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Happy 25th Anniversary, FAER!

Shafer, Steven L. MD

doi: 10.1213/ANE.0b013e31822ddc69
Editorials: Editorials
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Steven L. Shafer, MD, is Editor-in-Chief of Anesthesia & Analgesia, and is affiliated with the Department of Anesthesiology, Columbia University, New York, New York.

The author declares no conflict of interest.

Reprints will not be available from the author.

Address correspondence to Steven L. Shafer, MD, 630 West 168th Street, P&S Box 46, New York, NY 10032. Address e-mail to sshafer@columbia.edu.

Accepted July 14, 2011

I am proud to be a member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA). In 1986, representing American anesthesiologists and individual and corporate sponsors, the ASA created the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER) “to encourage promising young anesthesiologists to pursue academic careers and to facilitate the expansion of research in anesthesiology.”1 By 1995, FAER had funded 91 Researcher Starter Grants, 12 Anesthesiology Research Fellowships, 44 Young Investigator Awards, and 14 Educational Research Grants.

To celebrate FAER's 25th anniversary, Anesthesia & Analgesia and ANESTHESIOLOGY are featuring papers from FAER-supported investigators. ANESTHESIOLOGY is highlighting the big picture: summarizing FAER's impressive accomplishments,2 along with an expression of appreciation from the International Anesthesia Research Society.3 My goal for this celebratory issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia is different: the little picture. How did FAER grants alter the lives of those investigators whose papers appear in this issue? We asked each author of these papers who had ever been funded by FAER to write a brief summary of how that funding affected his or her research career. Their accounts follow each article in our FAER section. Here is a quick tour.

Two of the authors, Linda Demma and Nam Phuong Tran, received medical student anesthesia research fellowships from FAER. Dr. Demma's fellowship, at Emory University under the mentorship of Dr. Jerrold Levy, allowed her to “spend a summer assisting and eventually leading clinical studies.” A FAER-organized poster session provided an “opportunity to receive feedback from established researchers in the field.” This inspired her to pursue research through residency and into an academic career.4 Mr. Tran's “career changing” fellowship offered him “glimpses of [his] ideal medical career.”5 Under the mentorship of Dr. Maxine Cannesson at the University of California at Irvine, he “improved upon the computation of stroke volume variation as an indicator of fluid responsiveness, explored the relationship between ventilation and stroke volume variation, monitored cerebral bloodflow using near infrared spectroscopy, and assessed a new cardiac output monitor.”

Nine authors in this issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia have received FAER research grants. When Myron Yaster completed his training in 1981, “newborns undergoing surgery were anesthetized with paralysis, oxygen and a ‘whiff' of vapor.”6 Under the mentorship of Dr. Richard Traystman at Johns Hopkins, his animal studies in newborn lambs “led to several discoveries and ultimately helped change how anesthesia is delivered to newborn infants today… none of which would have been possible without [his] FAER starter grant.” The FAER research grant to Constance Monitto, first author of the same paper,6 allowed her to “focus on molecular mechanisms of cachexia,” which led to her current studies “on molecular biology, genomics, and epigenetics … and their relevance to clinical practice.”

Evan Kharasch's 1990 FAER research grant enabled him to “learn mass spectrometry, an analytical technique, which has been core to the majority of [his] career-long venture to understand the role of hepatic and extrahepatic drug metabolism and drug transport in the pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, pharmacogenetics, toxicity, and variability in patient response.”7 Seventeen years later, Dr. Kharasch was the mentor for Peter Nagale's FAER research grant, which proved “instrumental in creating a strong and rigorous research program in perioperative pharmacogenomics and nitrous oxide research and subsequently led to a successful NIH career development grant.”8

Two FAER-supported authors are from the University of California at San Diego (UCSD). Brian Ilfeld's FAER research grant “provided the opportunity to earn a Master's Degree in Clinical Investigation, as well as allowing completion of multiple pilot studies involving my primary interest at the time, ambulatory continuous peripheral nerve blocks.”9,10 The other UCSD investigator, Randolph Hastings, received a “Parker B. Francis/FAER Young Investigator Award in 1991 to [study] the mechanisms of alveolar protein clearance” under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Matthay.11,12 Dr. Hastings states that FAER funding “gave me independence, allowing me to complete the project and set-up the basic equipment I needed in my lab for future work” and provided the data and publication record to obtain federal peer-reviewed funding.

The last 2 FAER-funded authors are linked through their training at Stanford University. Talmage Egan received FAER funding for his research in hypnotic/opioid interactions, under the mentorship of Dr. Steven Shafer. Dr. Egan sees the FAER award as “absolutely critical to [his] career development. [His] lab continues to pursue various permutations of the work initially made possible by the generosity of donors to FAER.”13 By virtue of writing this editorial, I am the last FAER-funded author on this list. My 1987 FAER research grant led to the development of STANPUMP, a program for target-controlled drug delivery, and my 24-year journey using mathematical models to improve the safety of anesthetic drug delivery.

The dollars raised and grants funded by FAER are alone worthy of our celebratory praise! However, a quiet yet sincere expression of praise is heard in the individual author's grateful acknowledgments of the importance of FAER in their careers. FAER transformed their lives. Inspired and energized early in their careers, FAER-supported investigators are responsible for much of the science appearing today in ANESTHESIOLOGY and Anesthesia & Analgesia.

Anesthesiologists from throughout the world, and particularly the United States, should be proud of and grateful for what FAER has accomplished. Speaking for myself, but surely for many readers, I am proud that my professional society, the American Society of Anesthesiologists, founded and generously supported FAER for the past 25 years.

Happy 25th Anniversary, FAER!

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REFERENCES

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© 2011 International Anesthesia Research Society