Sami Barmada MD, PhD

Sami Barmada, M.D., Ph.D.

Michigan Neuroscience Institute Affiliate
Angela Dobson Welch and Lyndon Welch Research Professor
Associate Professor, Neurology
Director, Michigan Brain Bank

Biological Sciences Research Building (AAT-BSRB)
109 Zina Pitcher Place, 4th floor
Ann Arbor, MI 48109



Dr. Barmada received his PhD in the Medical Scientist Training Program at Washington University in St. Louis, where he investigated prion diseases with Dr. David Harris, now chair of Biochemistry at Boston University. His neurology residency, at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), gave him the opportunity to train with some of the premier clinicians and scientists in neurodegenerative diseases, including Dr. Bruce Miller, head of the UCSF Memory and Aging Center, and Dr. Cathy Lomen-Hoerth, Director of the UCSF ALS Center. During residency and continuing in a postdoctoral fellowship, he worked with Dr. Steve Finkbeiner at the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco, where he established faithful model systems for the study of ALS and FTD pathogenesis, including one of the first human neuronal models of familial ALS and FTD. Dr. Barmada arrived at the University of Michigan as an Assistant Professor of Neurology in 2013 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2020

Areas of Interest

Dr. Barmada’s research takes advantage of a broad toolkit of innovative technologies and methods involving fluorescence microscopy, computer science and engineering, bioinformatics, genome engineering, and molecular biology to investigate important yet unanswered questions in neurodegenerative diseases. His work, centering on critical abnormalities in RNA and protein metabolism in ALS and FTD, combines basic biology with translational research and technology development. Dr. Barmada serves on the executive advisory board of the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research and acts on the scientific advisory boards of the Live Like Lou Foundation and Synapticure, Inc. He has taken an active role in their efforts to raise awareness of ALS in the community and participates in several local and national fundraising efforts.

Honors & Awards

  • American Society for Clinical Investigation Young Physician-Scientist Award (2014)
  • U-M Angela Dobson and Lyndon Welch Research Professorship (2015)


  • Residency, University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, Neurology, CA (2010)
  • M.D., Ph.D., Washington University School of Medicine (2006)
  • American Neurological Association (2013)
  • American Association of Neurology Member, (1997)
  • Society for Neuroscience Member, (2002) 
  • Board Certified in Neurology

Published Articles or Reviews

  • Safren N, Tank EM, Malik M, Chua J, Santoro N, Barmada SJ. Development of a specific live-cell assay for native autophagic fluxJournal of Biochemistry. 2021 Sep;297(3):101003. doi: 10.1016/j.jbc.2021.101003.
  • Weskamp K, Tank EM, Miguez R, McBride JP, Gómez NB, White M, Lin Z, Moreno Gonzalez C, Serio A, Sreedharan J, Barmada SJ. Shortened TDP43 isoforms upregulated by neuronal hyperactivity drive TDP43 pathology in ALS.  Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2020 Mar 2;130(3):1139-1155
  • Flores BN, Malik A, Li X, Martinez Jose, Beg AA, and Barmada SJ. An Intramolecular Salt Bridge Linking TDP43's RNA Recognition Motifs Dictates RNA Binding, Protein Stability and TDP43-Dependent NeurodegenerationCell Reports 2019, 27:1133-1150.
  • Malik A, Miguez R, Li X, Ho YS, Feldman EL, and Barmada SJ. Matrin 3-dependent neurotoxicity is modified by nucleic acid binding and nucleocytoplasmic localization. eLife 2018;7:e35977.

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