Paula R. Clemens, MD
Associate Professor of Neurology, Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry

Dr. Clemens is Chief of the Neurology Service of the Pittsburgh VA Healthcare System and a member of the Cellular and Molecular Pathology Graduate Training Program.
Office Location:
S520 Biomedical Science Tower
200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Contact Information:
Office Telephone: 412-648-9762
Lab Telephone: 412-648-9066


  • BA - Dartmouth College, 1980
  • MD - Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1984

Clinical Expertise

  • Inherited muscle and nerve disorders
  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy
  • Other muscular dystrophies
  • Late-onset Pompe disease

Reserach Interests

  • PMolecular signaling causing skeletal muscle disease in muscular dystrophy and denervation atrophy
  • Novel treatment strategies for muscular dystrophy and denervation atrophy


American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

Awards and Honors

Clerkship Preceptor of the Year Award of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2011

Selected Publications

View Dr. Clemens' publications on PubMed

  1. Eghtesad S, Morel PA, Clemens PR. The Companions: Regulatory T Cells and Gene Therapy (refereed review). Immunology 2009;127:1-7. PMCID: PMC2678176 [Available on 2010/5/1]
  2. Koppanati BM, Li J, Xiao X, Clemens PR. Systemic delivery of AAV8 in utero results in gene expression in diaphragm and limb muscle: Treatment implications for muscle disorders. Gene Ther 2009 Sep;16:1130-7. doi: 10.1038/gt.2009.71. PMCID: PMC2813061
  3. Bushby K, Finkel R, Birnkrant D, Case L, Clemens P, Cripe L, Kaul A, Kinnett K, McDonald C, Pandya S, Poysky J, Shapiro F, Tomezsko J, Constantin C and the DMD Care Considerations Working Group. The Diagnosis and Management of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy—Part 1. Diagnosis, Pharmacological and Psychosocial Management. Lancet Neurology 2010 Jan;9:77-93
  4. Bushby K, Finkel R, Birnkrant D, Case L, Clemens P, Cripe L, Kaul A, Kinnett K, McDonald C, Pandya S, Poysky J, Shapiro F, Tomezsko J, Constantin C and the DMD Care Considerations Working Group. The Diagnosis and Management of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy—Part 2. Implementation of Multidisciplinary Care. Lancet Neurology 2010 Feb;9:177-189
  5. van der Ploeg A, Clemens PR, Corzo D, Escolar DM, Florence J, Groeneveld GJ, Herson S, Kishnani PS, Laforet P, Lake SL, Lange DJ, Leshner RT, Mayhew JE, Morgan C, Nozaki K, Park DJ, Pestronk A, Rosenbloom B, Skrinar A, van Capelle CI, van der Beek, NA, Wasserstein M, Zivkovic SA. A randomized study of alglucosidase alfa in late-onset Pompe disease. N Eng J Med 2010 Apr;362:1396-1406
  6. Koppanati BM, Li J, Reay D, Wang B, Daood M, Zheng H, Xiao X, Watchko JF, Clemens PR. Improvement of the mdx mouse of dystrophic phenotype by systemic in utero AAV8 delivery of a minidystrophin gene. Gene Ther 2010 Nov 17:1355–1362. doi: 10.1038/gt.2010.84. PMCID: PMC2939256
  7. Eghtesad S, Zheng H, Nakai H, Epperly MW, Clemens PR. Effects of irradiation of adult mdx mice prior to full-length dystrophin cDNA transfer. Gene Ther 2010 Sep 17(9):1181–1190. doi: 10.1038/gt.2010.108. PMCID: PMC3050623
  8. Tang Y, Reay DP, Salay MN, Mi MY, Clemens PR, Guttridge DC, Robbins PD, Huard J, Wang B. Inhibition of the IKK/NF-κB pathway by AAV gene transfer improves muscle regeneration in older mdx mice. Gene Ther 2010 Dec 17;1476-1483.
