Faculty Profile

J. Woodrow Weiss, MD

J. Woodrow Weiss, MD
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Associate Physician, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Administrative Title(s)

Chief, Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, & Sleep Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

See publications


330 Brookline Avenue, Medicine – GZ405
Boston, MA 02215

Inter-office Mail Address


Fax 617-667-1604

Email gshaidan@bidmc.harvard.edu

Society Memberships

American Thoracic Society,
American Federation for Clinical Research, Massachusetts Thoracic Society,
American Sleep Disorders Association,
American Physiology Society

Research Unit(s)

Laboratory to Study the Consequences of Sleep Disordered Breathing, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Research Interests

Since completing my pulmonary fellowship I have focused most of my research, clinical, and administrative efforts on understanding and treating the consequences of upper airway obstruction during sleep.  Over the last 15 years I have tried to concentrate my research efforts on understanding the impact of sleep-disordered breathing on cardiorespiratory control.  My goal has been to elucidate the factors that contribute to the acute and, more importantly, the chronic cardiovascular changes that occur in patients with obstructive sleep apnea.  This interest has led me to investigate the effect of sleep on the circulation.  It has also led me to try to understand the changes in sympathetic nervous system activity that occur as a consequence of the dual insults of nocturnal hypoxia and sleep deprivation suffered by patients with sleep apnea.  Much of this work has been carried out in patients suffering from this common illness.  The limitations of human investigation have recently led us, however, to develop both a rodent and a human model of cyclic intermittent hypoxia.  We are currently using these models to explore the mechanisms by which intermittent hypoxia produces sustained sympathoexcitation, diurnal hypertension, augmented ventilatory responsiveness to hypoxia, altered vascular function, and insulin resistance, all manifestations of sleep apnea.

Much of this investigation flowed naturally from my clinical efforts as Co-Director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Beth Israel Hospital/Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.  The clinical physiological investigations, which have been the focus of most of my research career, could only happen with the active participation of my patients.  Over the last 15 years the Sleep Center has developed into the largest clinical sleep program in Massachusetts.  Sleep disorders medicine was a fledgling medical specialty when I completed my pulmonary fellowship.  Now, however, it has become a major component of pulmonary (and neurology, psychiatry, pediatric, etc.) training.  The growth of interest in this specialty has allowed me to interact with medical students, house staff, and community physicians as a clinical consultant and as an educator.  These interactions led to my efforts to develop a comprehensive curriculum in sleep medicine for Harvard Medical School supported by a Sleep Academic Award from the National Institutes of Health.  The experience of working on a curriculum program led me to develop a blueprint for a Harvard Medical School Division of Sleep Medicine, a school-wide Division for which I was the founder and served as the first Chair of the Faculty Executive Committee.


Erik Garpestad, MD 1990-1993
Sandrine Launois, MD, PhD 1992-1997
Amit Anand, MD 1996-2001
Stacey Beske, MD, PhD 2001-2003
Jorge Serrador, PhD 2001-2004
Geoffrey Gilmartin, MD 2003-2004
Renaud Tamisier, MD, PhD 2004-2002
Matthew Curley, MD 2004-2006
Sarah-Jane Lusina 2005-2006
En-Sheng Ji, MD, MS, PhD 2006-

Research Funding

NIH, PI: Weiss, Time Domains of Sympathetic Activity following Hypoxia
NIH PI: J. Weiss, Carotid Mediators of Sympathoexcitation in Sleep Apnea
NIH, PI: J. Weiss, Vascular Function after Exposure of Humans to Hypoxia

Selected Publications

Roberts DH, Gilmartin GS, Neeman N, Schulze JE, Cannistraro S, Ngo LH, Aronson MD, Weiss JW. Design and measurement of quality improvement indicators in ambulatory pulmonary care: creating a "culture of quality" in an academic pulmonary division. Chest. 2009 Oct;136(4):1134-40. [PMID: 19809055]

Weiss MD, Tamisier R, Boucher J, Lynch M, Gilmartin G, Weiss JW, Thomas RJ. A pilot study of sleep, cognition, and respiration under 4 weeks of intermittent nocturnal hypoxia in adult humans. Sleep Med. 2009 Aug;10(7):739-45. Epub 2009 Mar 17. [PMID: 19282237]

Tamisier R, Gilmartin GS, Launois SH, Pépin JL, Nespoulet H, Thomas R, Lévy P, Weiss JW. A new model of chronic intermittent hypoxia in humans: effect on ventilation, sleep, and blood pressure. J Appl Physiol. 2009 Jul;107(1):17-24. Epub 2009 Feb 19. [PMID: 19228987]

Huang J, Lusina S, Xie T, Ji E, Xiang S, Liu Y, Weiss JW. Sympathetic response to chemostimulation in conscious rats exposed to chronic intermittent hypoxia. Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2009 Apr 30;166(2):102-6. Epub 2009 Mar 3. [PMID: 19429526]

