Dr. Kwon joined the Stanford Pain Medicine faculty in 2021. He is board-certified in Anesthesiology, Pain Medicine, and board-eligible in General Pediatrics. His clinical focus is in chronic pain care transition from adolescence to adulthood. Collaborating with a multidisciplinary team and leveraging digital health solutions, he is building the Stanford Adolescent and Young Adult Pain Program to bridge the Pediatric Pain Management Program at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford and the Stanford Pain Management Center at Stanford Hospital and Clinics.

Dr. Kwon completed his B.S. degree in Biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA. As an undergraduate student, he pursued bone tissue engineering and stem cell research within the MIT Langer Lab and drug delivery research within the Laboratory for Biomaterials and Drug Delivery at Boston Children's Hospital. He then received his medical degree at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology. As a medical student, he did research in neuroengineering and optogenetics in the MIT Media Lab. He completed a combined residency in Pediatrics and Anesthesiology at Boston Children's Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital and a fellowship in Pain Medicine at Stanford Hospital.

With his diverse research background in various engineering fields, he continues to collaborate with colleagues across academia and industry in medical device and technology development. During the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic and when a critical shortage of ICU ventilators was looming in the United States, he co-led the clinical team for the MIT Emergency Ventilator project (, which published an open-source reference design for converting any manual resuscitator bag into a basic ventilator. This open-source reference design has given rise to multiple spin-off ventilator designs across the globe and continues to save countless patient lives in countries where limited critical care resources are available. Dr. Kwon is interested in building more resilient critical care healthcare systems leveraging technology that is actually designed to meet the infrastructural challenges in developing countries.

Academic Appointments

  • Clinical Assistant Professor, Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine

Professional Education

  • M.D., Harvard Medical School - MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Medicine (2013)
  • B.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Biology (2008)


  • Edward S. Boyden, Brian Y. Chow, Xue Han, Xiaofeng Qian, Nathan Cao Klapoetke, Albert Hyukjae Kwon. "United States Patent 12714436 Light-Activated Proton Pumps and Applications Thereof", Massachusetts Institute of Technology

All Publications

  • Cervical erector spinae plane block: is it feasible for cervical spine surgeries? Regional anesthesia and pain medicine Kwon, A. H., Xu, J. L. 2021; 46 (6): 552-553

    View details for DOI 10.1136/rapm-2020-101807

    View details for PubMedID 32900983

  • MIT Emergency-Vent: An Automated Resuscitator Bag for the COVID-19 Crisis. Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Annual International Conference Ort, T., Hanumara, N., Antonini, A., Araki, B., Abu-Khalaf, M., Detienne, M., Hagan, D., Jung, K., Ramirez, A., Shaligram, S., Unger, C., Kwon, A., Slocum, A., Nabzdyk, C., Varelmann, D., Connor, J., Rus, D., Slocum, A. 2021; 2021: 4998-5004


    MIT's Emergency-Vent Project was launched in March 2020 to develop safe guidance and a reference design for a bridge ventilator that could be rapidly produced in a distributed manner worldwide. The system uses a novel servo-based robotic gripper to automate the squeezing of a manual resuscitator bag evenly from both sides to provide ventilation according to clinically specified parameters. In just one month, the team designed and built prototype ventilators, tested them in a series of porcine trials, and collaborated with industry partners to enable mass production. We released the design, including mechanical drawings, design spreadsheets, circuit diagrams, and control code into an open source format and assisted production efforts worldwide.Clinical relevance- This work demonstrated the viability of automating the compression of a manual resuscitator bag, with pressure feedback, to provide bridge ventilation support.

    View details for DOI 10.1109/EMBC46164.2021.9630882

    View details for PubMedID 34892330

  • Anesthesiologists Wake Up! It Is Time for Research and Innovative Medical Entrepreneurism. The journal of education in perioperative medicine : JEPM Kwon, A. H., Varelmann, D., Karamnov, S., Slocum, A. H., Pradhan-Nabzdyk, L. K., Xu, J. L., Mauermann, W. J., Brown, D. R., Mantilla, C. B., Nabzdyk, C. G. 2021; 23 (1): E657

    View details for DOI 10.46374/volxxiii_issue1_nabzdyk

    View details for PubMedID 33778102

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7983186

  • Rapidly scalable mechanical ventilator for the COVID-19 pandemic INTENSIVE CARE MEDICINE Kwon, A. H., Slocum, A. H., Varelmann, D., Nabzdyk, C. S., MIT E-Vent Team 2020; 46 (8): 1642-1644

