The Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine (DACCPM) at Massachusetts General Hospital has the leading anesthesia research division in the world. Anesthesia’s history at Mass General is rich with important research discoveries. The department can trace its roots back to 1846, when Mass General presented the first public demonstration of ether as a medical anesthetic. This research led to the first use of anesthesia in clinical care and continues to help clinical medicine evolve.

Research Areas

Infographic on research areas in the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine
Research within the DACCPM integrates the full spectrum of bench-to-bedside discovery. Laboratory scientists conduct basic research in collaboration with clinicians to make discoveries and turn them into treatments, diagnostics and devices that improve our patients’ quality of life. This research is fundamental in discovering modern and effective treatments, as well as innovations that foster the continuous improvement of patient care.

The DACCPM research areas are comprised of basic, clinical and translational, which are fully integrated and cover a wide range of initiatives that include:

  • Biomedical engineering
  • Cardiovascular research
  • Critical care
  • Epidemiology
  • Genetics
  • Mechanisms of general anesthesia
  • Neuroscience
  • Pain
  • Pulmonary research
  • Quality and safety
  • Simulation

Centers and Units

The DACCPM comprises centers and units that conduct innovative and collaborative research. The department receives a large number of research grants from various federal agencies, foundations and industries. We also support our faculty with internal funding opportunities to encourage research efforts within the department.

Anesthesia Center for Critical Care Research

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.

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Center for Medical Simulation

The Center for Medical Simulation offers educational and research opportunities in many medical disciplines and in the social sciences. It is widely known for its innovative and high-quality programs, including the Institute for Medical Simulation, in which educators and clinicians from around the world participate in courses to learn how to use simulation to improve safety, quality and education in health care.

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Center for Translational Pain Research

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. Our researchers lead numerous national and international clinical trials evaluating new procedures, devices and medications for the treatment of pain.

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Mallinckrodt Center for Molecular Pharmacology Research

Research in the Mallinckrodt Center 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.

Medical Device Plug-and-Play Interoperability Program

The Medical Device Plug-and-Play Interoperability 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.

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Neuroscience Statistic Research Lab

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 neurophysiological-based methods for measuring depth of anesthesia.

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Pulmonary Functional Imaging and Bioengineering Research Lab

The Pulmonary Functional Imaging and Bioengineering Research Lab is 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 computer modeling, and bioengineering.

Our Researchers

More than 200 researchers are part of our research program, including doctoral researchers, post-doctoral fellows, physician investigators and 132 full-time researchers. Our program also includes a career-building research experience as junior investigators are paired with a senior research faculty member. The mentor process is designed to enhance the junior investigator’s ability to attain advanced research skills as well as prepare them to independently compete for extramural funding.