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Michael Fernandopulle

Michael Fernandopulle

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar MD/PhD

Entry Year: 2016

Sc.B. Chemical Biology, Brown University, 2014
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (In progress)


Dr. Michael Ward (NINDS) and
Prof. Peter St George-Hyslop (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Epigenetics, Developmental biology, Neuroscience

Michael was born and raised in Oak Park, IL, and attended college at Brown University, where he graduated magna cum laude in Chemical Biology. He pursued his first research experience as an HHMI scholar studying pollen tube development in the laboratories of Dr. Alison DeLong and Dr. Mark Johnson. As a Royce Fellow, he worked with Dr. Jason Sello to decipher the role of the bacterial Pup-proteasome system in the secondary metabolism of Streptomyces, producers of two-thirds of all clinically used antibiotics. This work was featured in The Journal of Bacteriology. Outside of the laboratory, he worked to promote science education through Brown Science Prep, a weekly enrichment program for Rhode Island high school students. He also served as a screenwriter for the Brown SciToons project, an initiative designed to improve scientific literacy through animated videos on topics of public interest. 

After graduation, Michael matriculated to the MSTP at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. There, he transitioned to stem cell epigenetics, working with Dr. Ali Shilatifard to identify new epigenetic regulators of pluripotency, and Dr. Evangelos Kiskinis to develop genetic reporters for neuronal differentiation from iPSCs. He also taught health lessons to detainees at the county jail, and administered a medical internship program for high school students.

For his doctoral research, Michael aims to investigate the basic phenomenon of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance, while exploring its translational implications in selective neurodegeneration. Ultimately, he hopes to pursue neurology as a physician-scientist, contributing to both novel basic insights and direct patient care.

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