Physician studying a muscle biopsy for a neuromuscular disorder

Graduate medical education in neurology at Mayo Clinic

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Neuromuscular disorders affect the function of muscles due to problems with the peripheral nervous system (muscles and nerves) rather than the brain and spinal cord.

Mayo Clinic's Neuromuscular Disorders (Muscle Disorders) Fellowship Program offers one year of advanced training in the laboratory and clinical diagnosis and management of neuromuscular disorders. This training program is designed for individuals planning a career in academic neurology with a focus on investigative and consultative practice of neuromuscular diseases. A second year of fellowship may be considered depending on your clinical and research interests and long-term career goals.

During the Neuromuscular Disorders (Muscle Disorders) Fellowship, you will:

  • Evaluate patients with all forms of muscle and neuromuscular junction disease.
  • Participate in the laboratory evaluation of patients.
  • Gain experience with muscle biopsies.
  • Be instructed in enzyme histochemistry, immunocytochemistry and elements of electron microscopy so that you will be able to recognize pathologic deviations from normal.
  • Design treatment for patients presenting the full spectrum of neuromuscular diseases.
  • Learn the indications and interpretation of muscle biopsies and prepare your own formulation.
  • Design and complete a research project related to muscle disease.

Although the emphasis is on acquiring special competence in the diagnosis and management of muscle diseases, you also will be encouraged to attend nerve biopsy-reading sessions, peripheral nerve conferences, muscle conferences, a didactic course on electromyography and weekly EMG conferences.

After learning the basic laboratory techniques, you will be encouraged to initiate a research project. A large collection of muscle biopsy teaching slides and a very extensive collection of reprints on muscle diseases are available to you during your fellowship.


To ensure that you acquire adequate knowledge and develop your technical skills, your performance will be monitored carefully during the course of your program training. You will be evaluated formally by your supervising faculty member after each clinical rotation and will meet with the program director to review these evaluations. In addition, you will regularly evaluate the faculty to ensure that your educational needs are being met.


When you successfully complete the Neuromuscular Disorders (Muscle Disorders) Fellowship Program and have read 100 muscle biopsies, you will be eligible to become certified in Muscle Pathology.

Program history

The Neuromuscular Disorders (Muscle Disorders) Fellowship at Mayo Clinic in Rochester was established in 1976. Since that time, several fellows have completed their training in the program. It is anticipated that at least one fellow will complete this program annually.

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