iravaniAssociate Clinical Professor, Pediatric Anesthesiology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA


Phone: 310-267-8641

Interests: Application of evolutionary biology in understanding drug metabolism; Evolutionary biology and it’s acceptance and relevance in medical community

Personal Statement:
I am a practicing pediatric anesthesiologist interested in the potential application of evolutionary biology to the current problems in the field of anesthesiology. One such problem is the issue of variable drug/anesthetic response, in which the same medication and dose elicits different responses in different patients resulting in therapeutic effect, no effect or an adverse drug reaction. Pharmacogenomic research has concentrated on the genetic variability in the various components involved in the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of drug metabolism (i.e. transporter, enzymes, receptors, etc.), which aim to explain the proximate mechanism for the variable drug response but not the ultimate mechanism. I am interested in exploring how evolution through natural selection may have shaped such diversity in drug metabolism. Incorporating the life-history of the organism and exploring the possible local environmental challenges which gave rise to such diversity may shed light on the ultimate explanations for variable drug response. I am also interested in exploring the opinions and attitudes of clinical medical doctors towards the basic tenets of evolutionary biology and it’s relevance towards clinical practice with questions such as: Does viewing at the human body/physiology as a bundle of adaptations and tradeoffs aid the doctor in diagnosis or treatment? Does viewing antibiotic drug resistance as a evolutionary arms race between pathogens and antibiotics help the medical doctor in selecting a more rational strategy in combating infections?