Rochester, Minnesota


Pittock.Sean@mayo.edu Clinical Profile


Sean J. Pittock, M.D., is the Marilyn A. Park and Moon S. Park, M.D., Director of Mayo Clinic's Center for Multiple Sclerosis and Autoimmune Neurology and the principal investigator of Mayo's Neuroimmunology Research Laboratory.

Dr. Pittock's clinical and laboratory expertise lies in modifying, for clinical application, the antibody assays developed by the Neuroimmunology Research Laboratory. Specific areas of focus include multidisciplinary, collaborative research into autoimmune neurological disorders, autoimmune gastrointestinal dysmotility (AGID) and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD).

Focus areas

  • Autoimmune neurological disorders. Autoimmune neurological disorders comprise a spectrum of idiopathic and paraneoplastic entities — often misdiagnosed as degenerative disorders — that intersect all traditional subspecialties, including movement disorders, epilepsy, behavioral, neuromuscular, autonomic and demyelinating disorders.

    Dr. Pittock oversees multiple interdepartmental collaborative studies in this area, including:

    • Investigating the role of positron emission tomography in the diagnostic evaluation of paraneoplastic disorders
    • Defining autoimmune dementias
    • Expanding the knowledge of the clinical associations of antibodies targeting cation channels, including the voltage-gated potassium and calcium channels and the ganglionic acetylcholine receptor
    • Developing novel immunotherapeutic approaches to autoimmune neurological disorders
  • Autoimmune gastrointestinal dysmotility (AGID). Dr. Pittock is currently working with Mayo Clinic's Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in the investigation and treatment of patients with AGID. He is also a co-investigator of a program project grant from the National Institutes of Health, investigating the pathobiology of the enteric nervous system. The aim of the project is to define neural autoantibody profiles of AGID and characterize novel human serum autoantibodies that bind selectively to elements of the enteric nervous systems.
  • Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD). As a member of a national neuromyelitis optica (NMO) consortium, Dr. Pittock has played a central role in Mayo's studies of the first serological marker for a demyelinating disorder of the human central nervous system, NMO-IgG. His continuing analyses of the accompaniments of this important new antibody complement the clinical criteria proposed for diagnosis of NMOSD, the recently proposed unifying term for NMO and related syndromes.

    Furthermore, Dr. Pittock's clinical, imaging and serological correlative studies are providing the foundation for future investigation of the basic immunological mechanisms that cause NMOSD. His bench-to-bedside investigation of aquaporin-4 autoimmunity is an individualized translational medicine approach aimed at the development of laboratory-based tools that can better diagnose and predict outcome in NMOSD.

    This work is funded partly by the Guthy Jackson Charitable Foundation. Dr. Pittock is also the principal investigator of an Alexion-funded open label trial of the drug eculizumab in NMOSD.

Significance to patient care

Complementing his laboratory research, Dr. Pittock is the founder of the Autoimmune Neurology Clinic in the Center for Multiple Sclerosis and Autoimmune Neurology, which interacts closely with the Neuroimmunology Research Laboratory and has allowed the development of a unique translational practice extending the laboratory's serological findings directly to the bedside. This new, 21st-century subspecialty addresses diagnosis and treatment of organ-specific autoimmune disorders that target the central and peripheral nervous systems.

Professional highlights

  • Applebaum Family Professor of Neurosciences, Mayo Clinic, 2023.
  • Marilyn A. Park and Moon S. Park, M.D., Director of the Center for Multiple Sclerosis and Autoimmune Neurology, Mayo Clinic, 2015.


Primary Appointment

  1. Consultant, Department of Neurology

Joint Appointment

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

Academic Rank

  1. Professor of Neurology


  1. Fellow - Neuroimmunology Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology
  2. Fellow - Neuroimmunology Department of Neurology
  3. Resident Multiple Sclerosis, Programs in Rochester, Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  4. Resident - Internal Medicine-fulfilling criteria for ABPN board eligibility Mayo Clinic in Rochester
  5. Resident Preliminary Internal Medicine, Programs in Rochester, Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  6. Resident - Neurology Mayo Clinic in Rochester
  7. Resident Neurology, Programs in Rochester, Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  8. Specialist Registrar - Neurology Department of Neurology, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  9. MD - Post doctoral degree Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
  10. Fellow - Fellow in Neurological Sciences Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
  11. Resident - Internal Medicine Federated Dublin Hospital Scheme, Trinity College, Dublin
  12. MMedSc University College Dublin
  13. Internship St. Vincent's Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  14. MB BCh/BAO - Honors Medical Degree University College Dublin

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