Darin Okuda, M.D., known for identifying radiologically isolated syndrome, joins UT Southwestern’s MS Program

Dr. Darin Okuda
Dr. Darin Okuda

By Julie Kirchem, Neurology Information Services

Darin Okuda, M.D., has joined UT Southwestern’s Multiple Sclerosis Program as a clinician and researcher. He is known nationally and internationally for his work in defining and investigating the radiologically isolated syndrome (RIS). RIS is when a subject has an MRI with brain anomalies suggestive of MS, identified incidentally, but lacks the typical symptoms of MS. 

Dr. Okuda first identified RIS in 2008. His research found that individuals with MRI anomalies highly suggestive of demyelinating disease are very likely to experience subsequent radiologic or clinical events related to multiple sclerosis.

From that discovery, Dr. Okuda formed the Radiologically Isolated Syndrome Consortium (RISC), a multinational effort that includes collaborations with more than five countries. The consortium will now be based at UT Southwestern where Dr. Okuda will work closely with Drs. Elliot Frohman and Ben Greenberg to identify risk factors for first symptom development in subjects with RIS.

Dr. Okuda plans to create novel data platforms, leveraging technology, for his upcoming research efforts.  He says UT Southwestern has the infrastructure to support his work as a researcher.

“UT Southwestern is very contemporary in its approach to research and that fits my vision of how clinician-scientists should constantly evolve in their thinking and approach when addressing complicated scientific questions, “ he said.

Dr. Okuda is also looking forward to working with UT Southwestern’s world- class MS Program.

“Rarely do you find an MS program that is truly a family. That is what Elliot and Teresa Frohman have built here. To have that type of support is so very exceptional - who wouldn’t want to be a part of that type of group?  It’s such a nurturing, supportive environment. “

As a specialist in multiple sclerosis, Dr. Okuda also has a strong interest in central neuropathic pain, novel MRI techniques, and new approaches for disease surveillance.

Dr. Okuda was previously the Chief of the Barrow Neurological Institute Neuroimmunology Program, and Director of the BNI Multiple Sclerosis Center.

He is a Diplomate of The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and a member of the American Academy of Neurology Committees on Neuro-imaging and Ethics. His research has been published in peer-reviewed journals including the Annals of Neurology, Human Molecular Genetics, Brain, Neurology, Journal of NeuroImaging, Proceedings of the National American Academy of Sciences, and Science.