Newswise — SAN DIEGO – The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) today presented George A. Mashour, M.D., Ph.D., with its 2021 Excellence in Research Award in recognition of his extensive research focused on the neurobiology of consciousness and unconsciousness, as well as his contributions to academic anesthesiology and translational science. The award is presented annually for outstanding achievement in research that has or is likely to have an important impact on the practice of anesthesiology.

Dr. Mashour is the Robert B. Sweet professor and chair of the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor. He holds additional faculty positions in the Department of Neurosurgery and the Neuroscience Graduate Program. Additionally, Dr. Mashour founded the university’s Center for Consciousness Science and its Center for Drug Repurposing. He is also co-director of the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research in Ann Arbor.

A dedicated physician-scientist, Dr. Mashour’s main scientific focus has been the study of consciousness and its interruption during general anesthesia and sleep. Notably, his research team was the first to apply the science of complex networks to the study of anesthetic state transitions in the brain. His laboratory also identified a common brain activity marker of diverse anesthetics — including sevoflurane, propofol and ketamine — in humans and other species.

Dr. Mashour has built a multidisciplinary team at the University of Michigan Medical School that spans neuroscience, anesthesiology, physics, network science, biomedical engineering, psychology and philosophy. He and his team have made important contributions to the field of anesthesiology, from foundational science on anesthetic mechanisms, to large-scale clinical trials focused on postoperative delirium and intraoperative awareness — a rare condition where patients regain varying levels of consciousness during surgery.  

Dr. Mashour is currently the top National Institutes of Health-funded anesthesiology faculty member in the U.S. He has authored more than 200 publications and served as lead editor of five textbooks on anesthesiology and neuroscience. 

“It is an honor to present Dr. Mashour, an international leader in the fields of anesthesiology, neuroscience and translational science, with the 2021 Excellence in Research Award,” said ASA President Beverly K. Philip, M.D., FACA, FASA. “His extraordinary research has brought insight into how we can better understand the mechanisms of human consciousness so that we can reduce the risk of postoperative delirium in older surgical patients.” 

Dr. Mashour serves on the boards of the Association of University Anesthesiologists and the International Anesthesia Research Society. He has received numerous institutional awards, as well as national honors, including ASA’s Presidential Scholar Award and election to the National Academy of Medicine.

Dr. Mashour received his medical degree and Ph.D. in neuroscience from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and studied neuroscience as a Fulbright Scholar in Germany. He completed his residency and chief residency in anesthesiology at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Boston and a fellowship in neurosurgical anesthesiology at the University of Michigan Medical School.



Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 54,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology. ASA is committed to ensuring physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care every patient deserves.

For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists online at To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit Join the ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2021 social conversation today. Like ASA on Facebook, follow ASALifeline on Twitter and use the hashtag #ANES21.

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Meeting Link: ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2021annual meeting