Dr. Beverley Orser
Mechanisms of Anesthesia Laboratory
The mission of the Orser Lab is to generate mechanistic insights that translate into impactful advances in patient outcomes and neuroscience. They aim to identify molecular targets for anesthetics and to understand how changes in receptor function underlie the behavioural effects of these drugs. Such studies are essential for the development of new anesthetics with improved side effect profiles and the optimum use of available anesthetics.
The main focus of the Orser Lab is to understand the molecular mechanism of general anesthesia, repurpose general anesthetics for novel treatment of neurological disorders, and to the study the role of GABAA receptor in health and disease. Their studies also offer insights into the neuronal substrates that underlie pain, memory and consciousness.
They are the first to demonstrate the exquisite sensitivity of a population of extrasynaptic GABAA receptors to volatile and inhaled anesthetics. Behavioural studies using preclinical models have shown that the actions of anesthetics at extrasynaptic GABAA receptors in the hippocampus contribute to the amnestic properties of the drugs. The findings challenged the prevailing dogma that anesthetics act by increasing inhibitory synaptic transmission. These results have stimulated new areas of anesthetic research in laboratories around the world. In addition, the laboratory was the first to demonstrate the ability of anesthetics to reduce desensitization of these inhibitory receptors. This unique action of anesthetics may contribute to the profound neurodepressive properties of these drugs
Beverley Orser, MD, PhD, FRCPC
Beverley Orser, MD, PhD, FRCPC: Principal Investigator