Inna Belfer

Inna Belfer, MD, PhD

Adjunct Professor; Faculty of Dentistry, McGill University

Inna.Belfer [at] (Email)

Tel: 301-796-1305

Current Position:

Medical Reviewer/Clinical Analyst
Division of Anesthesia, Analgesia, and Addiction Products
Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER)
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
10903 New Hampshire Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20993


I am a human geneticist with a primary interest in the relationship between genotypes and complex traits such as human pain, psychiatric diseases, and addictions. My research focuses on optimizing pain assessment, acute and chronic pain phenotyping, selection of pain candidate genes, and genotyping SNP markers. A particular focus is on the effect of genotype on the neurobiology of primary afferent neurons in human dorsal root ganglia. My long-term goal is to identify genetic and non-genetic determinants of human chronic pain conditions such chronic pancreatitis-related pain, including novel genetic determinants of chronic GI pain and their interaction with environmental risk factors.

Main collaborators: Dr. Luda Diatchenko, Dr. Jeffry Mogil


Adjunct Professor of Medicine, VMI, University of Pittsburgh

Adjunct Professor of Human Genetics, University of Pittsburgh

Guest Researcher, Laboratory of Neurogenetics, National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), NIH


Undergraduate (and Degree): Moscow Medical University (MMSI), Moscow, Russia

Medical or Graduate School (and Degree):

Moscow Medical University (MMSI), Moscow, Russia, MD

Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel, PhD, Neurobiology

Residency: Moscow State Clinic Hospital #6, Moscow, Russia

Fellowship: National Institutes of Health, Postdoctoral Fellowship, Human Genetics

Subspecialty / Research Interests:

Human pain genetics

Molecular epidemiology of human pain

Pain pharmacogenetics

Selected Publications:

Belfer I. Nature and nurture of human pain. Scientifica (Cairo). 2013; 2013:415279. PMID: 24278778

Belfer I, Youngblood V, Darbari DS, Wang Z, Diaw L, Freeman L, Desai K, Dizon M, Allen D, Cunnington C, Channon KM, Milton J, Hartley SW, Nolan V, Kato GJ, Steinberg MH, Goldman D, Taylor JG 6th. A GCH1 haplotype confers sex-specific susceptibility to pain crises and altered endothelial function in adults with sickle cell anemia. Am J Hematol. 2014 Feb;89(2):187-93. PMID: 24136375

Belfer I, Greco CM, Lokshin A, Vulakovich K, Landsittel D, Dai F, Crossett L, Chelly JE. The design and methods of genetic studies on acute and chronic postoperative pain in patients after total knee replacement. Pain Med. 2014 Sep;15(9):1590-602. PMID: 25040948

Shnol H, Paul N, Belfer I. Labor pain mechanisms. Int Anesthesiol Clin. 2014 Summer;52(3):1-17. PMID: 24946040

Belfer I, Schreiber KL, Shaffer JR, Shnol H, Blaney K, Morando A, Englert D, Greco C, Brufsky A, Ahrendt G, Kehlet H, Edwards RR, Bovbjerg DH. Persistent postmastectomy pain in breast cancer survivors: analysis of clinical, demographic, and psychosocial factors. J Pain. 2013 Oct;14(10):1185-95. PMID: 23890847

Schreiber KL, Martel MO, Shnol H, Shaffer JR, Greco C, Viray N, Taylor LN, McLaughlin M, Brufsky A, Ahrendt G, Bovbjerg D, Edwards RR, Belfer I. Persistent pain in postmastectomy patients: comparison of psychophysical, medical, surgical, and psychosocial characteristics between patients with and without pain. Pain. 2013 May;154(5):660-8. PMID: 23290256

Belfer I, Segall SK, Lariviere WR, Smith SB, Dai F, Slade GD, Rashid NU, Mogil JS, Campbell CM, Edwards RR, Liu Q, Bair E, Maixner W, Diatchenko L. Pain modality- and sex-specific effects of COMT genetic functional variants. Pain. 2013 Aug;154(8):1368-76. PMID: 23701723

Kolesnikov Y, Gabovits B, Levin A, Veske A, Qin L, Dai F, Belfer I. Chronic pain after lower abdominal surgery: do catechol-O-methyl transferase/opioid receptor μ-1 polymorphisms contribute? Mol Pain. 2013 Apr 8;9:19. PMID: 23566343

Young EE, Lariviere WR, Belfer I. Genetic basis of pain variability: recent advances. J Med Genet. 2012 Jan;49(1):1-9. PMID: 22058430

Belfer I, Segall S. COMT genetic variants and pain. Drugs Today (Barc). 2011 Jun;47(6):457-67. PMID: 21695287