Michael Henderson, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Neurodegenerative Science

Areas of Expertise

Parkinson’s disease (PD), neurodegenerative disease models, pathological protein cell-to-cell transmission, LRRK2, GBA1, α-synuclein, tau


Michael Henderson is a neuroscientist whose focus is on the impact of protein pathologies and genetic risk factors on the development and progression of neurodegenerative diseases. He earned his B.Sc. in biological science from Florida State, followed by his Ph.D. in neuroscience from Yale University. He conducted his doctoral research in the lab of Dr. Sreeganga Chandra, and moved to the University of Pennsylvania for his postdoctoral fellowship in the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research with Drs. Virginia Lee and John Trojanowski. In 2020, Dr. Henderson joined Van Andel Institute’s Center for Neurodegenerative Science as an assistant professor.

Dr. Henderson has made several seminal contributions to neurodegenerative disease research, including the identification of palmitoyl-protein thioesterase 1 as a protein aggregate in adult-onset neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis, the demonstration that α-synuclein pathology spreads through anatomical connectivity in the brain, and the demonstration that glucocerebrosidase acts as a modulator of α-synuclein pathogenesis.

He has received several awards and honors, including the Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation and the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award for predoctoral research.