NeurologyLive® Clinician of the Month Spotlight: Michelle Mauermann, MD


In April 2023, NeurologyLive® is spotlighting a clinician in neuromuscular diseases, Michelle Mauermann, MD, chair of the division of neuromuscular medicine at Mayo Clinic.

Michelle Mauermann, MD, chair of the division of neuromuscular medicine at Mayo Clinic

Michelle Mauermann, MD

Neurologists are highly trained medical professionals who play a critical role in the healthcare system in helping patients of all ages to manage their conditions that can affect every aspect of their lives. Each month, NeurologyLive® shines a spotlight on the work of one neurologist, highlighting contributions to their specific field.

Michelle Mauermann, MD, professor of neurology at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science in Rochester, coauthored an abstract that was recently presented at the 2023 American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting, April 22-27, in Boston, Massachusetts on peripheral nerve histopathology in neuropathy patients with paraneoplastic neurological syndromes (PNS). Mauermann and colleagues concluded from their retrospective review that the absence of inflammatory infiltrates with reduced fiber density in distal sensory nerve biopsies is common in paraneoplastic neuropathies.1

Prior to the AAN Annual Meeting, Mauermann recently sat down with NeurologyLive® in an interview to discuss her role as a neurologist in the field of neuromuscular diseases. In her research, she focused on the clinical, electrophysiological, radiological, and pathological features of various peripheral neuropathies to build a greater understanding of the underlying disease mechanisms. Also, she is involved in human clinical trials of amyloidosis and POEMS syndrome, a rare blood disorder that damages the nerves.

NeurologyLive: What are some of the main responsibilities you have in your role as a neurologist at Mayo? 

Michelle Mauermann, MD: I am the chair of the division of neuromuscular medicine at Mayo Clinic, which is the largest division in the department of neurology. Some of my main responsibilities are ensuring excellent patient care across our division, which includes collaboration with our nursing staff and other allied health partners, practice optimization, recruiting future leaders in the field of neuromuscular disease and mentoring trainees and junior faculty.

Could you describe a typical day in your work as a neurologist? 

I work in a variety of areas, so I love the fact there is no single “typical day.” During my clinical time, I am often seeing patients with peripheral nerve disorders, performing EMG (electromyography) studies, or interpreting autonomic studies or peripheral nerve biopsies. I also am involved in clinical research trials.

What motivated you to pursue a career in neurology, and when did you make this decision? 

I was interested in medicine beginning in high school and college and always desired a career with direct interaction with people. I was drawn to neurology through some personal experiences with family and close friends. Once I rotated into neurology in medical school, it was clear it was the field for me. I enjoy the complex set of diseases and using my physical examination to sort them out. I love sitting down with patients to discuss their symptoms and working together with them to get the correct diagnosis and determine a treatment plan to improve their quality of life.

What do you find most rewarding about your work as a neurologist at Mayo? 

I find the personal connections with my patients and colleagues the most rewarding.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face in your role? 

One challenge is navigating the teams and various computer programs involved in the practice to simplify and improve our patient care.

Is there something that you wish more patients and clinicians understood about the field of neurology?

I think, despite the major developments in neurology, many people think there is nothing we can do as neurologists to treat these conditions which is simply not true. There are many new treatments for various neurological conditions that benefit our patients.

In addition to your work as a neurologist, what hobbies or interests do you have outside of the clinic? 

I love spending time with my husband and 3 children. I enjoy being outdoors and spending time at the lake—boating, waterskiing, kayaking, and fishing.

Transcript edited for clarity.

Click here for more coverage of AAN 2023.

1. Granger A, Rajnauth T, Dubey D, et al. Peripheral Nerve Pathology in Antibody Positive Paraneoplastic Neurological Syndromes. Presented at: 2023 AAN Annual Meeting; April 22-27, Boston, Massachusetts. Neuromuscular Disease: Peripheral Neuropathy 1 session.
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