About Stu Forman, MD, PhD

I have been a member of the Harvard Medical School community as a student, clinician, researcher, and teacher.  My current roles include Staff Anesthesiologist at MGH, Investigator on several NIH-sponsored basic research grants, Reviewer for NIH grants (Surgery Anesthesia and Trauma study section), Member of the DACCPM Research Council, Subcommittee Chair for HST medical admissions, Co-director of the Harvard Anesthesia Research Training Fellowship (T32), Co-director of HST150 (Principles of Clinical Pharmacology), and member of several scientific committees of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. I am a Professor of Anaesthesiology at Harvard Medical School and an Anesthetist at MGH.

BA-- Chemistry, Wesleyan University
MD-- HMS/MIT Health Sciences and Technology Division
PhD-- Biophysics, Harvard University
Internship-- Internal Medicine, Beth Israel Hospital, Boston
Residency-- Anesthesiology, Mass General Hospital
Fellowship-- Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School

Clinical Interests:



Massachusetts General Hospital
55 Fruit St.
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-726-2000

Medical Education

  • M.D.; Ph.D., Harvard Medical School*
  • Residency, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Fellowship, Massachusetts General Hospital

American Board Certifications

  • Anesthesiology, American Board of Anesthesiology

Accepted Insurance Plans

Note: This provider may accept more insurance plans than shown; please call the practice to find out if your plan is accepted.


Research Areas

  • Molecular Mechanisms of General Anesthetics
  • Structure and Function of Ligand-gated Ion Channels
  • Allosteric Drug Mechanisms
  • Kinetic Models for Ion Channel function
  • New General Anesthetic Drug Development


Description of Research


My research aims are to understand where and how general anesthetics act at the molecular level in order to help design better drugs for use in clinical settings. The molecular targets studied are anesthetic sensitive pentameric ligand-gated ion channels, including g-aminobutyric acid-A (GABAA), glycine, nicotinic acetylcholine, and serotonin receptors. Of greatest interest are potent intravenous agents including etomidate, propofol, alphaxalone, and barbiturates. We express cloned channels in cells and use electrophysiological methods to study channel function. We developed a unique 'artificial synapse' technique for high-resolution kinetic studies.  Based on an allosteric co-agonist mechanism that we established for etomidate and propofol, we conduct structure-function studies in mutant receptors. We are also mapping out binding sites for anesthetics using substituted cysteine accessibility methods that combine electrophysiology with real-time chemical modification of receptors. In collaboration with Keith Miller, DPhil and Doug Raines, MD, my group also contributes to research on new photo-reactive general anesthetics, production of GABAA receptor protein for photolabeling, and development of new general anesthetics for clinical use.


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