Michelle (M. J.) J. Clarke, M.D.

  1. Neurosurgeon
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My name is Michelle Clark. I'm a complex spine surgeon. I do quite a bit of fusions and degenerative spine surgery. My main area of interest is tumors. That includes a research interest and a clinical interest.

My approach to a treatment plan is fairly simple. I want to meet the patient and hear their story. Then we go through all of the tests they've had, so that we can determine exactly what's going on. One of the things I like most is the opportunity to form a relationship with a patient. I'd like my patients to know that I care and that I will not do anything that I don't feel myself and the team are capable of doing.

There are two things I really enjoy about being a physician, first, seeing patients improve. And second, I enjoy the technical side of medicine. It's a field that continues to grow, and it's fun to be a part of that.

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Michelle J. Clarke, M.D., is a neurosurgeon specializing in complex spine surgery and spinal oncology. Her clinical practice includes:

  • Spine tumors, including primary and metastatic tumors, spinal cord tumors, spinal vascular lesions, andassociated complex reconstructions
  • Degenerative spine disease, including spinal stenosis, degenerative scoliosis and other degenerative conditions
  • Promoting each patient's understanding of his or her disease and determining the best course of action, including directing him or her to appropriate nonsurgical management

In addition to her clinical activities, Dr. Clarke is an internationally recognized researcher and is deeply involved in education. She is also a member of the bioethics faculty at Mayo Clinic.

  1. Brain tumor
  2. Chiari malformation
  3. Spinal cord tumor
  4. Spinal tumor
  5. Vascular malformation
  1. Brain tumor surgery
  2. Chiari malformation surgery
  3. Spinal fusion
  4. Spine tumor surgery
  • Brain tumor surgery
  • Spinal cord tumor surgery
  • Chiari Malformation surgery
  • Sacral pathology
  • Vascular malformations of the spinal cord
  • Spine fusion
  • Spine tumor
  1. 2017
    Masters - BioethicsLoyola University Chicago
  2. 2016
    Certificate - Education Science Career Development Award (ESCDA) and Endowment for Education Research Award (EERA) for Mayo faculty who wish to pursue education research as a significant component of their careers. Participants gain skills in education research and have the opportunity to create high-quality research protocols to study an education research question of their choice. Mayo Clinic, The Office of Applied Scholarship and Education Science (OASES)
  3. 2010
    Fellow - SpineThe Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  4. 2009
    Chief ResidentMayo School of Graduate Medical Education, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  5. 2009
    Resident - Department of Neurologic SurgeryMayo School of Graduate Medical Education, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  6. 2008
    Research Fellowship - Pursue translational research in the field of neuro-oncologyClinician-Investigator Training Program, Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  7. 2008
    Research Fellowship - NIH Training Grant NS07494-0Mayo Clinic Department of Neurology (Neurooncolgy)
  8. 2002
    MDGeorgetown University School of Medicine
  9. 1998
    BSE - Aerospace Engineering Minor Biology/NeurosciencePrinceton University
  10. 1997
    Research Fellowship - Biomedical EngineeringInstitute of Medical Science, University of Toronto
    M.Ed. - Medical and Adult EducationUniversity of Cincinnati


  1. 2012
    Neurological SurgeryAmerican Board of Neurological Surgery

Awards and honors

  1. 2017
    First Poster PrizeNorth American Skull Base Society
  2. 2017
    Alpha Sigma Nu, Jesuit Honor SocietyLoyola University Chicago
  3. 2016
    Best Clinical PaperAOSpine North American Annual Fellows Forum
  4. 2016
    Best Science PaperLumbar Spine Research Society
  5. 2016
    Fellow Research AwardNorth American Spine Society
  6. 2015
    Gradute Humanities AwardLoyola University Chicago
  7. 2015
    Depuy Synthes Award for Resident Research on Spinal Cord and Spinal Column InjuryCongress of Neurologic Surgeons
  8. 2015
    Phi Beta Kappa Honor SocietyLoyola University Chicago
  9. 2009
    Neurosurgery Research AwardMayo Clinic
  10. 2008
    Sherry Apple Travel Scholarship: Best Abstract CNSCongress of Neurologic Surgeons
  11. 2006
    Hartz Foundation Young Investigator ScholarshipMayo School of Graduate Medical Education, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science, Department of Education Administration
  12. 2002
    Summa Cum LaudeGeorgetown Medical School
  13. 2001
    PEO Scholar Award: Awarded to an outstanding graduate student in the United States or Canada PEO
  14. 1998
    Cum LaudePrinceton University
  15. 1998
    Sigma Xi AppointmentSigma Xi Research Society
  16. 1998
    Certificate in Engineering BiologyPrinceton University

