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Dr. Daniel Drachman, neuromuscular medicine pioneer


Dr. Daniel B. Drachman, a pioneer in neuromuscular disease, founded the Johns Hopkins Neuromuscular Division in 1969.

Recruited as one of the founding members of the Department of Neurology, Dr. Drachman set out to construct his own electromyography machine and a laboratory research program with the help of the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Patient-oriented research has been a central focus of the Neuromuscular Division from the beginning.

Dr. Drachman developed special research interests in and identified the acetylcholine receptor deficit in myasthenia gravis in 1973, the first receptor disorder described.

He then demonstrated the role of autoantibodies in the pathogenesis of myasthenia gravis and developed treatments as well as diagnostic tools based on these discoveries.

Continuing a Legacy

Dr. Drachman went on to establish a clinical laboratory improvement amendment and Maryland State accredited clinical laboratory for neuromuscular pathology. Today the Neuromuscular Pathology laboratory serves patients and provides important muscle, nerve, and immunological materials for research.

Some of the world’s best minds have come to Johns Hopkins to explore the science, improve diagnosis and transform management of muscular dystrophy, neuropathies and other disabling and life-threatening diseases.

More recently, under the leadership of Andrea Corse, the Neuromuscular Pathology lab has grown and continues to define new parameters in the care of our patients, research and training of neuromuscular fellows.

The faculty’s interest in immunology has evolved to autoimmune diseases of peripheral nerves, including Guillain-Barre syndrome and identification of its subtypes as well as its treatment by plasmapheresis, with studies by the late Jack Griffin and Guy McKhann.

Research in both acquired and inherited neuropathies continues in the laboratories of Ahmet Hoke, Michael Polydefkis, Charlotte Sumner and Thomas Lloyd.

The Neuromuscular Division also leads research in ALS started by Ralph Kuncl and Jeffrey Rothstein, later joined by Nicholas Maragakis, Brett Morrison and Lyle Ostrow.

Daniel B. Drachman’s original drive and ingenuity are reflected in Johns Hopkins’ Neuromuscular Division to this day, as the group continues to grow in leadership and international influence.

After 53 years at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Drachman retired in June 2022. 

Former Fellows

2015: Lindsey Hayes and Brett McCray
2014: Serge Belinga and Hristelina Ilieva
2013: Payam Mohassel, Jessica Nance and Margaret Owegi
2012: Madhavi Jinka and Catherine Mamah
2011: Tae Hwan Chung, Mahsah Mehrazin and Kalpana Prasad
2010: Shan Chen
2009: Lyle Ostrow and Ricardo Roda
2008: Erika Hedderick and John Neely
2007: Thomas Lloyd
2006: W. Bryan Burnette and Chang-Ching Lin
2005: Irene C.M. Cortese and Brett Morrison
2004: Andrew Mammen and Sindhu Ramchandren
2003: Abhay Moghekar and Thien Nguyen
2002: Muhammad Munir and Lan Zhou
2001: Mohammad Choudhry and Sanjay Keswani
2000: Charlotte Sumner
1999: Beth Hogans, Christopher Klein and Thurman Wheeler
1998: Nicholas Maragakis, Michael Polydefkis and Kathryn Wagner
1997: Michael Pulley and Jennifer York
1996: Charles Abrams, Alan Mandir and Robert Minahan
1995: Susan Evans and Judith Spies
1994: Kevin M. Flanigan and Eliot Frohman
1993: Andrew Blum, Susan Calkins and Charlene Macko
1992: Richard O’Brien

1990 and earlier

Sawsan Abu-Shakra, Kathy Alderson, Clifford G. Andrew, Orlando Aviva, Ronald O. Bailey, Laura Balcher, Kevin Boylan, Rachel Brem, John Brey, Ian J. Butler, Vinay Chaudhry, Andrea Corse, Evan Crain, Shari DeSilva, Armando Filomeno, Kenneth H. Fischbeck, Miriam Freimer, Jonathan Glass, John W. Griffin, Ronald O. Haller, Paul Hoffman, Luke Kao, Ralph Kunci, James Michelson, Betty Mintz, Anne M. Murphy, Edwin C. Myer, Akiko Noguchi, Bob Ouvrier, Alan Pestronk, Emanuel Rechtland, Johannes Reim, Jeffrey Rothstein, S. Satya-Murti, Marjorie Seybold, Lloyd K. Shield, Elise Stanley, Deepak Tandon, Robert Teoh, Klaus Toyka, Veda Vedanarayanan, Danny Watson, Woon-Chee Yee 

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