Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Meet Research Fellow Brant Wagener, M.D., Ph.D.

Brant Wagener, M.D., Ph.D., is one of just 17 anesthesiologists nationwide to receive a coveted Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER) grant in 2013.

Awarded a Research Fellowship Grant—the first in the UAB Department of Anesthesiology’s history—Wagener received a one-year, $75,000 grant that aims to aid anesthesiologists in developing the skills and data needed to become independent investigators. Working closely with Jean-Francois Pittet, M.D., professor and director of the department’s Division of Critical Care and Perioperative Medicine, Wagener is studying the effect of PDE4 on IL-8-dependent inhibition of cAMP-stimulated alveolar fluid clearance.

During his residency, Wagener received a Resident Academic Career Development (RACD) Award, in which he was awarded six months of protected time to gather data and prepare his research proposal and grant application. Focusing on how inhibition of inflammatory mediators can reverse lung injury without compromising the immune system, Wagener says he enjoys jockeying between the lab and the operating room. As a physician scientist, he gravitates towards the translational nature of his chosen specialty—shifting his focus from patient to research and back again. “How do we swing this cellular or animal data back to the patient as a treatment?” he says. “It’s a circle. Maybe you solve one problem for the patient, but it never stops. Another one always arises, and it’s back to the bench again.”

Before beginning his residency and fellowship at UAB, Wagener earned his M.D. and Ph.D. at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, where he also completed an internship in Internal Medicine. A native of Roswell, New Mexico, Wagener set his sights on UAB’s Department of Anesthesiology after realizing its excellent clinical training program, commitment to resident education and desire to pursue clinical and translational research. “That’s one of the main reasons I came to UAB,” he says. “It has a program that enthusiastically supports research.”

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