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s00134-020-06113-3

    View details for Web of Science ID 000543295600002

    View details for PubMedID 32588066

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7314912

  • Genetics and Gender in Acute Pain and Perioperative Opioid Analgesia. Anesthesiology clinics Kwon, A. H., Flood, P. 2020; 38 (2): 341–55


    Experimental and clinical acute pain research in relation to biological sex and genetics started in the 1980s. Research methods became more powerful and sensitive with the advancement in affordable gene sequencing methods and high-throughput genetic assays. Decades of research has identified several potential pharmaceutical targets, providing insights into future research direction, and understanding of acute pain and opioid analgesic effects in the clinical setting. However, there is insufficient evidence to make generalized recommendations for using genetic tests for clinical practice of acute pain management.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.anclin.2020.01.003

    View details for PubMedID 32336388

  • Other Specialties Might Have a GPS ANESTHESIA AND ANALGESIA Kwon, A. H., Nabzdyk, C. S. 2017; 125 (6): 2164-2165

    View details for DOI 10.1213/ANE.0000000000002485

    View details for Web of Science ID 000418587700052

    View details for PubMedID 28930933

  • Why Anesthesiologists Could and Should Become the Next Leaders in Innovative Medical Entrepreneurism ANESTHESIA AND ANALGESIA Kwon, A. H., Marshall, Z. J., Nabzdyk, C. S. 2017; 124 (3): 998-1004

    View details for DOI 10.1213/ANE.0000000000001793

    View details for Web of Science ID 000394260100045

    View details for PubMedID 28151812

  • A 10-Month-Old With Intermittent Hypotonia and Paralysis PEDIATRICS Beinvogl, B. C., Rosman, N. P., Baumer, F. M., Rodan, L. H., Forster, C. S., Kwon, A. H., Berry, G. T. 2016; 138 (1)


    A 10-month-old boy presented with a 1-day history of flaccid quadriplegia and dysconjugate gaze. His history was remarkable for stereotyped episodes of flaccid quadriplegia or hemiplegia, oculomotor abnormalities, and limb or neck posturing, beginning in the first days of life and becoming more frequent and more prolonged over time. The patient was healthy and developmentally normal between episodes. Results of extensive laboratory evaluations, including EEG and brain imaging studies, were negative. The patient's history, diagnostic evaluation, and final diagnosis are reviewed. This case illustrates the importance of a fundamental understanding of neurologic localization in pediatric care and a focused diagnostic approach to an infant with paroxysmal neurologic signs.

    View details for DOI 10.1542/peds.2015-1896

    View details for Web of Science ID 000378853100004

    View details for PubMedID 27252036

  • Multivesicular liposomal bupivacaine at the sciatic nerve BIOMATERIALS McAlvin, J., Padera, R. F., Shankarappa, S. A., Reznor, G., Kwon, A. H., Chiang, H. H., Yang, J., Kohane, D. S. 2014; 35 (15): 4557-4564


    Clinical translation of sustained release formulations for local anesthetics has been limited by adverse tissue reaction. Exparel™ (DepoFoam bupivacaine) is a new liposomal local anesthetic formulation whose biocompatibility near nerve tissue is not well characterized. Exparel™ injection caused sciatic nerve blockade in rats lasting 240 min compared to 120 min for 0.5% (w/v) bupivacaine HCl and 210 min for 1.31% (w/v) bupivacaine HCl (same bupivacaine content as Exparel™). On histologic sections four days after injection, median inflammation scores in the Exparel™ group (2.5 of 4) were slightly higher than in groups treated with bupivacaine solutions (score 2). Myotoxicity scores in the Exparel™ group (2.5 of 6) were similar to in the 0.5% (w/v) bupivacaine HCl group (3), but significantly less than in the 1.31% (w/v) bupivacaine HCl group (5). After two weeks, inflammation from Exparel™ (score 2 of 6) was greater than from 0.5% (w/v) bupivacaine HCl (1) and similar to that from 1.31% (w/v) bupivacaine HCl (1). Myotoxicity in all three groups was not statistically significantly different. No neurotoxicity was detected in any group. Tissue reaction to Exparel™ was similar to that of 0.5% (w/v) bupivacaine HCl. Surveillance for local tissue injury will be important during future clinical evaluation.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.02.015