Liu Y, Ji ES, Xiang S, Tamisier R, Tong J, Huang J, Weiss JW. Exposure to cyclic intermittent hypoxia increases expression of functional NMDA receptors in the rat carotid body. J Appl Physiol. 2009 Jan;106(1):259-67. Epub 2008 Oct 16. [PMID: 18927268]

Hunt BE, Tamisier R, Gilmartin GS, Curley M, Anand A, Weiss JW. Baroreflex responsiveness during ventilatory acclimatization in humans. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2008 Oct;295(4):H1794-801. Epub 2008 Aug 29. [PMID: 18757487]

Gilmartin GS, Tamisier R, Curley M, Weiss JW. Ventilatory, hemodynamic, sympathetic nervous system, and vascular reactivity changes after recurrent nocturnal sustained hypoxia in humans. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2008 Aug;295(2):H778-85. Epub 2008 Jun 6. [PMID: 18539753]

Tamisier R, Hunt BE, Gilmartin GS, Curley M, Anand A, Weiss JW. Hemodynamics and muscle sympathetic nerve activity after 8 h of sustained hypoxia in healthy humans. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2007 Nov;293(5):H3027-35. Epub 2007 Sep 14. [PMID: 17873026]

Thomas RJ, Tamisier R, Boucher J, Kotlar Y, Vigneault K, Weiss JW, Gilmartin G. Nocturnal hypoxia exposure with simulated altitude for 14 days does not significantly alter working memory or vigilance in humans. Sleep. 2007 Sep 1;30(9):1195-203. [PMID: 17910391]

Huang J, Tamisier R, Ji E, Tong J, Weiss WJ. Chronic intermittent hypoxia modulates nNOS mRNA and protein expression in the rat hypothalamus.
Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2007 Aug 15;158(1):30-8. Epub 2007 Mar 18. [PMID:17442632]

Loring SH, Weiss JW. Plateau pressures in the ARDSnet protocol: cause of injury or indication of disease? Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2007 Jul 1;176(1):99-100; author reply 100-1. [PMID: 17586764]

Eder AF, Kennedy JM, Dy BA, Notari EP, Weiss JW, Fang CT, Wagner S, Dodd RY, Benjamin RJ; American Red Cross Regional Blood Centers. Bacterial screening of apheresis platelets and the residual risk of septic transfusion reactions: the American Red Cross experience (2004-2006). Transfusion. 2007 Jul;47(7):1134-42. [PMID: 17581147]

Gilmartin G, Tamisier R, Anand A, Cunnington D, Weiss JW. Evidence of impaired hypoxic vasodilation after intermediate-duration hypoxic exposure in humans. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2006 Nov;291(5):H2173-80. Epub 2006 Apr 28. [PMID: 16648184]

Shapiro NI, Howell MD, Talmor D, Lahey D, Ngo L, Buras J, Wolfe RE, Weiss JW, Lisbon A. Implementation and outcomes of the Multiple Urgent Sepsis Therapies (MUST) protocol. Crit Care Med. 2006 Apr;34(4):1025-32. [PMID: 16484890]

Ellenbogen JM, Hurford MO, Liebeskind DS, Neimark GB, Weiss D. Ventromedial
frontal lobe trauma.
Neurology. 2005 Feb 22;64(4):757. [PMID: 15728314]

Tamisier R, Anand A, Nieto LM, Cunnington D, Weiss JW. Arterial pressure and muscle sympathetic nerve activity are increased after two hours of sustained but not cyclic hypoxia in healthy humans.
J. Appl Physiol, 2005: 98 (1): 343-9 [PMID: 15448121]

Tamisier R, Nieto L, Anand A, Cunnington D, Weiss JW. Sustained muscle sympathetic activity after hypercapnic but not hypocapnic hypoxia in normal humans.
Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2004, 141(2):145-155. [PMID: 15239965]

Tamisier R, Norman D, Anand A, Choi Y, Weiss JW. Evidence of sustained forearm vasodilation after brief isocapnic hypoxia.
J Appl Physiol. 2004: 96 (5): 1782-7. [PMID: 14766778]

Palmer LJ, Scurrah KJ, Tobin M, Patel SR, Celedon JC, Burton PR, Weiss ST. Genome-wide linkage analysis of longitudinal phenotypes using sigma2A random effects (SSARs) fitted by Gibbs sampling.
BMC Genet. 2003 Dec 31;4 Suppl 1:S12. [PMID: 14975080]

Patel SR, Celedon JC, Weiss ST, Palmer LJ. Lack of reproducibility of linkage results in serially measured blood pressure data.
BMC Genet 2003; 4 (Suppl 1): S37. [PMID: 14975105]

Pillar G, Schuscheim G, Weiss R, Malhotra A, McCowen KC, Shlitner A, Peled N, Shehadeh N.  Interactions between hypoglycemia and sleep architecture in children with type 1 diabetes mellitus.
J Pediatr 2003 Feb;142(2):163-8. [PMID: 12584538]

