International Anesthesia Research Society
The Daily Dose April 2023
An Interview with Abstract Presenter and 2008 Clinical Scholar Research Award Recipient – Dr. Konrad Meissner!
Morphine and Hydromorphone Effects and Side Effects Interindividual Variabilities – a Crossover Study in Human Volunteers
Category: Anesthetic Pharmacology
Konrad Meissner, MD, reflected on how the mindset, experience and the data analyzed in the research project that won him the 2008 IARS Clinical Scholar Research Award, Role of P-glycoprotein in Cerebral Morphine Disposition and Analgesia, defined his career and prepared him for his current research, which aims to find solutions for treating postoperative pain more efficiently and safely. In this crossover-designed study, his research team is comparing the two main opioids (morphine and hydromorphone) used worldwide to help clinicians make a more informed decision with opioid selection. Professor and Chair in the Department of Anesthesiology at University Medical Center Goettingen in Germany, Dr. Meissner will be presenting three abstracts on Sunday, April 16 at the IARS 2023 Annual Meeting which will extrapolate several findings and angles of his study. In addition to sharing his research with a dynamic audience, he hopes to continue to make as many meaningful connections with the clinical and scientific anesthesiology community as he did when he first received the Clinical Scholar Research Award in 2008.
1. For this research, you are…
2. What drew you to the anesthesiology specialty?
In Germany at the time, there was a mandatory 12-month obligation to either serve in the armed forces or in social care. I spent this year after high school in a thoracic hospital on the surgical floor, where I had an inspiring and creative anesthesiologist drawing my attention to the multitude of patient-oriented pharmacology, technology and care options our specialty provides.
3. What drew you to this area of research?
During medical school, I chose an anesthesia-related pharmacology topic for my doctoral thesis, and then used a scholarship to work at Gary Strichartz’s lab at the BWH for a semester. After graduating, I split my time during anesthesia residency in Germany between clinical anesthesia and pharmacology, in particular investigating factors influencing individual differences in drug effect using ex-vivo or cell culture drug transport models. After my anesthesiology board exam, I applied at Washington University in St. Louis to build a physician-scientist career. Aside from work in the OR, I could translate my basic drug transport research towards clinical studies in human volunteers with the help of IARS and FAER, among others. Benefiting from existing research and support structures, and of course from Dr. Evan Kharasch’s ongoing mentorship in the field of opioid clinical pharmacology, the years at WashU had a tremendous effect on my academic career.
4. What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your work with this research project (or projects)?
We are clinicians, who want to treat postoperative pain efficiently, but also safely. The projects presented here in Denver are part of a study comparing the two main opioids used in the US and worldwide for this purpose (morphine and hydromorphone), which we investigated in a crossover design.
5. What is the potential impact of your research on the field of anesthesia and patient care?
Clinicians might be in a position to make a more informed choice on opioid selection based on evidence.
6. What are the benefits of presenting your research during poster sessions at the IARS Annual Meeting?
The IARS meeting has a long history of attracting a critical audience from the clinical and scientific anesthesiology communities alike. I have been attending the meeting since before IARS joined forces with AUA, and am curious how this format may work, particularly after travel restrictions are now behind us. Another benefit might be learning about the University of Colorado Medical School, and visiting Denver, where I have never been before.
7. How did the Clinical Scholar Research Award affect your research and professional trajectory?
Receiving the Clinical Scholar Research Award made all the difference to me as junior faculty at the time. It has been a long way to analyze this complex dataset, but it was well worth the effort. While the type of studies we did in the US could not be easily transferred when I moved on back to Germany, the mindset, the experience, and, to some extent, the data defined my career.
8. How is your current research project / projects influenced by your initial 2008 Clinical Scholar Research Award research project?
I remain connected to clinical pharmacology of anesthetic drugs in many different ways. We continue our search for better ways to take care of patients in the OR and beyond. The Clinical Scholar Research Award was not my start in research, but enabled the freedom of a vivid connection between science and clinical practice at a crucial turn in my life. In a way, it still influences how I look at my colleagues, in particular my own junior faculty now.
9. Is there anyone else you wish to acknowledge as part of this research team?
Aside from your mentors, you do need the generous support of your departmental leadership. I still am very grateful for the support from Dr. Alex Evers in St. Louis, and Heyo Kroemer, now in Berlin.
10. Outside of your research, what might someone be surprised to know about you?
I enjoy honoring people with a more distant influence on our daily practice as well, who might be closer than you think. In Einbeck, a small old town just 25 miles north of Göttingen, where I am now head of the Anesthesia department, you may find the original pharmacy of Friedrich Sertürner, who first isolated morphine in 1805.