Current Members‎ > ‎

Affiliated Faculty

Maria do Carmo Costa, PhD
Research Assistant Professor
Phone: (734) 615-6156

Dr. Costa completed her undergraduate studies in Biochemistry at the University of Porto, and her PhD in Health Sciences at the University of Minho, in Portugal. During her post-doctoral training in the Paulson lab she explored pharmacological and RNA interference-mediated strategies to reduce levels of mutant ATXN3 protein as a potential therapy for Machado-Joseph disease/Spinocerebellar Ataxia type 3 (MJD/SCA3) using both cellular and mouse models. She continues developing strategies to reduce levels of mutant ATXN3 in the brain that can be translated for MJD/SCA3 patients. She is also interested in understanding how cells handle mutant ATXN3 by identifying the mechanisms involved in the stability and clearance of this toxic protein with the main goal of defining novel targets for therapeutic intervention in MJD/SCA3.

Magdalena Ivanova, PhD
Research Assistant Professor, Neurology
Phone: (734) 647-9869

Dr. Ivanova joined the Department of Neurology as an Assistant Research Professor in 2013. She completed her Ph.D. in the Institute of Molecular Biophysics at the Florida State University. Dr. Ivanova performed her postdoctoral research with Prof. David Eisenberg at the UCLA Molecular Biology Institute, where she then continued her scientific studies as a Research Associate. She investigates the structure of amyloid aggregates, seeking to uncover the molecular basis of protein aggregation associated with various degenerative brain diseases including Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Dr. Ivanova’s present multi-disciplinary research focuses on molecular mechanisms of protein aggregation with the hope that we can find interventions that prevent, slow or reverse protein misfolding in amyloidogenic disorders.


Hayley S. McLoughlin, PhD
Research Investigator 


Dr. Hayley McLoughlin, under the mentorship of Dr. Beverly Davidson, earned her doctoral degree in Neuroscience in 2013 at the University of Iowa. During her graduate work, she focused her studies on the role of small RNA biology in context of neural development and evolution. Given her background in small RNA biology and graduate training in a renowned gene therapy laboratory, she pursued a postdoctoral research fellowship under the guidance of Dr. Henry Paulson at the University of Michigan. Her focus in the lab was developing a gene therapy approach for Spinocerebellar Ataxia type 3/Machado-Joseph disease (SCA3/MDJ) and identifying therapeutic biomarkers of disease progression and therapeutic efficacy. Her work specifically tested oligonucleotide therapeutic strategies again the disease Atxn3 gene. She was funded from 2014-2016 by the NIH T32 Postdoc Neurology Training Grant and the Becky Babcox Foundation for her work identifying RNA interference (RNAi) sequences that reduce disease transcript levels in a transgenic SCA3 mouse model. In 2016, she was promoted to Research Investigator in the Neurology department at UM to continue her career focusing on gene therapy approaches for prevention of neurodegenerative diseases. Specifically, through a collaboration with IONIS pharmaceuticals, a world leader in antisense-oligonucleotide (ASO) therapies, she leads the ASO pre-clinical trial for SCA3 disease. She also focuses her research on exploring potent biomarkers of disease in both animal model and patient tissue samples for neurodegenerative diseases.


Vikram G. Shakkottai, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Neurology and Associate Professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Phone: (734) 615-6891

Dr. Shakkottai is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology. He received his medical degree from the Christian Medical College, Vellore, India in 2000. He then completed a Ph.D. in biological sciences at the University of California, Irvine in 2004 and a residency in Neurology at Washington University in Saint Louis. He joined the Paulson lab as a Research Fellow in 2008 before  joining the faculty as an assistant professor in 2010. While a fellow he was awarded research grants from the National Ataxin foundation, the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, and a Training Grant Fellowship as part of the National Ataxia research Consortium. During his fellowship, he was awarded a K08 grant by the NIH. Dr. Shakkottai investigates the physiologic changes in the nervous system accompanying dominantly inherited ataxias and other neurodegenerative disorders. His current work tests the hypothesis that reestablishing normal patterns of firing in cerebellar and other neurons, even in the presence of neuronal loss, may have therapeutic potential. He also sees patients with ataxia and other movement disorders. 

His lab website is


Peter Todd, MD, PhD
Bucky and Patti Harris Career Development Professor of Neurology and Associate Professor of Neurology
Phone: (734) 763-0601

Dr. Todd is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology.  He attended the University of California at San Diego as an undergraduate and then moved to the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he completed his M.D. and Ph.D. in Neuroscience. The focus of his Ph.D. work was the function of the protein lost in Fragile X Mental Retardation, FMRP. He then completed his medical internship and Neurology residency at the University of Pennsylvania. While at Penn, he performed research on the role of the ubiquitin-proteasome system and autophagy in Spinal and Bulbar Muscular Atrophy, a polyglutamine disorder, and Fragile X Tremor Ataxia Syndrome (FXTAS). He joined the Paulson lab as a Research Fellow in 2008, before joining the Neurology faculty as an assistant professor in January 2010 as the inaugural recipient of the Bucky and Patti Harris Collegiate Research Professorship. While a fellow, Dr. Todd was awarded research grants from the American Academy of Neurology and a K08 grant from the NIH. Dr. Todd's current research focuses on the mechanisms underlying RNA-mediated neurodegeneration in FXTAS and Myotonic Dystrophy and how these mechanisms may overlap and inform our understanding of other neurodegenerative disorders. He also sees patients with movement disorders and inherited neurological disease.

His lab website is