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ASciNA Virtual Talk | Laughing Gas to Treat Major Depression

How the oldest anesthetic may revolutionize the treatment for mood disorders

November 19th, 2021, 10:00 AM Pacific / 12:00 PM Central / 1:00 PM Eastern / 19:00h MEZ

The discovery that anesthetic agents like ketamine and nitrous oxide provide rapid and lasting improvement in major depression is considered as one of the most important findings in depression research in the last 50 years. In this talk, we will discuss the history of this discovery and highlight the latest findings.

Prof. Peter Nagele, University of Chicago, Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care

Featured Speaker: Prof. Peter Nagele

Peter Nagele is Professor and Chair of the Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care at the University of Chicago. He has studied the neuropharmacology of nitrous oxide and other anesthetic gases for more than 20 years. His team discovered the antidepressant effects of nitrous oxide in patients with treatment-resistant major depression
1995 MD University of Innsbruck
1997-2004 Residency AKH Wien, Medical University of Vienna
2000-2002 Post-doctoral research fellowship Washington University, St. Louis
2005 Habilitation Anesthesiology, Medical University of Vienna
2005-2018 Faculty, Washington University
2018- Professor and Chair, Dept of Anesthesia and Critical Care; University of Chicago.
2001 FWF-Schrödinger Fellow
2004 Erste-Bank Preis
2006 Otto-Kraupp Preis
2011 Billroth Preis
2012 Presidential Scholar Award, American Society of Anesthesiologists
2016 NARSAD Independent Investigator Award
2016 Ziskind-Somerfeld Research Award, Society for Biological Psychiatry
2021 Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Arts

Hosted by: ASciNA Chapter Mid West and Chicago

ASciNA (Austrian Scientists & Scholars in North America)

ASciNA is the first and only independent network of Austrian scientists and scholars in North America, including the USA, Canada, and Mexico. ASciNA currently has 17 local Chapters both in North America as well as several strong ASciNA Alumni Chapters across Europe, which have become a “home away from home” for many of our members. Our main ASciNA-wide activities are the ASciNA Awards, which is awarded annually, and the Mentoring Program that connects early career ASciNA members with accomplished ASciNA members who are successful scientists or scholars in their respective field.

Established in 2002, our members include scientists from a diverse range of educational backgrounds, spanning from economics to physics, from life sciences to marine biology and the arts. We offer information, help newly arrived scientists orient themselves in their new surroundings, provide career development support and networking opportunities, organize events, and represent the interests of Austrian scholars and scientists.

ASciNA maintains a strong cooperation with official Austrian institutions such as the Federal Ministries, Universities, and Funding Agencies.

ASciNA’s leadership consists of its Chapter chairs and the ASciNA officers. Our Past Presidents provide continuity and help define the long-term ASciNA strategy. In the past 19 years of ASciNA’s existence, we have awarded four honorary memberships. 

Inquire About Membership

ASciNA Award

ASciNA Awards are an annual event supported by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF). The premier award is the Junior Principal Investigator and comes with prize money of 10,000 euros. The Young Scientist, awarded to two recipients with an endowment of 7,500 euros each, is a science award given exclusively to young researchers for their excellent scientific publications within the last twelve months prior to submission and developed during a stay at a North American research institution. The award winners are selected by the Austrian Science Fund FWF on the basis of an international review.

2021 Award Winners

In the picture from left to right: Dietrich Haubenberger, ASciNA President; Simone Poetscher, OSTA; Daniela Weiskopf, Junior PI Awardee; Peter Asenbaum, Young Scientist Awardee; Federal Minister Heinz Faßmann, BMBWF; Astrid Gillich, Young Scientist Awardee; Daniela Gandorfer, Young Scientist Awardee; Christof Gattringer, FWF President

Mentoring Program

The ASciNA Mentoring Program (AMP) is generously supported by the Alumni Club of the Medical University of Vienna, the Technical University of Graz, the Technische Universität Wien, and the Medical University of Innsbruck. This program seeks to develop a mentoring framework, where established Austrian scientists/scholars and professionals provide guidance, experience and knowledge to early career researchers from Austria.

The mentoring pairs for 2021/2022, sponsored by the Alumni Club of the Medical University of Vienna, are:

  • Mentee Konstantin Krychtiuk (Duke University/Duke Clinical Research Institute) – Mentor Fritz Wieser (formerly Emory University)
  • Mentee Tobias Zrzavy (University of Pennsylvania) – Mentor Sonja Scholz (NIH)


The mentoring pair sponsored by the Technische Universität Wien is:

  • Mentee Verena Geppert-Kleinrath (Los Alamos National Laboratory) – Mentor Josef Koller (The Aerospace Corporation)


The mentoring pair sponsored by the Medical University of Innsbruck is:

  • Mentee Valentina Sladky (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine) – Mentor Bettina Mittendorfer (Washington University School of Medicine)


More ASciNA mentoring pairs are:

  • Mentee Denis Teoman – Mentor Sonja Schmid (both Virginia Tech)
  • Mentee Katharina Fellnhofer (Harvard University) – Mentor Sebastian Linnemayr (Rand Corporation)
  • Mentee Matthias Gerstgrasser (Harvard University) – Mentor Gerhard Eschelbeck (Aurora)