Dr Felipe von Glehn is a committed neurologist, with a strong focus on the research and care of patients with central nervous system (CNS) autoimmune diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO). Flipe acquired his medical degree in Brazil in 2003. Subsequently, due to his passion for diagnosing and treating patients, he started his residency in Internal Medicine, rotating in all medical clinical specialties. His career was disrupted in 2006-2007 due to active duty military service in the Brazilian Navy, but upon returning to the field he immediately resumed his research projects and collaborations.
After his residency in neurology, he realized how research and science is important to learning about novel clinical findings, understanding basic immunology behind neurological diseases, and building networks with key opinion leaders. Already a board-certified neurologist (certified by the Brazilian Academy of Neurology), he started and successfully completed Master's and Doctoral degrees in neuroimmunology at the University of Campinas, Brazil, where he had the opportunity to provide clinical care to patients, supervise trainees in clinical neurology, and conduct research on MS, enhancing knowledge and the quality of patient care. Felipe also expanded his research, investigating patients with NMO spectrum disorders (NMOSD) and introducing the anti-Aquaporin-4 antibody detection assay to the Department of Neurology at University of Campinas, facilitating the differential diagnosis between NMOSD and MS, both highly prevalent in Brazil.
His early publications addressed clinical-neurological aspects of MS and Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) analysis, comparing different treatments and disease stages. CSF oligoclonal bands (OCB) persist during all MS disease courses and are related to a more severe clinical presentation. No existing treatment demonstrated an interference with its production, either immunomodulators, immunossupressors or autologous bone marrow transplantation. Felipe and his colleagues first described the disappearance of IgG CSF OCB of natalizumab treated patients, indicating that meningeal ectopic B-cell follicles may require an influx of peripheral B-cells and/or T-cells to provide signal for their activation and maintenance during disease course. These publications were confirmed by other independent groups and opened new avenues to the study of B-cell and CSF OCB physiopathology in MS.
In 2013, Felipe began his international career as a postdoctoral scholar at the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, USA. He participated in ongoing exciting NIH-funded studies to investigate the clinical, immunological and different circulating micro RNAs (miRNAs) profile expression as a readily accessible biomarker to monitor disease in MS. In addition, he conducted experiments related to understanding the function of antigen presenting cells in patients with MS attended at the Partners MS Center, a major regional MS centre that is internationally renowned for clinical and scientific research in MS, and which follows over 2500 patients annually.
At Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, he was mentored by Dr Howard L. Weiner and Dr Clare Baecher-Allan, who provided additional expertise in neuroimmunology and clinical care of MS patients. In 2016, he was awarded with a pilot grant award program from the Harvard NeuroDiscovery Center and Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, and in 2017 received the Postdoctoral Scholar Award for Excellence in Mentoring given by Brigham and Women’s Hospital.