Michael E. Wechsler, MD, MMSc

Michael E. Wechsler
Co-Director, The Cohen Family Asthma Institute
Department of Medicine
Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine
  • 5280 Top Doctors 2016
  • Recognized as a 5280 Top Doctor
  • America’s Top Doctors 2015 — Castle Connolly, Medical, Ltd.
  • Recognized in America’s Top Doctors — Castle Connolly, Inc.
  • Best Doctors in America® 2015 — Best Doctors, Inc.
  • Recognized in Best Doctors in America® — Best Doctors, Inc.
  • America’s Top Doctors 2016 — Castle Connolly Medical, Ltd.
  • Special Interests

    My primary research focuses on clinical and translational asthma research, with three main foci of investigation: (i) asthma genetics and personalized medicine; (ii) clinical trials in asthma; and (iii) Churg-Strauss Syndrome. Regarding the genetics of asthma, I have investigated the role of numerous candidate gene polymorphisms in the pathogenesis and management of asthma. I was the Principal Investigator of the Lancet-published, NHLBI-funded Asthma Clinical Research Network’s LARGE trial, which prospectively investigated the effect of beta-adrenergic receptor polymorphisms on the asthmatic response to salmeterol. I also led a recently completed Partners Genetics Enters Medicine Initiative funded trial examining genotype-stratified treatment with anticholinergics vs. beta-agonists (long acting) and exacerbations (GABLE) in asthma (currently undergoing analysis).

    I was a site Principal Investigator examining the effects of a novel therapy for asthma (bronchial thermoplasty) that utilizes thermal energy to disrupt airway smooth muscle and presented study data to the FDA Medical Advisory panel in 2009, leading to its 2010 FDA approval. I was also awarded an NIH sponsored R21 award to examine the effects of placebo on lung function in asthma, and completed this clinical trial work in over 40 subjects. Having reported on the importance of using placebos in clinical trials and on the relevance of patient reported outcomes in clinical trials, my NEJM manuscript has reset the standard for clinical trial design in this condition. I am a member of the Steering Committee of the NIH-sponsored Asthma Clinical Research Network (ACRN, now called Asthmanet), a multi-center asthma clinical trials consortium that has conducted numerous trials that have clarified our understanding of asthma phenotyping and asthma management, laying the foundation for current asthma guidelines. As a member of this consortium, I was the lead investigator who described an association between asthma treatment failures and beta agonist use in African Americans , and am a lead investigator in 2 seprate trials examining race-specific differences in response to asthma therapy.

    A major focus of my research efforts is elucidating the pathophysiology of the Churg-Strauss syndrome, a rare form of eosinophilic vasculitis. I was the first to describe the relationship between CSS and leukotriene modifiers, and between CSS and anti-IgE therapy for asthma . I clinically follow one of the largest cohorts of CSS patients in the country and I serve as a referral base for patients with severe asthma from all over the USA. This expertise, and two research awards, have enabled me to recruit the largest cohort of CSS patients, which are serving as the primary test population in a genome-wide association study of CSS. I have examined the role of anti-IL5 in the treatment of CSS patients and have received NIAID R34 funding to plan a double blind placebo controlled trial in this patient population, that is set to start in 2013.


    Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, MMSc, Master in Medical Science
    McGill University School of Medicine, Montreal, Quebec, MD, Medicine
    Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, AB magna cum laude, Biochemical Science
    West Roxbury VA Medical Center, W. Roxbury, MA, Chief Medical Resident, Internal Medicine
    Beth Israel Hospital, Boston, MA, Intern/Resident, Internal Medicine
    Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA, Harvard Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Fellowship, Research Fellow
    Beth Israel Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, Harvard Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Fellowship, Clinical Fellow

