Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine
Research & Innovation
Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine
55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114
Explore This Program
Our Research Mission
Transforming medicine through innovation is the ultimate goal of the research conducted at the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine. Our research at Massachusetts General Hospital integrates the full cycle of development—laboratory scientists conduct basic research in collaboration with clinicians to translate discoveries into treatments, diagnostics, and devices that improve patients’ health and quality of life.
About Our Investigators
More than 90 investigators with faculty positions and more than 200 researchers in total are part of our research program. Research training is a well-established component, including a dedicated research pathway for residents and mentoring of young investigators. Our research program is supported by a large number of research grants the department receives from various federal agencies, foundations, and industries.
Investigator Profiles & Search Tool
Many investigators are engaged in interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary projects beyond the classical scientific boundaries of different fields. However, dynamic and innovative scientific environments need additional flexibility and tools for building new connections and collaborations.
To meet this need, we developed a hub of all investigators and their profiles with an integrated search tool. It comprises the 90+ investigators in the department with links to their personal profile pages with further details, links to their publication lists, and contact information. Jointly, these profiles capture the full spectrum of research interests in the department.
The main research areas of the investigators are searchable in the investigators’ hub. They include a wide spectrum of research topics:
- Biomedical engineering
- Cardiovascular research
- Critical care
- Mechanisms of general anesthesia
- Pulmonary research
- Quality and safety
Research Centers and Units
Longstanding collaborations among investigators in the department have led to the founding of research centers and units, amplifying the synergistic effects of close collaborations and joint expertise in these groups.
Research in the Anesthesia Center for Critical Care Research focuses on developing and testing new ways to make problematic procedures in the intensive care unit safer and more effective.
The Anesthesia Research Center (ARC) brings together essential research resources for department investigations and consists of clinical research coordinators/fellows, data scientists, statisticians and research administrators with extensive experience in clinical research. The ARC helps to facilitate all aspects of a research project, from study startup to completion, and with services spanning Institutional Review Board assistance, subject recruitment, data collection/entry and statistical analysis. The ARC has also established a pathway that leverages the electronic health record so departmental investigators can get involved in observational research. By providing a robust research infrastructure, the ARC aims to support investigators throughout the research process in an effort to optimize study design and execution, regulatory oversight and statistical methods.
Research in the Beecher/Mallinckrodt Laboratories for Molecular Pharmacology Research focuses on elucidating the molecular mechanisms by which general anesthetics act to produce anesthesia and its side effects. Our work aims to create better treatments and ultimately a safer and more efficient practice of anesthesiology.
The Center for Translational Pain Research strives to improve the clinical management of patients experiencing acute, chronic and cancer pain conditions. The center uses a multidisciplinary and mechanism-based research approach to clinical pain management together with basic science pain research.
The Clinical and Biochemical Pharmacology Laboratory focuses on elucidating the mechanisms of injury-related muscle wasting and exaggerated pain in order to find novel approaches to mitigate these acute- and long-term adverse outcomes of injury and associated inflammatory responses. The long-term goals of the laboratory are to improve the prognosis of patients with critical illness-induced complications, mitigate suffering—specifically for patients who are severely burned, injured or septic—and identify novel therapeutic maneuvers to rectify the deleterious consequences of injury and inflammation.
The Medical Device Plug-and-Play (MD PnP) Interoperability & Cybersecurity Program is a recognized leader in the development of the concepts and capabilities for integrated clinical environments of the future. Working with a geographically dispersed team of collaborators, the program has developed an open interoperable medical device clinical research platform, sharable databases, tools and applications. The goal is to enable a broader community of researchers and manufacturers to implement medical device interoperability aimed to improve patient safety and health care efficiency.
The Neuroscience Statistic Research Lab is a collaboration of investigators from Mass General, Harvard, MIT and Boston University that uses a systems neuroscience approach in studying how the state of general anesthesia is induced and maintained. The long-term goal of our 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.
The Pulmonary Imaging and Bioengineering Laboratories are a multidisciplinary, interdepartmental group of investigators who strive to advance the understanding of whole-organ physiology and pathophysiology of the human lung through the development and implementation of advanced imaging techniques, sophisticated mathematical and computational modeling, and bioengineering.
