Chair of the Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care

On behalf of Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD, Dean and EVP for Medical Affairs 

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Peter Nagele, MD, MSCI, an internationally recognized trauma anesthesiologist, researcher and educator, as professor and chair of the Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care effective March 1, 2018.

An authority on perioperative pharmacogenomics, Dr. Nagele joins us from Washington University in St. Louis where he served as the Chief of the Section of Trauma Anesthesiology and Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Genetics. 

Originally trained in Austria, Dr. Nagele received his medical education at Leopold –Franzens University in Innsbruck and completed his residency in anesthesiology and critical care medicine at the University of Vienna. He pursued postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Michael Crowder at Washington University where his work, published in PNAS, provided the first in vivo evidence for the molecular mechanisms of both xenon and nitrous oxide. After he completed his training, he joined the faculty of Washington University and continued to pursue a clinical research career in perioperative cardiovascular medicine while developing his clinical practice as a trauma anesthesiologist.

Dr. Nagele’s NIH funded research focuses on understanding how genetic background influences the way patients respond to drugs and how it affects perioperative outcomes.  As a physician-scientist, he discovered that novel heart biomarkers may predict heart attacks in patients undergoing non-cardiac surgery.  He has also conducted work suggesting that brief inhalation of a mild anesthetic nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, may rapidly improve severe depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation, research that has been funded by the NIH, the American Foundation for the Prevention of Suicide, and the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. 

Throughout his career, Dr. Nagele has been very productive academically, having authored numerous publications. He has also received a number of awards including the American Society of Anesthesiology’s 2012 Presidential Scholar Award, the Elmer–Zsigmond Award from the International Society for Anesthetic Pharmacology, the Billroth Prize from the Vienna Medical Society, and the Ziskind-Somerfeld Research Award from the Society for Biological Psychiatry. He has served as the Associate Editor of the journal Anesthesiology, and participates in a number of professional societies including serving as the President-elect for the International Society of Anesthetic Pharmacology since 2017.  Throughout his career, he has sustained a commitment to mentoring clinicians and physician scientists and was honored by Washington University School of Medicine with the Mentor of the Year award in 2014.

I would also like to recognize the outstanding service of Jeffrey Apfelbaum, MD, who has been at the University of Chicago since 1987, and has served as Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology for nearly 17 years.  Dr. Apfelbaum is recognized as a national leader in advancing the field of anesthesiology, and has been honored with a Distinguished Service Award by the American Society of Anesthesiologists.  We are grateful for his longstanding service, leadership and commitment to the University of Chicago.  Under his leadership, the department has grown, expanding both its clinical offerings and academic programs. 

Please join me in thanking Jeff for his service and welcoming Peter to our campus. I look forward to continued departmental growth and preeminence under his leadership.