    Awards & Recognition

    Present: Associate Editor, Allergy
    2003: Research Award, Clinical, Merck
    2002: Research Award, American Lung Association
    2001: Young Investigator Special Project Award, Respiratory, Merck
    1999: Young Investigators Meeting (participant), Respiratory, Merck
    1998: Investigator Award, Clinical Research, American College of Chest Physicians, CHEST Foundation
    1993: Campbell Howard Prize, Clinical Medicine, McGill University
    1993: Dr. A Macdonald Award, Medicine, McGill University
    1990: James Q Bliss Prize, Medical Physiology, McGill University
    1986-1989: Dean’s List, Harvard College
    1986-1989: Harvard College Scholarship, Harvard College
    Ad hoc reviewer:
    New England Journal of Medicine
    American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
    American Journal of Respiratory Cellular Molecular Biology
    American Journal of Medicine
    Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
    Drug Safety
    The Pharmacogenomics Journal
    Nature Clinical Practice
    Respiratory Care Journal
    Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine
    European Respiratory Journal
    Revista Portuguesa de Pneumologia, Portuguese Journal of Pulmonology
    The Medical Letter
    Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine
    The Lancet
    Arthritis and Rheumatism

    Board Certification

    1999 (Recertified 2009): Diplomate, Subspecialty of Critical Care Medicine, American Board of Internal Medicine
    1998 (Recertified 2009): Diplomate, Subspecialty of Pulmonary Disease, American Board of Internal Medicine
    1996: Diplomate, American Board of Internal Medicine

    Professional Memberships

    2012-present: Member, American Society for Clinical Investigation
    2012-present: Member, International Eosinophil Society
    1993-present: Member, Massachusetts Medical Society
    2002-2005: Member, American Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology
    1996-2000: Member, American College of Chest Physicians
    1993-1999: Member, American Medical Association


    Wechsler ME, Shah P, Niven R, Thomson N, Rubin A, Fiterman J, Lapa JR, Laviolette M, Olivenstein R, Hales JB, Shifren A, Cox G, Shargill NS, Armstrong B, Castro M for the AIR2 Trial Study Group. Benefits of Bronchial Thermoplasty Persist Out to 5 Years in Patients with Severe Asthma. ATS 2013

    Wechsler ME, Kelley JM, Boyd IOE, Dutile S, Marigowda G, Kirsch I, Israel E Kaptchuk TJ. Active or Placebo Albuterol, Sham Acupuncture or No Treatment in Asthma. New Engl J Med 2011 365(2):119-126.(PMID: 21751905)

    Wechsler ME, Castro M, Lehman E, Chinchilli V, Rand Sutherland E, Denlinger L, Lazarus SC, Peters SP, Israel E, the NHLBI Asthma Clinical Research Network.  Impact of race on asthma treatment failures in the Asthma Clinical Research Network. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2011 184:1247-1253.  (PMID: 21885625)

    Castro M, Rubin A, Laviolette M, Hanania NA, Armstrong B, Cox G; AIR2 Trial Study Group*.  Persistence of effectiveness of bronchial thermoplasty in patients with severe asthma.  Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2011 Jul;107(1):65-70. Epub 2011 Apr 14 (PMID: 21496892)

    Castro M, Rubin AS, Laviolette M, Fiterman J, Lima M, Shah PL, Fiss E, Olivenstein R, Thomson NC, Niven RM, Pavord ID, Simoff M, Duhamel DR, McEvoy C, Barbers R, ten Hacken NHT, Wechsler ME, Holmes M, Phillips MJ, Erzurum S, Lunn W, Israel E, Jarjour N, Kraft M, Berry SM, Quiring J, Shargill NS, Cox G. Effectiveness and safety of bronchial thermoplasty in the treatment of severe asthma:  A multicenter, randomized, double-blinded, sham-controlled clinical trial.  Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. 2010;181(2):116-24 (PMCID: PMC2914569)

    Castro M, Wechsler ME, Cox G. Bronchial thermoplasty is safe and effective for patients with severe asthma.  Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. 2010;182(12): p. 1565-1567

    Hales J, Wechsler ME, Niven N, Prys-Picard C, Castro M, Cox G. Patient Selection for Bronchial Thermoplasty (BT) Following FDA Approval: Lessons Learned from Multiple Clinical Trials. ACAAI 2010

    Kim S, Oren E, Marigowda G, Israel E, Wechsler ME. Mepolizumab as a steroid sparing agent in Churg-Strauss syndrome. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2010; 125(6):1336-43 (PMCID: PMC2964431).

