The Vascular Biology Research Group represents a uniquely diverse yet closely collaborative and synergistic family of investigators. The investigative breadth and excellence is reflected in the large number of high-profile publications, as well as the funding track record of this group. The range of research endeavors spans the gamut of vascular biologic interests including: endothelial cell signaling and adhesion, vascular nitroso-redox regulation, vascular smooth muscle and adrenergic physiology, stem cell biology, and vascular communication. The techniques with which the group is facile stretch from whole animal integrated cardiovascular physiology through isolated vascular techniques (myography and video dimension analysis), fluorescent confocal microscopy and immunocytochemistry, to atomic force microscopy and functional proteomics.

Through these approaches, the group has added significantly to our understanding of the pathophysiology of a number of diseases, including Raynauds phenomenon associated with scleroderma, atherosclerosis, and aging. We will continue to develop an ongoing synergy as we investigate cutting-edge tools and reagents and develop state-of-the-art techniques to answer some of the fundamental questions in vascular biology. We have the investigative breadth to understand vascular pathobiology hierarchically from molecule to man, and that is our ongoing goal and challenge.

In the department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, the faculty explore a wide breadth of topics in basic and applied pulmonary pathophysiology, on scales ranging from the gene to the whole organism. Major areas of research include the molecular biology and genetics of pulmonary vascular reactivity; pulmonary endothelial and epithelial roles in acute lung injury; the biology and mechanics of airway constriction; ischemia-reperfusion injury; functional lung imaging with computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging; regional genomics and cellular responses in acute lung injury; lung mechanics and optimal mechanical ventilation approaches in acute lung injury; lung mechanical impedance and distributed computational models of lung mechanics; surfactant rescue in lung injury; interactions between the lung and distant organs; and novel forms of mechanical ventilation, including high-frequency oscillatory ventilation.

We have expertise in small- and large-animal models of lung disease, as well as in cellular and molecular approaches. In addition, our faculty have significant roles in institutional programs, including Specialized Centers of Clinically Oriented Research (SCCOR) grants in acute lung injury, pulmonary hypertension, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and international collaborations in physiological imaging and modeling. These basic science efforts link with clinical and translational research in adult and pediatric patients.

Chronic pain affects millions of people worldwide, creating financial burdens as a result of both healthcare costs and lost productivity. It can be caused by mechanisms such as inflammation, tissue injury, and nerve injury and stems from a variety of disorders, including arthritis, cancer, HIV, and physical trauma. In the Johns Hopkins Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, investigators take advantage of multiple research modalities to explore the molecular underpinnings that lead to the development and maintenance of chronic pain and to generate novel therapeutic possibilities.

Our faculty employ behavioral, electrophysiological, and molecular techniques to address issues of central vs. peripheral nervous system involvement in chronic pain. Some components of the pain pathway that are under investigation include membrane-associated guanylate kinases (MAGUKs), which help to organize key pain-related proteins at the post-synaptic membrane; molecular turnover of AMPA and NMDA receptors during chronic pain conditions; and the role of alpha-2A adrenoceptors in pain mediation.

In addition, a number of novel approaches to treating chronic pain are being investigated. For example, mechanisms of peripheral mu-opioid receptor–mediated analgesia are being studied, and differentiated stem cells are being explored as a method to treat spinal cord injury–associated pain. In the arena of complementary and alternative medicine, investigators are studying the potential pain-reducing benefits of naturally occurring flavonoids. These and many other ongoing projects place the department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine center stage in the struggle to reduce the debilitating effects of chronic pain.

In conjunction with the Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery, the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine has created a Pain Research Core that will assist investigators in utilizing cutting-edge behavioral techniques to study pain mechanisms and test new therapies. To learn more about the Pain Research Core or submit a proposal for a research project, please click here.

The Johns Hopkins Pediatric Critical Care Clinical Research Program is dedicated to the rigorous and ethical conduct of research to advance knowledge and improve outcomes in critically ill pediatric patients. PICU faculty participate in a wide range of single and multi-center clinical research and quality improvement (QI) studies, which include investigations of the role of biomarkers in predicting brain injury in children on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and application of novel techniques to characterize and improve sleep in critically ill children. Research in medical simulation to improve resident and nurse resuscitation skills and to study the role of human factors in cardiopulmonary arrest management is also a major component of the clinical research program. The Johns Hopkins PICU is one of eight centers nationally that are part of the Society of Critical Care Medicine’s Pediatric ICU Liberation QI Initiative, and is actively involved as a site in several multicenter studies sponsored by the Pediatric Acute Lung Injury & Sepsis Investigators Network (PALISI).

The PICU Clinical Research Program works in concert with the ACCM Clinical Research Core to provide biostatistical, epidemiologic and database support to PICU faculty engaged in research and QI initiatives.

In the department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, the faculty explore a wide breadth of topics in basic and applied pulmonary pathophysiology, on scales ranging from the gene to the whole organism. Major areas of research include the molecular biology and genetics of pulmonary vascular reactivity; pulmonary endothelial and epithelial roles in acute lung injury; the biology and mechanics of airway constriction; ischemia-reperfusion injury; functional lung imaging with computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging; regional genomics and cellular responses in acute lung injury; lung mechanics and optimal mechanical ventilation approaches in acute lung injury; lung mechanical impedance and distributed computational models of lung mechanics; surfactant rescue in lung injury; interactions between the lung and distant organs; and novel forms of mechanical ventilation, including high-frequency oscillatory ventilation.

We have expertise in small- and large-animal models of lung disease, as well as in cellular and molecular approaches. In addition, our faculty have significant roles in institutional programs, including Specialized Centers of Clinically Oriented Research (SCCOR) grants in acute lung injury, pulmonary hypertension, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and international collaborations in physiological imaging and modeling. These basic science efforts link with clinical and translational research in adult and pediatric patients.

The Quality and Safety Research Group (QSRG) is a team of faculty and staff, under the leadership of Peter Pronovost, who convene experts from across the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health at the Johns Hopkins University in efforts to improve the science and practice of patient safety and quality care. Our patient safety–focused health services research is designed to develop tools, educate stakeholders, engage providers, execute interventions, share knowledge, and perform rigorous evaluation. Our strength lies in our ability to find that sweet spot between scientific rigor and real-world practicality.

All of our efforts seek to provide an answer to the ever-important question, “How do we know patients are safer?” Some of our areas of focus include developing, implementing, and evaluating safety and quality programs at both the individual and project levels; increasing the extent to which patients reliably receive recommended, evidence-based interventions; measuring and improving safety culture; identifying and mitigating hazards; and designing and implementing methods to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of large-scale projects designed to improve quality and safety in healthcare. With these efforts, we hope to improve safety efforts in healthcare systems both within the U.S and abroad.