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Piyush M. Patel

Piyush M. Patel


  • MD


Current Position(s): 

  • Chief of Anesthesia Service, VASDHS

  • Staff Physician, VASDHS

  • Professor of Anesthesiology, UCSD

Personal Statement: 

The main themes of the research being conducted in Dr. Patel’s laboratory are anesthetic neurotoxicity and CNS regeneration after ischemic and traumatic injury.
With respect to anesthetic neurotoxicity, his research is focused on the evaluation of the molecular mechanisms that underlie cytoskeletal disruption, neurite loss, dendritic spine loss and synapse loss. To that end, he is currently in the process of identifying key roles for the Rho-GTPases in cytoskeletal disruption and how this disruption leads to defects in axonal transport. Cytoskeletal disruption leads to either loss of synapses or aberrant synaptic connections; the net result is disturbance of normal neuronal network development. Importantly, RhoGTPases and their downstream signaling effects may offer a rich target for the prevention of anesthetic neurotoxicity.
A second major focus of the laboratory is CNS regeneration after stroke and traumatic brain injury. Current work in his laboratory has shown that stroke and TBI lead to a loss of membrane lipid rafts (microdomains of the cell membrane that are enriched in cholesterol and sphingolipids). Given that receptors and their signaling molecules are concentrated within lipid rafts, CNS injury leads to loss of protective and pro-survival signaling. His research has shown that upregulation of caveolin, a cholesterol binding scaffolding molecule that is present in rafts, not only restores but enhances pro-survival and pro-growth signaling. Neuronal growth rates are accelerated and caveolin upregulation by viral transfection leads to a reduction in CNS injury and enhancement of neuronal sprouting in normal brain surrounding injured sites. The net result of this sprouting is functional improvement. His work is also applicable to the study of the mechanisms that underlie cognitive dysfunction in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.


  • University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada 1976-1978

  • University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba; M.D., B.Sc. (Med.) 1978-1982

  • Resident R.I-IV

  • Department of Anesthesia, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Chairman: R. J. Palahniuk, MD, FRCPC July 1985-June 1989

  • Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (Canada) in Anesthesia, 1989

  • American Board of Anesthesiology, 1995

  • Specialist License in Anesthesia, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

  • California Board of Medical Quality Assurance, August 1990

Professional History:

  • Staff Anesthetist, St. Boniface General Hospital, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, June 1989 – July 1989

  • Assistant Clinical Professor of Anesthesiology, Dept. of Anesthesiology, UCSD, February 1991 – June 1996

  • Associate Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, UCSD, July 1996 – June 2002

  • Staff Anesthesiologist, VA Medical Center, San Diego, February 1991 – Present

  • Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, UCSD, July 2002 – Present

  • Chief of Anesthesia Service, VA Medical Center, San Diego, December 2014 – Present

Awards and Honors: 

  • District Winner, University of Waterloo Mathematics Contest, Rivereast Collegiate, Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada, 1976

  • Achievement Scholarship, University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, 1977

  • Allyn Rossen Research Award for Cardiovascular Research, B.Sc. (Med.) Undergraduate Research Program, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba, 1980

  • First Prize, Residents Research Competition, Annual Banff Residents Retreat, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 1989

  • Third Prize, Residents’ Research Competition, Canadian Anesthetists’ Society Annual Meeting, Ottawa, Canada    1989

  • Canadian Heart Foundation Fellowship, 1989

  • Faculty Teacher of the Year, Department of Anesthesiology, UCSD    1992, 1994, 1996-1998, 2002-2018

  • Nominated Best Doctors in America, San Diego-Pacific Region, 1996-1998, 2002-2018

  • Malathi Oratorship Award, Indian Society of Neuroanesthesiology    February 8-10, 2008

  • Honorary Professor of Anesthesiology Capital Medical University, Beijing, China, May 2013 – Present

  • Outstanding Contribution to Development of Anesthesiology Award Capital Medical University, Beijing, China May 2013, May 2018

National/Global Website:   National Center for Biotechnology Information

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