Imperial College London

Professor Daqing Ma, MD, PhD

Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Surgery & Cancer

Professor of Anaesthesia



+44 (0)20 3315 Website




Miss Steffi Klier +44 (0)20 3315 8816




G3.44Chelsea and Westminster HospitalChelsea and Westminster Campus





Professor Daqing Ma, MD, PhD, FRCA, MAE, is  a Full Professor of Anaesthesia, Macintosh Professor of Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) (2014-16), BOC Chair and Head of Anaesthesia of the Division of Anaesthetics, Pain Medicine & Intensive Care, Department of Surgery & Cancer, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital (an Adjunct Professor at Imperial from 1st August 2023).

Research contributions and impact

 1)   Anaesthetics and neuroprotection

 Together with Prof. Nick Franks, FRS, and Prof Mervyn Maze, FMedSci, we are first to discover its neuroprotective efficacy, and utilising a novel neonatal asphyxia model in rats, they yielded valuable insight into the neuroprotective mechanisms of xenon, and discovered the great clinical potential of xenon in perinatal asphyxia/hypoxic-ischaemia encephalopathy, affecting approx. 5/1000 termed birth with high mortality and devastating morbidities (Ma et al., Anesthesiology 2003; Ann Neurol 2005; J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 2006). Their key findings facilitated the clinical trial on xenon combined mild hypothermia in hypoxic-ischaemia encephalopathy (HIE) infants ( My current group has been investigating the organoprotective effects of another noble gas Argon.  

 2)   Anaesthetics and kidney protection

 While continuing research in neuroprotection, he started to investigate the protective effects of anaesthetics on other organs such as the kidneys. My group found that xenon protects the kidney from ischemia-reperfusion injury, significantly improved short-term graft function and long-term graft survival, by up-regulating the expression of hypoxic inducible factor (HIF) (J Am Soc Nephrol 2009). This research prompted the Medical Research Council, London, to consider the role of this novel strategy in kidney transplantation (Zhao et al, Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2014; Zhao et al, Am J Transplant. 2013; Zhao et al, FASEB J. 2013 x 2) and the work is now entering into the clinical study phase subjected to a funding application. Moreover, their findings on xenon’s stimulatory effect on HIF and its downstream protein erythropoietin (EPO) had constituted the key evidences to prompt the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to include xenon and argon into the WADA Prohibition List (

 3)   Postoperative cognitive dysfunction

 He also pioneered research into the molecular mechanisms of cognitive deterioration following surgery and anaesthesia in the elderly. We were the first group to report that neuroinflammation, specifically pathological hallmarks characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease, contributed to this post-surgical complication. This work has yielded publications in several high impact factor journals (Wan, et al., Anesthesiology 2007; Cibelli, et al., Ann Neurol 2010; Terrando, et al., Proc Nat Acad Sci USA. 2010; Wan, et al., Crit Care Med 2010; Ann Surgery 2014; Lancet 2016), and were reported in mainstream media (,, as well as being granted a patent (US Patent No. 61/305500).  With an aging population and a surge in the number of operations being performed on the elderly, our knowledge in POCD pathologies and mechanisms would hopefully enable the development of more efficacies treatment.

 4)   Anaesthetics and cancer cell biology

 The prominent effects of anaesthetics on hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) have inspired our group to investigate whether anaesthetics could influence cancer behaviour and recurrence, given that HIF is a powerful molecular regulator of cancer proliferation, metastasis and chemotherapy resistance. We found the routinely used inhalational anaesthetic isoflurane increased cancer cell growth and migration in vitro, coinciding with upregulated expressions of HIF proteins. Collectively, our timely research provided convincing evidences at biochemical level have encouraged us explore deeper into the mechanisms underlying the cancer-and-anaesthetics phenomenon (Luo et al, Br J Anaesth, 2015; Xuan et al, Int J Cancer, 2015; Unwith et al, Int J Cancer, 2015; Zhao et al, Acta Anaesthsiol Taiwan, 2014; Benzonana et al, Anesthesiology 2013;Tavare et al, Int J Cancer, 2012), and prompted clinical investigation.Future research into the differential actions of anaesthetics on different cancer cells has great potential to influence the clinical practice of anaesthetics, depending on the type/malignancy of cancer, different anaesthetics, techniques and perioperative strategies will be employed to minimise recurrence following tumour resection.


 In summary, he has been studying science in a dedicated manner through his research career from a trainee doctor to senior post as a personal chair. The research output is indeed very productive with more than 380 papers (H index: Web of Science 74; Google scholar 82; Citation: more than 23,000) published in peer reviewed journals as well as awards, patents and success in translation to the clinical arena.

