Lab Members

Henry L. Paulson, MD, PhD

Lucille Groff Professor of Neurology 

Phone: 734.615.5632Email: henryp@umich.eduTwitter: @Henrypauslon5

Henry L. Paulson, MD, PhD, is the Lucile Groff Professor of Neurology for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders in the Department of Neurology at the University of Michigan and interim co-director of the Michigan Neuroscience Institute. Dr. Paulson joined the U-M faculty in 2007, where he directs the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center and formerly co-directed the Protein Folding Disease Initiative. He received his MD and PhD from Yale University in 1990, then completed a neurology residency and neurogenetics/movement disorders fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania. From 1997 to 2007, he was on the faculty at the University of Iowa. Dr. Paulson’s research interests concern the causes and treatment of age-related neurodegenerative diseases, with an emphasis on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, hereditary ataxia, and polyglutamine diseases. For his work on repeat expansion diseases and gene silencing as therapy for neurodegenerative disorders, he has been elected as a fellow in both the American Association for the  Advancement of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine. He is most proud of having received, in 2020, NIH’s Landis Outstanding Mentor Award.


Merci Ngozi Best, PhD.

Post Doc
Merci Ngozi Best, PhD, is a 2023-2024 Basic and Clinical Neuroscience T32 and Michigan Pioneer Fellows Program trainee in the Department of Neurology at the University of Michigan. Dr. Best joined the Paulson laboratory in 2023, where she explores the molecular mechanisms of tau-mediated neurodegeneration. Dr. Best’s research interests concern tauopathy with an emphasis on Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, progressive supranuclear palsy, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. She earned her BS in Neuroscience from the College of William & Mary in 2017, then completed a PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in 2023. Her dissertation was titled Breaking Barriers: A Quantitative Analysis of Axon Initial Segment Damage in Neurodegenerative Diseases. Dr. Best aims to deliver a mechanistic understanding of the relationship between tauopathy and perturbations in neuronal cytoarchitecture, employing human disease tissue, human stem cell lines, and brain organoids.

Harihar Milaganur Mohan, MS

Graduate Student
Hari is a PhD candidate in the Cellular and Molecular Biology Program. He obtained his undergraduate degree from SASTRA University (India) and his Master’s from the University of Michigan, where he worked on alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency. At the Paulson lab, he seeks to understand the molecular mechanisms of ubiquilin biology beyond proteasomal shuttling, in particular during cellular stress. Outside of lab, Hari enjoys sketching, running and playing soccer.

Rae Powers, BS

Graduate Student
Rae is a PhD candidate in the Cellular and Molecular Biology Program. She received her BS from Gettysburg College where she majored in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and minored in Neuroscience. She conducted translational cancer research during two summer internships at Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. After graduating, Rae worked as a Research Technologist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine for a few years and studied epigenetic alterations relevant to cancer development during aging. After joining the Paulson Lab in March of 2022, she has been using stem cells and CNS organoids derived from patients with Huntington’s disease (HD) and spinocerebellar ataxia type 3 (SCA3) to uncover the molecular mechanisms of CAG repeat expansion diseases. Her hobbies include skiing, backpacking, climbing, and sailing.

Asuman "Ilkim" Erturk, DVM

Research Lab Specialist Intermediate

Mariana Sierra, BS

PREP Scholar
Mariana is a U of M PREP Scholar hoping to pursue an MD/PhD in a Neuroscience/Neurobiology program. She received her BS in Neuroscience from Wayne State University where she was a BUILD scholar. Her previous research experience includes a year as a chemical engineering research assistant at the Harris Lab, where she studied the efficacy and safety of Tethered-Liquid Perfluorocarbon (TLP) coated shunts for the treatment of Hydrocephalus in in vivo rat models. Following her first research experience, Mariana spent nearly two years as a computational biophysics research assistant where she looked at the effects of point mutations on the structure of Ceruloplasmin following Molecular Dynamics simulations. Now, Mariana will be working with Rae to study Huntington’s disease (HD) and spinocerebellar ataxia type 3 (SCA3) using patient derived stem cells and CNS organoids. In her spare time, Mariana works in Motts OR as a tech and takes care of her stinky ferrets, Chicken and Alfredo.  

Camellia Huang, BS

Research Lab Specialist
Camellia joined the Paulson Lab as a research lab specialist in Aug. 2022. She received her BS in Biological Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she performed undergraduate research on colorectal cancer, GI organoids, and endometriosis. In her free time, she enjoys crocheting and playing guitar. 

Sharan Srinivasan, M.D. Ph.D.

Clinical Instructor

Don Seyfried, MS

Research Technician Senior 
Don received his Master’s in Neuroscience from the University at Buffalo, working on how the Unfolded protein response (UPR) can cause neurodegeneration in the diabetic retina. Afterwards, he joined AxoSim Inc. a biotech company that focuses on developing in-vitro models of the human brain to be used for evaluating novel therapies for neurological disease. He is excited to add this perspective to the Paulson Lab’s already-established brain organoid model. In his free time, he looks after his very hungry group of treefrogs. 

Amber Spencer, BS

Research Lab Specialist

Amber graduated from Oakland University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology focusing on neuropsychology. Her undergraduate research focused on mechanisms regulating corneal endothelial wound repair. She spent five years working in Oakland Universities Biomedical Research Support Facility where she was responsible for animal care and husbandry. She is excited to work closely with Paulson lab and the Michigan brain bank where she will focus on using immunofluorescence in human brain tissue to further our understanding of neurodegenerative disease. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her kids outdoors; and photography.

Michael Bonomo, MS

Research Lab Specialist
Michael Bonomo is a Research Specialist Intermediate in the Paulson Laboratory. He recently obtained his M.S. from Eastern Michigan University where he instructed a freshman cell and molecular biology course. Previously, Michael has worked as a metallurgical chemist, a wildlife handler and educator and later, a plant health specialist. In the Paulson Lab Michael is interested in combining his passion for studying living systems and cell and molecular biology by working with neurodegenerative disease mouse models. In his free time Michael loves kayaking, fishing, camping, and exercising.

Current Undergraduate Students

Paige Davis

Allison Guo

Rita Lin

David Peppercorn

Kelly Tang

Ozan Kalafat

Jonathan Levy