Meet Dr. Steven Vernino
Neurologist in Dallas

Holder of the:
Dr. Bob and Jean Smith Foundation Distinguished Chair in Neuromuscular Disease Research

UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Steven Vernino, M.D., Ph.D., is part of a small subset of neurologists nationwide that specializes in diagnosing and treating autoimmune neurological disorders and autonomic disorders. 

Autoimmune neurological disorders are diseases of the brain, spine, and nervous system caused by the patient’s misdirected immune response. Autonomic disorders affect the nerves that control unconscious bodily functions such as the heart rate, blood pressure, perspiration, digestion, and bladder and bowel emptying. 

A three-time D Magazine Best Doctor, Dr. Vernino is fellowship trained and board certified in neurology, neuromuscular medicine, electrodiagnostic medicine, and autonomic disorders.

Dr. Vernino and his colleagues are recognized experts in diagnosing and treating myasthenia gravis, a rare autoimmune neuromuscular disorder. Dr. Vernino is also an international expert on paraneoplastic neurological disorders (brain and nerve diseases that occur in cancer patients) and autoimmune encephalitis.

Experience matters

Dr. Vernino says the key to correctly diagnosing and successfully managing these often complex conditions is the expertise gained through experience.

“Because we see a lot of patients with these diseases, we’re able to pick up things that other centers might not,” he notes. “We also have a good idea of which patients are going to benefit from which therapies, and we’re able to personalize the care we deliver.” 

“UT Southwestern offers not only the most advanced technologies and tools but also the experience and clinical skills necessary to expertly evaluate and treat these conditions.”

Dr. Vernino and his fellow physician-scientists conduct a great deal of research on the conditions they treat – advancing both the knowledge about them and the therapies used to manage them.

“Our team’s involvement in nearly every national research study in these areas really sets us apart,” Dr. Vernino says. “My lab works to identify antibodies in patients with autoimmune neurologic disorders, which can be used diagnostically and to help us understand the way these diseases work, guiding us to better treatments.”

Dr. Vernino believes in fostering a strong physician-patient partnership. “We’re in this together with our patients,” he says. “To deliver the very best care, it’s important that we take the time to talk to them, help them understand what’s going on and why, and explain what the options are for doing something about it.”