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Michael E. Selzer, MD, PhD, FRCP

Michael E. Selzer, MD, PhD, FRCP



Director, Shriners Hospitals Pediatric Research Center

Professor, Neurology

Telephone: 215-926-9318 (Internal: 7-9318)

FAX: 215-926-9325

Email:   mselzer@temple.edu or




Shriners Hospitals Pediatric Research Center

Department of Neurology


Educational Background:


A.B. Degree, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 1962


MD/PhD Degree, New York University, New York, NY, 1968


Internship, New York University - Bellview Hospital, New York, NY, 1969


Residency, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 1974


Fellowship, Clinical Associate, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, 1971


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clinical Interests:



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board certification(s):


Psychiatry and Neurology, 1976

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professional affiliations:

  • Fellow, Royal College of Physicians (London)
  • Fellow, American Academy of Neurology
  • President, World Federation for Neurorehabilitation (WFNR)
  • American Neurological Association
  • American Society of Neurorehabilitation
  • Philadelphia College of Physicians
  • Philadelphia Neurological Society
  • Past Editor-in-Chief, Neurorehabiliation and Neural Repair
  • Past Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development
  • Past Director, Rehabilitation Research and Development, Department of Veteran Affairs

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Dr. Selzer’s research is in the area of regeneration in the central nervous system, using the spinal cord of the sea lamprey as a model for determining the molecular mechanisms that underlie regrowth of axons after injury. Early on, his laboratory demonstrated that spinal cord axons regenerate selectively in their correct paths and make physiologically functioning synapses specifically with correct neuron types. The spinal-projecting neurons in the brainstem are very heterogeneous in their regenerative abilities. Those that are bad regenerators downregulate neurofilament (NF) mRNA expression permanently after axon section, whereas good regenerators show recovery of NF expression. Since the regenerating axon tips lack filopodia, have sparse F-actin and are densely packed with NFs, the Selzer lab is testing whether NFs are involved in the mechanism of regeneration. They are now using in vivo micro-imaging and two-photon microscopy to distinguish axons that are actively regenerating from those that are static or retracting and observe their responses to pharmacological and molecular manipulations. Using these microimaging techniques, they have found that axon regeneration is intermittent and that increasing cAMP activity increases the velocity of axon regeneration but not the time spent in forward movement, as opposed to stasis or retraction. Another characteristic of bad regenerating neurons is their upregulation of receptors for certain guidance molecules after axotomy. In other systems, these receptors act as “dependence receptors,” activating an apoptosis cascade when they are not bound by their ligand. With Dr. Michael Shifman, Dr. Selzer has found that the ligands for these receptors are down-regulated transiently near the site of spinal cord transection, and that the bad-regenerating neurons undergo delayed apoptotic cell death, i.e., they are TUNEL and caspase 3 positive and eventually disappear. Thus, the lab is now testing whether certain neurons are bad regenerators because at the time of assessment, they are already undergoing very slow dependence receptor-mediated apoptosis.


Dr. Selzer is the recipient of numerous grants and awards from the NIH and other government and voluntary organizations and has served on peer review panels for the NIH, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.


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Dr. Selzer has a distinguished record of teaching and mentorship.

  • Served as Associate Dean for Graduate Education/Director of Biomedical Graduate Studies (BGS) at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Served as Director of the Clinical Neuroscience Track, a unique program that provides curricular enrichment and research opportunities for more than 100 medical students interested in the clinical neurosciences.
  • Original PI of the very successful postdoctoral training grant Research Training in Neurological Rehabilitation (T32 HD07425).
  • Currently Director of the Center for Experimental Rehabilitation Training (CENT; R24 HD050838), one of six centers that make up the NCMRR’s Rehabilitation Research Infrastructure program. In this role, he and his faculty provide pilot project support, access to cutting edge technology, research design mentoring, and research career mentoring to rehabilitation professionals who wish to engage in research.

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Recent Medically Related Publications, Obtained from PubMed (Click on PubMed ID to view abstract)

26366578. Zhang G, Jin LQ, Hu J, Rodemer W, Selzer ME, Antisense Morpholino Oligonucleotides Reduce Neurofilament Synthesis and Inhibit Axon Regeneration in Lamprey Reticulospinal Neurons. PLoS One 10:9(e0137670)2015

25382660. Yang L, Miao L, Liang F, Huang H, Teng X, Li S, Nuriddinov J, Selzer ME, Hu Y, The mTORC1 effectors S6K1 and 4E-BP play different roles in CNS axon regeneration. Nat Commun 5:(5416)2014 Nov 10

25350040. Barreiro-Iglesias A, Zhang G, Selzer ME, Shifman MI, Complete spinal cord injury and brain dissection protocol for subsequent wholemount in situ hybridization in larval sea lamprey. J Vis Exp :92(e51494)2014 Oct 14

