beth israel deaconess medical center a harvard medical school teaching hospital

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Rami Burstein, PhD

Dr. Burstein, Academic Director

"It is so important for people, including primary care physicians and pediatricians, to recognize that a migraine is an incredibly debilitating neurological disorder and not a mere headache. This remains a mostly unknown and greatly misunderstood fact.

There is no doubt that our headache patients benefit greatly by having research conducted here, and even participating in it, which could affect their current treatment and help to alleviate their pain and suffering. While we work toward a possible cure for migraines, all the clues we continue to gather make treatment options for migraine patients better and better."


A pioneer in migraine headache research, Rami Burstein, PhD, our Academic Director, is also Vice Chairman of Research and Director of Pain Research within the Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care at BIDMC. In addition, Dr. Burstein is Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School. 

Dr. Burstein received his PhD at the University of Minnesota. He did his postdoctoral training at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was a fellow in the Pain Physiology Lab.

In 1997, Dr. Burstein created the Center for the Diagnosis of Pain at BIDMC. While running the center, he established Quantitative Sensory Testing for the diagnosis and treatment of migraine patients.

Professional Achievements

Twice, Dr. Burstein received the prestigious Wolff Award for Excellence in Headache Research from The American Headache Society. He holds positions on many major committees including the Red Book Committee at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Burstein sits on the editorial board of Cephalalgia, Pain, and The Journal of Headache and Pain. He is also a regular reviewer for prestigious medical journals such as Nature and Science. His community service work includes regular meetings with headache support groups in the Boston area.

Basic Research

Dr. Burstein's work has made it possible to more accurately predict which patients will respond to specific therapies for migraine, helped explain how the nervous system is altered by migraine pain, and given scientists clues as to why some migraine sufferers are sensitive to light and touch. His research is also shedding light on how migraine attacks can be triggered by stress, social isolation, sleep and food deprivation and certain odors.

Contact Information

Comprehensive Headache Center
Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
One Brookline Place, Suite 621
Brookline, MA 02445
Phone: 617-278-8080
Fax: 617-278-8099