Rochester, Minnesota




John R. Mills, Ph.D., a laboratory medicine and pathology researcher, is co-director of the Neuroimmunology Laboratory, where he focuses on the development of assays to aid in the diagnosis of autoimmune and other neurological diseases. A significant focus of his work is dedicated to developing new ways to identify biomarkers and finding solutions for translating these discoveries into novel clinical testing platforms. Dr. Mills' work has led to several first-of-their-kind clinical tests offered only through Mayo Clinic Laboratories.

Focus areas

  • Antibody biomarkers. Dr. Mills' research focuses on the development of tools and technologies that aid in the discovery of antibody biomarkers of autoimmune neurological diseases. Dr. Mills uses a variety of techniques, including mass spectrometry, molecular technology and biochemical techniques. He also studies the performance and utility of assays used in clinical practice to detect these antibodies.
  • Protein misfolding diseases. Dr. Mills' research team has developed several assays to detect the presence of misfolded proteins that are causative of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Lewy body dementia and Parkinson's disease.
  • Live cell assays. Live cell assays are often the most diagnostically accurate testing approach when detecting antibodies against conformationally intact antigen compared to traditional testing methods. Dr. Mills' interests include improving the performance, robustness and throughput of these assays. Investigators can use these assays if the donor identification numbers are removed before sending externally. No additional Institutional Review Board approval is needed for sending anonymized samples to another reference lab for quality assurance.

Significance to patient care

The goal of Dr. Mills' research is to provide clinicians and patients with reliable and robust clinical tests to support clinical decision-making that would otherwise be unavailable.

Professional highlights

  • Mayo Brothers Distinguished Fellowship Award, Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education, 2015
  • Paul E. Strandjord Young Investigator Award, Academy of Clinical Physicians and Scientists, Minneapolis, 2015


Primary Appointment

  1. Consultant, Division of Clinical Biochemistry & Immunology, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology

Academic Rank

  1. Assistant Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology


  1. Fellow Clinical Molecular Genetics, Programs in Rochester, Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  2. Fellowship Clinical Molecular Genetics Fellowship Program, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology
  3. Fellowship Clinical Chemistry Fellowship Program, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology
  4. PhD Biochemistry and Chemical Biology, McGill University
  5. BSc Honors Biochemistry, McGill University

Clinical Studies

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