timescales.  What role do these spike patterns play and what do they tell us about the function of each brain state?  To answer these and related questions, the Diba Lab combines behavioral studies of learning and exploring rats, multi-channel recordings of the simultaneous electrical (spiking) activity from hundreds of neurons, pharmacology and optogenetics (based on light-activated ion channels and pumps) to selectively excite and silence specific neural populations in the brain during learning, consolidation and recall. See the latest publications

Anthony Hudetz, D.B.M., Ph.D.

Anthony Hudetz, D.B.M., Ph.D.
Professor of Anesthesiology
Director of Laboratory Science, Anesthesiology
Scientific Director, Center for Consciousness Science
Faculty, Neuroscience Graduate Program
Phone: 734.615.3776
E-mail: ahudetz@med.umich.edu

Hudetz Lab Website

“How does the human brain create consciousness and what happens to the thinking brain when a patient is anesthetized?  Is consciousness completely removed?  What is the neuronal basis of the anesthetic effect?  These and similar questions are investigated in Dr. Hudetz’s research laboratory in the Department of Anesthesiology.  The projects focus on the behavior of neuronal circuits of the brain during spontaneous ongoing activity and sensory stimulation in fully awake and anesthetized conditions.

One of the hypotheses currently being tested emphasizes the causal roles of neuronal communication and information integration underlying anesthetic-induced loss and return of consciousness. Fundamental information about the effect of anesthesia on neuronal communication and information processing in the cerebral cortex is obtained through the long-term recording of about one hundred neurons with implanted multielectrode arrays.  The results are analyzed with mathematical models of neuronal circuits and with information theory. Changes in cognitive functioning from wakefulness to anesthesia are assessed in human volunteers by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) that yields dynamic maps of activity across the entire brain.

Several aspects of consciousness research are ongoing in the Center for Consciousness Science where Dr. Hudetz is Scientific Director.  In close collaboration with Dr. George Mashour, MD, PhD, Director and UnCheol Lee, PhD, Associate Director of the Center, the ultimate goal of the Center’s research is to better understand the neurobiological basis of human consciousness, its disruption in patients with neurological disorders, and its modulation by various interventions including the administration of anesthetics.” Please see his recent publications.

UnCheol Lee, Ph.D.

UnCheol Lee, Ph.D.
Associate Director of the Center for Consciousness Science Research Assistant Professor
Phone: 734.998.1235.
E-mail: uclee@umich.edu

Dr. Lee has focused on a computational study based on the physics of complex systems and network science to understand consciousness and the mechanisms of general anesthesia at the network level. He is also developing novel methods for quantifying levels of consciousness based on brain activity recordings such as EEG and fMRI.

Dr. Lee has been studying the mathematical relationship between information flow, network topology and state of consciousness. The analytic study and simulation of global brain network models have been conducted in conjunction with human EEG analysis during anesthetic state transitions. These studies will provide a mathematical principle for state transitions and brain network level explanations for the empirical observations of characteristic information flow patterns across states of consciousness. Please see his recent publications.

Dinesh Pal, Ph.D.

Dinesh Pal, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor
Phone: 734.615.0234.
Fax: 734.764.9332.
E-mail: dineshp@umich.edu

Dr. Pal is a neurobiologist conducting experimental studies on anesthetic mechanisms and sleep-anesthesia interfaces. He is using simultaneous electroencephalographic recordings and in vivo electrochemical measurement of brain neurotransmitter levels to identify correlates and mechanistic links to the anesthetic induced unconsciousness. In addition, Dr. Pal is also conducting studies using electroencephalographic recordings and neuropharmacological interventions to test the hypothesis that sleep and anesthesia may have common underpinnings. Please see his recent publications.

Giancarlo Vanini, M.D.

Giancarlo Vanini, M.D.
Research Assistant Professor
Phone: 734.647.7831.
Fax: 734.764.9332.
E-mail: gvanini@umich.edu

Dr. Vanini’s research primarily focuses on sleep neurobiology and the central mechanisms by which disrupted sleep can lead to or worsen chronic pain.  His laboratory combines molecular, electrophysiological, neurochemical, pharmacological and behavioral techniques to study neural networks controlling sleep, wakefulness and nociception in preclinical models of chronic inflammatory and post-surgical pain.  Current studies are examining how reducing or enhancing sleep (quality and quantity) prior to a noxious insult causes long-lasting changes in pain-related nuclei that determine the intensity and duration of post-insult nociceptive behaviors.  In addition, Dr. Vanini is interested in understanding the mechanisms of loss of consciousness during states of sleep and general anesthesia.  Please see his recent publications.