Matthias Riess, MD, PhD, FASA

Professor of Anesthesiology and Pharmacology
Multispecialty Anesthesiology, Research
Clinic Phone
Clinical: 615-343-9419
Lab Phone
Research: 615-936-0277

Education & Training
Residency, Anesthesiology, Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospitals, Milwaukee, WI (2008)
PhD, Physiology, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI (2004)
Fellowship, Anesthesiology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI (2004)
Residency, Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, Westfälische Wilhelms-University, Münster, Germany (2000)
MD, Albert-Ludwigs-University, Freiburg, Germany (1997)

Research Information

1) Innovative strategies to improve neurological outcome and survival after cardiac arrest

Together with colleagues at the University of Minnesota, the University of Michigan and the Medical College of Wisconsin, Dr. Riess’ team investigates novel strategies such as ischemic and pharmacologic postconditioning to improve neurological outcome and survival after cardiac arrest and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Currently, with only a five to seven percent survival rate after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, the ground-breaking findings of this inter-institutional and -disciplinary collaboration are highly promising for thousands of patients each year.

2) Effect of frequent comorbidities and chronic medications on outcome after cardiac arrest and resuscitation

Risk factors for heart disease and cardiac arrest include diabetes, hyperlipidemia and obesity, yet it remains unknown how these and their respective treatments may affect outcome after cardiac arrest and resuscitation, or otherwise highly promising strategies, to improve neurologically favorable survival. Dr. Riess’ laboratory has established an in vivo rat model of cardiac arrest and CPR, combined with continuous electroencephalography, to assess the interaction of comorbidities and treatment strategies on neurologically favorable survival.

3) Novel copolymer-based cell membrane stabilizers to attenuate myocardial infarction

The goal of this project is to elucidate signaling pathways and optimize pharmacological protection with synthetic membrane stabilizers to ameliorate myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury by stabilizing membranes and protecting cellular function. This is an interdisciplinary collaborative effort with researchers in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Vanderbilt University.

4) Role of Peripheral Intravenous Waveform Analysis (PIVA) in experimental right heart failure

The Riess lab collaborates with researchers from the Department of Anesthesiology and the Department of Biomedical Engineering to assess the role of PIVA in different models of experimental right heart failure such as cardiac arrest, hemorrhagic and septic shock.

5) Biological effects of noble gases

Although chemically inert, noble gases like helium or argon have been shown to exert organ-protective effects against ischemia/reperfusion injury. In collaboration with researchers from the University of Minnesota, the Riess lab investigates their effects on cardiac, pulmonary and vascular function during cardiac arrest and resuscitation.

6) Protective role of fatty acids against myocardial IR injury

In collaboration with investigators at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Dr. Riess’ team studies the protective role of fatty acids against myocardial IR injury in Arctic Ground Squirrels (AGS). Administration of a clinically used fat emulsion, Intralipid, confers nearly complete abrogation of myocardial dysfunction following IR in AGS isolated hearts, challenging the paradigm of glucose being the fuel of choice during oxidative stress.

Dr. Riess is supported by Zhu Li, PhD, and Matthew Barajas, MD.To contact the lab, please call 615-322-9067; to contact Dr. Riess, please call 615-322-9044 or e-mail to