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Emery N. Brown, MD, PhD

Director, Neuroscience Statististic Research Lab

  • Phone: 617-726-8786
Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine
Clinical Interests
Anesthesia for general surgery
Anesthesia for vascular surgery
Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital
Medical Education
MD, Harvard Medical School
PhD, Harvard University
Residency, Massachusetts General Hospital
Board Certifications
Anesthesiology, American Board of Anesthesiology
Foreign Languages
Patient Age Group
Accepting New Patients
Accepting New Patients

BiographyUsing fMRI, EEG, neurophysiologic recordings, microdialysis methods, and mathematical modeling, my laboratory collaborates with investigators from MGH, Harvard, MIT, and Boston University to use a systems neuroscience approach in studying how the state of general anesthesia is induced and maintained. The long-term goal of this research is to establish a neurophysiological definition of anesthesia; safer, site-specific anesthetic drugs; and to develop better neurophysiologically-based methods for measuring depth of anesthesia.

Recent technological and experimental advances in the capabilities to record signals from neural systems have led to an unprecedented increase in the types and volume of data collected in neuroscience experiments and hence, in the need for appropriate techniques to analyze them. Therefore, using combinations of likelihood, Bayesian, state space, time-series and point process approaches, a primary focus of the research in my laboratory is the development of statistical methods and signal-processing algorithms for neuroscience data analysis.

We have used our methods to:

  • characterize how hippocampal neurons represent spatial information in their ensemble firing patterns.
  • analyze formation of spatial receptive fields in the hippocampus during learning of novel environments.
  • relate changes in hippocampal neural activity to changes in performance during procedural learning.
  • improve signal extraction from fMR imaging time-series.
  • characterize the spiking properties of neurons in primary motor cortex.
  • localize dynamically sources of neural activity in the brain from EEG and MEG recordings made during cognitive, motor and somatosensory tasks.
  • measure the period of the circadian pacemaker (human biological clock) and its sensitivity to light.
  • characterize the dynamics of human heart beats in physiological and pathological states.

PublicationsView publications

Brown named to Zapol professorship

MGH Hotline 10.23.09 The Warren M. Zapol Professorship in Anaesthesia, a new endowed chair at Harvard Medical School (HMS), has been established to honor the clinical and research accomplishments of Warren M. Zapol, MD, who served as anesthetist-in-chief in the MGH Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine from 1994 to 2008 and who is now the department's anesthetist-in-chief emeritus.

SAC meeting to honor past scientific leadership, address current challenges

ALL MGHERS are invited to attend the 2011 meeting of the MGH Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), which will commemorate the hospital’s bicentennial with a look back at significant research accomplishments of MGH investigators and examine challenges facing today’s research community.

SAC meeting

The 64th meeting of the MGH Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) on April 14 celebrated key accomplishments of MGH investigators, past and present, and examined strategies for meeting the challenges currently facing the academic biomedical research community.

In General 05.11.12

In General awards and honors

Major NIH grants support innovative research projects

Two MGH-led research teams and one MGH investigator have received major grants from the National Institutes of Health.

In General Awards and Honors: May 16, 2014

In General Awards and Honors: May 16, 2014

Brown honored

Emery N. Brown, MD, PhD, director of the Neuroscience Statistic Research Laboratory in the MGH Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

Uncovering the neurobiological basis of general anesthesia

Emery Brown, MD, PhD, author of a New England Journal of Medicine review article, lays out a conceptual framework for understanding general anesthesia by discussing its relation to sleep and coma.

Common stimulant may speed recovery from general anesthesia

Administration of the commonly used stimulant drug methylphenidate was able to speed recovery from general anesthesia in an animal study conducted at MGH. The report is the first demonstration in mammals of what could be a safe and effective way to induce arousal from general anesthesia.

EEG pattern reflects brain's shift into low-energy, protective mode

A distinctive pattern of brain activity associated with conditions including deep anesthesia, coma and congenital brain disorders appears to represent the brain's shift into a protective, low-activity state in response to reduced metabolic energy.

Automated system promises precise control of medically induced coma

Putting patients with severe head injuries in induced comas requires constant monitoring of brain activity and manual adjustment of drug dosage. Now a computer-controlled system promises to automate the process, making it more precise and efficient and opening the door to more advanced control of anesthesia.

Stimulation of brain region restores consciousness to animals under general anesthesia

Stimulating one of two dopamine-producing regions in the brain was able to arouse animals receiving general anesthesia with either isoflurane or propofol.

MGH/MIT study identifies neurons important for induction of natural REM sleep

An MGH/MIT team has found that that activation of cholinergic neurons – those that release the neurotransmitter acetylcholine – in two brain stem structures can induce REM sleep in an animal model. Better understanding of mechanisms that control different sleep states is essential to improved treatment of sleep disorders.

Mass. General study identifies characteristic EEG pattern of high-dose nitrous oxide anesthesia

A report from MGH investigators finds that EEG patterns of patients receiving high doses of nitrous oxide differ significantly from those of the same patients under ether-based inhaled anesthetics, findings that suggest how nitrous oxide produces its effects and may help explain the failure of the first attempt to demonstrate anesthesia at MGH.

Studies reveal how general anesthesia’s brain effects differ in older adults and in children

A series of papers from MGH researchers is detailing the differences in the way common anesthetics affect the brains of older patients and children, findings that could lead to ways of improving monitoring technology and the safety of general anesthesia for such patients.

Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine
55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114-2696

Phone: 617-726-8786
Fax: 617-726-8410

Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine
55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114-2696

Phone: 617-726-8786
Fax: 617-726-8410

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