Claudia Lucchinetti, M.D.

Scientific Advisory Board

Dean, Dell Medical School, The University of Texas at Austin
Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin
Frank and Charmaine Denius Distinguished Dean’s Chair in Medical Leadership
Claudia F. Lucchinetti, M.D., serves as dean of Dell Medical School and senior vice president for medical affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. In these roles, she oversees Dell Med’s work in education, research and clinical care, including operations at UT Health Austin, Dell Med’s clinical practice, and leads the university’s comprehensive health care strategy. She also holds the Frank and Charmaine Denius Distinguished Dean’s Chair in Medical Leadership.
A neurologist with specialization in neuroimmunology and experimental neuropathy, she is an internationally recognized expert in the clinical and neuropathological underpinnings of the broad spectrum of inflammatory demyelinating diseases, including multiple sclerosis, neuromyelitis optica and MOG antibody associated disease.
Prior to joining Dell Medical School, Lucchinetti served at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where she was dean of clinical and translational science and director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Science. She also served as chair of the Department of Neurology and chair of the neurology enterprise subspecialty council, where she oversaw strategic and operational responsibilities across Mayo Clinic sites nationwide. She was the Eugene and Marcia Applebaum Professor of Neurosciences at Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine, where she remains a professor of neurology. Additionally, she served on the Mayo Clinic Board of Governors and Board of Trustees.
She earned her medical degree from Rush Medical College in Chicago and, after an internship at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center, completed a neurology residency and a fellowship in neuroimmunology at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. As a Mayo Foundation Scholar, she trained in experimental neuropathology with Hans Lassmann, M.D., at the Brain Research Institute in Vienna, Austria.

Lucchinetti’s research contributions include a landmark study describing four patterns of tissue damage in early multiple sclerosis; it suggested that MS lesions form differently among patient subgroups. This work markedly refined medicine’s understanding of the disease, indicating the potential for individualized therapy based on pathological subtype.

Following paradigm-changing research that found evidence for early inflammatory cortical damage in MS, Lucchinetti was the first to propose that the disease progresses from the outermost layers of the brain before extending into deeper regions. As a result, scientists and physicians better understand the sequence and timing of damage to the nervous system resulting from MS, leading to novel imaging biomarkers of the disease and new treatment strategies.
She was also first to propose that based on pathology, neuromyelitis optica, a condition where the immune system damages the spinal cord and the nerves of the eyes, was an antibody-mediated disease targeting the perivascular space and, with a team of Mayo collaborators led by Vanda Lennon, M.D., identified the first biomarker targeting the water channel expressed on astrocytes, a subtype of glial cells. These and subsequent studies have reshaped our understanding of neuromyelitis optica and its relationship to MS and opened a field of research into the roles of astrocytes in the central nervous system.

Lucchinetti has been the recipient of significant research grant funding from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and the U.S. Department of Defense. She is also on the Council of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2016 John Dystel Prize for MS Research.

To date, she has authored more than 220 peer-reviewed articles, with an h-index of 88.