The University of Maryland Center for Multiple Sclerosis is recognized for the design and conduct of clinical trials in multiple sclerosis, comprehensive care of MS patients at all stages of their disease, and the conduct of basic science and clinical research to better understand the pathogenesis of MS. The Center cares for one-third of the MS population in the state of Maryland and approximately 1200 patient visits occur annually.

Care is provided in an ambulatory center at the University of Maryland Medical Center and at the Baltimore VA Medical Center, home of the Multiple Sclerosis Center of Excellence – East. Comprehensive care is provided; this includes diagnostic and second opinion consultation for ambulatory patients, hospitalization for seriously ill patients, and rehabilitative care. 

The clinical trials program has been very successful and the center is credited for playing a major role in the development of Betaseron and Glatiramer acetate for the treatment of MS. A number of industry sponsored clinical trials and peer-reviewed, MS-related grants from the NIH, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the VA Research Service are active in order to specifically seek better treatments and a better understanding of the pathogenesis of MS.

Description of Program

The program enables trainees to become independent investigators in the conduct of basic and clinical research in the broad field of MS. The fellowship consists of four interrelated components:

  • Clinical care: Clinical training occurs through mentor-supervised clinical encounters at the University of Maryland Medical Center and the Baltimore VA Medical Center. This includes both ambulatory and inpatient visits. Over the course of the fellowship, the fellow will be trained in the comprehensive evaluation and management of patients with multiple sclerosis and other neuroimmunologic syndromes (i.e. neuromyelitis optica, neurosarcoidosis, autoimmune encephalitis). This includes experience in the management of relapses, progressive disease, MS-related symptoms, and in identifying the appropriate choice of therapy for each disease stage.
  • Design and Conduct of Clinical Trials: The University of Maryland Center for MS is a premier site for the conduct of clinical trials. The fellow is expected to participate actively in clinical trials as an examining physician and gains experience in the use and interpretation of clinical outcome measures such as the EDSS score and the multiple sclerosis functional composite score (MSFC).
  • Education: The fellowship provides opportunities for further education in neuroimmunology, multiple sclerosis, and research methods. This includes didactic courses in multiple sclerosis care and, clinical research methods, and grant-writing. The fellow also performs journal club-style reviews of the literature and other guided readings under the guidance of the Program Director and is provided opportunities to attend educational and scientific conferences.
  • Research: All MS fellows must conduct a research project in parallel with ongoing clinical responsibilities with the goal of at least one presentation of their findings at a national meeting and at least one peer reviewed journal article by the end of the fellowship. The fellowship schedule should provide the opportunity to spend approximately ½ of the fellow’s time dedicated to this research project. The research project may be a novel project created by the fellow in consultation with the Program Director and a research mentor or may be part of the larger research program of a member of the MS Center’s research faculty.

Faculty

Walter Royal, MD. Professor of Neurology and Director, University of Maryland Center for MS. Research interests: Neurovirology and Neuroimmunology; Viral, Metabolic and Environmental Factors in MS Disease Pathogenesis; Immune Markers of MS Disease Activity.

Daniel Harrison, M.D. Assistant Professor of Neurology and Program Director for the Neuroimmunology/MS Fellowship. Research interests: Utilization of novel MRI techniques in MS.

Horea Rus, MD, PhD. Professor of Neurology. Research interests: Neuroimmunology of MS; Role of B cells and Genetic Markers of Disease Activity in MS.

David Benavides, MD, PhD. Assistant Professor of Neurology. Research interests: Immunology and treatment of autoimmune encephalitis.

Mitchell Wallin, MD, MPH. Adjunct Associate Professor of Neurology. Research interests: Epidemiology of MS.

David Trisler, Ph.D. Staff Scientist. Research interests: Stem cells replacement therapy for neurological diseases.

Tapas Makar, PhD. Assistant Professor. Research interests: Neuroprotection in EAE.

Eligibility and Application

The program is designed as a post-doctoral clinical and research fellowship. Individuals with MD or MD/PhD are eligible. Candidates must have completed a neurology residency prior to initiation of the fellowship and must be board certified or board eligible in neurology prior to initiation of the fellowship. The following documentation must be provided to apply:

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Statement of specific interests and career plans

Correspondence should be sent to:

Dr. Daniel Harrison
University of Maryland Center for MS
110 S. Paca Street, 3rd floor
Baltimore, MD 21201
Tel: 410-328-5605
Fax: 410-328-5425 
E-mail: dharrison@som.umaryland.edu

Appointments will be generally for a period of two years with the possibility of further extension. Fellows will begin on July 1 of each year, but other starting dates may be arranged. Stipend depends on the level of previous training and will be competitive with national standards.