Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School
BiographyDr. Wainger is Assistant Professor in Anesthesiology and Neurology at Harvard Medical School and an attending physician at Massachusetts General Hospital. He studied molecular biology as an undergraduate at Princeton University and ion channel physiology in the MD/PhD program at Columbia University. He then completed medical residency in the Partners Neurology Program followed by a clinical fellowship in Pain Medicine at MGH, research fellowship with Clifford Woolf at Boston Children's Hospital and clinical investigator training through the Harvard Master's Program in Clinical and Translational Investigation. His clinical expertise spans the intersection of neurology and pain medicine.
ResearchBrian Wainger's lab fuses electrophysiology and stem cell biology to explore how abnormal neuronal physiology contributes to diseases of the motor and sensory nervous systems. Working with motor neurons derived from ALS patients and healthy controls, Dr. Wainger performed fundamental electrophysiological characterization and identified motor neuron hyperexcitability in ALS patient-derived motor neurons (Wainger et al., 2014). Mechanistic analysis of the motor neurons led to the identification of a novel therapeutic candidate, which will be investigated in a clinical trial.
On the sensory neuron front, Dr. Wainger developed a lineage reprogramming technique for derivation of pain sensing (nociceptor) neurons from human fibroblasts (Wainger et al., 2014). This technology has already revealed novel insights through disease modeling of familial painful neuropathy and promises to be valuable in the development of drug screens using human neurons.
Wainger BJ, Buttermore ED, Oliveira JT, Mellin C, Lee S, Afshar Saber W, Wang A, Ichida JK, Chiu IM, Barrett L, Huebner EA, Bilgin C, Tsujimoto N, Brenneis C, Rubin LL, Eggan K, Woolf CJ. Modeling pain in vitro using noceptors reprogrammed from fibroblasts. Nature Neuroscience, 2014, in press.