Research Interests

  • Organoprotection (Stroke, neonatal asphyxia and kidney transplant)
  • Postoperative delirium/cognitive dysfunction and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cancer growth and metastasis

His research has being supported with the grants from MRC, NIHR, Alzheimer's Society-Bupa Foundation, BOC, BJA/RCoA, AAGBI, Westminster Medical School Research Trust, Action Medical Research and SPARKS, UK and European Society of Anesthesiology, Brussels.


Elected Fellow of the Royal College of Anaesthetists (FRCA), Royal College of Anaesthetists, 2013.

Elected Member of The Academia Europaea (MAE), 2021. 

National/International Committees/Editorial Boards

  • Board member of British Journal of Anaesthesia (since 2012)
  • Council member of Anaesthetic Research Society/BJA Forum (UK) (2012-2018)
  • Academic Editor of PLoS One (since 2013)
  • Editorial board member of Chinese Journal of Anesthesiology (since 2012)
  • Board member of International Chinese Academy of Anaesthesiology (since 2012)
  • President of Chinese Life Scientists Society (since 2014-2016)
  • Overseas consulelor of Chinese Society of Anesthesiology (since 2011)
  • Editorial board member of Clinical Journal of Anesthesiology (since 2010)
  • EU COST Action (CA15204) Basic Science Chairman (Since 2017-2021)
  • Vice President and General Secretary of the Association of British Chinese Professors (ABCP) (since 2018-2021)
  • Academic Editor of Scientific Reports (since 2017)
  • Executive Vice President of the Association of British Chinese Professors (ABCP) (since 2021-)



Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Ma, DQ, Williamson, et al., 2007, Xenon mitigates isoflurane-induced neuronal apoptosis in the developing rodent brain, Anesthesiology, Vol:106, ISSN:0003-3022, Pages:746-753

Wan, YJ, Xu, et al., 2007, Postoperative impairment of cognitive function in rats: a possible role for cytokine-mediated inflammation in the hippocampus, Anesthesiology, Vol:106, ISSN:0003-3022, Pages:436-443

Ma DQ, Hossain M, Pettet GKJ, et al., 2006, Xenon preconditioning reduces brain damage from neonatal asphyxia in rats, Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, Vol:26, ISSN:0271-678X, Pages:199-208

Sanders RD, Patel N, Hossain M, et al., 2005, Isoflurane exerts antinociceptive and hypnotic properties at all ages in Fischer rats, British Journal of Anaesthesia, Vol:95, ISSN:0007-0912, Pages:393-399

Ma DQ, Hossain M, Chow A, et al., 2005, Xenon and hypothermia combine to provide neuroprotection from neonatal asphyxia, Annals of Neurology, Vol:58, ISSN:0364-5134, Pages:182-193

Clark JA, Ma DQ, Homi HM, et al., 2005, Xenon and the inflammatory response to cardiopulmonary bypass in the rat, Journal of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia, Vol:19, ISSN:1053-0770, Pages:488-493

Sanders RD, Giombini M, Ma DQ, et al., 2005, Dexmedetomidine exerts dose-dependent age-independent antinociception but age-dependent hypnosis in Fischer rats, Anesthesia and Analgesia, Vol:100, ISSN:0003-2999, Pages:1295-1302

Ma DQ, Hossain M, Rajakumaraswamy N, et al., 2004, Dexmedetomidine produces its neuroprotective effect via the α<sub>2A</sub>-adrenoceptor subtype, European Journal of Pharmacology, Vol:502, ISSN:0014-2999, Pages:87-97

Ma DQ, Sanders RD, Halder S, et al., 2004, Xenon exerts age-independent antinociception in Fischer rats, Anesthesiology, Vol:100, ISSN:0003-3022, Pages:1313-1318

Dawson C, Ma DQ, Chow A, et al., 2004, Dexmedetomidine enbances analgesic action of nitrous oxide - Mechanisms of action, Anesthesiology, Vol:100, ISSN:0003-3022, Pages:894-904

Ma DQ, Rajakumaraswamy N, Maze M, 2004, α<sub>2</sub>-Adrenoceptor agonists:: shedding light on neuroprotection?, British Medical Bulletin, Vol:71, ISSN:0007-1420, Pages:77-92

Homi HM, Yokoo N, Ma DQ, et al., 2003, The neuroprotective effect of xenon administration during transient middle cerebral artery occlusion in mice, Anesthesiology, Vol:99, ISSN:0003-3022, Pages:876-881

