houston water skyline

Director of MS & Neuroimmunology Research

Houston, TX

Director of MS/Neuroimmunology Research – Houston Methodist

Position Overview 

Houston Methodist Hospital is seeking a visionary physician-scientist to lead our MS and Neuroimmunology Research Program as the Director of MS/Neuroimmunology Research. This prestigious role is based at the Houston Methodist Neurological Institute, located in the world’s largest medical center. The successful candidate will be a driving force in advancing our research capabilities, focusing on neuroimmunology and multiple sclerosis, with a commitment to clinical excellence, education, and groundbreaking research.

The ideal candidate will possess a robust background in neuroimmunology and/or multiple sclerosis, with an active portfolio of extramural grant funding. This position offers a competitive startup package, protected time for research, and dedicated lab space and resources to build a world-class MS and Neuroimmunology research program at Houston Methodist. The Director will collaborate closely with Dr. Jun Li (Chair of Neurology) and Dr. Abdul Alchaki (Chief of MS/Neuroimmunology), to shape the strategic direction of the MS Clinic and Neuroimmunology research.

Qualified applicants will be considered for a prestigious Endowed Chair appointment that comes with unique resources to support their work. The Director will also play a pivotal role in mentoring emerging researchers and clinicians, ensuring the longevity of excellence within our institute. If you are driven by a passion for discovery and innovation in neuroimmunology, we invite you to join our esteemed team and make a lasting impact in the field.

Position Details
  • Position Title: Director of MS/Neuroimmunology Research
  • Endowed Research Funds: Endowed Chair in MS Research (for qualified applicants)
  • Role: Physician Scientist & Leader of MS/Neuroimmunology Research
  • Academic Appointment/Department: Open Rank Faculty, Houston Methodist Stanley H. Appel Department of Neurology
  • Company: Houston Methodist
  • Primary Affiliation: Houston Methodist Neurological Institute
  • Location: Houston, Texas
A picture of the Houston Methodist Hospital located at the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas

The Director of MS/Neuroimmunology Research will work at Houston Methodist’s flagship campus, located at the largest medical center in the world.

Position Duties and Responsibilities 

  • Research Excellence & Collaboration: Develop a leading research program in MS and Neuroimmunology, fostering an environment of collaboration and innovation.
  • Program Building: Establish and grow a cutting-edge research program in MS and Neuroimmunology, leveraging existing strengths and developing new areas of investigation.
  • Funding & Grants: Harness an established prowess in extramural research funding to procure essential resources, ensuring our center remains at the vanguard of scientific pursuit.
  • Mentorship: Cultivate the growth and development of budding researchers and clinicians, ensuring our dedication to excellence thrives for generations.
  • Strategic Planning: Collaborate closely with Dr. Jun Li (Chair of Neurology) and Dr. Abdul Alchaki (Chief of MS/Neuroimmunology) to shape the strategic trajectory for the MS Clinic and related research initiatives.

Required Qualifications 

  • Educational Background: MD or DO with completed residency training in Neurology.
  • Fellowship Training: Specialized fellowship training in Neuroimmunology and/or Multiple Sclerosis.
  • Board Certification/Eligibility: Board Certified or Board Eligible in Neurology.
  • Licensure: Eligible to obtain an unrestricted medical license in the state of Texas.
  • Research Expertise: Demonstrated success in securing extramural research funding, with a robust track record of clinical and/or basic research program development.
  • Academic Involvement: Strong commitment to academic missions, including high-quality clinical care, education, and research.
  • Leadership Capabilities: Proven experience in program building, strategic planning, and mentoring researchers and clinicians.
  • Collaboration: Ability to work closely with interdisciplinary teams to drive research and clinical excellence.
  • Professional Attributes: Outstanding interpersonal and communication skills, with a positive, motivated, and engaged attitude. Commitment to professional development and mentorship.

Houston Methodist Neurological Institute 

Houston Methodist’s Neurological Institute is at the forefront of academic research, developing new clinical trials and protocols that inform international standards of neurological care. We train tomorrow’s neurologists and neurosurgeons in delivering the highest level of patient care.  

