Rappaport Connects Gateway |
Follow Us |

Rebecca Gillani MD, PhD 


Rebecca Gillani MD, PhD 


Massachusetts General Hospital


MGH Research Fellows



For nearly 30 years, the funding provided by the Rappaport Foundation to physicians and researchers has allowed brilliance to flourish and breakthroughs to triumph in the areas of neurologic diseases and mental illness.

Dr. Rebecca Gillani is a clinical expert in multiple sclerosis, a member of the Mass General Neuroimmunology and Neuro-Infectious Diseases Division and Mass General Multiple Sclerosis Clinic, and an Instructor in Neurology at Harvard Medical School. She is a neuroscientist and principal investigator in the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease (MIND). Dr. Gillani completed her internship in internal medicine at Mass General, her residency in the Mass General Brigham Neurology Residency at Harvard Medical School, and a fellowship in multiple sclerosis at Mass General. Her research focuses on inflammation-mediated neurodegeneration and alterations in brain activity in multiple sclerosis.   Dr. Gillani’s group recently discovered that excitatory synapses, connections between brain cells or neurons, are dynamically altered in a neuroinflammatory model of multiple sclerosis. They found that excitatory synapses become unstable in the setting of neuroinflammation, but they maintain the ability to form structurally normal synapses. This discovery will help researchers understand the causes of altered information processing in the brain of multiple sclerosis patients that leads to neurological and cognitive symptoms. As a Rappaport Scholar, Dr. Gillani will investigate how these structural changes to connections between neurons lead to alterations in the activity of individual neurons in a multiple sclerosis model using state-of-the-art calcium imaging technology. Ultimately, this research aims to identify treatment targets for neuroprotection to protect people living with multiple sclerosis from cognitive dysfunction and progressive neurologic disability.