Head of Discipline
Professor Peter Kam
Central Clinical School


Clinical research is available at all of the teaching hospitals by consultation with senior clinical academic staff. Research laboratories, located at the Royal Prince Alfred and Royal North Shore Hospitals, include large and small animal research facilities, human studies laboratories, analytical chemistry laboratories, a neurophysiological laboratory and a cardiorespiratory exercise laboratory.

Areas of research

Cardiorespiratory Measurement
This project involves a large multidisciplinary team of engineers, physiologists and anaesthetists investigating the use of gas modulation on a breath by breath basis to measure lung volumes, pulmonary blood flow and physiological shunt. These measurements are made in a closed-circuit anaesthetic system to achieve beat-by-beat measurements to monitor patients’ progress during anaesthesia and intensive care.

Cardiorespiratory and Neurophysiological Pharmacology
This project examines coronary artery blood flow and myocardial contractility; mechanisms of atelectasis in the lung and neurophysiologic mechanisms associated with hypoxia.

Pain Control and Monitoring System for Efficacy, Safety and Cost-Effectiveness
This research investigates the efficacy and safety of drugs given systemically for pain relief of post-surgical, cancer and non-cancer pain. A database has been established on the patient population to determine the epidemiological dimensions, behavioural responses and psychomotor performance indicators associated with pain and its treatment.

Pain Mechanisms and Rehabilitation
A series of studies to explore a range of pain laboratory investigations and management approaches following peripheral nerve or brain injury. In addition, clinical and laboratory investigation of spinal injury pain is being undertaken. People who become paraplegics often have severe pain, even in areas of the body where they cannot feel normal sensation. Although this is well known, it is not understood why it happens. The study is aimed at firstly trying to understand why these people have pain and secondly to find treatments that will alleviate it.

Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics of Opioid and Antiprostaniod Analgesic Agents
The results of this research will help provide a scientific basis for the empirical medical practice of combining analgesic drugs used in the treatment of postoperative and cancer pain.

The Relevance of Drug Stereochemistry in Anaesthesia and Pain Management
This research will determine whether enantiomers of anaesthetic and analgesic drugs have differences in disposition and effects and whether the use of a single enantiomer is of greater benefit than a traditionally used racemate.

Studies of Release and Blockade of Pain Producing Chemicals
The study of which of a range of biochemical and physiological factors influence the release of substance P from normal and pathological nerve terminals.

Spinal Mechanisms of Analgesia and Clinical Studies of New Spinal Analgesics
An examination of various aspects of this important new information by using neurophysiological techniques to measure signal transmission following injury of various types and its modification by different forms of treatment, at different stages prior to and after injury.

Pharmacology and Pharmacokinetics of Neuromuscular Blocking Drugs
This project is investigating the time course of action of the various neuromuscular blocking drugs and comparing their action to the serum concentration.

Pharmacokinetics of Fentanyl and Droperidol in Cardiac Anaesthesia
An investigation of the effects major cardiac stress, cardiac surgery, cardiopulmonary bypass and recovery from cardiac surgery have on the action of fentanyl and droperidol and eventually other drugs used in cardiac anaesthesia.

Cardiopulmonary Exercise and Anaesthesia and Surgery
An investigation of the fitness for anaesthesia and surgery of patients having major abdominal vascular surgery. In particular the anaerobic threshold is followed before and after surgery to gauge fitness to proceed and progress following operations.

Contact details

Professor Peter Kam
Head of Discipline

Discipline of Anaesthesia
The University of Sydney
NSW 2006 Australia

Phone: +61 2 9515 8773