Our board-certified specialists are experts in their fields. We work across specialties to provide comprehensive care and treatment for even the most complex neurological conditions — and we train the world’s best and brightest neurologists and neurosurgeons in leading-edge treatment approaches. 

U.S. News & World Report has ranked Houston Methodist Hospital among the top 25 hospitals in neurology and neurosurgery — and we have been named the No. 1 hospital in Texas every year since the award began. We are a Neurology and Neurosurgery Center of Excellence and a nationally ranked Honor Roll hospital.

The Neurological Institute is one of Houston Methodist’s six centers of excellence comprising neurosciences, medical care, research, and education. The institute is recognized as a research leader, with teams involved in developing new treatments, drugs, and clinical trials for disorders, including stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and brain tumors. We also are committed to advancing the future of health care by teaching prospective doctors.

Photo of Dr. Jun Li, Chair of Neurology with a quote about the three missions of the Department of Neurology

Jun Li, MD, PhD, Chair, Houston Methodist Stanley H. Appel Department of Neurology

Houston Methodist Stanley H. Appel Department of Neurology

The Houston Methodist Stanley H. Appel Department of Neurology and its 10 specialized centers and programs offer comprehensive, cutting-edge treatment and care for patients with neurological conditions and all conditions with a neurological component. Our department is grounded in research and innovation and committed to the development of novel treatments and discoveries.

Through clinical trials and peer-reviewed research initiatives, the Department of Neurology offers the best comprehensive clinical care of its kind in Houston — it is also passionate about training the finest neurological clinicians and researchers in the country and evolving the neurological sciences on a national scale. The Director of MS & Neuroimmunology Research will join a robust department and benefit from the world-class resources and specialized centers of excellence.

Neurology Department’s Specialized Centers & Programs
  • Comprehensive Epilepsy Program
  • Concussion Center
  • Eddy Scurlock Stroke Center
  • General Neurology
  • MDA/ALSA ALS Clinic
  • Movement Disorders Clinic
  • MS & Neuroimmunology Comprehensive Clinic
  • Nantz National Alzheimer Center
  • Neuromuscular Clinic
  • Speech and Language Center

Houston Methodist Multiple Sclerosis Clinic 

The comprehensive MS clinic at HMH boasts a collaborative team of MS fellowship-trained neurologists and MS-certified nurses, ensuring the highest standard of care. We maintain strong interdisciplinary partnerships with neuro-ophthalmology, urology, neuropsychology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, as well as sleep and pain medicine specialists to provide a multifaceted approach to MS treatment and management.  

In addition, our MS wellness program, complete with services from dedicated MS dietitians and tailored MS exercise programs, supports our mission to enhance our patients’ overall well-being. Equipped with an advanced 7 Tesla MRI scanner, the HMH radiology department sets the stage for cutting-edge clinical assessments and research opportunities in the field of neuroimmunology. Furthermore, our neurospecific rehabilitation centers and social worker services are dedicated to supporting the comprehensive needs of our patients throughout their treatment journey.  

Key Selling Points

Houston Methodist Hospital offers several key selling points for potential candidates for the Director of MS & Neuroimmunology Research position, particularly in the areas of Alzheimer’s disease, neurodegeneration, myelin biology, peripheral nerve diseases, and neuroimmunology. These resources and research centers at Houston Methodist offer an unparalleled environment for advancing neuroimmunology and MS research, making it a compelling destination for leading researchers in the field. Here are the highlights:

Houston Methodist Research Institute

The Houston Methodist Research Institute is a cornerstone of the hospital’s research capabilities, with over 540,000 square feet of dedicated research space, including the 440,000-square-foot Translational Research Building. This facility supports every phase of drug and device development with advanced imaging equipment, preclinical GLP support, and the MITIE surgical simulation center. It houses 90 principal investigators and more than 20 core facilities, fostering a collaborative environment for groundbreaking discoveries​.

