Published July 14, 2016
Satyan Lakshminrusimha, MD, has received the 2016 Mentor of the Year award from the Eastern Society for Pediatric Research (ESPR) in recognition of his excellence in developing trainees’ research skills and launching productive research careers.
Lakshminrusimha works with students in the medical education program and trainees from the departments of Pediatrics and Obstetrics and Gynecology. He notes that many of his mentees have co-authored papers with him.
Ajay Pratap Singh, MBBS, a trainee in the neonatal-perinatal medicine fellowship, says: “Dr. Lakshminrusimha is the reason fellows are drawn to this program.”
“What I like most about him is his ability to quickly come up with explanations to complicated questions,” emphasizes Singh. “Fetal circulation and neonatal transition physiology is a difficult and fascinating topic, and no one explains it better than him.”
With Lakshminrusimha’s guidance, Singh is working on research related to postoperative neonatal pain management and neonatal outcome on non-invasive modes of ventilation.
“Dr. Lakshminrusimha’s grasp on basic science and physiology is amazing. He encourages new ideas, guides us and inspires all of us,” says Singh, noting that he and his colleagues always feel comfortable approaching him with their questions.
“Along with his long list of achievements in the field of medical science, he is the most humble person I have met,” he adds.
Singh, who received an honorable mention for the Thomas F. Frawley, MD, Residency Research Fellowship, adds that Lakshminrusimha gave him his support, via a letter of recommendation, during the application process for the award.
Lakshminrusimha’s former mentees have received prestigious research awards and competitive grants, including funding from the National Institutes of Health.
“I have rejoiced the success of my mentees over the years,” he notes.
One former mentee, Praveen K. Chandrasekharan, MD, is now a research assistant professor of pediatrics at UB. Lakshminrusimha mentored him throughout his fellowship training in neonatal-perinatal medicine.
“Dr. Lakshminrusimha has been truly inspiring,” says Chandrasekharan. “Over the years, I have established a relationship of respect, friendship and trust with him.”
“He is enthusiastic about new research. With his vast knowledge, tremendous dedication and extraordinary hard work, he constantly motivates me to become a better researcher and clinician.”
Chandrasekharan has conducted translational, clinical and quality improvement projects with Lakshminrusimha.
“He creates a positive environment for his trainees in both the lab and hospital. In the last three years, all of his mentees have taken jobs in academic programs around the country after graduation,” says Chandrasekharan.
Another faculty member, Jayasree Nair, MD, an assistant professor, also has benefited from Lakshminrusimha’s guidance; he mentored Nair on her residency research project and during her fellowship training in neonatal-perinatal medicine.
“With him as mentor, I have published papers evaluating the ontogeny of mesenteric vasculature in the fetus and newborn and the effect of feed and transfusion on mesenteric vascular reactivity,” says Nair.
“He is an excellent teacher who absolutely enjoys research, and he’s a fantastic clinician,” she adds.
Nair was recently awarded an R03 grant by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development with Lakshminrusimha as her co-investigator. She is also the recipient of the Young Investigator award for trainees and faculty from the ESPR.
Both Chandrasekharan and Nair were honored with the Dr. Henry C. and Bertha H. Buswell Fellowship, and they say Lakshminrusimha’s support has been important to their success.
Lakshminrusimha is the site project investigator for multicenter trials conducted by the Neonatal Research Network of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, a group of 15 academic neonatal centers. The goal of these trials is to improve outcomes in sick preterm and term neonates.
He will be directing a new multicenter trial evaluating the role of milrinone in congenital diaphragmatic hernia through the network.
Lakshminrusimha’s research focuses on the pathophysiology of the cardiopulmonary transition and disorders such as birth asphyxia, retained lung liquid and respiratory distress syndrome. He is a recipient of American and Canadian neonatal resuscitation program grants.
He has expertise in areas including hypoxic respiratory failure, pulmonary hypertension of the newborn and the use of tissue baths to study isolated vessels and airways.
Lakshminrusimha is the director of the Center for Developmental Biology of the Lung, a state-of-the-art translational and basic research facility.
His laboratory aims to prevent and treat these disorders with optimal neonatal resuscitation techniques, steroids, nitric oxide, surfactant and judicious use of oxygen.
“The award holds special significance for me as a teacher,” says Lakshminrusimha. “It is almost like being a proud parent being honored by his children.”
The ESPR is a branch of the Society for Pediatric Research, which advocates for academic pediatrics and aims to cultivate excellence, diversity and equity in pediatrics through advocacy, scholarship, education and leadership development.
The branch covers the northeastern United States and parts of Canada.