Peter Nagele to lead Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care

Peter Nagele, MD, an internationally recognized trauma anesthesiologist, researcher and educator, has been appointed professor and chair of the Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care at the University of Chicago Medicine, effective March 1, 2018.

Nagele comes to UChicago Medicine 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.

An authority on perioperative pharmacogenomics, Nagele focuses on how genes affect the way patients respond to drugs and how it affects outcomes in surgical patients. He discovered that novel heart biomarkers may predict heart attacks in patients undergoing non-cardiac surgery. He has also conducted ground-breaking work suggesting that brief inhalation of a mild anesthetic nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, may improve severe symptoms of depression and suicidal thoughts.

“I plan to build upon the excellent foundation already present in the Department and grow clinical and translational research in strong collaboration with other departments at UChicago Medicine and continue to improve patient care and outcomes in the operating room, intensive care unit, and the Pain Medicine Clinic,” Nagele said. “I would also like the Department to take full advantage of the excellent infrastructure available through the university’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation to create an environment where ideas can be developed into products and business ventures and innovative faculty can learn how to become entrepreneurs.

Originally trained in Austria, 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 at Washington University where his work provided the first in vivo evidence for the molecular mechanisms of both xenon and nitrous oxide. After he completed his training, he joined Washington University and continued to pursue a clinical-research career in perioperative cardiovascular medicine while developing his clinical practice as a trauma anesthesiologist.

Nagele has authored numerous publications and 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 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. His commitment to advising and training clinicians and physician scientists was honored with the Mentor of the Year award in 2014 at Washington University School of Medicine.

“I look forward to continued departmental growth and preeminence under Dr. Nagele’s leadership,” said Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD, dean and executive vice president of medical affairs at the University of Chicago.