SAB Annual Report

2021 AUA Virtual Meeting

SAB members reviewed 270 abstracts submitted to the 2021 AUA annual meeting and selected 260 for presentation. Eight outstanding abstracts were selected for presentation in two hour-long oral sessions and recognized with different awards. In order to maximize exchange and conversation in the virtual environment, we selected an additional 60 high-scoring abstracts that were presented as short oral presentations in parallel sessions moderated by SAB members. The remaining abstracts were presented on a virtual poster board with chat functionality to encourage discussion. The short oral presentation format provided excellent conditions to discuss the science, as all audience members could view the data presented and engage in the discussion without the limits of noise and visibility often encountered in traditional poster board discussions. We plan to maintain this virtual short oral presentation format for the 2022 hybrid annual meeting to provide an optimal poster discussion experience for all attendees, virtual or in-person. Senior AUA members will be invited to join the discussions and provide feedback to the presenters. SAB members also served as moderators for several of the excellent networking sessions during the AUA 2021 annual meeting.

SAB-sponsored session at 2021 IARS Virtual Meeting

The SAB-submitted symposium “Anesthesia and the microbiome – exploring a new frontier in perioperative medicine” was selected for presentation at the 2021 IARS annual meeting. This symposium provided a primer for the anesthesiology practitioner on the intricate connection between perioperative interventions, the patient and their microbiome. The trillions of commensal microorganism that form the human gut microbiome uniquely interact with their host, maintaining health but also contributing to a multitude of pathologic conditions. Many disease states relevant to anesthesiologists and perioperative physicians are distinctly affected by disorders of the microbiome, including chronic pain, critical illness, and postoperative neuroinflammation and cognitive dysfunction. AUA members Drs. Savid Mintz, Shiqian Shen, Niccolo Terrando, and Paul Wishmeyer presented current evidence from their own labs to explain effects of exposure to anesthetics on the gut microbiome, discuss how gut microbiota contribute to the development of different pain conditions, dissect how gut microbiota contribute to neuroinflammation and CNS dysfunction, and describe how critical illness is influenced by gut dysbiosis. The stimulating presentations provided a timely update on new research in this rapidly moving field, geared towards the practicing anesthesiologist.

SAB-sponsored webinars

The AUA established a new series of webinars this year to provide additional scientific content for its members. The SAB sponsored two webinars in the inaugural series, both focusing on new clinical and scientific insights and lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2021, Drs. Tamara Fong and Phillip Vlisides discussed “COVID-19 and the brain – critical illness and beyond”, moderated by SAB member Niccolo Terrando. The second SAB webinar in August 2021 hosted Drs. Lorraine Ware and Lorenzo Berra, who presented “Acute respiratory failure – lessons learned from COVID-19”, moderated by SAB member Maurizio Cereda. These fantastic webinars remain available on the AUA website Association of University Anesthesiologists eLearning - Association of University Anesthesiologists ( for asynchronous viewing.

Junior faculty speaker exchange

Providing additional development opportunities for junior scientists is a core goal of the SAB. Realizing that the travel restrictions and loss of in-person presentation opportunities disproportionately affected junior faculty, the SAB initiated a new AUA-sponsored junior faculty speaker exchange program Association of University Anesthesiologists AUA Speaker Exchange - Association of University Anesthesiologists ( This program provides a platform to match highly accessible virtual speaking engagements with qualified and interested speakers in order to promote interpersonal networking, scientific collaboration, and academic advancement in academic anesthesiology. While open to all, it is designed specifically to focus on junior faculty speakers and smaller, more intimate host venues such as divisional conferences and research seminars. All engagements will be performed remotely to limit barriers associated with travel. In addition to the speaking engagement, host venues will also facilitate one on one meetings between the speaker and host venue faculty with related interests. This program is designed to reflect the AUA principles of diversity and inclusion with respect to speakers and care will be taken to be inclusive of hosts and speakers from small and medium size academic programs. It is open to all individuals who are engaged in the pursuit of discovery in all fields related to anesthesiology, critical care, and pain medicine. The AUA has assembled a Speaker Exchange board to provide oversight for the exchange and to allow for helpful feedback between the involved parties to ensure a high-quality experience for both speakers and host venues.

Mock study section

As an additional offering to support junior faculty development, the SAB and eSAS (Early-Stage Anesthesiology Scholars) are co-sponsoring a mock study section, which will take place during the Scholars Day of the 2022 IARS annual meeting. This event is meant to introduce junior scientists to the hidden world of scientific grant review while providing an excellent opportunity to hone grant-writing skills for scientists of all stages. Authentic NIH grant proposals covering a variety of human subject research, clinical trials, and bench science will be reviewed and discussed by a core panel of volunteer reviewers, while additional participants can engage remotely.

New members for SAB

This year’s accomplishments were possible because of the enthusiasm and engagement of the SAB members. While all SAB members’ terms were extended by one year during the pandemic, we will be recruiting for four new members and an eSAS representative later this year to replace members who will rotate off in spring 2022. Incoming AUA president Dr. Mashour will select a new SAB chair.


Ines Koerner, MD, PhD
Chair, Scientific Advisory Board
Oregon Health & Science University
Portland, Oregon