The research of Rahul Pannala, M.D., is primarily focused on pancreatic diseases and interventional endoscopy. He is interested in improving the endoscopic assessment of pancreatic fat and understanding both the role this fat plays in postoperative fistulae and its association with metabolic disease. Several topics relating to pancreatic cancer, including early detection and increasing awareness among primary care providers, are being studied.
Dr. Pannala, in collaboration with Arizona State University (ASU) researchers, is also developing and testing a novel assay for the detection of multidrug-resistant organisms on endoscopes and other medical devices. He is also actively involved in several multicenter studies of novel endoscopic technologies.
- Pancreatic steatosis. Increased fat deposition in the pancreas (fatty pancreas) is being more frequently recognized on imaging studies and endoscopic ultrasound. Dr. Pannala and collaborators are working on defining objective parameters for assessing pancreatic fat on endoscopic ultrasound. They have reported an association between increased pancreatic fat and postoperative adverse events after pancreatic surgery.
- Novel methods for detection of multidrug-resistant organisms. Infection with carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE) is an important issue associated with endoscopes. In collaboration with ASU researchers, a novel assay to detect and quantify live CRE on medical devices was developed and is undergoing testing.
- Pancreatic cancer and pancreatic cysts. Several aspects of pancreatic cancer, including early detection strategies such as the role of new-onset diabetes, surveillance strategies, and educational needs assessment and perspectives of primary care providers in pancreatic diseases are also being evaluated.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Pannala hopes that through better understanding and assessment of pancreatic fat, he can improve the ability to predict and understand postoperative adverse events from pancreatic surgery and associations between metabolic diseases and other pancreatic disorders. Research on novel assays to detect multidrug-resistant organisms will enable physicians and nurses to quickly assess endoscopes and other medical devices for contamination, which can decrease the risk of transmission of these serious infections.