Brian Wainger’s lab fuses electrophysiology and stem cell biology to explore how abnormal neuronal physiology contributes to diseases of the motor and sensory nervous systems. Working with motor neurons derived from ALS patients and healthy controls, Dr. Wainger performed fundamental electrophysiological characterization and identified motor neuron hyperexcitability in ALS patient-derived motor neurons (Wainger et al., 2014). Mechanistic analysis of the motor neurons led to the identification of a novel therapeutic candidate, which will be investigated in a clinical trial. On the sensory neuron front, Dr. Wainger developed a lineage reprogramming technique for derivation of pain sensing (nociceptor) neurons from human fibroblasts (Wainger et al., 2014). This technology has already revealed novel insights through disease modeling of familial painful neuropathy and promises to be valuable in the development of drug screens using human neurons.
Dr. Wainger is Assistant Professor Neurology and Anesthesiology at Harvard Medical School and an attending physician at Massachusetts General Hospital. He completed training in molecular biology at Princeton University and then the MD/PhD program at Columbia University where he studied ion channel physiology. He then was a resident in the Partners Neurology Program and a clinical fellow in Pain Medicine at MGH. In his research fellowship, he used stem cell techniques to model motor and nociceptor neurons and their relevant diseases. His lab focuses on translational research in ALS and pain. His clinical expertise spans the intersection of neurology and pain medicine.