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Harry Whelan, MD

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Harry T. Whelan, MD

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

Locations

  • Medical College of Wisconsin
    Department of Neurology

Contact Information

Biography

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

Honors and Awards

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

Education

MD, University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison, WI, 1979

Research Interests

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.

Specialties and Subspecialties

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

Publications