Professional memberships

  1. 2019
    Guest ExaminerAmerican Board of Neurological Surgery
  2. 2018 - present
    PresidentMayo Foundation Chapter, Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
  3. 2017 - present
    MemberSNS Society of Neurologic Surgeons
  4. 2017 - present
    MemberElectoral Committee, Mayo Clinic Chapter, Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
  5. 2017 - present
    Scientific Program OrganizerCNS/AANS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves
  6. 2016 - present
    Co-ChairAOSpine, Women in AOSpine
  7. 2016 - present
    FacultyMayo Clinic Bioethics Faculty
  8. 2016 - present
    MemberMayo Clinic Midwest Ethics subcommittee
  9. 2016 - present
    Education CommitteeAOSpine
  10. 2015 - present
    Program DirectorMayo Clinic Department of Neurologic Surgery, Enfolded Spine Fellowship
  11. 2015 - 2017
    PresidentMinnesota Neurosurgical Society
  12. 2015 - present
    PresidentMinnesota Neurosurgical Society
  13. 2015 - present
    MemberNeurosurgical Society of America
  14. 2014 - 2015
    MemberNeurosurgery Quality Committee, Department of Neurologic Surgery
  15. 2014 - present
  16. 2013 - 2015
    TreasurerMinnesota Neurosurgical Society
  17. 2013 - 2014
    ChairNeurosurgery Enterprise Supply and Equipment Committee, Department of Neurologic Surgery
  18. 2013 - present
    ChairOrgan, Tissue and Eye Donation Sub-Committee
  19. 2013 - 2018
    ChairSurgical Equipment and Supply Committee
  20. 2013 - 2016
    MemberNeurosurgery Program Evaluation Committee, Education Committee, Department of Neurologic Surgery
  21. 2013 - 2015
    MemberNeurosurgery Specialty Council, Mayo Clinic Specialty Council, Mayo Clinic Clinical Practice Committee
  22. 2012 - 2016
    Founding MemberAssociation for Collaborative Spine Research
  23. 2012 - 2015
    MemberManage to Reimbursement: Spine Surgery, Operations Coordination / Resource Allocation Subgroup - Mayo Clinic, Mayo Clinic Clinical Practice Committee
  24. 2012 - 2015
    Mayo RepresentativeNational Surgery Quality Improvement Project (NSQIP)
  25. 2012 - present
    MemberSacral Study Group
  26. 2012 - present
    MemberScientific Committee, Tumor Section, Association for Collaborative Spine Research
  27. 2012 - present
    MemberQuality Improvement Project: Postoperative Urinary Retention in Spinal Surgery, National Surgery Quality Improvement Project (NSQIP)
  28. 2012 - present
    Associate MemberAO Spine International Knowledge Forum (Tumor Section), AOSpine
  29. 2011 - present
    MemberSurgical Quality Subcommittee, Mayo Clinic Rochester Surgical Committee, Mayo Clinic Rochester Committees
  30. 2011 - present
    Co-ChairSystematic Review Committee, Tumor Section, Association for Collaborative Spine Research
  31. 2010 - present
    MemberMinnesota Neurosurgical Society
  32. 2010 - 2016
    MemberEducation Committee, Department of Neurologic Surgery
  33. 2010 - 2016
    ChairNeurosurgery Clinical Competency Committee, Education Committee, Department of Neurologic Surgery
  34. 2010 - 2016
    ChairNeurosurgery General Curriculum Lectures, Education Committee, Department of Neurologic Surgery
  35. 2010 - 2015
    Mayo RepresentativeNational Neurosurgery Quality Outcomes Database (N2QOD)
  36. 2010 - present
    Founding MemberNational Neurosurgery Quality Outcomes Database (N2QOD)
  37. 2009 - present
  38. 2009 - present
    MemberZumbro Valley Medical Society, Minnesota Medical Association
  39. 2006 - 2010
    MemberNorth American Spine Society
  40. 2006 - present
    MemberSociety for Neuro-Oncology
  41. 2002 - present
    MemberAmerican Association of Neurological Surgeons
  42. 2002 - present
    MemberCongress of Neurological Surgeons
  43. 2002 - present
    MemberAmerican Medical Association
  44. 1998 - present
    Member in Sigma XiSigma Xi Research Society
  45. 1998 - present
    MemberSigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
  46. 1997 - 2000
    MemberAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers


Research activities

See a description of research activities.