ASRA Grants Support Early-Career Researchers

Apr 13, 2019

Recipients will study enhanced recovery after cardiac surgery, cancer survival

ASRA has announced the 2019 recipients of its Early-Stage Investigator and Graduate/Medical Student research grants, which were established in 2018 to support and encourage research from those newer to the field.

Mastoora Nasiri, MD, will receive the 2019 Early-Stage Investigator Award of $30,000 to support her study of “Enhanced recovery after adult cardiac surgery with erector spinae plane techniques: A prospective, randomized controlled trial.” The project is significant because, despite adverse effects, opioids remain the primary analgesic for cardiac surgery patients because of a lack of alternative medicines.

Dr. Mastoora Nasiri

Dr. Nasiri is a clinical instructor at Stanford Medicine's department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine. She completed her fellowship at Stanford, and her anesthesiology residency at the University of California, San Francisco. She has served as faculty for ASRA's Ultrasound-Guided Regional Anesthesia Education Portfolio Cadaver Course. Her coinvestigator is cardiac anesthesiologist Dr. Jessica Brodt, and her mentor on the project is Dr. Ban H. Tsui, who is an adult and pediatric regional anesthesiologist and professor at Stanford University. The other members of the study group are Dr. Beth D'Souza, PhD, a statistician, and Swaroop Mistry, a research coordinator.

Dr. Nasiri’s application was selected from a pool of seven full proposals. The grant is designated for researchers who are within five years of graduating from residency or fellowship.

Adlai Pappy

The Graduate Student Award provides up to $10,000 to a graduate or medical student who is engaged in a mentored-research project that falls into ASRA’s research priorities. The 2019 grant has been awarded to medical student Adlai Pappy, an MD/MBA candidate at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. His project, “A retrospective survival analysis of checkpoint inhibitor treated cancer patients having received opioids concurrently," aims to better understand how opioids impact cancer patients. High-dose opioid regimens have been linked to negative outcomes such as tumor growth and reduced survival. By studying the correlation between morphine milligram equivalents dosage over time, researchers may be able to identify the ideal dosage to maximize the immunostimulatory effects while minimizing the immunosuppression effects.

Pappy will conduct the study with Dr. Vinita Singh, assistant professor of anesthesiology at Emory University School of Medicine, and under the mentorship of R. Donald Harvey, PharmD, BCOP, FCCP, FHOPA.

Dr. Nasiri and Mr. Pappy were  recognized at the 44th Annual Regional Anesthesiology and Acute Pain Medicine Meeting on April 13, 2019, in Las Vegas, NV.

For more information on ASRA research grant funding and the process for applying, visit