Harry Whelan, PhDHarry T. Whelan, MD

Bleser Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics and Hyperbaric Medicine
Director of Hyperbaric Medicine

Online Provider Directory Profile Page


  • Pediatric Neurology


  • Pediatric Neurology
  • Light Emitting Diode Therapy
  • Air and Gas Embolism
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning and Smoke Inhalation
  • Decompression Sickness
  • Radiation Tissue Damage
  • Burn Injury
  • Developmental Disorders of the Central Nervous System
  • Wound Healing
  • Brain Tumors
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Neurooncology


  • Doctor of Medicine, University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison, 1979


  • Internship & Residency, Department of Pediatrics, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, 1979-1984
  • Fellowship, Pediatric Neurology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 1981-1984
  • Neurooncology, American Cancer Society Clinical Oncology Career Development Award Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN, 1987–1990

Awards and Honors

  • Navy Achievement Medal (Research), 1995
  • Navy & Marine Corp Commendation Medal (Professional School Liaison Officer), 1997
  • NASA-Space Technology Hall of Fame (Inducted for Research), 2000
  • Bleser Foundation Endowed Professorship awarded in Neurology, 2001 upgraded to Endowed Chair in 2008
  • Distinguished Research Professorship awarded, National Defense University, 2004
  • Chief, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine & Surgery - Senior R & D Officer, 2005
  • Neurooncology, American Cancer Society Clinical Oncology Career Development Award Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN, 1987–1990
  • Neurooncology American Cancer Society Clinical Oncology Career Development Award 1987

Brief Clinical/Research Interest Statement

Harry T. Whelan, MD, believes in a translational patient care philosophy of bringing the latest research discoveries from his laboratory bench to the patient’s bedside. Dr. Whelan is the Bleser Family Endowed Chair in Neurology, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Professor of Neurology (Pediatrics), director of the Hyperbaric Medicine Unit, and recipient of the Neuro-Oncology American Cancer Society Clinical Oncology Career Development Award from Vanderbilt University. He has been inducted into the NASA Space Technology Hall of Fame for his research into the use of near-infrared light for wound healing and the treatment of brain tumors and neurofibromatosis using photodynamic therapy. In a multiyear investigation approved by the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Whelan studied the use of Near-infrared Light to promote healing of mucositis from chemotherapy and radiation used to treat cancer in children. Dr. Whelan found that diabetic skin ulcers and other wounds in mice healed much faster when exposed to the special LEDs in the lab. Near-infrared light stimulates improved energy metabolism in the mitochondria, leading to treatment for mitochondrial diseases which affect the brain, eye, heart and muscle. Dr. Whelan also is funded by the National Institutes of Health in a study of neurodegenerative disease, traumatic brain injury and other childhood traumas. He also conducted a pilot study supported in part by the Clinical Translational Science Institute of near-infrared light therapy for diabetic macular edema, a form of diabetic eye disease. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is funding his research in neurological ischemia, traumatic brain injury (TBI), reperfusion and stroke, which affects many children with congenital heart disease. Dr. Whelan presented this translational bench-to-bedside research to the United States Congress at the NASA Spin-off Day on Capitol Hill as an example of how space research is helping patients.

Dr. Whelan holds the rank of Captain and is a Diving Medical Officer in the U.S. Navy, a consultant to the Navy Experimental Diving Unit with clinical and research experience in Hyperbaric Medicine, wound care and combat casualty care. He has over 100 publications, including cancer, laser, LED and diving/hyperbaric studies.

Recent Publications

Current Funding

Froedtert Hospital Foundation 2014 – 2015
Title: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBO2T for Migraine Headache

US Navy Experimental Diving Unit 2007-2014
Title: Electrophysiological Effects of Underwater Voltage Gradient Defense System

Benjamin NOW Fund
2011 – 2014
Title: Photodynamic Therapy for Benign Dermal NF Using Levulan Kerastick

NIH/Clinical and Translational Science Institute 2012 - 2014
Title: Photodynamic Therapy for Childhood Brain Tumors

NIH/Clinical and Translational Science Institute 2012 - 2014
Title: Mechanisms of antimicrobial effect of blue light and hyperbaric oxygen on MRSA

Covidien 2012- 2017
Title: Cerebral oxygen saturation in children with epilepsy: A pilot study

Covidien 2012- 2017
Title: Near infrared Spectroscopy for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome

Pinnacle Biologics, Inc 2012- 2017
Title: PDT for Brain Tumor Dispersal

Clinical & Translational Science Institute 2012 – 2013
Effect of blue light on Methicillin resistant Staph. aureus (MRSA)

NIH CTSI 9/15/2012 – 9/14/2017
Title:Photodynamic therapy for Brain Tumors

Children’s Tumor Foundation ( New York) 2013 – 2018
Photodynamic Therapy for Neurofibromatosis

Chad Baumann Research Foundation Endowment
Endowed Research Fund as eternal endowed trust for Dr. Whelan

Bleser Foundation – Endowed Professorship as eternal endowed trust for Dr. Whelan
Endowed Chair in 2008