About Dr. Rodriguez

Moses Rodriguez, M.D., is a nationally recognized multiple sclerosis expert. He holds the academic rank of Professor of Neurology and Immunology and holds the Mildred A. and Henry Uihlein II Professorship in Medical Research. He earned his B.A. degree in medical sciences and M.D. degree at Northwestern University. After residency in internal medicine and a residency in neurology at Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, he served as a trainee at the National Institutes of Health and completed fellowships in neuropathology at the University of California, San Diego, and at Scripps Research Institute.

Dr. Rodriguez has made significant contributions to both the clinical and basic science aspects of multiple sclerosis. Clinically, he has been instrumental in population-based cohort studies of approximately 200 patients with multiple sclerosis in the Olmsted County population. These resulted in a number of significant discoveries. His work has revealed the progression of neurological deficits in MS to be slower than anticipated. He has also helped to identify a cohort of patients that appear to have a non-disabling type of multiple sclerosis, which has provided important data regarding the clinical management of multiple sclerosis patients. Dr. Rodriguez was the first to demonstrate conclusively that plasma exchange is effective in patients with severe, devastating attacks of multiple sclerosis. In a series of studies, he showed that MS patients with acute onset paraplegia, quadriplegia, or respiratory insufficiency remarkably recovered following plasma exchange. These results were confirmed in a double blind- placebo controlled trial performed at the Mayo Clinic, which demonstrated that approximately 40% of patients have dramatic recovery following this treatment. These results have changed the management of acute devastating attacks of MS. Recently he has demonstrated that aspirin is effective in the treatment of fatigue in MS. This is now being tested in a 200-patient study funded by the National MS Society.

On the basic science side, he has made three seminal discoveries: the CD8 T cell’s role in demyelination/axonal injury, the remyelinating mechanism in human monoclonal antibodies, and the axon-protective role of IL6, all of which have been awarded patents. In a work published in Nature Medicine, he demonstrated for the first time that CD8 T cells are critical for the destruction of axons. T cells work by by recognizing Class I MHC molecules. Most recently he has identified that perforin is the critical molecule in axonal injury and death. In the field of remyelination, Dr. Rodriguez has identified a series of human monoclonal antibodies that bind to the surface of oligodendrocytes. These antibodies trigger the remyelination program both in vivo and in vitro (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences). Dr. Rodriguez has demonstrated (J. Neuroscience) that interleukin-6 is critical in protecting neurons and axons from death in a demyelinating lesion. Given the fact that all this work has resulted in patent awards to him and the Mayo Clinic means that these discoveries may soon be applicable to the treatment of patients.

Considered an MS expert by the lay media, Dr. Rodriguez is in demand as a speaker to patient groups and service organizations. Dr. Rodriguez was featured on the ABC primetime program, Extreme Makeover Home Edition, to highlight Multiple Sclerosis research.

Mayo Clinic Distiguished Investigator

Read a conversation with Moses Rodriguez, M.D.
Designing New Treatments for Multiple Sclerosis