Meet the Scientists

Michael Kelbermann

Email: mkelberman(at)

Michael is a graduate student studying Neuroscience at Emory University in Dr. David Weinshenker’s lab. His research focuses of the impact of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology on a small brain structure called the locus coeruleus (LC). AD is the most prevalent neurodegenerative disorder and a leading cause of death, with incidences likely to rise alongside an aging population. AD is characterized by aggregates of extracellular β-amyloid and intracellular tau neurofibrillary tangles. The LC is the brain’s primary noradrenergic nucleus and is known to degenerate in various neurodegenerative disorders. Interestingly, the locus coeruleus is prone to hyperphosphorylated tau aggregation in AD, often decades prior to the onset of cognitive deficits. The goal of his research is to understand the effects of hyperphosphorylated tau on LC function using a combination of approaches including electrophysiology, optogenetics, and functional magnetic resonance imaging. When not in the lab Michael enjoys hiking around Atlanta, running, and watching/coaching local youth soccer teams.

Doaa Megahed (aka Douaa Mugahid)

Email: dmugahid(at)

Doaa has been an Editor at Nature Communications since September 2020, where she handles Computational and Systems Biology papers. Prior to that she was a post-doc in the department of Systems Biology, where she used a variety of methods to understand the role of a protein called YAP as a regulator of cell-cell communication in the liver and in cultured cells. As a graduate student at Heidelberg University and the MDC-Berlin, Germany she studied how hibernating bears avoid the loss of muscle mass. She continues to serve the scientific community by advocating for papers that advance human knowledge, democratize scientific research, and improve reproducibility in science. She enjoys teaching and mentoring, which is why -besides volunteering with JEI- she is also COO of Maqal 3elmy, an initiative that makes science Accessible to the Arab world. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, traveling, spinning, running, crafting and upholstering old furniture.

Vaibhav P. Pai

Email: vpai(at)

Pai is a Research Scientist at the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University. His research focuses on understanding how bioelectrical signals (ion fluxes and membrane voltage patterns within somatic cells) control embryonic neural system (brain and eye) development, regeneration, and repair. Using Xeopus laevis (frog) as the model system, his research combines novel biophysical approaches and state-of-art imaging (voltage-reporter dyes and optogenetics) with developmental biology, neurobiology, molecular biology, and computational approaches to discover the basic principles underlying bioelectric control of brain and eye development. This knowledge will give us the capability to use bioelectric signal manipulation for neural regeneration and repair in cases of birth-defects, traumatic injuries, diseases, and cancer (all of which can be seen as issues of loss of shape information). This knowledge will also help develop new pharmaceuticals (drugs targeting ion channels - ionoceuticals) and could have long term impacts in bioengineering.

For leisure, Pai likes being outdoors. He particularly enjoys going for long walks and hiking up mountains, especially in the winter. His go-to spot around the American North East is the White Mountains in New Hampshire.