Melissa McGinn Greer, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Melissa McGinn Greer, Ph.D.

Department: Anatomy and Neurobio

Phone: 804-827-0009

Fax: 804-828-9477


Associate Professor
Assistant Professor, Anatomy and Neurobiology 
Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology
P.O. Box 980709
Richmond, VA 23298-0709
Phone: 804-827-0009
Fax: 804-828-9477


  • B.A., The College of William & Mary (Art History Major; Minor in Biology) 1998


  • Ph.D., Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Virginia Commonwealth University
    Thesis: Characterizing the Effects of Aging and Injury on the Subventricular Zone Proteome
    (Mentor: Dr. Raymond Colello) 2005
  • Graduate Certificate in Medical Education, Department of Teaching and Learning, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Education (VCU School of Medicine Teaching in Medical Education (TiME) Faculty Fellows Program) 2014


  • Postdoctoral Training, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Virginia Commonwealth University (Mentor: Dr. John Povlishock) 2005 - 2007


  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a national healthcare problem extracting a staggering personal and societal toll. My research focuses on obtaining a better understanding of the pathological events that follow traumatic brain injury as well as investigating endogenous repair mechanisms that occur in the brain in response to insult. We employ several experimental animal models of traumatic brain injury and utilize anatomical, functional and behavioral endpoints to investigate the processes that are operant in the brain following a traumatic insult. Of particular interest are traumatically induced axonal and synaptic change in the injured brain and the structural and functional consequences of such changes following TBI. We are currently investigating the calpain-mediated proteolytic degradation of several key axonal and synaptic proteins following diffuse brain injury in an effort to establish the effects of this proteolysis on injury-induced axonal and synaptic change. Related studies have focused on establishing the potential utility of these proteolytic cleavage products as surrogate biomarkers of traumatic brain injury. In addition to investigating the pathological response of the brain to trauma, we also seek to obtain a better understanding of the endogenous repair mechanisms at work in the injured brain. Ongoing investigations have focused on the neurogenic response of the brain to insult and have begun assess the extent to which endogenous neural stem/progenitor cell populations may play reparative roles in the injured brain.


  • Anatomical Sciences Education (Gross Anatomy, Neuroanatomy, Histology), Instructional Innovation, Scholarship of Teaching & Learning, Neurotrauma, Axonal Injury, Brain Aging, Neural Stem/Progenitor Cells, Adult Neurogenesis


  • Outstanding Teacher Award (Best Teacher in Anatomy), School of Medicine, VCU 2017
  • Teaching Award for High Evaluation (course: GI & Metabolism), School of Medicine, VCU 2015
  • Teaching Award for High Evaluation (course: GI & Metabolism), School of Medicine, VCU 2014
  • Teaching Award for High Evaluation (course: Gross & Developmental Anatomy), School of Medicine, VCU 2013
  • Outstanding Teacher Award, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, VCU 2012
  • Teaching Award for High Evaluation (course: Gross & Developmental Anatomy), School of Medicine, VCU 2012
  • Osterud Graduate Student Award, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, VCU 2005
  • Robert Spencer Graduate Student Award, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, VCU 2005
  • C.C. Clayton Award for Graduate Students in the Basic Health Sciences, School of Medicine, VCU 2003


  • American Association of Anatomists (2017-present), Central Virginia Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience (2005 - present), Society for Neuroscience (2002 - 2010), National Neurotrauma Society (2006 - 2010), International Neurotrauma Society (2006 - 2009)


  • Hånell A, Greer JE, McGinn MJ, Povlishock JT. Traumatic brain injury-induced axonal phenotypes react differently to treatment. Acta Neuropathol. 2015 Feb; 129(2):317-32. PMID: 25528329 02/2015
  • Greer JE, Hånell A, McGinn MJ, Povlishock JT. Mild traumatic brain injury in the mouse induces axotomy primarily within the axon initial segment. Acta Neuropathol. 2013 Jul; 126(1):59-74. PMID: 2359527607/2013
  • Sun D, McGinn M, Hankins JE, Mays KM, Rolfe A, Colello RJ. Aging- and injury-related differential apoptotic response in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus in rats following brain trauma. Front Aging Neurosci. 2013; 5:95. PMID: 24385964 01/2013
  • Lafrenaye AD, McGinn MJ, Povlishock JT. Increased intracranial pressure after diffuse traumatic brain injury exacerbates neuronal somatic membrane poration but not axonal injury: evidence for primary intracranial pressure-induced neuronal perturbation. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2012 Oct; 32(10):1919-32. PMID: 22781336 10/2012
  • McGinn MJ, Colello RJ, Sun D. Age-related proteomic changes in the subventricular zone and their association with neural stem/progenitor cell proliferation. J Neurosci Res. 2012 Jun; 90(6):1159-68. PMID: 22344963 06/2012
  • Greer JE, McGinn MJ, Povlishock JT. Diffuse traumatic axonal injury in the mouse induces atrophy, c-Jun activation, and axonal outgrowth in the axotomized neuronal population. J Neurosci. 2011 Mar 30; 31(13):5089-105. PMID: 21451046 03/2011
  • Sun D, Bullock MR, Altememi N, Zhou Z, Hagood S, Rolfe A, McGinn MJ, Hamm R, Colello RJ. The effect of epidermal growth factor in the injured brain after trauma in rats. J Neurotrauma. 2010 May; 27(5):923-38. PMID: 20158379 05/2010
  • McGinn MJ, Kelley BJ, Akinyi L, Oli MW, Liu MC, Hayes RL, Wang KK, Povlishock JT. Biochemical, structural, and biomarker evidence for calpain-mediated cytoskeletal change after diffuse brain injury uncomplicated by contusion. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2009 Mar; 68(3):241-9. PMID: 1922541203/2009
  • Sun D, Bullock MR, McGinn MJ, Zhou Z, Altememi N, Hagood S, Hamm R, Colello RJ. Basic fibroblast growth factor-enhanced neurogenesis contributes to cognitive recovery in rats following traumatic brain injury. Exp Neurol. 2009 Mar; 216(1):56-65. PMID: 19100261 03/2009
  • McGinn MJ, Sun D, Colello RJ. Utilizing X-irradiation to selectively eliminate neural stem/progenitor cells from neurogenic regions of the mammalian brain. J Neurosci Methods. 2008 May 15; 170(1):9-15. PMID: 18280577 05/2008


  • McGinn MJ, Povlishock JT. Pathophysiology of Traumatic Brain Injury. Neurosurg Clin N Am. 2016 Oct; 27(4):397-407. PMID: 27637392 10/2016
  • McGinn MJ, Povlishock JT. Cellular and molecular mechanisms of injury and spontaneous recovery. Handb Clin Neurol. 2015; 127:67-87. PMID: 25702210 01/2015

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