Nicholas M. Kanaan, PhD

Nicholas M. Kanaan, PhD
  • Professor of Translational Neuroscience
  • Maibach Smiley Professor of Alzheimer’s Research
  • MSU College of Human Medicine Department of Translational Neuroscience
  • Director of Advanced Microscopy
  • Teaching Faculty, MSU Neuroscience Program and MSU BioMolecular Science
  • Grand Rapids Research Center
  • 400 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • Phone: 616.234.0956
  • Fax: 616.234.0991


Dr. Kanaan grew up in Canton, MI and obtained a B.S. in Neuroscience, Psychology, and Sociology from Central Michigan University (Mt. Pleasant, MI). He then went to Chicago, IL to obtain a Ph.D. in Neurological Sciences from Rush University Medical Center, and then stayed in Chicago for his postdoctoral training with Dr. Lester Binder at Northwestern University. His interests outside of the lab include photography, woodworking and fishing.



Institution Field of Study Degree Earned Year
Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI Neuroscience, Psychology & Sociology B.S. 2001
Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL Neurological Sciences Ph.D 2007
Northwestern University, Chicago, IL Cell and Molecular Biology Postdoctoral Fellow 2007-2010

Research Interests

Dr. Kanaan’s laboratory researches aging-related neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementias and Parkinson’s disease. Studies in the Kanaan lab focus on the molecular mechanisms underlying degenerative diseases and exploring therapeutic strategies through a combination of experimental approaches, including various in vitro and in vivo model systems and novel monoclonal antibody production. Regardless of his specific basic science endeavors, Dr. Kanaan aims is to conduct research that will ultimately translate into improvements in the lives of the people affected by these devastating diseases.

Technical Expertise

  • Recombinant protein purification
  • Cell culture (primary neurons and multiple cell lines)
  • Monoclonal antibody production
  • Virus-based gene expression in neurons
  • PCR and mutagenesis
  • Immunoaffinity and size exclusion chromatography
  • Western blotting
  • Stereological analyses (including confocal stereology)
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Immunofluorescence
  • Histology
  • Microscopy (electron, atomic force, bright field and confocal)
  • Stereotaxic surgery
  • Microdissection
  • Intracerebral transplantation
  • Rodent behavioral testing