Research in the department can trace its roots back to October 16, 1846, when William T. G. Morton made the first successful public demonstration of ether as a medical anesthetic during surgery at Mass General’s surgical amphitheater, the Ether Dome. Today, the Ether Dome is a beautiful teaching amphitheater and historical landmark with a small collection of artifacts.
Pioneering work in the department has permanently changed many areas of research and clinical practice—therapeutic use of inhaled nitric oxide to improve oxygenation under critical conditions of lung injury is one example. The continuing growth of the department’s research division and its productivity are key indicators of the quality of its research.
In this video, hear from several faculty members about the history of innovation in anesthesia at Mass General.
Inventions and Innovations
Inventions and innovations are strategic elements of our research mission, and have a strong history in the department. They are supported by internal funding mechanisms to advance the translation of breakthrough research findings.
Innovation MESH Network at Mass General Brigham and the Mass General Research Institute are additional major innovation hubs providing courses, funding, consultation, an innovator's commercialization guide, and other resources for inventors and bridges to partnerships with industry or startups.
Warren M. Zapol Symposium on Anesthesia & Critical Care Research
We proudly announce the Warren M. Zapol Symposium on Anesthesia & Critical Care Research. The event will be held from Friday, June 9, to Saturday, June 10, 2023. The symposium celebrates the life of Dr. Zapol, and continues his legacy of advancing medical care through novel, collaborative, basic, and clinical research.
Research Happy Hour is a series of talks and discussions exploring breakthrough discoveries, cutting-edge research methods, novel developments, and interesting perspectives—ideas that might inspire research projects. The meetings aim to question and discuss, to wonder about the unknown, and to gain new insights beyond traditional research talks.
Fostering discussions, learning how to question, and developing a style of arguing are essential for successful research careers. The research forum aims to facilitate the development of these skills, cultivate them and provide a podium for scientific exchange and critical thinking.
Our research trainees are an integral part of our department's diverse international community of researchers.
The Pathway to Research Independence with Mentorship and Education (PRIME) is a dedicated track of the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). It was designed for anesthesia residency applicants who aim to become clinician-scientists with at least 50% time in research long-term. The track offers personal mentorship with department and research leaders and early exposure to our research ecosystem, including research talks, travel funding for scientific meetings, and dedicated research time. The trainees also benefit from other resources, including the Anesthesia Research Center and Levy Resident Research Grants.
Learn more about the PRIME track at Mass General
Outside of the PRIME Track, research fellows, post-docs, PhD students, interns, and summer students are welcome to apply for opportunities in our research laboratories. Their experience often includes exposure to top research projects in various fields and collaborations with other leading institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), research hospitals, and international leaders in different areas. Many become successful scientists and research leaders of tomorrow in academia or industry.
The excellence of research in our department is reflected by a combination of basic science, clinical, and translational research achievements led by the nation’s largest physician-scientist group in the anesthesia field, a large group of top-notch non-clinician PhD investigators, and exceptional clinical staff, fellows, and residents.
Strategic efforts to further enhance research and recruit future physician-scientists include the PRIME track for residents and the promotion of successful junior scientists to faculty positions. The Center for Faculty Development at Mass General actively supports junior investigators in this process, including courses, workshops, webinars, and podcasts.
Promoting the integration between basic science and clinical research is a long-term strategic research priority. The initiatives include mechanisms for competitive intra-departmental clinical research funding and the innovative Anesthesia Research Center (ARC), an integrative center for clinical and observational studies with a first-tier statistical faculty, project manager, and study coordinators. ARC is comprised of clinical research coordinators and fellows, data scientists, statisticians, and research administrators who leverage their expertise to facilitate all aspects of a research project from study startup to completion. ARC services include grant preparation, IRB assistance, subject recruitment/enrollment, study coordination, data collection/entry, statistical analyses, and a team of experts helping investigators with big-data research using large internal and external databases.
Research at Mass General
Every day, our clinicians and scientists chart new terrain in biomedical research to treat and prevent human disease and advance patient care.
We are committed to conducting innovative research with the goal of improving patient outcomes, quality of life, and overall care.