Neuroimmunology/Multiple Sclerosis Fellowship

Training Goals

The Pittsburgh Institute for Multiple Sclerosis Care and Research and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) offer fellowship opportunities in clinical neuroimmunology and multiple sclerosis (MS).  The primary goals of the fellowship for the clinician track are to train neurologists who will develop the skills and knowledge necessary to deliver the highest quality of comprehensive care for people with multiple sclerosis and other neuroimmunological disorders (e.g., neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder, myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibody disease, neurosarcoidosis, autoimmune encephalitis), grow as clinical leaders in their communities, and maintain commitment to improve patient lives.  Separate opportunities are available for highly qualified clinician-scientist candidates who aim to pursue mentored research and ultimately develop independent research careers.

Length of Fellowship

  • Clinician track: 1 year
  • Clinician-scientist track: 3 years

Clinical and Research Activities

The UPMC Multiple Sclerosis Center is a National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS)-designated comprehensive care center and an active member of the Consortium of MS Centers. It provides comprehensive and multi-disciplinary care for a diverse population with a wide range of clinical neuroimmunology conditions and presentations. The MS Center currently has eight MS clinicians (MD, DO, PA-C, NP), one clinician-scientist and a psychiatrist, as well as a dedicated team of nurses, clinical support, and research staff. Located at the UPMC Magee-Women’s Hospital, the MS Center includes an outpatient clinic and an integrated 10-bed infusion unit. Patients can participate in clinical trials and a clinic-wide long-term prospective cohort study that aims to bring precision medicine to MS. The faculty will work with each fellow to develop an individualized training program that includes MS / clinical neuroimmunology patient care, exposure to multidisciplinary care, didactic activities, and teaching and research opportunities.

Clinical: The primary clinical environment for the fellowship is the outpatient clinic at the Multiple Sclerosis Center.  To complement the primary clinical experience, fellows will conduct infrequent consultations for complex neuroimmunology patients in the inpatient setting. Fellows are not expected to be on call during evenings or weekends.  Additional clinical exposures include neurorehabilitation, physical medicine and rehabilitation, neuropsychiatry, neuro-urology, neuro-gastroenterology, neuro-rheumatology, pediatric neuroimmunology, neuro-ophthalmology, neuro-otology, and women’s neurology as well as multidisciplinary autoimmune encephalitis clinic. 

Research: Fellows in the clinician-scientist track are expected to participate in research under faculty supervision in one of the three research tracks: clinical research (clinical trials, epidemiology, observational studies), translational research track (biomarkers, genetic studies or pilot studies for novel diagnostic or treatment interventions), data research (neuroimaging studies, application of biostatistics, machine learning, and other computational approaches to clinical and translational research data). 

Education: Scheduled didactics include the biweekly neuroimmunology / neuroradiology case conference, monthly combined adult and pediatric neuroimmunology conference, monthly journal club, weekly case discussions, and all other educational activities within the MS Center.  Fellows will present at one national or international conference related to MS/neuroimmunology (e.g., ACTRIMS Forum, ECTRIMS, or CMSC). Fellows will have opportunities to teach residents and medical students.

Fellowship Contact Information and How to Apply

Fellowship Program Co-Directors: Cigdem Isitan Alkawadri, MD and Zongqi Xia, MD, PhD

Deadline: January 1 (of PGY3 for start date on July 1 of PGY5 for adult neurology or of PGY4 for start date on July 1 of PGY6 for pediatric neurology)

Eligibility: Applicants will have successfully graduated from an accredited adult or pediatric neurology residency program in the United States (or Canada), will have applied and received an unrestricted medical license in Pennsylvania, and completed the necessary credentialing prior to the start of the fellowship. We currently do not sponsor visa.

Application: Our program will participate in the SF match starting in the 2024-2025 cycle. In the meantime, please submit the following in a single PDF to

  1. Cover letter stating career goals and motivation for fellowship
  2. Curriculum vitae 
  3. Three letters of recommendation from academic and / or clinical mentors
  4. [Optional] For candidates seeking the clinician-scientist track, please additionally include a research statement, describing prior research experience and goals for the mentored research experience.