College of Medicine

Research Area(s)

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


Michael C. Levin, MD, is the inaugural Saskatchewan Multiple Sclerosis Clinical Research Chair and Professor of Neurology and Anatomy, Physiology & Pharmacology at the University of Saskatchewan. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry with special honors at George Washington University, his medical degree at Pennsylvania State University and basic neuroscience training at The Salk Institute with Drs. Max Cowan and Paul Sawchenko. Dr. Levin completed his residency training in Neurology at the New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center – Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center where Drs. Fred Plum and Jerry Posner mentored him including while he was chief neurology resident. He then completed his Multiple Sclerosis (MS) post-doctoral fellowship in the Neuroimmunology Branch at the National Institutes of Health with Drs. Henry McFarland and Steve Jacobson.

He was recruited to the University of Tennessee in Memphis where he moved up the ranks to professor with tenure, was Chief of the Neurology Service at the Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical Center and led the MS clinic and developed a translational research program based on the role that dysfunctional RNA binding proteins play in the pathogenesis of neurodegeneration in MS and relevant MS models. His work has been published in The New England Journal of Medicine, Nature Communications, Nature Medicine, Glia, Annals of Neurology, Neurology, the Journal of Comparative Neurology, and the Journal of Neuroscience Research. Dr. Levin has received more than 30 awards for academic excellence and his work has been recognized by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, American Academy of Neurology, and the Society for Neuroscience.

Here at the University of Saskatchewan, Dr. Levin’s cutting-edge work on dysfunctional RNA binding proteins in MS has been recognized by a Canadian ‘Science, Technology, Innovation and Collaboration’ Award for the discovery of stress granules in brain tissue of an MS patient and a Canadian Tri-agency New Frontiers Research Grant – one of the most competitive in Canada - which is awarded for high risk, high reward interdisciplinary research that has the potential for significant impact. Most recently, his team discovered that an RNA binding protein named heterogeneous nuclear ribonuclear protein A1 (‘A1’ for short), is abnormal in nerve cells of people with MS. Abnormal A1 causes nerve cell death resulting in permanent disability. Using innovative drug design, Dr. Levin’ team identified multiple drugs that normalized A1 in nerve cells, which not only stopped nerve cells from dying, but also promoted their regeneration! These new drugs, which are being patented and prepared for clinical trials, are designed to prevent disability and improve the lives of persons living with MS.

Dr. Levin is married to his lovely wife of more than 30 years, Dr. Audrey Zucker-Levin, an academic physical therapist. He has two strappingly handsome sons and is an avid sailor and scuba diver.

Selected Publications

  • Anees, A*; Salapa, HE; Thibault, PA; Hutchinson, C; Hammond, AS; Levin, MC. (2021). Knockdown of heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A1 results in neurite damage, altered stress granule biology and cellular toxicity in differentiated neuronal cells. eNeuro. 8(6): 0350-21.

  • Clarke, JP*; Thibault, PA; Salapa, HE; Kim, DE*; Hutchinson, C; Levin, MC. (2021). Multiple sclerosis associated hnRNP A1 mutations alter hnRNP A1 dynamics and influence stress granule formation. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 22(6): 2909.

  • Saini, A; Cochran, C; Zucker-Levin, A; Donkers, SJ; Kumar, P*; Knox, KB; MacPherson, J; Salapa, HE*; Levin, MC. (2021). A tripartite knowledge translation program: innovative patient-centered approach to clinical research participation for individuals with multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis International. 2021: 7.

  • Kahovec, C; Saini, A; Levin, MC. (2021). Diagnostic Dilemma: An atypical case of astrocytoma in a patient with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis. Neurology International. 13(2): 240-251.

  • Saini, A; Zucker-Levin, A; McMillan, B*; Kumar, P*; Donkers, SJ; Levin, MC. (2021). A descriptive correlational study to evaluate three measures of assessing upper extremity function in individuals with multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis International. 2021: 8.

  • Clarke, JP*; Salapa, HE; Thibault, PA; Levin, MC. (2021). A comprehensive analysis of the role of hnRNP A1 function and dysfunction in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disease. Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences. 8: 659610.

  • Thibault, PA; Ganesan, R; Kalyaanamoorthy, S; Clarke, JPW*; Salapa, HE; Levin, MC. (2021). hnRNP A/B proteins: an encyclopedic assessment of their roles in homeostasis and disease. Biology. 10(8): 712.

  • Li, M*; Hamilton, R*; Salapa, HE; Levin, MC. (2021). Proinflammatory cytokines and autoantibodies induced ysfunctional RNA binding protein biology in mouse primary cortical neurons. Brain Sciences. 11: 1282.

  • Salapa, HE; Hutchinson, C; Popescu, BF; Levin, MC. (2020). Neuronal RNA-binding protein dysfunction in multiple sclerosis cortex. Annals of Clinical Translational. 7(7): 1214-1224.

  • Saini, A; Bach, K*; Poliakov, I; Knox, K; Levin, MC. (2020). MRI spinal cord lesions in a cohort of multiple sclerosis patients in Saskatchewan, Canada. International Journal of MS Care. 0000: 1 - 24.

  • Libner, CD*; Salapa, HE; Levin, MC. (2020). The potential contribution of dysfunctional RNA-binding proteins to the pathogenesis of neurodegeneration in multiple sclerosis and relevant models. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 21(13): 4571.

  • Libner, CD*; Salapa, HE; Hutchinson, C; Lee, S; Levin, MC. (2020). Cover Image - Antibodies to the RNA binding protein heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A1 contribute to neuronal cell loss in an animal model of multiple sclerosis. Journal of Comparative Neurology. 258(10): 1704-1724.

  • 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,, 2014. (Editor’s featured article)

  • Salapa, H.E., Thibault, P.A., Libner, C.D., Ding, Y., Clarke, J.P., Denomy, C., Hutchinson, C., Abidullah, H.M., Hammond, S.A., Pastushok, L., Vizeacoumar, F.S. & Levin, M.C. (2024). hnRNP A1 dysfunction alters RNA splicing and drives neurodegeneration in multiple sclerosis (MS). Nature Communications, 15: 356.

  • Clarke, J.P., Thibault, P.A., Fatima, S., Salapa, H.E., Kalyaanamoorthy, S., Aravindhan, G. & Levin, M.C. (2023). Sequence- and structural-specific RNA oligonucleotide binding attenuates heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A1 dysfunction. Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences, 10:1178439. doi: 10.3389/fmolb.2023.1178439. PMID: 37426420; PMCID: PMC10325567.
  • Tokarska, N., Johnston, J., Salapa, H.E., Levin, M.C., Popescu, B., Muir, G. & Verge, V. (2023). Acute intermittent hypoxia: a novel non-invasive therapy that promotes intrinsic repair in the EAE model of MS. Glia, 71(8): 2045-2066. doi: 10.1002/glia.24381.

  • Jahanbazi Jahan-Abad, A., Salapa, H.E., Libner, C.D., Thibault, P.A. & Levin, M.C. (2022). hnRNP A1 dysfunction in oligodendrocytes contributes to the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS). Glia, 71(3): 633-647.

  • Libner, C.D., Salapa, H.E., Hutchinson, C, Stang, T., Hammond, A. & Levin, M.C. (2022). Autoimmunity to a ribonucleoprotein drives neuron loss in an in vivo model of multiple sclerosis. Neurobiology of Disease, 140: 105775.