Oluwaseun Johnson-Akeju, M.D.

Chair, Anesthesia
Massachusetts General Hospital
Head of the Department of Anaesthesia at Massachusetts General Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Henry Isaiah Dorr Associate Professor of Research and Teaching in Anaesthetics and Anaesthesia
Harvard Medical School
Associate Anesthetist
Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital
MD Rutgers New Jersey Medical School 2006
anesthesia, general; anesthetics, intravenous; delta rhythm; dexmedetomidine; electroencephalography; glycolysis; hypnotics and sedatives; ketamine; methyl ethers; mitochondria, heart; nitrous oxide; nucleic acid conformation; propofol; sequence analysis, rna; stem cell transplantation; ventricular fibrillation

The goal of the laboratory of Oluwasun Akeju, MD, MMSc, at Massachusetts General Hospital is to make surgery safer for patients by developing tools and strategies to optimize post-operative cognitive recovery.

The ability to perform surgery or invasive procedures safely and humanely relies on the delivery of general anesthesia—a practice that was first publicly demonstrated at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1846. General anesthesia is a reversible drug-induced state that consists of unconsciousness, amnesia, analgesia and immobility with maintenance of physiological stability.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, it is estimated that more than 60,000 patients in the United States receive general anesthesia every year for surgery. The brain, especially for older patients, often does not return to normal after general anesthesia. Some patients develop a serious deficit that comes and goes while others demonstrate a significant and persistent decline in performance on neuropsychological tests.

Our Research

Three major approaches of our research:

  1. Creating tests to preemptively identify patients at-risk for neurocognitive dysfunction after anesthesia, to enable our world-class team of doctors to selectively target at-risk patients for more focused care.
  2. Developing strategies, based on each patient’s neurophysiology, to personalize anesthetic care and limit drug over-dosage in the operating room.
  3. Studying the overlap between sleep and anesthesia in order to develop new drugs that are devoid of neurocognitive deficits, and instead offer the restorative benefits of natural sleep to patients.