Michael C. Levin, M.D.

Michael C. Levin, M.D.

Professor, Department of Neurology
Chief, Neurology Service, Veterans Administration Medical Center
Director, Multiple Sclerosis Center and Laboratory of Viral and Demyelinating Diseases


  • B.S. w/honors - George Washington University, 1983
  • M.D. - Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, 1988

Post-Graduate Training

  • Intern - New York Hospital/Cornell University, 1988-1990
  • Resident - New York Hospital/Cornell University/Neurology, 1990-1992
  • Chief Resident - New York Hospital/Cornell University/Neurology, 1992-1993
  • Post-Doc. Fellow - National Multiple Sclerosis Society, 1993-1995

Professional Experience

  • Clinical Associate - Neuroimmunology Branch, NINDS, NIH, 1995-1997
  • Asst., Assoc. Professor - University of TN Health Sciences Center 1997-2006

Professional Certification & Licensing

  • Diplomate Am. Board of Psychiatry & Neurology
  • Medical License Tennessee
  • Member- American Neurological Association
  • Member - American Academy of Neurology
  • Member- Society for Neuroscience
    Best Doctors in America, 2005-2006

Clinical Subspecialty Expertise

Multiple Sclerosis, Demyelinating and viral disease of the central nervous system and HTLV-1 associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis.

Research Interests

My laboratory studies the relationship between viruses and immune-associated diseases of the human central nervous system, particularly multiple sclerosis (MS). Specifically, we study how patients infected with HTLV-1 (human t-lymphotropic virus type I) develop HTLV-1 associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP), a demyelinating disease with similarities to MS. Current experiments focus on two major areas. First, identifying a novel auto-antibody response in HAM/TSP patients that may identify a human protein with similarities to viral proteins, an area of study known as molecular mimicry. Second, experiments are designed to identify abnormal expression of RNA using single cell analysis of abnormal areas of brain from MS and HAM/TSP patients. By identifying what cells produce in the central nervous system we hope to develop novel therapeutic strategies to help treat patients with these diseases.

Representative Publications

Lee SM, Dunnavant FD, Jang H , Zunt J, Levin MC. Autoantibodies that recognize functional domains of hnRNPA1 implicate molecular mimicry in the pathogenesis of neurological disease Neuroscience Letters 401(1-2):188-93, 2006.

Wren T, Levin MC. Clinical Stabilization of a multiple sclerosis patient following tonsillectomy. International Journal of MS Care, 7:148–151, 2006.

Levin MC, Lee SM, Morcos Y. Autoimmunity to heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleo-proteins in neurologic disease. Annals of Neurology, 57(6):931, 2005.

Lee SM, Morcos Y, Jang H, Stuart JM. Levin MC. HTLV-1 induced molecular mimicry in neurologic disease. IN: Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology, Molecular Mimicry: Infection inducing autoimmune disease (MBA Oldstone, editor), Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 2005.

Kalume F, Lee SM, Morcos Y, Callaway JC, Levin MC. Molecular mimicry in neurological disease: cross-reactive antibodies from patients with immune mediated neurological disease inhibit neuronal firing. J of Neuroscience Research 77:82-89, 2004.

Frohman EM, Goodin DS, Calabresi PA, Corboy JR, Coyle PK, Filippi M, Frank JA, Galetta SL, Grossman RI, Hawker K, Kachuck NJ, Levin MC, Phillips JT, Racke MK, Rivera VM, Stuart WH. The Utility of MRI in Suspected MS. Report of the Therapeutics and Technology Assessment Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology. Neurology 61:602-611, 2003.

Morcos Y, Lee SM, Levin MC. A role for hypertrophic astrocytes and astrocytes precursors in a case of rapidly progressive multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis 9:332-341, 2003.

Jernigan M, Morcos Y, Lee SM, Dohan FC Jr, Raine C, Levin MC. IgG in brain correlates with clinicopathological damage in HTLV-1 associated neurologic disease. Neurology 60:120-7, 2003.

Levin MC, Brady J, Lee SM, Morcos Y, Stuart J. Cross reactivity between immunodominant HTLV-1- tax and neurons: implications for molecular mimicry. J of Infectious Diseases, 186:1514-7, 2002.

Levin MC, Lee SM, Kalume F, Morcos Y, Dohan FC Jr, Hasty KA, Callaway JC, Zunt J, Desiderio D, Stuart JM. Autoimmunity due to molecular mimicry as a cause of neurological disease. Nature Medicine 8:509-13, 2002.

Levin MC, Krichavsky M, Berk J, Foley S, Rosenfeld M, Dalmau J, Chen G, Posner JB, Jacobson S. Neuronal molecular mimicry in immune-mediated neurologic disease. Ann Neurol 44:87-98,1998.

Lehky T, Levin MC, Kubjota R, Bamford RN, Flerlage AN, Soldan SS, Leist TP, Xavier A, White JD, Brown M, Fleisher TA, Top LW, Light S, McFarland HF, Waldmann TA, Jacobson S. Reduction in HTLV-I proviral load and spontaneous lymphoproliferation in HAM/TSP patients treated with humanized anti-tac (anti-IL-2R alpha). Ann Neurol 44(6):942-947, 1998.

Jacobson S, Levin M, Utz U, Drew P. Infectious Immune Disorders: HTLV-I. IN: Antel JA, Birnbaum G, Hartung H-P, eds. Neuroimmunology. Cambridge, MA. Blackwell Science, 1998, pp. 204-217.

Levin MC, Lehky TJ, Flerlage N, Katz D, Kingma DW, Jaffe ES, Heiss JD, Patronas J, McFarland HF, Jacobson S. Immunologic Analysis of a Spinal Cord-Biopsy Specimen from a Patient with Human T-cell Lymphotropic Virus Type I-Associated Neurologic Disease. New England Journal of Medicine 336(12):839-845, 1997.

Levin MC, and Jacobson S. HTLV-1 Associated Myelopathy/Tropical Spastic Paraparesis (HAM/TSP): A Chronic Progressive Neurologic Disease Associated with Immunologically Mediated Damage to the Central Nervous System. Journal of Neurovirology 3:126-140, 1997.

Levin MC, Fox FJ, Lehky T, Walter M, Fox CH, Flerlage N, Bamford R, and Jacobson S. Polymerase Chain Reaction/In Situ Hybridization Detection of HTLV-1 Tax proviral DNA in Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes of Patients with HTLV-1 Associated Neurologic Disease. Journal of Virology 70(2):924-933, 1996.

Lehky TJ, Fox CH, Koenig S, Levin MC, Flerlage N, Izumo S, Sato E, Raine CS, Osame M, Jacobson S. Detection of Human T-Lymphotropic Virus Type 1-tax RNA in the CNS HAM/TSP patients by In Situ Hybridization

Contact Us

Department of Neurology

855 Monroe Ave, Suite 415
Memphis, Tennessee 38163
Phone: (901) 448-6199
Fax: (901) 448-7440

Andrei V. Alexandrov, MD
Department of Neurology
Semmes-Murphey Professor

Marc Malkoff, MD
Residency Training Program Director

Kristin Loan-Jonakin
Adult Neurology Residency
Training Coordinator
Phone: (901) 448-6661
Fax: (901) 448-7440
Email: kloan@uthsc.edu