Steven Zeiler, M.D., Ph.D.

Steven Robert Zeiler, M.D., Ph.D.

Headshot of Steven Zeiler
  • Director, Vascular Neurology Fellowship Program
  • Associate Professor of Neurology


Acute Stroke Care, Cerebrovascular Diseases, Neurology, Stroke, Stroke Prevention more

Research Interests

Stroke recovery

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The Johns Hopkins Hospital (Main Entrance)

Appointment Phone: 410-614-2381
1800 Orleans St.
Sheikh Zayed Tower
Baltimore, MD 21287 map

Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center

Appointment Phone: 410-614-2381
4940 Eastern Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21224 map

Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center (now called Levi Watkins, Jr., M.D., Outpatient Center)

Appointment Phone: 410-614-2381
601 N. Caroline St.
Baltimore, MD 21287 map

Johns Hopkins Medicine - Green Spring Station

10753 Falls Road
Pavilion II, Suite 115
Lutherville, MD 21093 map


Dr. Steven Zeiler focuses on the diagnosis and management of cerebrovascular disease (stroke), including acute stroke therapy, secondary prevention of stroke, and recovery from stroke.

Dr. Steven Zeiler received his medical and doctor of philosophy degrees from the University of Colorado. He completed a one year internal medicine internship at the University of Colorado prior to coming to Johns Hopkins for his residency training in Neurology. Following his residency, Dr. Zeiler then completed a one year fellowship in Vascular Neurology also at Johns Hopkins. more


  • Director, Vascular Neurology Fellowship Program
  • Associate Professor of Neurology

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes



  • MD; University of Colorado Health Sciences Center (2005)


  • Neurology; Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (2009)


  • Neurology; Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (2010)

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Psychiatry And Neurology (Neurology) (2009)
  • American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (Vascular Neurology) (2011)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Principal investigator, Johns Hopkins Department of Neurology 2010 to present
Assessment of post-stroke neocortical plasticity using a multi-modal approach in the motor and visual cortices.

Postdoctoral fellowship, University of Colorado at Boulder 2002 to 2003
Advisor: Kevin Jones, Ph.D
Title: Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor Signaling in Murine Visual Cortex.
Continuing upon my thesis research, I further described part of the biochemical signaling pathway through which brain derived neurotrophic factor signals to influence visual cortical plasticity.

Thesis project research, University of Colorado at Boulder 1998 to 2002
Advisor: Kevin Jones, Ph.D
Using genetic knockout mouse technology, I characterized the requirements for brain derived neurotrophic factor in the development and plastic changes of murine visual cortex.

Eleanor Roosevelt Institute 1998
Adviosr: Kathleen Gardiner, Ph.D.
Using several different computer algorithms, I annotated genes on chromosomes 21 and 22 and subsequently validated gene godels using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and sequencing techniques. I also analyzed the 3’ untranslated regions of the glutamate receptor family.

Undergraduate research, University of Colorado at Boulder 1995 to 1996
Advisor: William B. Wood, Ph.D.
I studied P granules, organelles asymmetrically segregated during early development of the C. elegans embryo, via cloning, characterization, and genetic mapping of a gene likely to be a P granule component.


Dr. Zeiler has created a multi-modal set of three research endeavors aimed at testing stroke outcomes during the time period of heightened recovery. These projects are based on mechanisms known to measure and influence brain plasticity, and investigation of these areas holds promise for more complete recovery in stroke patients. 

Ultra-High Field MRI Study of Brain Reorganization after Stroke
Using specialized MRI techniques, Dr. Zeiler’s team studies how brain reorganization evolves after stroke and interacts with training. This will allow a targeted understanding of where and when the brain adapts to and recovers from stroke. 

Nutritional Modification and Enhanced Stroke Recovery
Dr. Zeiler’s team is modeling a lack of recovery in animals who undergo delayed training after stroke (which has previously been shown to lead to poor motor recovery) and is investigating caloric restriction, which has been shown to enhance brain plasticity and can restore improvement in recovery.

