Published May 19, 2011
Paul R. Knight III, MD, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Anesthesiology and Microbiology, has received a Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities, which recognizes faculty who maintain “consistently outstanding scholarly and creative productivity.”
Knight is an attending anesthesiologist at the Veteran’s Affairs Western New York Healthcare System, and for more than six years has served as director of the MD-PhD Program.
Knight was the first MD/PhD degree candidate to graduate from the Pennsylvania State College of Medicine. He completed residencies in surgery and anesthesiology at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
In 1977, Knight joined the faculty in the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Michigan, where by 1986 he had risen to the rank of professor. In 1992, he was recruited to UB as professor of anesthesiology and microbiology and chair of the Department of Anesthesiology. Knight served in this capacity until 1998, when he resigned to devote more time to research and clinical activities. In 2001, he was named senior vice chair for research in the Department of Anesthesiology.
Knight’s international prominence is largely due to his seminal contributions to the study of various lung injuries and myocardial dynamics. He has been a pioneer in assessing how general anesthetics affect viral replication and was the first to demonstrate that these agents can modify host-antiviral immunity.
In the early 1990s, Knight began investigating lung injury in aspiration pneumonitis. His findings were contrary to the established treatment protocols and led to new ways of thinking about how to treat this uncommon but devastating perioperative complication.
More recently, Knight has become interested in technological aids to the study of inflammatory responses. His laboratory has developed a microarray immunoassay to study cytokine involvement in lung injury.
Another technological advance that Knight has championed is the use of nanotechnology in treating lung injury and pathogenesis—most importantly, the treatment of viral infection and spread of infection, such as influenza. His current studies are in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the nanotechnology group in the UB Department of Chemistry.
In 2010, he and his colleagues published a seminal study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, where they reported the effectiveness of gold nanorod delivery of agents that inhibit the pandemic H1N1 influenza (swine flu) replication.
Knight has served as editor of the 7th Edition of Wylie and Churchill-Davidson’s A Practice of Anesthesia, the premier textbook in anesthesiology, and has authored or co-authored book chapters, including a chapter in the highly regarded specialty reference, A Practice of Anesthesia.
His reputation as a physician-scientist has led to his appointment to review committees and panels for the National Institutes of Health, March of Dimes, American Society of Anesthesiologists and American Heart Association, among others.
One of Knight’s foremost professional interests is career mentorship of junior faculty, medical students and fellows. He opens his lab to young clinical faculty members who wish to learn to perform research, and he provides strong advocacy for the recruitment and training of clinical scientists in anesthesiology.