Sean Pittock, MB, MMed Sci, M.D., is a consultant in the Department of Neurology and has a joint appointment in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology. He holds the academic rank of professor of neurology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. He currently serves as director of the Neuroimmunology Laboratory and is the Marilyn A. Park and Moon S. Park, M.D., Director of the Center for Multiple Sclerosis and Autoimmune Neurology. In 2006, he set up the Autoimmune Neurology Clinic at the Mayo Clinic, the first dedicated Clinic of its type in the USA.
This Clinic provides a multidisciplinary approach to the evaluation and treatment of patients with a broad range of autoimmune neurological disorders considered "rare orphan diseases". These disorders have often been misdiagnosed as untreatable neurodegenerative diseases; but are, in fact, responsive to immunotherapy and reversible. Dr Pittock's research is translational, and is focused on 1) the identification of novel biomarkers of autoimmune neurological diseases, 2) the clinical application of laboratory-based tests in diagnosis and outcome prediction for patients with autoimmune neurological disorders and 3) optimizing the clinical management of autoimmune neurological disorders. His recent work has focused on the diagnostic characteristics and immunotherapy outcomes of patients with autoimmune CNS demyelinating disorders (targets include aquaporin-4), dementias (target includes voltage-gated potassium channels), epilepsies (targets include NMDA receptors) and gastrointestinal dysmotility (targets include ganglionic acetylcholine receptors).
This unique translational practice extending the laboratory's serologic findings directly to the bedside has allowed the creation of diagnostic decision trees which will optimize triaging of such patients for further phenotype analysis and biomarker discovery. He is currently Vice Chair of the section for Autoimmune Neurology at the AAN. He is actively involved in educational courses at both national (American Academy of Neurology, American Neurological Association) and international (World Congress of Neurology) meetings.