Medicines and Enhanced Stroke Recovery
The team is modeling a lack of recovery in animals who undergo delayed training after stroke and is testing the effects of both fluoxetine and Cerebrolysin® on restoring the recovery phase.

Lab Website: The Zeiler Stroke Recovery Laboratory

Clinical Trials

To learn more about our current cerebrovascular clinical trials, please visit The Johns Hopkins Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR) and enter "cerebrovascular" in the search box.

Selected Publications

View all on PubMed

Zeiler, S. R., Krakauer, J.W. The interaction between training and plasticity in the poststroke brain. Curr Opin Neurol. Curr Opin Neurol. 2013 Oct 16. [Epub ahead of print]

Zeiler, S. R., Gibson, E. M., Hoesch, R. E., Li, M. Y., Worley, P. F., O’Brien, R. J., Krakauer, J. W. Medial Premotor Cortex Shows A Reduction In Inhibitory Markers And Mediates Recovery In A Mouse Model Of Focal Stroke. Stroke. 2013 Feb;44(2):483-9.

Han, Y., Li, N., Zeiler, S. R., Pelled, G. Peripheral nerve injury results in immediate increases in lamina V neuronal activity. (in press). Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair.

Qiao, Y., Zeiler, S. R., Mirbagheri, S., Leigh R., Urrutia, V., Wityk, R., Wasserman, B. A., Intracranial Plaque Enhancement in Patients with Cerebrovascular Events: Initial Results using 3D High Resolution Vessel Wall MRI. (epub – ahed of print) Radiology.

Zeiler, S. R., Gorski, J. A., Jones, K. R. (in revision for European J.Neurosci) BDNF acts as an activity dependent survival and modification factor for visual cortical synapses.

Marshall, S. A., Zeiler, S. R., Nyquist, P. A. The Use of Permissive Hypercapnia in the setting of Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy and ARDS: a brief case discussion regarding the use of lung protective ventilation in the setting of anoxic brain injury and eventual patient outcome. In preparation for The Neurologist.

Chik, Y, Gottesman R. F., Zeiler S. R., Rosenberg, J., Llinas R. H. Differentiation of Transverse Sinus Thrombosis From Congenitally Atretic Cerebral Transverse Sinus With CT. Stroke. 2012 Jul;43(7):1968-70. Epub 2012 May 15

Marsh, E.B., Zeiler, S.R., Levy, M., Llinas, R.H., Urrutia, V.C. Diagnosing CNS Vasculitis: the case against empiric treatment. Neurologist. 2012 Jul;18(4):233-8.

Qiao Y., Etesami M., Astor B.C., Zeiler S.R., Trout H.H. 3rd, Wasserman B.A. Carotid Plaque Neovascularization and Hemorrhage Detected by MR Imaging are Associated with Recent Cerebrovascular Ischemic Events. Am J Neuroradiol. 2012 Apr;33(4):755-60. Epub 2011 Dec 22.

Zeiler, S. R., Turtzo, C.L., Kaplan, P. W. SPECT Negative SIRPIDs Mimicking a Stroke After Cardiac Arrest. J Clin Neurophysiol. 2011 Oct;28(5):493-6.

Zeiler, S. R., Jordan, J. D., Greenberg, B. M., Kaplan, P. K. ANNA-3 Associated Stiff-Person-Syndrome. J. Cancer and Science Therapy. 2009 Vol. 2 Issue 1; 1 – 2.

Zeiler, S. R., Kaplan, P. W. Our digital world: camera phones and the diagnosis of a seizure. Lancet. 2009 Jun 20;373(9681):2136.

Zeiler S. R., Kaplan P. W. (2008) Propofol withdrawal seizures (or not). Seizure. 2008 Oct;17(7):665-7. Epub 2008 May 14

Gorski J. A., Zeiler S. R., Tamowski S., Jones K. R. (2003). Brain-derived neurotrophic factor is required for the maintenance of cortical dendrites. J Neurosci. Jul 30;23(17):6856-65.

