Francis Szele obtained his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia where he worked on adult brain plasticity in the laboratory of Marie-Francoise Chesselet. He then moved to Connie Cepko’s laboratory at Harvard Medical School for his postdoctoral fellowship. He examined lineage relationships and migration patterns in the developing forebrain. He established his laboratory in Chicago at Northwestern University’s Childrens Memorial Research Center in 1999. He has investigated stem cells, neurogenesis, and migration in the postnatal subventricular zone (SVZ). He was appointed to a University Lecturer position at the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics associated with a Tutorial Fellowship at St Anne's College, Oxford from 2007.