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Claudia Lucchinetti, M.D., Ph.D.

Scientific Advisory Board

Mayo Clinic

Department Chair, Neurology
Dean, Clinical and Translational Science
Director, Lucchinetti Lab

Claudia F. Lucchinetti, M.D., is a recognized international expert who investigates the clinical and neuropathological underpinnings of the broad spectrum of central nervous system (CNS) inflammatory demyelinating disorders, including multiple sclerosis (MS), neuromyelitis optica (NMO), myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibody-associated disease (MOGAD), acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, and Balo’s concentric sclerosis.

Her laboratory relies on cutting-edge experimental neuropathological and imaging techniques, including Fourier Transmission Infrared Microscopy and X-ray-fluorescence imaging; as well as tissue-based transcriptomics and proteomics approaches to characterize tissue injury. These approaches are correlated to clinical and imaging biomarkers, including 7T in vivo as well as ex vivo imaging.

Her laboratory has been continuously funded since 2000 with support from the National MS Society, National Institute of Health and Department of Defense.

Dr. Lucchinetti’s research contributions include a landmark study describing four distinct patterns of tissue damage in early active MS, suggesting that MS lesions are formed differently among different patient subgroups. This work has major clinical and therapeutic implications, and suggest that therapies should be individualized based on pathological subtype.

She was the first to propose that neuromyelitis optica was an autoimmune disease targeting a perivascular antigen. Subsequent collaborative studies confirmed the presence of a circulating pathogenic antibody against aquaporin-4 water channel, concentrated in astrocytic end feed in the perivascular space. Her foundational studies on the important role for complement-mediated injury contributed to the Mayo Clinic-led clinical trial of eculizumab, a C5a inhibitor, which became the first FDA-approved treatment for neuromyelitis optica.

Dr. Lucchinetti also led ground-breaking research describing for the first-time evidence for inflammatory cortical demyelination in early MS. She was the first to propose that MS is a disease that progresses from the outermost layers of the brain (i.e., subarachnoid space and cortex), before extending into the deeper white matter regions. This work has provided novel insights into the sequence and timing of nervous system damaging event in MS, which has led to novel imaging biomarkers of the disease, as well as a therapeutic focus on cortical damage in MS.

She authors expert content and publishes in high-impact scientific journals, which includes more than 200 peer-reviewed articles, with an h-index of 87.