In Memoriam: David Poulsen, PhD, Gene Therapy Expert

David Poulsen.

David Poulsen, PhD

Published June 29, 2022

story by bill bruton

David Poulsen, PhD, professor of translational neuroscience in the Department of Neurosurgery at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, died June 16. He was 59.

Poulsen was employed at the University at Buffalo since 2015.

Conducted Translational Research


Poulsen conducted translational research of neuroprotective/neurorestorative agents. Specifically, his research focused on the preclinical and clinical development of therapies used to prevent behavioral and cognitive deficits following traumatic brain injury and stroke.

“Dr. Poulsen will be remembered for his visionary inquisitiveness and his love of teaching and mentoring,” said Elad I. Levy, MD, MBA, L. Nelson Hopkins III, MD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery. “He added joy to all around him, and will he missed deeply.”

Poulsen also served as chief scientific officer for NeuroTrauma Sciences since 2009.

Loved the Outdoors

Prior to coming to UB, Poulsen spent 14 years at the University of Montana School of Pharmacy. He started there as a research assistant professor and advanced to research associate professor, director of translational research, and then professor.

He is survived by his wife, Cindy; three children, Josh, Austin and Becca; and three grandchildren, Evelyn, Lincoln and Gwen.

Poulsen was born in Mesa, Arizona, but grew up all over the western part of the country before settling in Montana to raise his family.

“He was an avid outdoorsman. He loved fishing, hunting, backpacking, he was scuba certified and sailed competitively — anything with the outdoors,” Cindy said. “That’s why we loved Montana so much. That’s where we were going to go back to once we retired.”

Poulsen graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree in microbiology. He earned a master’s degree and a doctoral degree from the University of Delaware, both in molecular biology/virology.

He completed a fellowship in molecular mechanisms of central nervous system (CNS) retrovirus pathology from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease/Rocky Mountain Labs and a fellowship in gene therapy of CNS from Thomas Jefferson University’s Department of Neurosurgery/CNS Gene Therapy Center.

A celebration of life for Poulsen took place June 24 at his home in Holland, New York.