Neuroimmunology Clinical and Basic Research Fellowships

Two fellowship types (or hybrids) are available to selected neurologists and PhD scientists to equip them for an academic career: 1. Clinical, with formal training in biostatistics, clinical trial design, epidemiology, ethics of human research, etc. and the opportunity to obtain Master of Science in Clinical Investigation Degree; 2. Basic research in neuroimmunology.

Neuroimmunology Fellowships

The Department of Neurology and the Neuroimmunology Section offer two different types of post-doctoral Fellowships. The goal of each is to provide clinical training and research opportunities to selected neurologists and PhD scientists to equip them for a career in neuroimmunology. The duration is typically 2-3 years.

All fellows will be assigned one, and occasionally two, faculty mentors.

One type of fellowship available involves basic research (usually laboratory-based research), in which the Fellow will undertake a research project with a defined hypothesis and goals, determined by the mutual interests of both the Fellow and the mentor. The Fellow will work in the laboratory of the mentor, and will be given guidance on the research project from the faculty member. Projects may involve human studies, studies using animal models, imaging studies, or all.

Another type of fellowship program is aimed at equipping the neurology-trained MD Fellow for a career in clinical trials with emphasis on demyelinating diseases. This Fellow will have completed neurology residency, and will participate actively in at least one ongoing clinical trial. In addition, the Fellow will take formal courses in Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and will be expected to plan a clinical trial, including the methodologies for performing the trial and analyzing the results. Our faculty are affiliated with the Washington University CRTC, and the clinical fellow will have the opportunity to obtain the Master of Science in Clinical Investigation degree as part of the training.

The neurologist Fellow participating in either type of fellowship training will spend some time in the Clinic, where the Fellow will undertake clinical training in the diagnosis and management of multiple sclerosis patients, and patients with related diseases such as neuromyelitis optica (NMO).

Didactic teaching will involve journal clubs, immunology seminars, lab meetings, and formalized patient care meetings which occur on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. The Fellow may also may elect to take or audit graduate level immunology courses and neuroscience courses.

The Neuroimmunology Section of the Department of Neurology at Washington University actively cares for ~2000 patients with multiple sclerosis, as well as other patients with related diseases including recurrent optic neuritis, transverse myelitis, NMO, CNS lupus, and CNS vasculitides. The Section consists of five MD faculty, several post-doctoral Fellows, graduate students, and numerous technologists and technicians. Our faculty members are presently funded by research grants from the National Institutes of Health, National MS Society, Dana Foundation, and U.S. Dept of Defense. The section currently employs a full-time nurse, three full-time clinical coordinators, and an administrative assistant. Research within the Neuroimmunology Section extends from the culture dish to human clinical trials.

Anne H. Cross, MD
Neuroimmunology Section Head