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Dan Ezra Berkowitz, M.B.B.Ch., M.D.
Director, Cardiac Anesthesia Division
Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine
Research Interests: Studying molecular mechanisms of cardiovascular deconditioning in rodent models of microgravity; Therapies for vascular disease
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The Johns Hopkins Hospital
Appointment Phone: 410-955-7519
600 N. Wolfe Street
Sheikh Zayed Tower
Baltimore, MD 21287 map
Dr. Dan Berkowitz is a professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine and biomedical engineering at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Berkowitz serves as the director of the Cardiac Anesthesia Division at the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine and director of the Integrated Vascular Biology Laboratory.
Dr. Berkowitz received his M.B.B.Ch. from University of the Witwatersrand Medical School in Johannesburg, South Africa. He performed a fellowship in human genetics at the South African Institute Medical Research, followed by a research fellowship in microbiology at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. He then completed a residency in anesthesia and a fellowship in cardiac anesthesia at Duke University Medical Center. Dr. Berkowitz joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 1994.
Johns Hopkins recognized Dr. Berkowitz’s achievements with a Richard S. Ross Clinical Scientist Award. He is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Heart Association.
- Director, Cardiac Anesthesia Division
- Director, Integrated Vascular Biology Laboratory
- Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine
- Professor of Biomedical Engineering
- MBBCh, Pulse Beat Medical School (1984)
- Duke University School of Medicine / Anesthesiology (1991)
- Long Island Jewish Medical Center / Microbiology (1988)
- Duke University School of Medicine / Cardiac Anesthesiology (1993)
- American Board of Anesthesiology / Anesthesiology (1993)
Research & Publications
The work of Dr. Berkowitz is probably as close to rocket science as an anesthesiologist is going to get. He is trying to understand the mechanisms that underlie vascular disorders, but one of his main concentrations is the effect of deep space radiation on the cardiovascular system. In space, astronauts are exposed to dangerous levels of high-energy radiation. Therefore, NASA and the National Space Biomedical Research Institute are funding Dr. Berkowitz to determine not only the damage that such energy causes, but what interventions or therapeutics could be used to reverse the damage.
The cells that line our blood vessels (endothelial cells) are highly vulnerable to oxidant damage. To learn more about this, Dr. Berkowitz and his graduate student Kevin Soucy are conducting experiments at the Brookhaven National Laboratory near Stony Brook, New York, where they have access to a particle accelerator, which creates radiation similar to what astronauts could encounter. In pre-clinical studies, Dr. Berkowitz and his team use the radiation produced to examine its effects on vascular stiffness and endothelial cell function.
Dr. Berkowitz believes that the high-energy radiation activates an enzyme called xanthine oxidase (XO), and that XO is responsible for maintaining a chronic cycle of oxidant production. He thinks that the use of an XO inhibitor can interrupt this cycle of stress to the cells and thereby limit the damage. This ability to target the XO enzyme could have additional applications, such as for patients who need radiotherapy or in the event of a terrorist attack. In the long term, he hopes to uncover the molecular mechanisms responsible for cardiovascular injury as well as natural pathways of repair.
Dr. Berkowitz directs an integrated cardiovascular biology lab that has ongoing funding from the National Institute of Health, NASA and the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI).
The primary focus of his laboratory work is geared toward understanding the role of nitroso-redox regulation and dyregulation in vascular biology and pathobiology, particularly as it relates to aging, atherosclerosis, and radiation-induced vascular endothelial function. Other focuses of the lab include understanding how basic cellular processes are altered in disease states, developing therapies for vascular diseases and helping lead space research team.
- Benjo A, Thompson RE, Fine D, Hogue CW, Alejo D, Kaw A, Gerstenblith G, Shah A, Berkowitz DE, Nyhan D. "Pulse pressure is an age-independent predictor of stroke development after cardiac surgery." Hypertension. 2007 Oct;50(4):630-5. Epub 2007 Sep 4.
- Santhanam L, Lim HK, Lim HK, Miriel V, Brown T, Patel M, Balanson S, Ryoo S, Anderson M, Irani K, Khanday F, Di Costanzo L, Nyhan D, Hare JM, Christianson DW, Rivers R, Shoukas A, Berkowitz DE. "Inducible NO synthase dependent S-nitrosylation and activation of arginase1 contribute to age-related endothelial dysfunction." Circ Res. 2007 Sep 28;101(7):692-702. Epub 2007 Aug 17.
- Soucy KG, Lim HK, Benjo A, Santhanam L, Ryoo S, Shoukas AA, Vazquez ME, Berkowitz DE. "Single exposure gamma-irradiation amplifies xanthine oxidase activity and induces endothelial dysfunction in rat aorta." Radiat Environ Biophys. 2007 Jun;46(2):179-86. Epub 2007 Jan 26.
- Tuday EC, Meck JV, Nyhan D, Shoukas AA, Berkowitz DE. "Microgravity-induced changes in aortic stiffness and their role in orthostatic intolerance." J Appl Physiol (1985). 2007 Mar;102(3):853-8. Epub 2006 Nov 2.
- Soucy KG, Ryoo S, Benjo A, Lim HK, Gupta G, Sohi JS, Elser J, Aon MA, Nyhan D, Shoukas AA, Berkowitz DE. "Impaired shear stress-induced nitric oxide production through decreased NOS phosphorylation contributes to age-related vascular stiffness." J Appl Physiol (1985). 2006 Dec;101(6):1751-9.
Activities & Honors
- Richard S. Ross Clinical Scientist Award, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 1997
- Second Prize, American Society of Anesthesiologists Residents Essay Competition, 1993
- Schering-Plough Research Fellowship, Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research, 1992
- Fellow, North Carolina Society of Anesthesiologists, 1991
- Burroughs-Wellcome Resident Scholar, American Society of Anesthesiologists, 1991
- Second Prize, Long Island Jewish Medical Center Research Essay Competition, 1988
- South African Medical Research Council Post Internship Research Scholarship, 1987
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
- American Heart Association
- American Physiologic Society
- American Society of Anesthesiologists
- Association of University Anesthesiologists
- International Anesthesia Research Society
- Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists
- Advisory Panel on Year 2000 Request for Proposals, National Space Biomedical Research Institute
- Clinical Neurosciences Subcommittee, American Society of Anesthesiology
- Committee on Outside Interests, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
- Grant Reviewer, National Institutes of Health, 2003
Clinical Cardiovascular Study Section
- Research Committee, Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists, 2001 - 2003
- Scientific Advisory Board, Association of University Anesthesiologists, 2003 - 2005
- Starter Grant Committee, Society for Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists, 2003
Videos & Media
Lectures and Presentations
Stiff Pipes: Pathobiology and Consequence of Vascular Aging