Our researchers are a fierce driving force behind therapeutic development and future treatment. Let’s find out what makes them so passionate about KIF1A! Each month, one of our invested members of the KIF1A Research Network will be in the spotlight. Noélle Germain, PhD, is next up to share a bit about herself and why she is so passionate about the work she does!


Noélle Germain, PhD

Associate Director, Pre-clinical Development, Ovid Therapeutics

Noélle D. Germain, PhD, is the Associate Director, Pre-clinical Development, at Ovid Therapeutics where she supports early discovery and development activities focused on rare neurological diseases. Before joining Ovid in 2021, Noelle was Assistant Professor in Residence in the department of Genetics and Genome Sciences at the University of Connecticut Health Center. She was also manager of the UCONN Cell and Genome Engineering Core. As part of the laboratory of Dr. Stormy Chamberlain, Noelle spent several years developing human stem cell models of Angelman and Dup15q syndromes and investigating novel therapeutic approaches for these syndromes. She earned her Ph.D. from Wesleyan University in Stem Cell Biology. Her doctoral work aimed to model early stages of nervous system development using pluripotent stem cells and to specify subpopulations of inhibitory neurons from human stem cells for use in the treatment of temporal lobe epilepsy.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

The power to heal with a touch (or food, like Mirabel’s mother in Encanto). Imagine being able to take away someone’s pain and suffering with the snap of your fingers!

When did you know you wanted to be a scientist? Why were you drawn to this field?

I think I knew I wanted to be a scientist for real during my senior year Biology class in high school. We had the awesome experience of participating in a traveling science exhibit called the “Connecticut BioBus.” I remember being incredibly impressed at the workshop where we got to extract and visualize DNA for the first time. My love for cellular biology and genetics started in that Biology class cutting out images of chromosomes from paper printouts and matching them up as homologous pairs! I enjoy breaking complex things down to their basic parts and rebuilding things in order to understand how they work.

What do you love most about your job?

I love that I am constantly learning and inspired in my work. Nothing gets “stale” in science! At Ovid, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to connect with patient advocacy groups and families who I always learn so much from and become further motivated by. I also love that I get to work together with an internal and external network of scientists who are equally as curious and motivated to understand rare neurological diseases and work towards effective treatments.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

Being patient and persistent. Research is very rarely a linear process and it can be difficult to wait for experimental results. Often times those results lead to more questions and it is important to follow through.

What development are you most excited about in terms of KIF1A research?

I am very excited to see the knowledge being gained about KIF1A variants in human stem cell models. Being able to functionally understand the contributions of the genetic variants to KAND and use that knowledge to guide development and screening of therapeutics is very exciting.

I couldn’t get through a day at work without: 

Coffee and sour candies – not necessarily together! Coffee gets my day started and I love some sour patch kids or gummy worms to keep my brain fueled in late afternoon.

I am most motivated by:

Contributing, in any way possible, to development of therapies for pediatric neurogenetic syndromes. I strive to help make an impact on the quality of life and futures of kids and families living with these conditions.

When you are not working, what do you like to do?

I love spending as much time as possible with my husband and my two young daughters – playing in the yard with the dog, going for nature walks/hikes and playing board games. I also enjoy crafting, baking, and quilting.