    View details for Web of Science ID 000334819800015

    View details for PubMedID 24612918

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3999413

  • Synthetic Ligand-Coated Magnetic Nanoparticles for Microfluidic Bacterial Separation from Blood NANO LETTERS Lee, J., Jeong, K., Hashimoto, M., Kwon, A. H., Rwei, A., Shankarappa, S. A., Tsui, J. H., Kohane, D. S. 2014; 14 (1): 1-5

    View details for DOI 10.1021/nl3047305

    View details for Web of Science ID 000329586700001

  • Zn-DPA functionalized magnetic nanoparticles for selective microfluidic filtration of pathogens from blood Lee, J., Jeong, K., Hashimoto, M., Kwon, A. H., Rwei, A., Shankarappa, S. A., Tsui, J. H., Langer, R., Kohane, D. S. AMER CHEMICAL SOC. 2013
  • Prolonged duration local anesthesia with minimal toxicity (vol 106, pg 7125, 2009) PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Epstein-Barash, H., Shichor, I., Kwon, A. H., Hall, S., Lawlor, M. W., Langer, R., Kohane, D. S. 2011; 108 (10): 4264
  • Prolonged duration local anesthesia with minimal toxicity PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Epstein-Barash, H., Shichor, I., Kwon, A. H., Hall, S., Lawlor, M. W., Langer, R., Kohane, D. S. 2009; 106 (17): 7125-7130


    Injectable local anesthetics that would last for many days could have a marked impact on periprocedural care and pain management. Formulations have often been limited in duration of action, or by systemic toxicity, local tissue toxicity from local anesthetics, and inflammation. To address those issues, we developed liposomal formulations of saxitoxin (STX), a compound with ultrapotent local anesthetic properties but little or no cytotoxicity. In vitro, the release of bupivacaine and STX from liposomes depended on the lipid composition and on whether dexamethasone was incorporated. In cell culture, bupivacaine, but not STX, was myotoxic (to C2C12 cells) and neurotoxic (to PC12 cells) in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. Liposomal formulations containing combinations of the above compounds produced sciatic nerve blockade lasting up to 7.5 days (with STX + dexamethasone liposomes) in male Sprague-Dawley rats. Systemic toxicity only occurred where high loadings of dexamethasone increased the release of liposomal STX. Mild myotoxicity was only seen in formulations containing bupivacaine. There was no nerve injury on Epon-embedded sections, and these liposomes did not up-regulate the expression of 4 genes associated with nerve injury in the dorsal root ganglia. These results suggest that controlled release of STX and similar compounds can provide very prolonged nerve blocks with minimal systemic and local toxicity.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.0900598106

    View details for Web of Science ID 000265584500047

    View details for PubMedID 19365067

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2678453

  • Cultivation of human embryonic stem cells without the embryoid body step enhances osteogenesis in vitro STEM CELLS Karp, J. M., Ferreira, L. S., Khademhosseini, A., Kwon, A. H., Yeh, J., Langer, R. S. 2006; 24 (4): 835-843


    Osteogenic cultures of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are predominately derived from three-dimensional cell spheroids called embryoid bodies (EBs). An alternative method that has been attempted and merits further attention avoids EBs through the immediate separation of ESC colonies into single cells. However, this method has not been well characterized and the effect of omitting the EB step is unknown. Herein, we report that culturing human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) without the EB stage leads to a sevenfold greater number of osteogenic cells and to spontaneous bone nodule formation after 10-12 days. In contrast, when hESCs were differentiated as EBs for 5 days followed by plating of single cells, bone nodules formed after 4 weeks only in the presence of dexamethasone. Furthermore, regardless of the inclusion of EBs, bone matrix formed, including cement line matrix and mineralized collagen, which displayed apatitic mineral (PO4) with calcium-to-phosphorous ratios similar to those of hydroxyapatite and human bone. Together these results demonstrate that culturing hESCs without an EB step can be used to derive large quantities of functional osteogenic cells for bone tissue engineering.

    View details for DOI 10.1634/stemcells.2005-0383

    View details for Web of Science ID 000240636300006

    View details for PubMedID 16253980

  • Design of a compact, battery powered, and fiber optic controlled Remotely Operated Vehicle Brundage, H. M., Aquing, M., Cooney, L., Downey, B., Huo, E., Kwon, A., Stanway, M., Stefanov-Wagner, T., Stiehl, K., Walker, D. IEEE. 2005: 772-777
  • A novel actuated tether desian for rescue robots using hydraulic transients 2004 IEEE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ROBOTICS AND AUTOMATION, VOLS 1- 5, PROCEEDINGS Perrin, D. P., Kwon, A., Howe, R. D. 2004: 3482-3487