25220840. Xu B, Park D, Ohtake Y, Li H, Hayat U, Liu J, Selzer ME, Longo FM, Li S, Role of CSPG receptor LAR phosphatase in restricting axon regeneration after CNS injury. Neurobiol Dis 73:(36-48)2015 Jan

24954432. Barbe MF, Adiga R, Gordiienko O, Pleshko N, Selzer ME, Krynska B, Micro-computed tomography assessment of vertebral column defects in retinoic acid-induced rat model of myelomeningocele. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol 100:6(453-62)2014 Jun

24630093. Ohtake Y, Park D, Abdul-Muneer PM, Li H, Xu B, Sharma K, Smith GM, Selzer ME, Li S, The effect of systemic PTEN antagonist peptides on axon growth and functional recovery after spinal cord injury. Biomaterials 35:16(4610-26)2014 May

24151158. Zhang G, Vidal Pizarro I, Swain GP, Kang SH, Selzer ME, Neurogenesis in the lamprey central nervous system following spinal cord transection. J Comp Neurol 522:6(1316-32)2014 Apr 15

23955583. Li S, Yang L, Selzer ME, Hu Y, Neuronal endoplasmic reticulum stress in axon injury and neurodegeneration. Ann Neurol 74:6(768-77)2013 Dec

21618230. Zhang G, Jin L, Selzer ME, Assembly properties of lamprey neurofilament subunits and their expression after spinal cord transection. J Comp Neurol 519:18(3657-71)2011 Dec 15

21081119. Jin LQ, Zhang G, Pennicooke B, Laramore C, Selzer ME, Multiple neurofilament subunits are present in lamprey CNS. Brain Res 1370:(16-33)2011 Jan 25

19425080. Jin LQ, Zhang G, Jamison C Jr, Takano H, Haydon PG, Selzer ME, Axon regeneration in the absence of growth cones: acceleration by cyclic AMP. J Comp Neurol 515:3(295-312)2009 Jul 20

19268666. Shifman MI, Yumul RE, Laramore C, Selzer ME, Expression of the repulsive guidance molecule RGM and its receptor neogenin after spinal cord injury in sea lamprey. Exp Neurol 217:2(242-51)2009 Jun

19112491. Hill AS, Nishino A, Nakajo K, Zhang G, Fineman JR, Selzer ME, Okamura Y, Cooper EC, Ion channel clustering at the axon initial segment and node of Ranvier evolved sequentially in early chordates. PLoS Genet 4:12(e1000317)2008 Dec

18634003. Shifman MI, Zhang G, Selzer ME, Delayed death of identified reticulospinal neurons after spinal cord injury in lampreys. J Comp Neurol 510:3(269-82)2008 Sep 20

17278142. Shifman MI, Selzer ME, Differential expression of class 3 and 4 semaphorins and netrin in the lamprey spinal cord during regeneration. J Comp Neurol 501:4(631-46)2007 Apr 1

17269441. Ding S, Messam CA, Li P, Selzer ME, Dichter MA, Haydon PG, Murine brain progenitor cells have the ability to differentiate into functional neurons and integrate into the CNS. Cell Transplant 15:8-9(699-710)2006

16680764. Shifman MI, Selzer ME, Semaphorins and their receptors in lamprey CNS: Cloning, phylogenetic analysis, and developmental changes during metamorphosis. J Comp Neurol 497:1(115-32)2006 Jul 1

15710850. Li P, Tessler A, Han SS, Fischer I, Rao MS, Selzer ME, Fate of immortalized human neuronal progenitor cells transplanted in rat spinal cord. Arch Neurol 62:2(223-9)2005 Feb

15700276. Jin LQ, Zhang G, Selzer ME, Lamprey neurofilaments contain a previously unreported 50-kDa protein. J Comp Neurol 483:4(403-14)2005 Mar 21

15673843. Zhang G, Jin LQ, Sul JY, Haydon PG, Selzer ME, Live imaging of regenerating lamprey spinal axons. Neurorehabil Neural Repair 19:1(46-57)2005 Mar

14986312. Zhang G, Spencer PH, Jin LQ, Cohlberg JA, Beaulieu JM, Julien JP, Selzer ME, The single neurofilament subunit of lamprey may need another element for filament assembly. J Comp Neurol 471:2(188-200)2004 Mar 29

14694540. Vidal Pizarro I, Swain GP, Selzer ME, Cell proliferation in the lamprey central nervous system. J Comp Neurol 469:2(298-310)2004 Feb 2

