Picture of Dr. Michael Levin

Dr. Michael Levin MD, FAAN, FANA Faculty, Neurology

Research Areas

  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Neuroimmunology
  • Neurovirology
  • RNA Binding Proteins
  • Autoimmunity

About Dr. Michael Levin

Dr. Levin received his Bachelors of Science degree in chemistry with special honors at the George Washington University in Washington D.C. It was at ‘GW’ where Dr. Levin began his research career studying the role of thymic peptides in nervous system infections. He completed his medical degree at the Pennsylvania State University. To acquire greater depth into neuroscience research, Dr. Levin took a year sabbatical from medical school to study central nervous system control of hypertension at The Salk Institute under the direction of Drs. Max Cowan and Paul Sawchenko. Understanding that clinical expertise was equally important as experience at the bench, Dr. Levin completed his residency training in neurology at The New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center – Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Drs. Fred Plum and Jerry Posner mentored him during his residency including while he was chief neurology resident during his final year of training. In order to apply both his basic science and clinical skills to a neurological disease, Dr. Levin spent four years working with Drs. Henry McFarland and Steve Jacobson in the Neuroimmunology Branch – the translational research group specifically focused on MS - at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Neuroimmunology Branch, affectionately known as “The Branch” recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, has produced hundreds of MS investigators and is recognized as one of the first in the United States to comprehensively focus on the pathogenesis of MS.

Subsequently, Dr. Levin was recruited by the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Memphis, Tennessee, to create both a clinical and research program in MS.  Being fortunate to be mentored by some of the greatest leaders in neurology and neuroscience, afforded Dr. Levin the foundational skills required to develop a vision for translational research in MS. Clinically, Dr. Levin follows more than 500 MS patients, his work has been recognized by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society for the first ever clinical trial in MS in Memphis, he was selected as a “Healthcare Hero” finalist by the Memphis Business Journal and was elected into the Best Doctors in America database from 2005-15.

Professor Levin has received more than 25 awards for academic excellence. Professor Levin’s research into the pathogenesis of MS includes work in molecular mimicry and neurodegeneration. He has maintained federal funding for almost 20 years and continues to have an active laboratory with several scientists and graduate students. His work has been published in The New England Journal of Medicine, Nature Medicine, Annals of Neurology, Neurology and the Journal of Comparative Neurology. Further, his research has received national recognition from the American Academy of Neurology & the Society for Neuroscience at their annual meetings.

Dr. Levin was also the Chief of Neurology at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center – Memphis. The “VA” is the largest integrated health care system in the United States, caring for approximately 8.3 million US Veterans. As Chief of Neurology, Dr. Levin led a team of physicians, physician extenders, nurses and staff, which is ranked as one of the most productive neurology services in the country and includes a regional MS Center of Excellence. Dr. Levin teaches residents and medical students and was awarded the University of Tennessee Golden Apple Teaching Award. He is active in the community, where he is on the board of trustees of Freedom Prep Academy (a charter school), participates in the Church Health Center and raises funds for MS.

Most recently, Dr. Levin was recruited to the University of Saskatchewan as the inaugural Saskatchewan Multiple Sclerosis Clinical Research Chair.  He joins a team of scientists and physicians including Drs. Val Verge, Katherine Knox, Bogdan Popescu and Ilia Poliakov, with the ultimate goal of creating a world-class MS center in Saskatchewan with an international reputation for excellence.

Dr. Levin is married to his lovely wife for more than 25 years, Dr. Audrey Zucker-Levin, an academic physical therapist. He has two strappingly handsome sons (both at university) and a golden retriever named Sadie. Dr. Levin is an avid sailor and scuba diver and an enthusiast skier.

Selected Publications

  • Salapa HE, Lee S, Shin Y and Levin MC. Contribution of the degeneration of the neuro-axonal unit to the pathogenesis of multiple Sclerosis. Brain Sciences 7(6):69; doi:10.3390/brainsci7060069, 2017.
  • Tang J, Bailey J, Chang C, Faris R, Hong SH, Levin MC, Wang J. Effects of specialty pharmacy care on health outcomes in multiple sclerosis. American Health Drug Benefits 9(8):420-29, 2016.
  • Levin MC, Lee S, Gardner LA, Shin Y, Douglas JN, Salapa HE. Autoantibodies to heterogeneous nuclear ribonuclear protein A1 (hnRNPA1) cause altered 'ribostasis' and neurodegeneration; the legacy of HAM/TSP as a model of progressive multiple sclerosis. J Neuroimmunol 2016.[ 2016 Jul 17. pii: S0165-5728(16)30155-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2016.07.005.]
  • Douglas JN, Gardner LA, Salapa HE, Lalor SJ, Lee S, Segal BM, Sawchenko PE, Levin MC. Antibodies to the RNA binding protein hnRNP A1 contribute to neurodegeneration in a model of central nervous system autoimmune inflammatory disease. J Neuroinflammation 13(1)178, 2016. [2016 Jul 8;13(1):178. doi: 10.1186/s12974-016-0647-y]
  • Douglas JN, Gardner LA, Salapa HE, Levin MC. Antibodies to the RNA Binding Protein Heterogeneous Nuclear Ribonucleoprotein A1 Colocalize to Stress Granules Resulting in Altered RNA and Protein Levels in a Model of Neurodegeneration in Multiple Sclerosis. J Clin Cell Immunol 7(2):402, 2016. [DOI:10.4172/2155-9899.1000402]
  • Gardner LA, Levin, MC. Importance of Apolipoprotein A-I in Multiple Sclerosis. Front Pharmacol 2015 (doi: 10.3389/fphar.2015.00278)
  • Lee S, Levin MC. Novel somatic single nucleotide variants within the RNA binding protein hnRNP A1 in multiple sclerosis patients. F1000Research, http://f1000r.es/4dh, 2014. (Editor’s featured article)