In memoriam: Alexandros (Alex) C Tselis

alexander tselis
Alexandros (Alex) C Tselis

Alexandros (Alex) C Tselis, MD, PhD, retired Professor of Neurology passed away on September 8, 2022. He was admired for his excellence as a physician, his scholarship, his sense of humor and his warm wonderful personality.

Some, but not all, know that Alex had a career before medicine. Alex was born in Canada and did his undergraduate work in physics at McGill and received a PhD in Solid State Physics from Brown. He did post doctoral research at both Brown and Purdue and published several papers in physics before deciding to go into medicine.

Alex would always remind us that Lord Rutherford said that science was physics and mathematics and all the rest was "just collecting postage stamps". Alex received his MD from the University of Miami, his PGY1 and 2 years at Northwestern and PGY3 and 4 at Duke. He was a postdoctoral research associate in Neurovirology in the Department of Neurology with Francisco Gonzalez Scarano at the University of Pennsylvania. After a short term at Texas Tech he joined the Department of Neurology at Wayne State University as Assistant Professor of Neurology in 1994, promoted to Associate Professor in 2001 and Professor of Neurology in 2011.

Alex was one of the leading neurovirologists in the country and was recognized for his work internationally. He directed a NeuroAIDS clinic for the Infectious disease division of Internal Medicine as well as being a major figure in the MS/Neuroimmunology research and clinical programs and the MS Clinic. Alex had an extensive bibliography of original observations, clinical trials, reviews, published abstracts and chapters in books dealing with neurovirology, multiple sclerosis, sarcoidosis and other inflammatory diseases of the nervous system. Alex loved books, he was seldom seen without a book in hand that he was reading and he edited two books that are still classics, one on Epstein Barr Virus and the other Neurovirology a volume that is part of the Handbook of Clinical Neurology. He famously walked the halls of DRH with books in hand and was known to inspire ancillary staff to go back and complete their education.

He was an excellent teacher using his scholarly approach and won awards for his teaching. He was on the WSU IRB for many years, served on local and national task forces, committees and editorial boards as well as an ad hoc reviewer for many journals. He served as Vice Chief of Neurology at Detroit Receiving Hospital.

If you knew Alex you knew as a Canadian, he was an ice hockey fanatic. His favorite jacket listed "The Original Six", the founding teams of the National Hockey League. If you were going to a meeting that had a NHL team, you were supposed to bring back a T-shirt or sweatshirt from that team.

Alex was a family man, married to Carol Jackson for many years. They have 3 children of whom they are justly proud, Zack, Ben and Genevieve.

Author - Dr. Robert P. Lisak Friend and Colleague