Akbarian, S., Rios, M., Liu, R-J., Gold, S., Fongl, H., Zeiler, S., Coppola, V., Tessarollo, L., Jones, K., Nestler, E. J., Aghajanian, G. K., Jaenisch, R. (2002). Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor is Essential for Opiate-Induced Plasticity of Noradrenergic Neurons. J Neurosci. May 15;22 (10):4153-62.

Bennett J. L., Zeiler S. R., Jones K. R. (1999). Patterned expression of BDNF and NT-3 in the retina and anterior segment of the developing mammalian eye. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci, Nov;40(12):2996-3005

Read the latest research papers that Dr. Zeiler has published at PubMed.

Activities & Honors


  • Osler Housestaff Teaching Award, 2012
  • Teaching Excellence Award, Johns Hopkins University Medical Student Award, 2011
  • DeFord Teaching Excellence Award, Johns Hopkins Neurology Residency, 2011
  • Jay Slotkin Research Award, 2009
  • Guy McKhann teaching Award, 2009
  • Fellow Scholarship, Annual American Neurological Association Meeting, 2009
  • Resident Scholarship, Annual American Academy of Neurology Meeting, 2009
  • Osler Housestaff Teaching Award, 2008
  • American Academy of Neurology Extended Neuroscience Award, 2005
  • Junior and Senior Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Medical Honors Society, 2004
  • Jahnigen Award, 2003
  • Rocky Mountain Neuroscience Conference Annual Student Achievement Award, 2001
  • Academic Excellence Award, University of Colorado, 1997 - 1998
  • Summa Cum Laude, 1996
  • Mortar Board, 1995 - 1996
  • Phi Beta Kappa, 1995
  • Golden Key National Honor Society, 1994 - 1996
  • Dean''s Scholar and Scholarship, 1994 - 1996
  • Alpha Epsilon Delta Honors Society, 1993 - 1996
  • University of Colorado Kittredge Honors Award, 1993 - 1996
  • National Science Scholar and Scholarship, 1992 - 1996
  • Kittredge Honors Scholarship, 1993 - 1994
  • Kittredge Honors Program, 1992 - 1994


  • American Academy of Neurology, 2005
  • American Heart Association, 2013
  • Society for Neuroscience, 2012
  • Student Interest Group in Neurology (S.I.G.N), 2003 - 2004

Videos & Media

Lectures and Presentations

  • Timing, Training, and Biological Determinants of Post-Stroke Recovery.
    West Virginia (01/01/2014)
    West Virginia University, Department of Neurology Grand Rounds
  • Timing, Training, and Biological Determinants of Post-Stroke Recovery.
    Baltimore (01/01/2013)
    Johns Hopkins, Department of Neurology Grand Rounds
  • Timing, Training, and Biological Determinants of Post-Stroke Recovery.
    Baltimore (01/01/2013)
    Good Samaritan Hospital, Department of Medicine Grand Rounds
  • Interaction between post-stroke plasticity, rehabilitation, and functional recovery; from rodents to humans.
    Peurtro Rico (01/01/2014)
    Winter Conference on Neuroplasticity
  • Stroke and Vasculitis; How to Help, How to Harm. Medical Grand Rounds
    Baltimore (01/01/2013)
    Good Samaritan Hospital
  • Stroke and Vasculitis; How to Help, How to Harm. Neuroscience Grand Rounds.
    Baltimore (01/01/2013)
    Greater Baltimore Medical Center
  • Stroke and Vasculitis; How to Help, How to Harm. Neurovascular Case Review (division of Neuro-Interventional Surgery).
    Newark (01/01/2013)
    Christiana Care Hospital
  • The Importance of Mouse Medial Premotor Cortex, Early Re-Training, and Fluoxetine In The Recovery From a Focal Stroke Induced Motor Deficit.
    New Orleans (01/01/2012)
    Platform presentation at Translational and Motor Control Satellite

Recent News Articles and Media Coverage

Antidepressant may help stroke patients with rehabilitation, United Press International (09/02/2015)

A Moment's Notice: Coordinated advanced stroke care saves young patient, Johns Hopkins Bayview Health and Wellness News (Summer 2015)

Patient Ratings & Comments

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