Neurologist Daniel Pelletier has been recruited from Yale University to lead the USC Multiple Sclerosis Center, effective April 1. He began seeing patients this month.
An internationally renowned multiple sclerosis clinician and researcher, Pelletier joins Keck Medicine of USC as professor of neurology, chief of the division of neuro-immunology and multiple sclerosis and vice chair of research for the Department of Neurology. He will also serve as USC’s liaison to the Race to Erase MS and Center Without Walls programs.
Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable and often debilitating disease that interrupts information flow between the body and the brain, affecting an estimated 2.5 million people worldwide, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS). Common symptoms include fatigue, visual disturbances and difficulty moving. Current treatments aim to manage symptoms and delay progression of disability, as no cure yet exists for the chronic disease.
“It is estimated that 10,000 people in Los Angeles County alone are living with multiple sclerosis, but are unable to access the care they need because of limited MS specialists in the area,” said Thomas Jackiewicz, senior vice president and CEO of Keck Medicine of USC. “Dr. Pelletier brings with him the leadership, expertise and experience we need to achieve our goal of building one of the largest MS centers on the West Coast — upholding our commitment of providing leading, quality care to those who suffer from this disease.”
MS services to expand
Pelletier’s immediate goals include the expansion of MS patient services at USC and the development of MS research programs focused on neuroimaging, genetics, epidemiology, biomarkers and neurodegeneration. Additionally, as MS patients now have access to more complex but highly effective therapies that require close monitoring and MS-specific expertise, Pelletier’s team will provide tailored approaches using state-of-the-art facilities.
Pelletier has published numerous manuscripts in high-impact academic journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. His primary research interests revolve around the implementation of new neuroimaging techniques to predict, monitor and more accurately define factors responsible for MS progression. He brings with him more than $2 million in research grants from the NMSS, the National Institutes of Health, and he received the Harry Weaver Neuroscientist Scholar Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in 2005.
A native of Montréal, Pelletier obtained his medical degree from and completed his residency in neurology at Université Laval in Quebec City, followed by neuroimaging fellowship training at McGill University in Montréal. He also finished fellowship training in MS and metabolite imaging at the University of California, San Francisco, before becoming full-time faculty in 2001.
Pelletier was recruited to Yale as an associate professor in 2011 and served as chief of the division of neuroimmunology, as well as director of the Yale MS Center and director of advanced imaging in the Yale MS laboratory. He was promoted to professor of neurology and diagnostic radiology with tenure in 2013.