Professor and Vice Chairman Department of Critical Care Medicine
Professor of Anesthesiology, Pediatrics and Clinical and Translational Science
Director, Safar Center for Resuscitation Research, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Dr. Kochanek’s research addresses studies in experimental and clinical traumatic brain injury and cardiac arrest. His work also encompasses pediatric and adult arenas. He has mentored trainees at all levels from students to junior faculty for 25 years, many of whom are NIH funded.
Development of novel therapies for traumatic brain injury
Novel approaches to traumatic brain injury resuscitation
Adenosine and purine metabolism in traumatic brain injury
Blast traumatic brain injury
Novel therapeutic approaches to cardiac arrest and resuscitation
Pediatric traumatic brain injury
Emergency Preservation and Resuscitation
C. Edward Dixon, PhD, Co-investigator, Stephen Wisniewski, PhD, Statistical Consultant
Dr. Kochanek is the head of a $7M multicenter pre-clinical drug screening consortium for the United States Army titled Operation Brain Trauma Therapy. The consortium includes investigators at the University of Pittsburgh, The University of Miami (Miami project to cure paralysis), Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, the Virginia Commonwealth University, and Banyan Biomarkers, LLC. The consortium is testing therapies across traumatic brain injury models and species to define a potent therapy for traumatic brain injury for ultimate use in combat casualty care.
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Hulya Bayir, MD, Co-investigator, C. Edward Dixon, PhD, Co-investigator, Valerian Kagan, PhD, Co-investigator
The combination of traumatic brain injury plus secondary insults such as hemorrhagic shock is devastating and new therapies are badly needed. Dr. Kochanek and his team are using novel mouse models of traumatic brain injury plus hemorrhagic shock to test the impact of conventional and novel therapies in this special setting. Oxidative stress appears to represent a key secondary injury mechanism in this setting and is one of the major areas of therapeutic exploration.
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Edwin K. Jackson, Co-PI, C. Edward Dixon, PhD, Co-Investigator
Adenosine is a powerful endogenous neuroprotectant molecule with anti-seizure and anti-inflammatory effects. In collaboration with Dr. Edwin Jackson, Dr. Kochanek is studying this pathway in an attempt to optimize the beneficial actions of this pathway in traumatic brain injury.
C. Edward Dixon, PhD Co-investigator, Larry Jenkins, PhD Co-PI, Hulya Bayir, MD, Co-investigator, Robert S. Clark, MD Co-investigator, C. Edward Dixon, PhD, Co-investigator, Edwin Jackson, PhD, Co-investigator
Blast injury has become the signature insult in contemporary combat casualty care related to the use of improvised explosive devices by terrorists. Dr. Kochanek is leading a team of investigators at the Safar Center is carrying out studies to enhance our understanding of blast traumatic brain injury and develop novel therapies as part of the DARPA-funded PREVENT blast program.
Dr. Kochanek is mentoring two junior faculty, Dr. Travis Jackson in the department of CCM and Dr. Tomas Drabek in the department of Anesthesiology in studies targeting novel therapeutic approaches to cardiac arrest. These studies are targeting both cell death mechanisms and the microglial response to brain injury during resuscitation.
American Heart Association
Travis C. Jackson, PhD, Principal Investigator
Tomas Drabek, MD, Principal Investigator
Dr. Kochanek is a collaborator with numerous faculty in critical care and pediatrics who are carrying out studies targeting the development of new therapies in both traumatic brain injury and cardiac arrest in children. These studies also are investigating the use of serum and CSF biomarkers of brain injury for diagnosis, prognosis, and assessment of therapeutic efficacy.
Samuel Tisherman, MD, Clinical research PI; Tomas Drabek, MD Co-investigator
Dr. Kochanek, Dr. Samuel Tisherman, and Dr. Tomas Drabek have an ongoing collaboration that addresses a novel approach to resuscitation of victims of exsanguination cardiac arrest, namely, EPR. EPR represents an emergency induction of profound hypothermia using a retrograde aortic flush in the setting of otherwise lethal exsanguinations to buy time (30 min-3 hours) for damage control surgery, and then carried out a controlled delayed resuscitation using extracorporeal resuscitation. In a large number of preclinical studies in animal models that were carried out over a decade, with numerous fellow trainees and other collaborators, they demonstrated that EPR can be successfully used for insults up to 2-3 hours. Currently, this project is ready to go to a multi-center clinical safety and feasibility trial in civilian trauma that will be led by Dr. Tisherman.
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