    Wechsler ME, Kunselman SJ, Chinchilli VM, Bleecker E, Boushey HA, Calhoun WJ, Ameredes BT, Castro M, Craig TJ, Denlinger L, Fahy JV, Jarjour N, Kazani S, Kim S, Kraft M, Lazarus SC, Lemanske Jr RF, Markezich A, Martin RJ, Permaul P, Peters SP, Ramsdell J, Sorkness CA, Sutherland ER, Szefler SJ, Walter MJ, Wasserman S, Israel E.  Effect of beta2-adrenergic receptor polymorphism on response to long acting beta2 agonist in asthma (LARGE trial): a genotype-stratified, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trial.  The Lancet.  2009; 374(9703):1754-64. (PMCID: PMC2914569)

    Wechsler M, Olivenstein R, Niven R, Pavord I, for the AIR2 Study Group. Reduction in Asthma-Related ER Visits and Hospitalizations Following Bronchial Thermoplasty (BT) in Patients with Severe, Symptomatic Asthma. Am J Respir Crit Care Med /ATS 2009

    Wechsler ME. Bronchial thermoplasty for asthma: a critical review of a new therapy. Allergy Asthma Proc. 2008; 29(4):365-70

    Hospital Affiliations

    • Colorado Acute Long Term Hospital
    • Rose Medical Center
    • St. Joseph Hospital - Denver
    • Swedish Medical Center

    Website Information

    Asthma Program

    Conflicts of Interest

    National Jewish Health physicians and scientists may collaborate with pharmaceutical or other industries to develop medical and scientific breakthroughs or to provide education on trends in quality medical practice and outcomes to physicians and health professionals around the country. National Jewish Health maintains a strict conflict of interest policy to ensure that all potential conflicts are clearly visible and that management plans are put in place in order to further innovation and education while ensuring the protection of our patients and the integrity of our research. National Jewish Health publicly discloses any payment to our physicians or scientists. View this faculty member’s industry relationships and collaborations.

    Contact Information

    • Office: 877.225.5654
    • Fax: 303.398.1780
    • Email: WechslerM@njhealth.org



    • National Jewish Health Main Campus
      1400 Jackson St.
      Denver, CO 80206

    • Saint Joseph Hospital
      1835 Franklin Street Denver, CO 80218

    Patient Ratings

    The Patient Rating score is an average of all responses to care provider related questions on our independent rating system, the Press Ganey Patient Satisfaction Survey.

    Responses are measured on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best score. Learn more about our patient satisfaction survey.


    Recommended to others

    Explanation of problem/condition

    Shows concerns for your questions

    Includes you in decisions

    Spoke using clear language

    Amount of time spent with you

    Confidence in your doctor


    Comments are collected in our Press Ganey Patient Satisfaction Surveys. Patients are de-identified to protect confidentiality and patient privacy. Learn more about our patient satisfaction survey.

    National Jewish Health PatientMay, 2016
    Twice a year, we've travel to Denver (NJH) for medical care. Dr. Wechsler is an outstanding physician. He has outstanding bedside manners, knowledgeable, and through. Although I've had to wait longer than 15 minutes for my appointment, during my appointments, Dr. Wechsler has NEVER rushed me/us through our appointments, he always gave us his undivided attention. With that, we don't mind waiting at all because he's worth the wait and once in the exam room, I/we will have his undivided attention. As healthcare providers ourselves, my husband and I have been impressed by the staff we've had contact with (particularly Dr. Wechsler's staff Ashley and Robyn) as well as the efficiency of NJH from the time you walk through the front door. We now find ourselves comparing our experiences at other facilities to that of NJH-you have definitely set the bar high! I have always felt the patient's experience is of utmost importance and search for ways to make improvements, my experiences at NJH motivates me to do just that. I truly hope the hard work and dedication of the front line or core of the organization (like Ashley, Robyn, and Dr. Wechsler) is appreciated because they do an outstanding job! Employees like these are the heart of the organization and the reason we make the 4000 mile trek.

    National Jewish Health PatientMay, 2016
    There are no words for the thankfulness I have for Dr Wechsler. He has literally and metaphorically saved my life.

    National Jewish Health PatientFebruary, 2016
    *Dr. Wechsler was called in on short notice due to outside pulm. group confusion. He was available quickly and spent two hours reviewing my unusual case with me. I was very impressed with treatment.

    National Jewish Health PatientJanuary, 2016
    This was my first visit. It went well and will get better once I get to know the provider better.