Stephen George Waxman MD, PhD

Bridget M. Flaherty Professor of Neurology and Professor of Neurobiology and of Pharmacology; Director, Center for Neuroscience and Regeneration Research

Biographical Info

Stephen G. Waxman, MD, PhD

Stephen Waxman exemplifies the bridge between basic research and clinical medicine. He is the Bridget Flaherty Professor of Neurology, Neurobiology, and Pharmacology at Yale University. He served as Chairman of Neurology at Yale from 1986 until 2009. He founded and is Director of the Neuroscience & Regeneration Research Center at Yale. He also holds an appointment as Visiting Professor at University College London. Prior to moving to Yale, Dr. Waxman worked at Harvard, MIT, and Stanford.

Dr. Waxman received his BA from Harvard, and his MD and PhD degrees from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. His research, which uses tools from the “molecular revolution” to find new therapies that will promote recovery of function after injury to the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves, has received international recognition.

Dr. Waxman’s research has defined the ion channel architecture of nerve fibers, and demonstrated its importance for axonal conduction (Science, 1985). He demonstrated increased expression of sodium channels in demyelinated axons (Science, 1982), identified the channel isoforms responsible for this remarkable neuronal plasticity which supports remission in multiple sclerosis (PNAS, 2004), and delineated the roles of sodium channels in axonal degeneration (PNAS, 1993). He has made pivotal discoveries that explain pain after nerve injury. Most recently, in translational leaps from laboratory to humans, he carried out molecule-to-man studies combining molecular genetics, molecular biology, and biophysics to demonstrate the contribution of ion channels to human pain (Trends in Molec.Med, 2005; PNAS, 2006), led an international coalition that identified sodium channel mutations as causes of peripheral neuropathy (PNAS, 2012) and has used atomic-level modeling to advance pharmacogenomics (Nature Comm., 2012).

Dr. Waxman has published more than 600 scientific papers. He has as edited nine books, and is the author of Spinal Cord Compression and of Clinical Neuroanatomy (translated into eight languages). He has served on the editorial boards of many journals including The Journal of Physiology, Brain, Annals of Neurology, Trends in Neurosciences, Nature Reviews Neurology, and Trends in Molecular Medicine, and is Editor-in-Chief of Neuroscience Letters. He has trained more than 150 academic neurologists and neuroscientists who lead research teams around the world.

A member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Waxman’s many awards include the Tuve Award (NIH), the Distinguished Alumnus Award (Albert Einstein College of Medicine), the Dystel Prize and Wartenberg Award (American Academy of Neurology), and the Middleton Award of the Veterans Administration. He received the Annual Prize of the British Physiological Society, an honor he shares with his heroes, Nobel Prize laureates Andrew Huxley, John Eccles, and Alan Hodgkin. He most recently was honored with the Paul Magnuson Award of the Veterans Administration for his achievements in translation of laboratory advances into new therapeutic strategies for restoration of function after injury to the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves


International Activity

  • PROPANE Neuropathy Genomics Project
    We are the molecular neurobiology/functional genomics arm of an international project, funded by the EU, examining the genetic basis and molecular pathophysiology of painful peripheral neuropathies.
  • CRS Injury and Repair
    London, United Kingdom(2008)
    International Health Yale School of Medicine Yale-London collaboration in CNS injury and repair. This is a formal collaboration established by Dr. Waxman involving research on injured nervous system which takes the form of an exchange of trainees and faculty.
  • International Pain Genomics Consortium
    Our laboratory is the hub for studies on rare families, from throughout the world, with mutations of ion channels that produce a pain phenotype. We have major collaborations with University of Radboud, Netherlands; University of Maastrich, Netherlands; and Beijing University
  • Editor, Journal of Physiology
    United Kingdom(2005 - 2012)
    Editor, Journal of Physiology
  • (1998)
    Visiting Professor of Anatomy, Biology, and Clinical Neurology, University College London

Education & Training

Albert Einstein College (1970)
Albert Einstein College (1972)
Boston City Hospital, Neurology (1972 - 1975)
Clinical Fellow
Harvard Medical School, Clinical Neurology (1972 - 1975)
Postdoctoral Fellow
MIT, Biology and Electrical Engineering (1974 - 1975)

Honors & Recognition

  • Trygve Tuve Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions in the Biomedical Sciences, NIH
    NIH (1973)
  • Established Investigator, National Multiple Sclerosis Society
    National MS Society (1987)
  • Magnuson Award for Outstanding Achievements in Rehabilitation Research
    U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (2012)
  • Research Career Development Award, NINCDS
    NIH (1976)
  • Distinguished Alumnus Award, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
    Albert Einstein Coll. of Med. (1991)
  • Fellow, Royal Society of Medicine
    Royal Society of Medicine, London (1991)
  • Member, Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives
  • Listed in The Best Doctors in America
  • Elected to Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences
  • Wartenberg Award, American Academy of Neurology
  • Honorary Senior Fellow, Institute of Neurology, London
  • Dystel Prize for Research on Multiple Sclerosis, awarded jointly by the American Academy of Neurology and the Natl MS Society
  • Reingold Award, National Multiple Sclerosis Society
  • Honorary Member, Association of British Neurologists
  • W.I. McDonald Award, British Multiple Sclerosis Society
  • William S Middleton Award (highest scientific honor of the Dept of Veterans Affairs, presented at Ceremonies at the U.S. Capitol).
  • Annual Review Prize, The Physiological Society (Premier Award of the Society previous awardees include J.C. Eccles, A.F. Huxley, A.L. Hodgkin)

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