Physician Photo

Brian J. Wainger, MD, PhD

Instructor, Harvard Medical School

  • Phone: 617-726-8810
Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine
Clinical Interests
Neuropathic pain
Back pain
Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital
Medical Education
MD, PhD, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons
Residency, Brigham and Women's Hospital
Fellowship, Massachusetts General Hospital
Board Certifications
Neurology, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
Pain Medicine, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
Foreign Languages
Patient Age Group
Accepting New Patients

BiographyClinical Care: My clinical expertise spans the interface between neurology and pain medicine. I combine detailed neurological diagnostic assessment with directed pharmacological and interventional treatments for pain related to neuropathy, headache, spine disorders, and other neurological diseases.

Research: I am a member of Clifford Woolf's Neural Plasticity Research Group. My research focuses on understanding molecular mechanisms of pain electrochemical sensory transduction in order to develop novel analgesic treatments. Neurophysiological and genetic approaches as well as insights from my clinical experience guide my scientific studies.


Research Areas:
Stem Cell Models of Pain and Motor Neuron Disease
Local Anesthetics

Description of Research:
As a clinical neurologist and pain specialist, I want to develop the use of patient-derived neurons to study neurological disease. I have worked to demonstrate the initial functionality of motor neurons derived from ALS subjects and also to develop novel faster methods for obtaining patient-derived motor neurons. I am currently performing electrophysiological studies of patient-derived motor neurons and comparing the functional properties of neurons from ALS and control subjects. In order to apply similar approaches to the study of pain, I am developing techniques for deriving nociceptors, primary pain-sensing neurons, from patient fibroblast samples.

In my clinical projects, I am interested in studying properties of local anesthetics such as the effect of pH and the rare phenomenon of resistance to local anesthetics. I want to bridge laboratory and clinical observations into more concrete mechanistic-based understanding that will enable new and more effective analgesic treatment.

Willing to participate as mentor.


PublicationsSelected publications:

Wainger BJ, DeGennaro M, Santoro B, Siegelbaum SA, Tibbs GR. Molecular mechanism of cAMP modulation of HCN pacemaker channels. Nature 411:805-10, 2001.

Santoro B, Wainger BJ, Siegelbaum SA. Regulation of HCN channel surface expression by a novel C-terminal protein-protein interaction. Journal of Neuroscience 24:10750-62, 2004.

Edlow BL, Wainger BJ, Frosch MP, Copen WA, Rathmell JP, Rost NS. Posterior circulation stroke after C1-C2 intraarticular facet steroid injection: evidence for diffuse microvascular injury. Anesthesiology 112: 1532-35, 2010.

Boulting GL, Kiskinis E, Croft GF, Amoroso MW, Oakley DH, Wainger BJ, Williams DJ, Kahler DJ, Yamaki M, Davidow L, Rodolfa CT, Dimos JT, Mikkilineni S, Macdermott AB, Woolf CJ, Henderson CE, Wichterle H, Eggan K. A functionally characterized test set of human induced pluripotent stem cells. Nat Biotechnol 29: 279-286, 2011.

Son EY, Ichida JK, Wainger BJ, Toma JS, Rafuse VF, Woolf CJ, Eggan K. Conversion of mouse and human fibroblasts into functional spinal motor neurons. Cell Stem Cell 9: 205-18, 2011.


Center for Pain Medicine
15 Parkman Street
Boston, MA 02114-3117

Phone: 617-726-8810
Fax: 617-726-3441