Center for RNA Therapeutics

The Center for RNA Therapeutics at Houston Methodist is a leader in RNA biology and therapeutics. It features a comprehensive setup for RNA construct design, synthesis, purification, validation, and clinical-grade manufacturing. The center is funded by the NIH, the US Department of Defense, and the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), offering robust support for transformative RNA-based research. This center’s recognition at the 2021 World Vaccine Congress highlights its impact in advancing RNA therapeutics​.

MITIE (Houston Methodist Institute for Technology, Innovation & Education)

MITIE is a hub of innovation that connects researchers, clinicians, and industry partners to develop and test new medical technologies. It features a virtual hospital and procedural skills labs, supporting education and research through simulation and prototyping. The center focuses on rapid device translation and robotics, providing a collaborative platform for advancing medical technologies from concept to FDA approval​.  

Alzheimer’s Disease/Neurodegeneration

Nantz National Alzheimer Center (NNAC): The NNAC is a world-renowned research and referral center dedicated to preventing Alzheimer’s disease, slowing memory loss, and improving patient quality of life. The center excels in clinical and research imaging biomarkers, contributing significant scientific insights into Alzheimer’s treatments. Recent funding, including a $1 million donation to establish the Susan and William Henning Jr. Neurodegenerative Research Endowment, supports numerous clinical trials and research studies aimed at understanding and treating Alzheimer’s disease. Notably, the center is involved in studies on tau protein propagation, exploring novel therapeutic approaches like anti-tau antibodies​​ (Rethinking The Unthinkable – Alzheimer’s Research )​​ (Philanthropic Support for Alzheimer’s Research)​.

Myelin Biology & Peripheral Nerve Diseases

Houston Methodist’s research in myelin biology and peripheral nerve diseases focuses on understanding and treating demyelinating disorders. The institute’s advanced imaging technologies and interdisciplinary research teams facilitate groundbreaking studies in these areas. The collaboration with specialists in neurology and other departments ensures a comprehensive approach to tackling these complex diseases.

Brain Tumor and Neuroimmunology

Brain Tumor Research Program: Houston Methodist is at the forefront of developing new treatments for brain tumors, leveraging advanced imaging, molecular biology, and immunotherapy. Researchers are exploring the intersection of neuroimmunology and oncology to develop innovative treatments that harness the body’s immune system to combat brain tumors effectively.

Center for Immunobiology & Inflammation Research

The Center for Immunobiology & Inflammation Research performs interdisciplinary translational research, bridging laboratory science and clinical applications. This center focuses on understanding the immune mechanisms underlying various diseases, including neurodegenerative and autoimmune disorders. By studying immunobiology and inflammation, researchers at Houston Methodist are pioneering new therapeutic strategies and interventions​​.

Pathogenic Role of Genetic Variants in Neurodegeneration

Houston Methodist’s researchers are investigating the genetic underpinnings of neurodegenerative diseases, aiming to identify genetic variants that contribute to disease progression. This research is crucial for developing targeted therapies and personalized medicine approaches that address the specific genetic factors influencing each patient’s condition.

John M. O’Quinn Foundation Neurodegenerative Laboratory

The John M. O’Quinn Foundation Neurodegenerative Laboratory is dedicated to understanding and treating neurodegenerative diseases. The laboratory’s state-of-the-art facilities support advanced research into the molecular mechanisms of diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, with a focus on developing novel therapeutic strategies.

3D Ultrastructure Tomography Core

The 3D Ultrastructure Tomography Core at Houston Methodist provides cutting-edge imaging technologies that allow researchers to visualize the detailed architecture of cells and tissues. This facility supports a wide range of research projects, enabling scientists to study the intricate structures involved in neurodegeneration and other diseases at unprecedented resolution​.

