Dr Maria Isabel Leite is a senior clinical research fellow and honorary consultant neurologist with clinical and laboratory experiences in the field of autoantibody mediated diseases of the nervous system. In particular, her focus is on patients with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (NMOSD) associated with AQP4 antibodies, MOG antibody-mediated demyelinating disease, autoimmune encephalitis (AE) associated with antibodies to NMDA-receptor, Lgi1, Caspr2 or GABA-receptors, Glycine receptor antibody mediated syndromes, particularly PERM, and myasthenia gravis (MG) associated with AChR or MuSK antibodies.
Her work includes identification of antibody associated disease phenotypes, the clinical response to treatments, and outcome correlates. She has a specific interest in the understanding the interaction between pregnancy, antibody mediated diseases and treatments in order to improve patient care. In addition she is trying to understand how autoimmunization occurs in our patients and the biological relationship between autoimmune diseases that can occur in individuals (e.g. MG and NMO).
Dr Leite aims to dedicate more clinical and research time to antibody mediated neuroimmunology in older adults (e.g. ≥ 60 years of age). These diseases affect older people who often have co-morbidities, they can be difficult to diagnose and are more challenging to treat because of the lack of research on the effect of immunosuppressive agents on older people and the complications associated with a declining immune system.