Stephen Waxman, MD, PhD

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

Contact Information

Stephen Waxman, MD, PhD

Office Location

Mailing Address

  • Neurology

    VA Hospital, 950 Campbell Ave

    West Haven, CT, 06516

    United States

Stephen Waxman
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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). A new class of pain medications without central side-effects or addictive potential, based on his work, is currently in clinical trials.

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 and Magnuson 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.


Education & Training

  • MD
    Albert Einstein College (1972)
  • PhD
    Albert Einstein College (1970)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Resident
    Boston City Hospital
  • Clinical Fellow
    Harvard Medical School


  • PROPANE Neuropathy Genomics Project
    Italy 2012
    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
    Netherlands 2008
    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
  • Visiting Professor of Anatomy, Biology, and Clinical Neurology, University College London
    Visiting Professor of Anatomy, Biology, and Clinical Neurology, University College London

Honors & Recognition

AwardAwarding OrganizationDate
Magnuson Award for Outstanding Achievements in Rehabilitation ResearchU.S. Department of Veterans Affairs2012
W.I. McDonald Award, British Multiple Sclerosis Society2009
William S Middleton Award (highest scientific honor of the Dept of Veterans Affairs, presented at Ceremonies at the U.S. Capitol). 2009
Annual Review Prize, The Physiological Society (Premier Award of the Society previous awardees include J.C. Eccles, A.F. Huxley, A.L. Hodgkin)2009
Honorary Member, Association of British Neurologists2005
Reingold Award, National Multiple Sclerosis Society2004
Dystel Prize for Research on Multiple Sclerosis, awarded jointly by the American Academy of Neurology and the Natl MS Society2000
Wartenberg Award, American Academy of Neurology1999
Honorary Senior Fellow, Institute of Neurology, London1999
Elected to Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences1996
Listed in The Best Doctors in America1994
Member, Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives1993
Distinguished Alumnus Award, Albert Einstein College of MedicineAlbert Einstein Coll. of Med.1991
Fellow, Royal Society of MedicineRoyal Society of Medicine, London1991
Established Investigator, National Multiple Sclerosis Society National MS Society1987
Research Career Development Award, NINCDS NIH1976
Trygve Tuve Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions in the Biomedical Sciences, NIH NIH1973

Departments & Organizations