Department Faculty

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Simon Haroutounian, PhD, MSc


Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology
Chief of Clinical Research, Washington University Pain Center

Research Interests

Dr. Harountounian’s research focus is on chronic pain. Pain is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide, and is the single most common reason people seek medical care. While acute pain episodes are typically time-limited and can be treated reasonably well in most cases, chronic pain - which affects about 20% of the adult population - is largely undertreated. Especially challenging is neuropathic pain, a consequence of damage or disease affecting the central or the peripheral nervous systems.

Chronic pain may be related to concomitant medical conditions (e.g.  diabetes, stroke, multiple sclerosis or cancer), be of unknown origin, or be a result of a treatment  such as surgery or chemotherapy,  that was aimed to cure a disease or improve the person’s quality of life.

It is an enormous and costly effort to match the right analgesic treatment (or combination of treatments) to the right patient – the therapy that will allow good pain relief and improved quality of life, but will not cause side effects. Currently, this individual treatment “tailoring” is more of an art than a science.

By applying translational research, we explore methods to prevent chronic pain when possible, and to make the individualized pain management a science.

Dr. Haroutounian is an Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at Washington University School of Medicine, and the Chief of Clinical Research at the Washington University Pain Center. Dr. Haroutounian has obtained his BSc.Pharm and MSc.Pharm degrees, as well as his PhD from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has completed a Fulbright doctoral fellowship in pain outcomes research at University of Utah (2008-2009, with Prof. Arthur G. Lipman), and a post-doctoral fellowship in clinical pain research at the Danish Pain Research Center in Aarhus, Denmark (2011-2013, with Prof Troels S. Jensen).