Kyle Fink, Ph.D.

Kyle David Fink, Ph.D.


Genetically-linked Neurological Diseases

Gene Modification


Huntington's Disease

Angelman Syndrome

CDKL5 Deficiency




  • Assistant Adjunct Professor, Department of Neurology


Research/Academic Interests

My long term research interests involve the development of a comprehensive understanding of key developmental pathways including how the innate immune system and alterations in gene expression contribute to human disease, specifically genetically-linked neurological disorders.

My academic training and research experience have provided me with an excellent background in multiple biological disciplines including neuroscience, molecular biology, microbiology, chemistry, and genetics.

As a graduate student with Dr. Gary Dunbar and Dr. Laurent Lescaudron, my research focused on therapeutic potential of adult stem cells for Huntington’s disease. My work demonstrated the potential of mesenchymal stem cells derived from multiple sources for treating animal models of Huntington’s disease by releasing trophic factors.

The first of two publications is accepted and is one of the top read articles from that respected journal. I later developed a novel method in creating a non-integrative induced pluripotent stem cell from rat fibroblasts.

I was first author of the initial description of these cells following transplantation into the striatum of healthy rats and the immune response elicited by this new type of cell. This work was performed under an international fellowship provided by the French Embassy of Science and Technology to work with a neuroimmunology group at an INSERM lab in France.

A subsequent first author publication was produced from this study demonstrating the first evidence of therapeutic potential of induced pluripotent stem cells in an animal model of Huntington’s disease. During my undergraduate and graduate careers, I received several research awards, including the top neuroscience graduate student in the state of Michigan.

During my postdoctoral training, I was awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the NIH to develop novel gene therapies for Huntington’s disease and have recently published this work in addition to receiving several research awards for this work.

I have also played an integral role in obtaining grant funding to develop gene modifying therapies for CDKL5-deficiency, MPS I and Angelman’s disease. I have continued to build on my previous training in Huntington’s disease models and novel therapeutics with an aim to develop gene modifying and stem cell and therapies for clinical trials.

My goal is to become an independent investigator continuing to work on the pre-clinical development of gene modifying therapies for neurodegenerative diseases with an aim to develop clinically relevant therapeutics.



Center/Program Affiliation

Stem Cell Research Program


Ph.D., Behavioral Neurosciene, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant MI 2013

Ph.D., Neuroimmunology, University of Nantes, Nantes France 2013

B.A., University of Portland, Portland OR 2008

Internship: Stem Cell Program, UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento CA 2013-2016


NINDS NRSA F32 Fellowship, UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento CA 2014-2016

Professional Memberships

American Society for Neural Therapy and Repair

Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience

Huntington Study Group

Huntington's Outreach Project for Education

Society for Neuroscience

Honors and Awards

Best Talk Award, UC Davis Postdoctoral Research Symposium, 2015

Hot Topic in Neuroscience, Society for Neuroscience, 2015

Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship, NIH National Institute for Neurological Disease and Stroke, 2014

Founder's Award, Michigan Chapter Society for Neuroscience, 2013

Travel Grant Award, ASNTR 2012, 2013

Chateaubriand Fellowship, French Embassy of Science and Technology, 2010

Select Recent Publications

Pollock K, Dahlenburg H, Nelson H, Fink KD, Cary W, Hendrix K, Annett G, Torrest A, Deng P, Gutierrez J, Nacey C, Pepper K, Kalomoiris S, Anderson JD, McGee J, Gruenloh W, Fury B, Bauer G, Duffy A, Tempkin T, Wheelock V, Nolta JA. Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells Genetically Engineered to Overexpress Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor Improve Outcomes in Huntington's Disease Mouse Models. Mol Ther. 2016 May;24(5):965-977.

Fink KD, Deng P, Gutierrez J, Anderson JS, Torrest A, Komarla A, Kalomoiris S, Cary W, Anderson JD, Gruenloh W, Duffy A, Tempkin T, Annett G, Wheelock V, Segal DJ, Nolta JA. Allele-Specific Reduction of the Mutant Huntingtin Allele Using Transcription Activator-Like Effectors in Human Huntington's Disease Fibroblasts. Cell Transplant. 2016;25(4):677-86.

Fink KD, Crane AT, Lévêque X, Dues DJ, Huffman LD, Moore AC, Story DT, Dejonge RE, Antcliff A, Starski PA, Lu M, Lescaudron L, Rossignol J, Dunbar GL. Intrastriatal transplantation of adenovirus-generated induced pluripotent stem cells for treating neuropathological and functional deficits in a rodent model of Huntington's disease. Stem Cells Transl Med. 2014 May;3(5):620-31.

Fink KD, Rossignol J, Lu M, Lévêque X, Hulse TD, Crane AT, Nerriere-Daguin V, Wyse RD, Starski PA, Schloop MT, Dues DJ, Witte SJ, Song C, Vallier L, Nguyen TH, Naveilhan P, Anegon I, Lescaudron L, Dunbar GL. Survival and differentiation of adenovirus-generated induced pluripotent stem cells transplanted into the rat striatum. Cell Transplant. 2014;23(11):1407-23.