Sall Lab


Welcome to the Sall Lab page!

Dr. Jeffrey Sall’s laboratory is focused on understanding the effect of anesthetics on brain development. Current pre-clinical investigations are centered around how gender and sex hormones influence anesthetic mediated changes in the developing brain and neurobehavioral outcomes. Dr. Sall also coordinates the UCSF human trial evaluating cognitive function in school aged children that were anesthetized early in life. Learn more about what we’re working on here! 


Sex-Differences in Brain Development after Anesthesia 

Our lab has previously shown that the lasting cognitive deficit observed after early anesthesia exposure is sex-dependent in rodents. Postnatal male rats exposed to volatile anesthesia had worse behavioral outcomes in recognition tasks than exposed female littermates, suggesting an underlying sex-specific mechanism of anesthetic neurotoxicity (Lee et al. 2012). Through a combination of behavioral, circuit, and cellular studies, our lab seeks to identify the sex-specific and temporal factors that define the period of anesthetic vulnerability during early brain development. 

Exercise and Cognition After Early Life Anesthesia

Exercise has the ability to improve learning in memory in animals and humans alike. We hypothesized that this attribute might rescue the memory deficit that our lab and others have repeatedly shown in animals exposed to early life anesthesia. We have developed a protocol for voluntary exercise wheel running in rats exposed to early life anesthesia and through a battery of behavior tests and use of molecular biology, we are studying the effect of exercise on learning and memory and the underlying mechanism.

Pediatric Anesthesia and Memory

The long-term consequences of early exposure to general anesthesia remain unclear. We have an ongoing multi-site study to look at how pediatric anesthetic exposure can affect later cognitive processes and the conditions that modulate this association. To do this, our study looks at children who have received either a long or short anesthetic exposure before age 2. We also look at children who had a long exposure a bit later, between ages 4-7. We are particularly interested in recognition memory and examine performance in children through a dual process memory model. 

Collaborators on this project: UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, UC Davis Medical Center, and the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain, Memory and Development Lab.

If you are interested in participating in this study or have any questions about it, please reach out to our coordinator, Nicole Yabut 415-476-1131 ([email protected])

In the meantime, check out our study criteria here!



Jeffrey Sall MD PhD

Principal Investigator 
[email protected]

Dr. Sall received a BS in Biological Sciences from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln where he worked on biochemical mechanisms of evolutionary adaptation as an undergraduate and laboratory manager. He began his medical training in the MD/PhD program at the Ohio State University and followed his thesis advisor to the University of Iowa where he completed both degrees and an internship in internal medicine. Dr. Sall undertook his anesthesia residency at the University of California, San Francisco where his advisor was Dr. Edmond Eger. After residency he worked as a post-doctoral fellow on the department’s NIH T-32 training grant under the guidance of Drs. Phillip Bickler (Anesthesia) and Samuel Pleasure (Neurology). He joined the faculty at UCSF in 2007. As a clinician Dr. Sall splits his time working on the obstetric anesthesia service at the new Mission Bay Women’s and Children’s hospital, and at the Moffitt-Long hospital on the neurosurgical anesthesia service. He is an advisor to residents in the anesthesia training program and is the faculty advisor for the medical student’s Anesthesia Interest Group which was awarded Best Student Interest Group by the ASA in 2015. His laboratory has been funded by the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER), International Anesthesia Research Society (IARS) and by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He has trained a number of post-doctoral research fellows including winners of the Michenfelder Award from the Society for Neuroscience in Anesthesia and Critical Care (SNACC).

Education and Training
UC San Francisco, Anesthesia & Perioperative Care, Residency 
University of Iowa, Iowa City, Internal Medicine, Internship
University of Iowa, Iowa City, Medicine, Neuroscience MD, PhD
University of Nebraska, Biological Sciences BS

Jennifer Sasaki Russell PhD

Associate Specialist
Jenni[email protected]

Jenny is a PhD-trained neuroscientist who joined the Sall Lab in 2015. Her current research focuses on the sex-specific mechanisms of developmental anesthetic neurotoxicity. She previously completed her thesis research in Leon Reijmers Lab at Tufts University in Boston, where she studied the functional neural circuitry of contextual fear learning and memory. She splits her time between leading the lab while Dr. Sall is on sabbatical and wrangling her one year old at home! Her baby makes for a cute lab mascot. 
Education and Training
Tufts University, Neuroscience, PhD
UC Berkeley, Molecular and Cell Biology, BA

Gregory Chinn MD, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar
[email protected]

Greg is a senior resident (CA4) in the research scholars track of the UCSF anesthesia residency program. He is interested broadly in neuro development and the effects of anesthetics on learning and memory. Previously he was at UC Irvine where he worked with Edwin Monuki on the function of the transcription factor Lhx2 in cortical development during his MSTP training. Greg loves San Francisco and will be staying on the Anesthesia department T32 and to be a clinical instructor at ZSFGH next year. When he’s not pipetting, you can find him hanging out with his family, biking, cooking, or drinking wine.
Education and Training
UC San Francisco, Anesthesia & Perioperative Care, Residency
UC Irvine, School of Medicine, MD
UC Irvine, Developmental and Cellular Biology, PhD
UC Irvine, Neurobiology BS

Jason Leong

Staff Research Associate
[email protected]




Nicole Yabut

Assistant Specialist
[email protected]

Nicole joined the lab in 2015 after volunteering with our collaborators at the UC Davis Memory and Development lab. She is interested in studying the conditions that modulate the limitations of cognitive and perceptual processes. Currently, she runs our study investigating the relationship of early anesthetic exposure and recognition memory in children. Like many other San Franciscans, she spends her time hiking or nursing a beer outdoors, in desperate search of the sun.

Education and Training
UC Davis, Psychology BA


Deenu Maharjan MD,

Visiting Scholar
[email protected]
Interests: Medical Education 
Education and Training 
Kathmandu University, MBBS, MD (Anesthesiology)


Bailey Rohlfing, Staff Research Associate

[email protected]
Education and Training
UC Davis, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior, BS





John Chan MD
Obhijit Hazarika MD
Bradley Lee MD
Nan Lin MD
Laura May MD
Jennifer Shih PhD





Jeffrey Sall
[email protected]| 415-476-0322

University of California, San Francisco
Department of Anesthesia & Perioperative Care
513 Parnassus Ave
Box 0542
San Francisco, Ca 94143


If you are interested in participating in our study or have any questions about it, please reach out to our coordinator, Nicole Yabut 415-476-1131 ([email protected])

In the meantime, check out our study criteria here! Children who have never received general anesthesia before are also eligible to participate.