  9. Wang L, Eghtesad S, Clemens PR. Migration of dendritic cells from murine skeletal muscle. Immunobiology 2011 Jan/Feb;216:195-199. PMCID: PMC2974789
  10. Soejima M, Kang EH, Gu X, Katsumata Y, Clemens PR, Ascherman DP. Role of innate immunity in a model of histidyl-tRNA synthetase (Jo-1)-mediated myositis. Arthritis Rheum 2011 Feb 63(2):479-487. PMCID: PMC3035731
  11. Homayoun H, Khavandgar S, Hoover JM, Mohsen A-W, Vockley J, Lacomis D, Clemens PR. Novel mutation in MYH7 gene associated with distal myopathy and cardiomyopathy. Neuromuscular Disord 2011 Mar;21(3):219-22.
  12. Peterson JM, Kline W, Canan BD, Ricca DJ, Kaspar B, Delfins DA, DiRienzo K, Clemens PR, Robbins PD, Baldwin AS, Flood P, Kaumaya P, Frietas M, Kornegay JN, Mendell JR, Rafael-Fortney JA, Guttridge DC, Janssen PML. Peptide-based inhibition of NF-κB rescues diaphragm muscle contractile dysfunction in a murine model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Mol Med 2011 May-Jun;17(5-6):508-15. PMCID: PMC3105127
  13. Escolar DM, Hache LP, Clemens PR, Cnaan A, McDonald CM, Viswanathan V, Kornberg AJ, Bertorini TE, Nevo Y, Lotze T, Pestronk A, Ryan MM, Monasterio E, Day JW, Zimmerman A, Arrieta A, Henricson E, Mayhew J, Florence J, Hu F, Connolly AM. Randomized, blinded trial of weekend versus daily prednisone in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Neurology 2011 Aug 77:444-452. PMCID: PMC3146308.
  14. Zimmerman A, Clemens PR, Tesi-Rocha C, Connolly A, Iannaccone ST, Kuntz N, Arrieta A, Hache L, Henricson E, Hu F, Mayhew J, Escolar DM. Liquid formulation of pentoxifylline is a poorly tolerated treatment for Duchenne dystrophy. Muscle Nerve 2011 Aug;44(2):170-3. PMCID: PMC3136640.
  15. Reay DP, Yang M, Rehman KK, O’Day TL, Guttridge DC, Robbins PD, Clemens PR. Systemic delivery of NEMO binding domain/IKKγ inhibitory peptide to young mdx mice improves dystrophic skeletal muscle histopathology. Neurobiol Dis 2011. 43(3): 598-608. PMCID: PMC3145633
  16. Eghtesad S, Jhunjhunwala S, Little SR, Clemens PR. Rapamycin ameliorates dystrophic phenotype in mdx mouse skeletal muscle. Mol Med 2011. 17(9-10):917-24. PMCID: PMC3188871
  17. Charan RA, Hansen R, Clemens PR. Deubiquitinating enzyme A20 negatively regulates NF-κB signaling in skeletal muscle in mdx mice. The FASEB Journal 2012. 26(2):587-95. PMCID: 22012122
  18. Escolar DM, Zimmerman AL, Bertorini TE, Clemens P, Connolly A, Mesa L, Gorni K, Kornberg A, Kolski H, Kuntz N, Nevo Y, Tesi-Rocha C, Nagaraju K, Rayavarapu S, Hache LP, Mayhew JE, Florence J, Hu F, Arrieta A. Henricson E, Leshner RT, and Mah JK. Pentoxifylline as a rescue treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy: A randomized, double blind clinical trial. Neurology 2012 (in press)
  19. Reay DP, Niizawa GA, Watchko JF, Daood M, Reay JC, Raggi E, Clemens PR. Effect of NF-κB inhibition on AAV9 minidystrophin gene transfer to the mdx mouse. Mol Med 2012. Jan 5. doi: 10.2119/molmed.2011.00404. [Epub ahead of print]
  20. Morgenroth VH, Hache LP, Clemens PR. Insights into bone health in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (refereed review). IBMS BoneKEy. 9(2012) doi: 10.1038/bonekey.2012.5. [Epub ahead of print]
  21. Zivkovic SA, Clemens PR, Lacomis D. Characteristics of late-onset myasthenia gravis. Journal of Neurology (in press)