Merci Best, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Neurology
Paulson Lab

Areas of Interest

Dr. Best joined the Paulson laboratory in 2023, where she explores the molecular mechanisms of tau-mediated neurodegeneration. Dr. Best’s research interests concern tauopathies, emphasizing Alzheimer’s disease, Frontotemporal dementia, Progressive supranuclear palsy, and Chronic traumatic encephalopathy. She aims to deliver a mechanistic understanding of the relationship(s) among genetic mutations, neuronal cytoarchitecture, specifically the axon initial segment, and tau-mediated neurodegeneration in tauopathies.

Honors & Awards

  • University of Michigan, Michigan Pioneer Fellowship Program Fellowship (2023)
  • National Institute of Health, Clinical and Basic Neuroscience T32 (2023)


  • Ph.D., Pharmacology, University of Virginia (2023)
  • M.S., Biological and Physical Sciences, University of Virginia (2019)
  • B.S., Neuroscience, The College of William & Mary (2017)

Published Articles or Reviews

  • Best MN, Lim Y, Ferenc NN, Kim N, Min L, Wang DB, Sharifi K, Wasserman AE, McTavish SA, Siller KH, Jones MK, Jenkins PM, Mandell JW, Bloom GS. Extracellular Tau Oligomers Damage the Axon Initial Segment. J Alzheimers Dis. 2023;93(4):1425-1441. doi: 10.3233/JAD-221284. PMID: 37182881; PMCID: PMC10357156.
  • Rudenko LK, Wallrabe H, Periasamy A, Siller KH, Svindrych Z, Seward ME, Best MN, Bloom GS. Intraneuronal Tau Misfolding Induced by Extracellular Amyloid-β Oligomers. J Alzheimers Dis. 2019;71(4):1125-1138. doi: 10.3233/JAD-190226. PMID: 31524157; PMCID: PMC7464573.
  • Best MN, Best RR & Dickter CL. (2019). STEAM Programming as a Pathway to Foster Positive Academic Self-Efficacy and Positive Self-Concept. Journal of Research in STEM Education, 5(2), 100-118. Retrieved from

Web Sites