Michael Wells

Assistant Professor, Human Genetics, University of California Los Angeles

Originally from Columbus, OH, Michael F. Wells earned a B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of Notre Dame in 2008, and a PhD in Neurobiology from Duke University in 2015 under the guidance of Dr. Guoping Feng. In 2021, he completed his postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Kevin Eggan at Harvard University and the Broad Institute. His research focuses on discovering the foundations of human brain diversity and the mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism and intellectual disability. His work has been published in such high-impact journals as Nature, Cell, Neuron, and Cell Stem Cell, and has been funded by a F31 Predoctoral Fellowship, a K99/R00 Pathway to Independence award, and a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Postdoctoral Enrichment Program award. Outside of the laboratory, Michael serves as the creator and co-director of the COVID-19 National Scientist Volunteer Database (covid19sci.org), which is a resource for health officials and decision-makers around the country looking to solve COVID-19-related problems. In addition, he is the Chair of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) Trainee Advisory Committee and has previously participated in the SfN Early Career Policy Ambassador program.


Human Variation, Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Neurodevelopment, Stem Cell Models, Human Genetics

Education and Training

Harvard University08/2021Developmental Biology
Duke UniversityPhD09/2015Neurobiology
University of Notre DameB.S.05/2008Biological Sciences

Awards and Honors

  • Postdoctoral Enrichment Program award, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, 2018-2021.
  • F31 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award for Individual Predoctoral Fellowship, National Institute of Mental Health, 2012-2015.
  • Intersections Science Fellow, Yale University, 2021.
  • K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award, National Institute of Mental Health, 2019-2024.
  • Rising Stars in Biomedicine, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2019.
  • Program for Achieving Career Excellence (PACE) Rising Star, Cornell University, 2020.


  1. Burberry A, Wells MF, Limone F, Couto A, Smith KS, Keaney J, Gillet G, van Gastel N, Wang JY, Pietilainen O, Qian M, Eggan P, Cantrell C, Mok J, Kadiu I, Scadden DT, Eggan K. C9orf72 suppresses systemic and neural inflammation induced by gut bacteria.. Nature, 2020.
  2. Chen Q, Deister CA, Gao X, Guo B, Lynn-Jones T, Chen N, Wells MF, Liu R, Goard MJ, Dimidschstein J, Feng S, Shi Y, Liao W, Lu Z, Fishell G, Moore CI, Feng G. Dysfunction of cortical GABAergic neurons leads to sensory hyper-reactivity in a Shank3 mouse model of ASD.. Nature neuroscience, 2020.
  3. Altimus CM, Marlin BJ, Charalambakis NE, Colón-Rodriquez A, Glover EJ, Izbicki P, Johnson A, Lourenco MV, Makinson RA, McQuail J, Obeso I, Padilla-Coreano N, Wells MF, for Training Advisory Committee. The Next 50 Years of Neuroscience.. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 2020.
  4. Orefice LL, Mosko JR, Morency DT, Wells MF, Tasnim A, Mozeika SM, Ye M, Chirila AM, Emanuel AJ, Rankin G, Fame RM, Lehtinen MK, Feng G, Ginty DD. Targeting Peripheral Somatosensory Neurons to Improve Tactile-Related Phenotypes in ASD Models.. Cell, 2019.
  5. Salick MR, Wells MF, Eggan K, Kaykas A. Modelling Zika Virus Infection of the Developing Human Brain In Vitro Using Stem Cell Derived Cerebral Organoids.. Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE, 2017.
  6. Wells MF, Salick MR, Wiskow O, Ho DJ, Worringer KA, Ihry RJ, Kommineni S, Bilican B, Klim JR, Hill EJ, Kane LT, Ye C, Kaykas A, Eggan K. Genetic Ablation of AXL Does Not Protect Human Neural Progenitor Cells and Cerebral Organoids from Zika Virus Infection.. Cell stem cell, 2016.
  7. Wells MF, Wimmer RD, Schmitt LI, Feng G, Halassa MM. Thalamic reticular impairment underlies attention deficit in Ptchd1(Y/-) mice.. Nature, 2016.
  8. Peça J, Feliciano C, Ting JT, Wang W, Wells MF, Venkatraman TN, Lascola CD, Fu Z, Feng G. Shank3 mutant mice display autistic-like behaviours and striatal dysfunction.. Nature, 2011.