Department of Neurology
Tanuja Chitnis M.D. is an Associate Professor in Neurology at Harvard Medical School. She is the Medical Director of the MS Natural History study (CLIMB study) at the Partners MS Center, at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, which follows over 2000 MS patients with annual clinical evaluations, neuroimaging, biomarker studies and genetics, with the goal of better understanding the pathogenesis, disease course and treatment response. She heads a research team including biostatisticians, database staff and clinical research fellows. She is also the Founding Director of the Partners Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Center at the Massachusetts General Hospital, established in 2004, which is the first clinic in New England addressing the clinical care needs of children with multiple sclerosis and related demyelinating disorders, and her Center is a Pediatric MS Centers of Excellence designated by the National MS Society. She is also the elected Chair of the International Pediatric MS Study Group (IPMSSG), which has a membership of over 150 clinicians worldwide from 40 countries, and leads an initiative to provide guidelines for the consideration and formulation of clinical trials in children with MS.
Dr. Chitnis completed her Medical school training at the University of Toronto, and is a board-certified neurologist. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Neuroimmunology and Multiple Sclerosis at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and has held grants from the National MS Society, NIH as well as several foundations.
Her research focus is on the underlying biomarkers and pathogenic mechanisms heterogeneity of the MS disease course and response to treatment, including the effects of age and sex. For this work, she draws on data and samples collected in the CLIMB study, as well as the Pediatric MS Center and collaborators. Her work has shown that men with MS are more likely to have a more severe form of MS termed “malignant MS” compared to women. She is currently investigating underlying mechanisms of this difference including the role of sex hormone levels. She has also initiated a large study of the effects of reproductive exposures in women with MS, which has multinational collaborators. She has shown that children with MS have key differences in their immune profiles, with increased Th17 myelin-reactive cells, as well as increased myelin-reactive antibodies and is further investigating these pathogenic mechanisms.
She has recently headed an international workshop in June 2012, focused on “Sex influences in autoimmune disease” at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and is co-editing a special issue of Clinical Immunology of 10 research reviews on the topic, including effects of puberty, menopause and pregnancy on autoimmunity.
This page was last modified on 9/18/2015