AUSTIN, Texas — Dr. Claudia F. Lucchinetti, who currently serves as dean of clinical and translational science and chair of the Department of Neurology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, has been named senior vice president for medical affairs at The University of Texas at Austin and dean of Dell Medical School. Her appointment will begin Dec. 1, and she will hold the Frank and Charmaine Denius Distinguished Dean’s Chair in Medical Leadership.
In addition to her roles as dean and chair at Mayo Clinic, Lucchinetti holds the Eugene and Marcia Applebaum Professorship in Neuroscience and is director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Science. She also serves on the Mayo Clinic Board of Governors and Board of Trustees.
A world-renowned researcher with expertise in immunopathology and pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS), neuromyelitis optica (NMO) and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, Lucchinetti has contributed novel insights underlying the mechanisms of tissue injury in patients with early stages of MS and other central nervous system disorders. She has been the recipient of significant research grant funding from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and the U.S. Department of Defense.
Lucchinetti also has an active clinical practice and is internationally recognized for her work in the evaluation of patients with MS, NMO and complex inflammatory demyelinating central nervous system disorders.
“Dr. Lucchinetti is an example of the world-class talent we are attracting to our university, and she will lead our efforts to draw even more talent to UT to fulfill our mission to revolutionize how people get and stay healthy,” said UT Austin President Jay Hartzell. “We are excited to have her join UT in this pivotal role, as we expand our efforts in health care delivery, education and research, and seek to establish Central Texas as the next major hub for health care and life science innovation.”
Lucchinetti received a B.S. in biology from Northwestern University before earning an M.D. from Rush Medical College in Chicago. After an internship at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center, she was a neurology resident at Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education. She also completed a fellowship in neuroimmunology at Mayo Clinic, with additional training as a Mayo Foundation scholar in experimental neuropathology at the Brain Research Institute in Vienna, Austria. She joined Mayo Clinic faculty in 1996.
“It’s an honor and an incredible opportunity to join the team at Dell Med and UT Austin,” said Lucchinetti. “With this mission-focused team, in collaboration with partners, and considering the unique relationship the medical school has with the Austin and Travis County communities, there are unparalleled opportunities to build an integrated academic health system that innovates and transforms health and health care for the benefit of all.”
In 2016, Lucchinetti was awarded the John Dystel Prize for MS research by the American Academy of Neurology and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society — a lifetime achievement award — for her contributions to patient care and the neuropathology of MS. She was also the recipient of the American Academy of Neurology Robert Wartenberg Lecture, given at the Presidential Plenary Session of the 2019 annual meeting.
Lucchinetti is also an active educator. She is a mentor to residents, fellows and visiting scientists and established a career development mentoring program in the Department of Neurology. In 2014, she received an Outstanding Teacher Award and in 2019 the Diversity Champion Award from Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science.
“Dr. Lucchinetti brings an extraordinary combination of exceptional academic leadership, impactful research and teaching, and clinical excellence to this important role,” said Sharon L. Wood, executive vice president and provost at UT Austin. “We are thrilled to welcome her to UT and work with her as she guides our campuswide medical priorities and advances our work with community partners.”
Lucchinetti will succeed Dr. George A. Macones, who has served as interim dean since September 2021. As dean and senior vice president, Lucchinetti will oversee Dell Medical School’s teaching and research missions while providing oversight of clinical operations at UT Health Austin and leadership of the university’s comprehensive health care strategy.