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Stephen Waxman, MD, PhD

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

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Stephen Waxman, MD, PhD

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Stephen G. Waxman, MD, PhD

Stephen Waxman is the Bridget Flaherty Professor of Neurology, Neurobiology, and Pharmacology at Yale University, and served as Chairman of Neurology at Yale from 1986 until 2009. He founded the Neuroscience & Regeneration Research Center at Yale in 1988 and is its Director. Prior to moving to Yale, he worked at Harvard, MIT, and Stanford. He is a Visiting Professor at University College London.

Dr. Waxman received his BA from Harvard, and his MD and PhD degrees from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. His research 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.

Dr. Waxman’s first paper in Nature was published in 1970. His 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. 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). He led an international coalition that identified sodium channel mutations as causes of peripheral neuropathy (PNAS, 2012). He has used atomic-level modeling to advance pharmacogenomics, first in the laboratory (Nature Comm., 2012), and then in the clinic in a paper (JAMA Neurology, 2016) that was accompanied by an editorial stating “there are still relatively few examples in medicine where molecular reasoning has been rewarded with a comparable degree of success”. An entirely new class of medications for neuropathic pain, based largely on his work, is currently in Phase II clinical trials.

Dr. Waxman has published more than 700 scientific papers. His H-index is 109 and his papers have been cited more than 40,000 times. He has 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 Annals of Neurology, Brain, Journal of Physiology, Trends in Neurosciences, Nature Reviews Neurology, and Trends in Molecular Medicine, and is Editor-in-Chief of The Neuroscientist and Neuroscience Letters. He has trained more than 200 academic neurologists and neuroscientists who lead research teams around the world.

A member of the National Academy of Medicine, Dr. Waxman has served on many advisory councils, including the Board of Scientific Counselors of NINDS. His many honors include the Tuve Award (NIH), the Distinguished Alumnus Award (Albert Einstein College of Medicine), the Dystel Prize and Wartenberg Award (American Academy of Neurology), the Middleton Award and the Magnuson Award from the Veterans Administration, and the Soriano Award from the American Neurological Association. He was honored in Great Britain with The Physiological Society’s Annual Prize, an accolade he shares with Nobel Prize laureates Andrew Huxley, John Eccles, and Alan Hodgkin. In 2018, Waxman received the Julius Axelrod Prize from the Society for Neuroscience.


Education & Training

  • Resident
    Boston City Hospital (1975)
  • Clinical Fellow
    Harvard Medical School (1975)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow
    MIT (1975)
  • MD
    Albert Einstein College of Medicine (1972)
  • PhD
    Albert Einstein College of Medicine (1970)


  • Board Certification
    AB of Psychiatry & Neurology, Neurology (1977)


  • 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, England, 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
Julius Axelrod PrizeSociety for Neuroscience2018
Soriano AwardAmerican Neurological Association2014
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

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