A logo for Houston Methodist

Houston Methodist Hospital 

The Houston Methodist Medical Center, prominently situated in the Texas Medical Center — the largest medical center in the world — is a beacon of healthcare excellence and medical research. Deep-rooted dedication to pioneering patient care, this esteemed institution has consistently set benchmarks in both clinical and research arenas. The hospital’s affiliations with elite academic entities, including Weill Cornell Medical College, further its mission to provide world-class medical education. Consistently garnering accolades across numerous specialties, Houston Methodist stands as a global leader in the healthcare domain. Beyond its exceptional patient care, its commitment to groundbreaking research and innovation has positioned it at the forefront of medical advancements, making it a pillar of hope, healing, and discovery in the global medical community.

For more than 100 years, Houston Methodist has provided the best—and safest—clinical care, advanced technology, and patient experience. That is our promise of leading medicine. Recognizing our dedication to excellence, U.S. News & World Report has named Houston Methodist Hospital the Best Hospital in Texas for 12 years in a row and recognized us on the Honor Roll seven times. In addition, we are nationally ranked in 10 specialties, with nine specialties in the top 20, and two of those in the top five. HMH also holds a prestigious position on Forbes America’s Best Large Employers List.  

A picture of the Houston Downtown Skyline at sunset.

Downtown Houston Skyline

Life in Houston, Texas 

Houston, Texas, the nation’s fourth-largest city, offers a dynamic blend of Southern hospitality, cosmopolitan sophistication, and booming economic opportunity. With a population of over 2.3 million people and more than 7 million in the Greater Houston area, the city is known for its cultural diversity, robust economy, and vibrant lifestyle. It hosts the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world, and is a global leader in the energy sector, with a significant presence of oil, gas, and renewable energy companies, as well as NASA’s Johnson Space Center​​.

Houston Museum of Fine Arts

Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Bayou Bend Collection & Gardens

Culture and Recreation
Houston’s cultural scene is vibrant and varied, featuring world-class museums, theaters, and music venues. The Museum District boasts 19 museums within a 1.5-mile radius, and the Theater District offers year-round performances by the Houston Symphony, Houston Ballet, and the Alley Theatre. Sports enthusiasts can enjoy games from the Houston Astros (MLB), Houston Texans (NFL), Houston Rockets (NBA), and Houston Dynamo (MLS), while the city’s extensive park system, including Hermann Park and Buffalo Bayou Park, offers numerous outdoor activities​

Education and Innovation
The city offers top-tier educational institutions like Rice University and the University of Houston, as well as highly rated public and private schools. Houston is also a hub for innovation and research, particularly in the medical and energy fields, ensuring it remains at the forefront of scientific advancement and healthcare innovation​.

Quality of Life
Living in Houston means enjoying a lower cost of living compared to other major U.S. cities, with affordable housing options ranging from downtown high-rises to suburban communities. The city’s culinary scene is renowned for its diversity, offering everything from Tex-Mex and barbecue to fine dining and international cuisines, making it a food lover’s paradise​​.

Climate and Lifestyle
Houston’s subtropical climate allows for year-round outdoor activities, with mild winters and hot, humid summers. This supports a lifestyle rich in festivals, outdoor concerts, and farmer’s markets. Despite its size, the city maintains a friendly, community-oriented atmosphere, making it easy to feel at home​.

Houston is a city of opportunity and excitement, offering a unique combination of economic vitality, cultural richness, and a high quality of life. Whether drawn by career prospects, educational opportunities, or the vibrant lifestyle, Houston provides a welcoming and dynamic environment for all.

How to Apply 

The Houston Methodist Neurological Institute has retained the services of Academic Med to assist with this strategically important search for a distinguished investigator to serve as the Director of MS & Neuroimmunology Research. Academic Med is a retained executive search firm that specializes in recruiting physicians, scientists, and leaders for academic medical schools & health systems throughout the United States. This search is led by Gentry Zacheis, President of Academic Med, and Jim Hagood, Managing Director. Please direct your applications, inquiries, or nominations to Jim Hagood at jim@academic-med.com 

EEO  

Houston Methodist champions diversity and is an ardent equal-opportunity employer. All aspirants receive impartial consideration without biases like race, gender, or age. 

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