About Thomas Cheng, MD, PhD

Hsinlin Thomas Cheng, MD PhD, is the Director of Headache and Neuropathic Pain Unit, Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital.  He specializes in both adult Neurology and Pain Medicine. Dr. Cheng treats patients suffered from headache to other neuropathic pain syndromes. Dr. Cheng complete his doctoral program of Neuroscience at the University of Michigan, he completed his residency in the Department of Neurology at Wayne State University before taking on a clinical fellowship at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and a research fellowship at the Weill Medical College at Cornell University. Dr. Cheng returned to the University of Michigan as Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology. He joined the Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital in July, 2013.

Dr. Cheng is a member of American Pain Society, and American Academy of Neurology. He is a fellow of American Neurological Association. He received a NIH KO8 award. Previously, he was a recipient of a Fellowship Training Grant from the National Cancer Institute from 2004-06. He was awarded Wolfe Research Prize by the American Neurological Association in 2010, and Freeman Pain Award from 2014-17.

Dr. Cheng is devoted to research, clinical practice, and education to improve the current knowledge and management of headache and neuropathic pain.  He researches the molecular mechanisms of headache and neuropathic pain in both laboratory and clinical settings.  He sees patients in Neurology Clinic at Wang Building and perform procedures including nerve blocks, trigger point and Botox injections. 

Departments, Centers, & Programs:

Clinical Interests:




Mass General Neurology
55 Fruit St.
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 855-644-6387

Medical Education

  • MD, Taipei Medical University
  • PhD, University of Michigan
  • Residency, Wayne State University School of Medicine
  • Fellowship, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Fellowship, University of Michigan

American Board Certifications

  • Neurology, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
  • Pain Medicine, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

Accepted Insurance Plans

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Dr. Cheng's research interests are in studying the mechanisms of pain. He is funded by the National Institute of Health to study the molecular mechanisms of painful diabetic neuropathy. He has discovered multiple pain molecules activated in an animal model of type 2 diabetes. His research has been published by numerous peer-reviewed scientific journals and reported in many conferences. His findings provide better understanding for the mechanisms of painful diabetic neuropathy and could lead to the development for the future treatments for this devastating disease.


    • Dauch JR, Bender D, Luna-Wong LA, Hsieh W, Yanik BM, Kelly ZA, Cheng HT. Neurogenic factor-induced Langerhans cell activation in painful diabetic neuropathy. Journal of Neuroinflammation, 14;10(1):64, 2013.
    • Cheng, HT, Dauch JR, Smith G, Singleton JR, Porzio M, Yanik, BM, Hsieh W, Feldman EL. Application of skin punch biopsy for the diagnosis of painful diabetic neuropathy. Journal of Pain, 2013 May 16. pii: S1526-5900(13)00910-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2013.03.005.
    • Dauch JR, Lindblad CN, Hayes JM, Lentz SI, Cheng HT. 3-Dimensional Imaging of Nociceptive Intraepidermal Nerve Fibers in Human Skin Biopsies, The Journal of Visualized Experiments (74), e50331, doi:10.3791/5033, 2013.

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