• 1978 - B.S. in Biochemistry, Summa cum Laude, University of Minnesota
  • 1982 - M.D., Mayo Medical School
  • 1985 - Board Certified in Internal Medicine
  • 1987 - Board Certified in Infectious Diseases



     Dr. Axelsen underwent research training in biophysics at the University of Washington with James Bassingthwaighte, and at Mayo with Franklyn Prendergast. He received an L.P. Markey Biomedical Scholar Award and joined the Mayo staff in 1989. While a visiting scholar at the Weizmann Institute with Joel Sussman, he was recruited to Penn in 1993.   Dr. Axelsen's clinical experience has included overseas work in Papua New Guinea and Bangalore India, various emergency room and infectious diseases staff positions in Minnesota, and the Immunodeficiency Program at Penn as a clinical HIV/AIDS specialist.


     Research highlights from the Axelsen laboratory include over 100 publications in the fields of pharmacology, computational chemistry, and experimental biophysics spanning:

  • The cardiac sodium-calcium exchange stoichiometry
  • Acetylcholinesterase structure and function
  • Antimicrobial polypeptide structure and function
  • The first crystal structure of vancomycin (in collaboration with Pat Loll) along with over a dozen papers on its structure and function
  • Development of a novel form of internal reflection infrared spectrometry for the study of protein folding, structure, and orientation in lipid membranes
  • The first [correct!] structure of the nascent HDL lipoprotein particle (apoA-I)
  • Structures of lipoprotein particles composed of apoE and apoA-II
  • The relationship between oxidative membrane damage (oxidative stress) and amyloid fibril formation (protein misfolding) in Alzheimer's disease