Skip Navigation

Marek A. Mirski

Mirski.MarekMAREK A. MIRSKI, MD, PhD, the inaugural Thomas and Dorothy Tung Professor, has had a distinguished clinical and research career. He obtained his undergraduate degrees in biology and chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his medical and doctoral degrees from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. There, Dr. Mirski performed translational research on the cortical mechanisms of seizure propagation under the mentorship of James A. Ferrendelli, MD. During this three year period, Dr. Mirski made several important discoveries in how seizure impulses travel within the brain, leading to publications in the highly regarded journals Science, Journal of Neuroscience, Epilepsia, and Brain Research and leading to a research prize in Neuroscience from Washington University.

Upon completion of his dual MD/PhD degrees, Dr. Mirski remained at Barnes-Jewish Medical Center to complete his medical internship before arriving at Johns Hopkins to continue his clinical training. While at Johns Hopkins, he maintained his laboratory research interest in epilepsy under the guidance of Robert Fisher, MD in the Department of Neurology, while he completed residencies in both the Departments of Neurology and Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, as well as two fellowships in Neuroanesthesiology and Neurological Critical Care.

In 1992, Dr. Mirski joined the faculty of the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine in the Division of Neuroanesthesiology and Neurocritical Care. He continued his investigative work in epilepsy, even as he began other clinical and laboratory research in the areas of brain injury, cerebral edema, and status epilepticus. During this period, Dr. Fisher and Dr. Mirski’s published research on rodent models of seizure termination via deep brain electrical stimulation led to the potential for a translational application of deep brain stimulation in patients.

In 1996, Dr. Mirski took advantage of an opportunity to develop a comprehensive clinical and research neuroscience center at the Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. Between 1996 and 1999, he engineered the creation of the first acute neuroscience clinical program in the Pacific Rim, including a sub-specialty neuroscience ICU, acute stroke and brain trauma programs, neuroanesthesiology with intra-operative monitoring capability, a neurological and neurosurgical epilepsy referral center, and a laboratory neuroscience research group under the direction of internationally renowned Bo K. Siesjö, MD, PhD whom Dr. Mirski recruited to Hawaii.

In 1999, Dr. Mirski was recruited back to Johns Hopkins as Associate Professor and to become the first ever Divisional Director of both the Neurosciences Critical Care Unit and Neuroanesthesia in the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine. During this period, his translational work on deep brain electrical stimulation to inhibit seizures was funded by the National Institutes of Health for clinical pilot trials. This successful pilot study led to a Medtronic-funded Phase III randomized clinical trial that was completed in 2006, with favorable results reported in 2008. This interventional therapy for refractory epilepsy is now available in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Dr. Mirski nurtured the Neurosciences Critical Care Unit (NCCU) to its current pre-eminent leadership position as the largest educational and most scientifically prolific neuro ICU program in the United States. Since becoming Director, the NCCU has graduated 46 fellows from its two-year post-graduate training program, of which 29 hold ICU directorship or associate directorship positions at other academic institutions. The continued active mentorship by Dr. Mirski of the joint NCCU and Neuroanesthesia faculty at Johns Hopkins has led to the combined Division becoming the world leader in clinical and translational research within a variety of areas in the field of acute neuroscience care. During the 2012-13 academic year, the group published 106 peer-reviewed articles in 41 distinct medical journals.

Dr. Mirski has been instrumental in the development of several other important clinical and academic programs within the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine. In 2005, he co-created and became Program Director of the new multi-disciplinary Johns Hopkins ICU Percutaneous Tracheostomy Program, which has revolutionized the care of patients requiring tracheostomies. Since 2008, more than 2,250 procedures have been carried out, and more than 15 scientific papers have been published in this field by this multi-disciplinary team from Anesthesiology, Otolaryngology, Trauma and General Surgery, Interventional Pulmonology, and Respiratory Therapy.

In 2009, Dr. Mirski launched the Clinical Research Program Group within the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, which was created to assist and support the efforts of faculty to perform clinical investigations. The Group now oversees more than 25 clinical studies with six full-time study coordinators on staff.

Dr. Mirski has been one of the leaders in the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine’s entry into the international patient care environment. He has been an ambassador for the Department and the Institution, caring for patients from around the world and leading missions in many countries including Bermuda, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Dr. Mirski has published more than 175 peer-reviewed articles. In addition to his investigation in seizure mechanisms, he has made seminal laboratory and clinical research contributions in the fields of cerebral edema, osmotic therapy, ICU sedation, and the practice of neurological critical care. Dr. Mirski is research editor of several journals and is Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Neurology, and Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins.