The 15th Annual DAPM Scientific Evening

Posters at the DAPM Scientific Evening 2023

March 14, 2023 | Miranda Le, Jane Moon, MD

The Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine (DAPM) at UCLA hosted its 15th Annual Scientific Evening on March 14, 2023, at Tamkin Auditorium in the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. The DAPM Scientific Evening is our annual symposium that highlights the research achievements of our research fellows, resident physicians, fellow physicians, and medical students.

The event’s distinguished judge was James Eisenach, MD, President of the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER) and Professor of Anesthesiology and Vice Chair for Research at Wake Forest University. Dr. Eisenach, an expert in the pharmacology and neurobiology of pain, also served as Editor-in-Chief of Anesthesiology, our specialty’s flagship journal, from 2007 to 2016. 

Dr. Eisenach & judges at the DAPM Scientific Evening 2023
From left to right: Mansoureh Eghbali, PhD, Soban Umar, MD, PhD, James Eisenach, MD, Maxime Cannesson, MD, PhD, Thomas Vondriska, PhD

Dr. Eisenach’s valuable insights raised the caliber of the program, and his encouraging feedback boosted the spirits of its participants. DAPM members who judged the presentations alongside Dr. Eisenach included Mansoureh Eghbali, PhD, Tristan Grogan, MS, Sara Navab, MD, Christine Nguyen-Buckley, MD, Siamak Rahman, MD, and Theodora Wingert, MD. 

This year’s Scientific Evening was the biggest one yet. There were 12 hypothesis-based oral presentations and 47 poster presentations encompassing a variety of topics in anesthesiology and perioperative medicine. Soban Umar, MD, PhD, served as the event’s moderator and stated that his favorite part of the evening was interacting with trainees, students, and colleagues.

"We have some of the most talented and hard-working trainees in our department, and UCLA DAPM is ranked as one of the top academic anesthesiology departments in the U.S. Based on what we witnessed at the Scientific Evening, the future is very bright."

Soban Umar, MD, PhD

Varina Clark, MD, presenting at the DAPM Scientific Evening 2023

Dr. Umar mentors CA-1 resident physician Varina Clark Onwunyi, MD, who was awarded the Leonard F. Walts MD Research Excellence Award for her presentation on pulmonary hypertension (PH), a fatal disease that currently has no definitive treatment. Dr. Clark and her research team “identified that upregulation of specific micro-RNA, mir10b-5p, in lungs of preclinical rat models rescues pre-existing PH,” suggesting a potential therapeutic target.

Dr. Clark credits the mentorship provided by Dr. Umar and others in the department as instrumental to her developing career as a physician-scientist.

"Training at UCLA DAPM has allowed me to dedicate a portion of my residency training to scientific inquiry and robust, self-led basic science and translational research."

- Varina Clark Onwunyi, MD

The following were the awardees from the 2023 DAPM Scientific Evening:

1st Place Fellow Physician Michael Tan, MD: Risk factors for dysphagia after lung transplantation (Mentors: Drs. Harvey, Wingert, Neelankavil) 
2nd Place Fellow Physician Albert Lee, MD: An institutional comparison of intraoperative variables between patients presenting for heart transplantation bridged with variations of ventricular assist devices (Mentors: Drs. Saddic, Williams, Harvey)
1st Place Resident Physician John Park, MD, PhD: Molecular dissection of right ventricular remodeling in pulmonary arterial hypertension: Unraveling of novel therapeutic targets (Mentor: Dr. Umar)
2nd Place Resident Physician Sungsoo Kim, MD, MS, PhD: Deep neural network enhancing the accuracy of pulse oximetry measuring non-invasive peripheral oxygen saturation (Mentor: Dr. Cannesson)
1st Place Research Fellow Physician Kyle Scranton, BS: Intracellular Na+ inhibits NCX1 activity to prevent arrhythmogenic prolongation of the cardiac action potential and QT interval (Mentor: Dr. Ottolia)
2nd Place Research Fellow Physician Lejla Medzikovic, PhD: Small leucine-rich proteoglycan asporin represses smooth muscle cell proliferation and regulates pulmonary hypertension development (Mentor: Dr. Eghbali)
Best Overall Presentation and Recipient of the Leonard F. Walts MD Research Excellence Award Varina Clark Onwunyi, MD: miR10b-5p inhibition as a novel therapeutic strategy for the treatment of pulmonary hypertension (Mentor: Dr. Umar)

The symposium would not have been possible without the hard work of event organizers Thomas Vondriska, PhD, Soban Umar, MD, PhD, and Jennifer Scovotti, as well as DAPM staff members Stephanie-Dee Sarovich and Claudia Bueno.

The 2023 DAPM Scientific Evening brought together department members for an exciting and educational program, offering a glimpse into the future of anesthesiology and the innovative research being conducted by the newest generation of clinicians and scientists in our field.