Sami Barmada MD, PhD

Sami Barmada, MD, PhD

Angela Dobson Welch and Lyndon Welch Research Professor
Associate Professor, Neurology


Sami Barmada, M.D., Ph.D. is an assistant professor of neurology at the University of Michigan Medical School. His clinical interests center around patients with dementia and motor neuron disease, and he sees patients at the Cognitive Disorders Clinic in the University of Michigan’s East Ann Arbor location.

His research focuses on the pathologic overlap between amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and how we can take advantage of the convergence to identify new and effective therapies for these devastating disorders.

After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1998 with a major in Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, and a focus in Conceptual Foundations of Medicine, Dr. Barmada went on to the Medical Scientist Training Program at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine. For his graduate work, he constructed a transgenic mouse model of Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease with Dr. David Harris, and used these animals to track the deposition of misfolded prion protein within the nervous system of infected animals. For this work, Dr. Barmada earned earned the Poletsky Award from the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center in St. Louis, Missouri, and was elected as a Olin Medical Scientist Fellow at Washington University School of Medicine.

Dr. Barmada received his M.D. and Ph.D. in 2006, and completed an Internal Medicine internship at Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, before moving to the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Medical Center for his residency in Neurology. Dr. Barmada served one year as Chief Resident in the Department of Neurology, focusing on resident education. He was also a house-staff nominee to the Alpha-Omega-Alpha honor society. During his residency, Dr. Barmada became involved in research with Dr. Steve Finkbeiner of the Gladstone Institutes, a pioneer in neuronal models of neurodegenerative disease and novel technologies to study these models.
Dr. Barmada finished his residency in 2010 and spent one year working with Dr. Finkbeiner as a research fellow, before becoming a Staff Scientist at the Gladstone Institutes and a Clinical Instructor at UCSF. In 2013, Dr. Barmada became an Assistant Professor of Neurology at the University of Michigan, where he divides his time between the Cognitive Disorders Clinic and the laboratory.

Areas of Interest

Research: Mechanisms of disease in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia.
Modeling of neurodegenerative phenotypes in primary and human stem cell-derived neurons and astrocytes.
Identification and characterization of novel therapies for neurodegenerative diseases.

Clinical Interests

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Frontotemporal dementia


Medical School or Training

  • Washington University School of Medicine, 2006


  • University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, Neurology, CA, 2010

Professional Organizations

  • American Neurological Association, 2013
  • American Association of Neurology, 1997
  • Society for Neuroscience, 2002

Board Certification

  • Neurology

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