Anand A, Remsburg-Sailer S, Launois S, Weiss JW. Peripheral Vascular resistance increases following termination of obstructive apneas. 
J Appl Physiol 2001: 91: 2359-65. [PMID: 11641381]

Anand A., Remsburg-Sailor S., Launois SH, Weiss J.W. Peripheral vascular resistance increases following termination of obstructive apneas.
J Appl Physiol, 2001, 91: 2359-2365. [PMID: 11641381]

Weiss JW, Launois S, Anand A and Garpestad E.  Cardiovascular morbidity in obstructive sleep apnea.
Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases 1999: 41(5): 367-76. [PMID: 10406330]

Remsburg S., Launois SH, Weiss, J.W. Patients with obstructive sleep apnea have an abnormal peripheral vascular response to hypoxia.
J Appl Physiol, 1999, 87:1148-1153. [PMID: 10484589]

Kessler B., Anand A., Launois SH, Weiss J.W. Pharmacologically induced hypertension is associated with arousal from NREM sleep in normal volunteers.
J Appl Physiol, 1999, 87:897-901. [PMID: 10484555]

Launois SH, Abraham JH, Weiss JW, Kirby DA. Patterned cardiovascular responses to sleep and non respiratory arousals in a porcine model.
J Appl Physiol, 1998, 85:1285-1291. [PMID: 9760318]

Weiss JW, Remsburg S, Garpestad E, Ringler J, Sparrow D, Parker JA.  Hemodynamic consequences of obstructive sleep apnea. 
Sleep, 1996; 19:388-397. [PMID: 8843530]

Garpestad E, Ringler J, Parker JA, Remsburg S, Weiss JW.  Sleep stage influences the hemodynamic response to obstructive apneas. 
Am J Respir Crit Care Med, 1995; 152:199-203. [PMID: 7599824]

Kirby DA, Pinto JM, Weiss JW, Garpestad E, Zinkovska S.  Effects of beta adrenergic receptor blockade on hemodynamic changes associated with obstructive sleep apnea. 
Physiol Behav, 1995; 58:919-923. [PMID: 8577888]

Ringler J, Garpestad E, Basner RC, Weiss JW.  Systemic blood pressure elevation after Airway occlusion during NREM sleep. 
Am J Respir Crit Care Med, 1994; 150:1062-1066. [PMID: 7921437]

Garpestad E, Parker JA, Katayama H, Lilly J, Yasuda T, Ringler J, Strauss HW, Weiss JW.  Decrease in ventricular stroke volume at apnea termination is independent of oxygen desaturation. 
J Appl Physiol, 1994; 77:1602-1608. [PMID: 7836175]

Pinto JMB, Garpestad E, Weiss JW, Bergau DM, Kirby DA.  Hemodynamic changes associated with obstructive sleep apnea followed by arousal in a porcine model. 
J Appl Physiol, 1993; 75:1439-1443. [PMID: 8282587]

Weiss JW, Garpestad E, Parker T, Remsburg S, Ringler J.  Changes in Left ventricular stroke volume during obstructive apneas. 
Sleep, 1993; 16:39-40. [PMID: 8178022]

Basner C, Ringler J, Garpestad E, Schwartzstein RM, Weinberger SE, Sparrow D, Lilly J, Weiss JW.  Upper airway anesthesia delays arousal from inspiratory airway occlusion induced during human non-REM sleep. 
J Appl Physiol, 1992; 73:642-648. [PMID: 1399992]

Garpestad E, Katayama H, Parker JA, Ringler J, Lilly J, Yasuda T, Moore RH, Strauss HW, Weiss JW.  Stroke volume and cardiac output decreases at Termination of obstructive apnea. J Appl Physio, 1992; 73:1743-1748 [PMID: 1474046]

Garpestad E, Basner RC, Ringler J, Lilly J, Schwartzstein R, Weinberger SE, Weiss JW.  Phenylephrine induced Hypertension decreases genioglossus EMG activity in awake humans.
J Appl Physio, 1992; 72:110-115. [PMID: 1537703]


Weiss JW, Liu MD, Huang J. Physiological basis for a causal relationship of obstructive sleep apnoea to hypertension. Exp Physiol. 2007 Jan;92(1):21-6. Epub 2006 Nov 23. Review. [PMID: 17124275]

Book Chapters

Weiss JW, Launois S, Anand A.  Cardio- respiratory changes in sleep disordered breathing.
Priniciples and Practice of Sleep Medicine, Edited by Kryger, Roth and Dement, 2000: 3rd Edition. 856-69.

Weiss JW, Launois S, Anand A and Garpestad E. Lung Biology in Health and Disease 2000: Sleep Apnea: Implications in cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease:  Marcel Dekker. Vol 146: 213-26. The acute hemodynamic response to upper airway obstruction during sleep.

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