Skip to main content

Inna Belfer, M.D., Ph.D.

Deputy Branch Chief, Basic and Mechanistic Research in Complementary and Integrative Health Branch

Program Director, Division of Extramural Research

Inna Belfer, M.D., Ph.D.

Phone: 301-435-1573


Inna Belfer, M.D., Ph.D., is deputy branch chief for the Basic and Mechanistic Research Branch at the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). She joined NCCIH as a program director in 2018. As deputy branch chief, Dr. Belfer assists Dr. Wen Chen in coordinating NCCIH’s mechanistic and translational studies funding opportunities. Dr. Belfer also serves as the NCCIH R13 conference grant coordinator and provides oversight and direction for part of the NCCIH pain portfolio, with a focus on mechanisms underlying the effects of mind and body approaches and natural products on pain management. Dr. Belfer also leads research programs related to neural mechanisms of meditative movement practices such as yoga, tai chi, and qigong; complementary approaches to pain related to sickle cell disease; and modulation of the glymphatics brain clearance system with complementary interventions. 

Dr. Belfer currently participates in several National Institutes of Health (NIH)-wide activities, including the NIH Pain Consortium and the NIH Common Fund pain project. She is NCCIH representative on the Joint National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and NCCIH Data Access Committee for data access oversight for genomic studies in the database of Genotypes and Phenotypes (dbGaP) or other controlled-access NIH databases. In addition, she serves as NCCIH liaison for the United States Association for the Study of Pain (USASP) Special Interest Group on Complementary and Integrative Health.

Dr. Belfer earned her medical degree from the Moscow Medical University (clinical neurology) and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Hebrew University (neurobiology). Prior to joining NCCIH, Dr. Belfer worked as a staff scientist in the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research intramural program (with Dr. Mitchell Max); an associate professor of anesthesiology and human genetics and director of the molecular epidemiology of pain program at the University of Pittsburgh; a clinical reviewer for novel analgesics at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; and a health scientist administrator at the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health. She has published on the relationship between gene polymorphisms and complex phenotypes such as pain, psychiatric disorders, and addictions; biobehavioral aspects of acute and chronic pain; and phenomics of human pain. Her articles have appeared in Science, Cell, Nature Medicine, Nature Neuroscience, Pain, and Brain, among other journals. 

Dr. Belfer's Blog Posts