Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine - Pain and Neurosciences Research
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Research Overview

Critical Care Research

Pain and Neurosciences Research

Biomedical Innovation

Ethics and Health Policy

Clinical Research

Grant Funding


Henry K. Beecher Pharmacology Laboratory

Summary Science Features

General anesthesia is among the most important advances in medicinal pharmacology. While general anesthesia has been in widespread clinical use for 160 years, we still don't know fully how general anesthetics produce their various effects on the nervous system. This makes general anesthetics almost unique among modern pharmaceuticals, many of which bind with high affinity to specific molecular targets in the body. Furthermore, general anesthetics are challenging drugs to study.

Our research focuses on elucidating molecular mechanisms of general anesthesia. Of particular interest are fast ligand-gated ion channel proteins that participate in neuron-to-neuron communication (neurotransmission) in the central nervous system. These ligand-gated ion channels include nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, g-aminobutyric acid (GABA) type A receptors, serotonin type 3 receptors, glycine receptors, and others.

Related Links

Stuart A. Forman
Researching Anesthesia
Minimum Alveolar Concentration (MAC)
The GABAA Receptor Gamma Subunit
Serotonin Type 3 Receptors
Artificial Synapse
Patch-Clamp Electrophysiology
Kinetic Models
Xenopus Oocyte Electrophysiology
Allosteric Co-Agonist Model for Etomidate

Office Information

Department of Anesthesia,
Critical Care and Pain Medicine
Gray-Bigelow 444
55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114

Public Transportation Access: Yes
Disabled Access: Yes