Peter M. Cummings, MD

Assistant Professor, Anatomy & Neurobiology

Peter Cummings
72 E. Concord St Housman (R)


Dr. Peter Cummings is an Assistant Professor of Anatomy & Neurobiology with the Boston University School of Medicine. Previously, Dr. Cummings worked as a Forensic Pathologist and Staff Medical Examiner at Massachusetts Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME). He is Board certified in Anatomic Pathology and Neuropathology and was the Director of the Neuropathology Service at the OCME. He has taught at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and at the University of Maine. Dr. Cummings was a NASA astronaut candidate finalist for 2009 and was a member of the identification teams for the World Trade Center and the Swissair Flight 111 crash.

Dr. Cummings completed his Forensic Pathology fellowship with the OCME in Boston and his Pathology residency training at the University of Virginia. He received his Medical degree in Forensic Pathology from Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland, and he earned his Master’s degree in Pathology from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Dr. Cummings maintains an active research position investigating the effects of cosmic radiation on astrocyte activation and response of retinal glial cells to space flight. In addition, he also conducts research investigating the forensic implications of pediatric head trauma. He has developed patent-pending technology using real time 3D imaging to detect concussion on the playing field. He has authored two textbooks: ‘The Atlas of Forensic Histopathology’ (Cambridge University Press 2010) and ‘Pearls and Pitfalls of Pediatric Death Investigation’ (Cambridge University Press in production, expected publication Spring 2016). In his spare time, Dr. Cummings has authored two fiction novels ‘The Neuropathology of Zombies’ and ‘The Seven Stars’. He has appeared in two NOVA television programs ‘Can Science Stop Crime’ (October 2012) and ‘Cold Case JFK’ (November 2013) and has been featured in People Magazine ‘Cold Case Comes to Life’ (April 2009).


  • Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, MD
  • Dalhousie University, MSc
  • University of Maine, BA


  • Published on 2/2/2018

    Farah G, Siwek D, Cummings P. Tau accumulations in the brains of woodpeckers. PLoS One. 2018; 13(2):e0191526. PMID: 29394252.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 3/8/2016

    Muehlenbachs A, Bollweg BC, Schulz TJ, Forrester JD, DeLeon Carnes M, Molins C, Ray GS, Cummings PM, Ritter JM, Blau DM, Andrew TA, Prial M, Ng DL, Prahlow JA, Sanders JH, Shieh WJ, Paddock CD, Schriefer ME, Mead P, Zaki SR. Cardiac Tropism of Borrelia burgdorferi: An Autopsy Study of Sudden Cardiac Death Associated with Lyme Carditis. Am J Pathol. 2016 May; 186(5):1195-205. PMID: 26968341.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 6/1/2013

    Edlow BL, Haynes RL, Takahashi E, Klein JP, Cummings P, Benner T, Greer DM, Greenberg SM, Wu O, Kinney HC, Folkerth RD. Disconnection of the ascending arousal system in traumatic coma. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2013 Jun; 72(6):505-23. PMID: 23656993.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/1/2010

    Sutton JT, Cummings PM, Ross GW, Lopes MB. Sudden death of a 7-year-old boy due to undiagnosed glioblastoma. Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2010 Sep; 31(3):278-80. PMID: 20606573.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 4/1/2009

    Huang L, Smith A, Cummings P, Kendall EJ, Obenaus A. Neuroimaging assessment of memory-related brain structures in a rat model of acute space-like radiation. J Magn Reson Imaging. 2009 Apr; 29(4):785-92. PMID: 19306400.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/19/2007

    Cummings PM, Le BH, Lopes MB. Postmortem findings in morbidly obese individuals dying after gastric bypass procedures. Hum Pathol. 2007 Apr; 38(4):593-7. PMID: 17239934.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/1/2007

    Cummings PM, Obenaus A, Heffron D, Nelson G, Mandell JW. High-energy (HZE) Radiation Exposure Causes Delayed Axonal Degeneration and Astrogliosis in the Central Nervous System of Mice. J of Grav Space Biol. 2007; 20(20):89-91.

  • Published on 12/1/2000

    Title LM, Cummings PM, Giddens K, Nassar BA. Oral glucose loading acutely attenuates endothelium-dependent vasodilation in healthy adults without diabetes: an effect prevented by vitamins C and E. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2000 Dec; 36(7):2185-91. PMID: 11127459.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/1/2000

    Title LM, Cummings PM, Giddens K, Genest JJ, Nassar BA. Effect of folic acid and antioxidant vitamins on endothelial dysfunction in patients with coronary artery disease. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2000 Sep; 36(3):758-65. PMID: 10987596.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/1/1999

    Cummings PM. Oxidative Stress and Endothelial Dysfunction in the Development of Coronary Artery Disease. Master’s Thesis. Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. 1999.

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