School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine

Basic Research

The Emergency Medicine Cerebral Resuscitation Laboratory is the department's basic science enterprise. The lab has been in operation in one form or another since the 1970s, producing dozens of papers, reviews, abstracts and book chapters, as well as millions of dollars in extramural funding. The mission of the Cerebral Resuscitation Laboratory is to investigate the physical and biochemical mechanisms of brain tissue damage and repair after ischemic or traumatic injury, as part of an effort to bring clinically effective neuroprotective strategies to the bedside. The Cerebral Resuscitation Laboratory is closely affiliated with the Cardiovascular Research Institute and the Department of Physiology.

At present, the Cerebral Resuscitation Laboratory has four principle investigators:

Jonathon M. Sullivan M.D., Ph.D. is the Associate Director of the laboratory and responsible for its day-to-day operation and overall research direction.

Dr. Sullivan is a graduate of the research fellowship, and has recently re-instituted this program, serving as Fellowship Director. Dr. Sullivan's research interests include growth factor signaling during brain reperfusion, molecular mechanisms of hypothermic neuroprotection, mitochondrial dysfunction, and combination therapy.


Rita Kumar, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Physiology. Her research interests include the problem of translational arrest after brain ischemia, endoplasmic reticulum dysfunction, growth factor signaling, and mitochondrial dysfunction.

Thomas Sanderson, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Sanderson investigates mechanisms of mitochondrial derangment and dysfunction after brain ischemia, as well as growth factor signaling, endoplasmic reticulum dysfunction, and novel approaches to modulation of mitochondrial metabolism.

Anthony Lagina, M.D. is an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and a recipient of the Emergency Medicine Foundation's Young Investigator Award in 2009. His work is highly focused on translational research, in particular combination therapy for transient global brain ischemia after cardiac arrest. He is also working on mitochondrial dysfunction and post-translational protein modifications after ischemic injury.


The Cerebral Resuscitation Laboratory also has two graduate students:

Leslie Foster is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Physiology, working toward her PhD with Drs. Sullivan and Lagina. Her interest is in molecular mechanisms of hypothermic neuroprotection.

Tamar Jeffery, M.D. is a graduate of our Emergency Medicine Residency Program, and matriculated as the Cerebral Resuscitation Research Fellow in 2009. In addition to her fellowship, Dr. Jeffery will also be pursuing a PhD through the Department of Physiology. Her work is focused on traumatic brain injury.

The lab has several research assistants to do the “heavy lifting:” Michael Deogracias, Ying Chen and Joe Wider.

Additionally, the lab is frequently home to any number of medical students, pre-med students, and residents who "rotate" through for a month or a summer to gain research experience.

If you want to learn more about brain ischemia, our lab, and the work we do, we encourage you to visit our website.