Ma DQ, Hossain M, Rajakumaraswamy N, et al., 2003, Combination of xenon and isoflurane produces a synergistic protective effect against oxygen-glucose deprivation injury in a neuronal-glial co-culture model, Anesthesiology, Vol:99, ISSN:0003-3022, Pages:748-751

Ma DQ, Yang H, Lynch J, et al., 2003, Xenon attenuates cardiopulmonary bypass-induced neurologic and neurocognitive dysfunction in the rat, Anesthesiology, Vol:98, ISSN:0003-3022, Pages:690-698

Ma D, Wilhelm S, Maze M, et al., 2002, Neuroprotective and neurotoxic properties of the 'inert' gas, xenon, British Journal of Anaesthesia, Vol:89, ISSN:0007-0912, Pages:739-746

Wilhelm S, Ma DQ, Maze M, et al., 2002, Effects of xenon on <i>in vitro</i> and <i>in vivo</i> models of neuronal injury, Anesthesiology, Vol:96, ISSN:0003-3022, Pages:1485-1491

Pac-Soo CK, Wang C, Ma D, et al., 2000, Vagally mediated sympathoexcitation and central depression by desflurane in rabbits, British Journal of Anaesthesia, Vol:84, ISSN:0007-0912, Pages:777-782

Whitwam JG, Galletly DC, Ma D, et al., 2000, The effects of propofol on heart rate, arterial pressure and Aδ and C somatosympathetic reflexes in anaesthetized dogs, European Journal of Anaesthesiology, Vol:17, ISSN:0265-0215, Pages:57-63

Ma DQ, Chakrabarti MK, Whitwam JG, 1999, Effects of propofol and remifentanil on phrenic nerve activity and nociceptive cardiovascular responses in rabbits, Anesthesiology, Vol:91, ISSN:0003-3022, Pages:1470-1480

Ma DQ, Chakrabarti MK, Whitwam JG, 1999, The combined effects of sevoflurane and remifentanil on central respiratory activity and nociceptive cardiovascular responses in anesthetized rabbits, Anesthesia and Analgesia, Vol:89, ISSN:0003-2999, Pages:453-461

Pac-Soo CK, Ma DQ, Wang C, et al., 1999, Specific actions of halothane, isoflurane, and desflurane on sympathetic activity and Aδ and C somatosympathetic reflexes recorded in renal nerves in dogs, Anesthesiology, Vol:91, ISSN:0003-3022, Pages:470-478

Ma D, Chakrabarti MK, Whitwam JG, 1999, Propofol, bradycardia and the Bezold-Jarisch reflex in rabbits, British Journal of Anaesthesia, Vol:82, ISSN:0007-0912, Pages:412-417

Ma D, Sapsed-Byrne SM, Chakrabarti MK, et al., 1998, Synergistic interaction between the effects of propofol and midazolam with fentanyl on phrenic nerve activity in rabbits, Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica, Vol:42, ISSN:0001-5172, Pages:670-677

Ma D, Sapsed-Byrne SM, Chakrabarti MK, et al., 1998, Synergistic antinociceptive interaction between sevoflurane and intrathecal fentanyl in dogs, British Journal of Anaesthesia, Vol:80, ISSN:0007-0912, Pages:800-806

Ma DQ, Wang C, Soo CKP, et al., 1998, The effect of sevoflurane on spontaneous sympathetic activity, Aγ and C somatosympathetic reflexes, and associated hemodynamic changes in dogs, Anesthesia and Analgesia, Vol:86, ISSN:0003-2999, Pages:1079-1083

Ma D, Sapsed-Byrne SM, Chakrabarti MK, et al., 1998, Effect of sevoflurane on spontaneous sympathetic activity and baroreflexes in rabbits, British Journal of Anaesthesia, Vol:80, ISSN:0007-0912, Pages:68-72

Ma D, Wang C, PacSoo CK, et al., 1997, Dissociation between the effect of nitrous oxide on spontaneous and reflexivly evoked sympathetic activity in dogs, British Journal of Anaesthesia, Vol:79, ISSN:0007-0912, Pages:525-529

Sapsed-Byrne S, Ma D, Ridout D, et al., 1996, Estrous cycle phase variations in visceromotor and cardiovascular responses to colonic distension in the anesthetized rat., Brain Research, Vol:742, ISSN:0006-8993, Pages:10-16


Januszewski AP, Zhou Z, Maze M, et al., 2013, Mechanisms and consequences of anesthetic-induced neuroapoptosis in the developing brain, Anesthesia and the Fetus, Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Oxford

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