12849237. Selzer ME, Promotion of axonal regeneration in the injured CNS. Lancet Neurol 2:3(157-66)2003 Mar

12451179. Takahashi M, Hackney DB, Zhang G, Wehrli SL, Wright AC, O'Brien WT, Uematsu H, Wehrli FW, Selzer ME, Magnetic resonance microimaging of intraaxonal water diffusion in live excised lamprey spinal cord. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 99:25(16192-6)2002 Dec 10

11850034. Wright AC, Wehrli SL, Zhang G, Takahashi M, Hackney DB, Selzer ME, Wehrli FW, Visualization of individual axons in excised lamprey spinal cord by magnetic resonance microscopy. J Neurosci Methods 114:1(9-15)2002 Feb 15

11228949. Shifman MI, Selzer ME, Expression of the netrin receptor UNC-5 in lamprey brain: modulation by spinal cord transection. Neurorehabil Neural Repair 14:1(49-58)2000

11163407. Shifman MI, Selzer ME, In situ hybridization in wholemounted lamprey spinal cord: localization of netrin mRNA expression. J Neurosci Methods 104:1(19-25)2000 Dec 15

11161618. Zhang G, Selzer ME, In vivo transfection of lamprey brain neurons by gene gun delivery of DNA. Exp Neurol 167:2(304-11)2001 Feb

9185558. Jacobs AJ, Swain GP, Snedeker JA, Pijak DS, Gladstone LJ, Selzer ME, Recovery of neurofilament expression selectively in regenerating reticulospinal neurons. J Neurosci 17:13(5206-20)1997 Jul 1

8744444. Pijak DS, Hall GF, Tenicki PJ, Boulos AS, Lurie DI, Selzer ME, Neurofilament spacing, phosphorylation, and axon diameter in regenerating and uninjured lamprey axons. J Comp Neurol 368:4(569-81)1996 May 13

8820872. Jacobs AJ, Swain GP, Selzer ME, Developmental increases in expression of neurofilament mRNA selectively in projection neurons of the lamprey CNS. J Comp Neurol 364:3(383-401)1996 Jan 15

7541809. Merrick SE, Pleasure SJ, Lurie DI, Pijak DS, Selzer ME, Lee VM, Glial cells of the lamprey nervous system contain keratin-like proteins. J Comp Neurol 355:2(199-210)1995 May 1

7770000. Jacobs AJ, Kamholz J, Selzer ME, The single lamprey neurofilament subunit (NF-180) lacks multiphosphorylation repeats and is expressed selectively in projection neurons. Brain Res Mol Brain Res 29:1(43-52)1995 Mar

7866581. Selzer ME, Neuroscience and neurorehabilitation. Curr Opin Neurol 7:6(507-9)1994 Dec

7929892. Lurie DI, Pijak DS, Selzer ME, Structure of reticulospinal axon growth cones and their cellular environment during regeneration in the lamprey spinal cord. J Comp Neurol 344:4(559-80)1994 Jun 22

7523177. Swain GP, Jacobs AJ, Frei E, Selzer ME, A method for in situ hybridization in wholemounted lamprey brain: neurofilament expression in larvae and adults. Exp Neurol 126:2(256-69)1994 Apr

1449251. Selzer ME, Neurological rehabilitation. Ann Neurol 32:5(695-9)1992 Nov

1783686. Lurie DI, Selzer ME, Preferential regeneration of spinal axons through the scar in hemisected lamprey spinal cord. J Comp Neurol 313:4(669-79)1991 Nov 22

1865001. Lurie DI, Selzer ME, Axonal regeneration in the adult lamprey spinal cord. J Comp Neurol 306:3(409-16)1991 Apr 15

1707370. Lurie DI, Selzer ME, The need for cellular elements during axonal regeneration in the sea lamprey spinal cord. Exp Neurol 112:1(64-71)1991 Apr

2493079. Pleasure SJ, Selzer ME, Lee VM, Lamprey neurofilaments combine in one subunit the features of each mammalian NF triplet protein but are highly phosphorylated only in large axons. J Neurosci 9:2(698-709)1989 Feb

3241672. Kaplan FS, Maguire TG, Lee VM, Selzer ME, Spindler K, Black J, Brighton CT, Direct extracellular electrical stimulation influences density dependent aggregation of fetal rat cerebrocortical neurons in vitro. Neurosci Lett 94:1-2(33-8)1988 Nov 22

3690284. Yin HS, Mackler SA, Selzer ME, The axon reaction of lamprey spinal interneurons. Brain Res 421:1-2(48-56)1987 Sep 22

3656190. Mackler SA, Selzer ME, Specificity of synaptic regeneration in the spinal cord of the larval sea lamprey. J Physiol 388:(183-98)1987 Jul

3332450. Selzer ME, Nerve regeneration. Semin Neurol 7:1(88-96)1987 Mar

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