Alexander Hincker, MD awarded 2017 Young Investigator Award from SOAP

Mar 13, 2017

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Alexander Hincker, MD awarded 2017 Young Investigator Award from SOAP

Alex Hincker just received notification from the SOAP Research Committee and the SOAP Board of Directors that he has been awarded the 2017 Young Investigator Award from SOAP. Alex will be doing this study during his Obstetric Anesthesia Fellowship Program this coming year. He is doing his fellowship as part of the first joint OB-Pain-Research Fellowship program.

Dr. Hincker’s study is an experimental pain study on epidural methadone in human volunteers, and was presented in December at the DoCTR science garage.  This project will be jointly mentored by Yehuda Ginosar and Simon Haroutounian, with help from Evan Kharasch. The study addresses a question that has occupied both Yehuda and Simon independently over the years. They both previously worked in Hadassah University Hospital in Israel where epidural methadone has been in routine clinical use for over thirty years. Yehuda studied the effect of lipophilic opioids on the selective spinal analgesic effect of epidural opioids when he was working in the experimental pain lab in Stanford University. Simon studied the selective spinal analgesic effect of methadone in rodents. Current options for epidural opioids are for either long-acting hydrophilic opioids (morphine) with the risk of rostral spread and supraspinal effects including respiratory depression, or short-acting lipophilic opioids (fentanyl, sufentanil) which require indwelling epidural catheters, pumps and expensive follow-up by the pain service. Epidural methadone may be an ideal third way. It is a long-acting opioid which is both lipophilic (predicting segmental analgesia) and polar (predicting low systemic reabsorption) – which also has significant NMDA activity. This is the first study to assess segmental versus supraspinal analgesic effects of epidural methadone; we are also doing this as a PKPD study to assess plasma concentration-analgesic effect interactions.

Alex has been committed to research throughout his training. In the Social Psychology Lab at the University of Virginia he used simulation to model individual and group decision processes; at Columbia University, NY he was involved in a basic science project for chondrosarcoma chemosensitivity, and once he had chosen Anesthesiology as a specialty, in a perioperative ROTEM thromboelastometry project. On arrival in the Anesthesiology Residency Program at Washington University, St Louis, he again found time to be actively involved in research, first in AIMS research, and later in experimental pain research with Simon Haroutounian. This human experimental pain study uses psychophysical laboratory techniques and enables Alex to bring together the multiple threads of his training: psychology research, laboratory research and clinical anesthesiology.

This award is wonderful timing; a wedding present from SOAP for his wedding last week!

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