Albert Dahan, MD, PhD Received the ISAP 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award

The International Society of Anaesthetic Pharmacology (ISAP), presented Albert Dahan, MD, PhD the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2023 Annual Meeting on October 13, 2023.  Dr. Dahan presented the keynote address on the subject of “Anesthesia, The Eternal Loop Between Physiology and Pharmacology.”

Albert Dahan, MD, PhD is Full Professor of Anesthesiology, Head of Research, Head of the Anesthesia & Pain Research Unit and Staff Anesthesiologist at the Department of Anesthesiology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Prof Dahan graduated from de Vrije University in Amsterdam (MD; 1986) and Leiden University (PhD; 1990).  After receiving his PhD degree, he began his residency in Anesthesiology in 1990 (a 5-year program) at the Leiden University Medical Center. In 1992, during his residency, he founded the Anesthesia & Pain Research Unit, a research unit dedicated to cardiorespiratory research and became staff anesthesiologist in 1995 and full professor of Anesthesiology in 2004. 

The research unit performs outcomes research in anesthesia and pain (treatment) with special focus on respiratory physiology and pharmacology, and aims at the widespread distribution of gained knowledge in close collaboration with academic and non-academic partners. The work in the research 

unit is made possible by a multitude of grants that received from national and international funding agencies including The Netherlands Organization for Health and Development (ZonMW), DoD, US FDA and commercial partners. 

Currently there are 16 PhD students and 7 PostDocs working in the department under his leadership on nociception monitoring during surgery, ventilatory control using the 2nd generation Leiden gas mixer), novel anesthesia techniques, pain research and the pharmacology of (novel) opioids, opioid antagonists and anesthetics focusing on ketamine. His research group published over 460 peer reviewed papers on respiration, pain, pain treatment, anesthesia, and opioid-induced respiratory depression. 

He recently adopted a novel approach, aimed at application of the economic principle of utility, i.e. incorporating the intended benefit and multiple non-intended harms of a treatment into one function. The research unit participates in the he Netherlands Organization for Health and Development-sponsored TAPTOE consortium (tackling and preventing the opioid epidemic), and currently performs research in close collaboration with the US FDA. 


-Founding of the Anesthesia & Pain Research Unit in 1992

-Development of the concept of utility function in anesthetic pharmacology

-Development of the 2nd and 3rd generation Leiden gas mixer to study the intricate interaction between physiology and pharmacology in anesthesia and pain medicine

-Developing a unique research line on ketamine and esketamine in anesthesia and pain medicine

-Advancing the concept of agnostic respiratory stimulants to address the opioid crisis

The Lifetime Achievement Award honors individual scientists for outstanding contributions to anesthetic pharmacology.  This award recognizes a meritorious career in drug research, excellence in direct patient care or very important contributions to patient care, and a distinguished teaching career.  

Nominations for the 2024 Lifetime Achievement Award can be submitted on the ISAP website.