Candice E. Paulsen, PhD

Assistant Professor

Departments & Organizations

Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry

Yale Combined Program in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS): Biochemistry, Quantitative Biology, Biophysics and Structural Biology (BQBS)


I love exploring the unknown and the thrill and sense of accomplishment that comes with making the unknown familiar. This passion has inspired me to make significant transitions, both conceptually and with methodology, at every stage of my career.  I purposefully choose research projects that serve to improve human health as well as stand to make fundamental discoveries of basic biology and physiology. Moreover, I thoroughly enjoy teaching and mentoring as well as helping kids find the joy in science. As a graduate student with Kate Carroll at the University of Michigan and The Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, FL, I studied redox regulation of signal transduction cascades important to cancer. As a postdoctoral fellow with David Julius at the University of California, San Francisco, I determined the structure of an important pain receptor, TRPA1 by cryo-EM. In my independent lab, we will take a multidisciplinary approach to understand how TRPA1 is regulated under basal and chronic pain/inflammation conditions and we will take a broader look at molecular changes involved in the transition from acute to chronic pain. 

Education & Training

PhD University of Michigan, Chemical Biology (2011)
BS Purdue University, Genetic Biology (2006)
Staff Scientist Yale University
Staff Scientist University of California, San Francisco
Postdoctoral Fellow University of California, San Francisco
Postdoctoral Fellow The Scripps Research Institute

Honors & Recognition

  • Award in Pain ScholarRita Allen Foundation and the American Pain Society (2018)

  • Early Career Research GrantInternational Association for the Study of Pain (2018)

  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute Postdoctoral Fellow of the Helen Hay Whitney FoundationHelen Hay Whitney (2014)

  • Cardiovascular Research Institute T-32 Postdoctoral FellowshipNational Institutes of Helath (2012)

  • Chemistry-Biology Interface NIH T-32 Training GrantNational Institutes of Health (2009)

  • Travel AwardVAUGHN Symposium (2009)

  • Travel AwardPECRUM Symposium (2008)

Professional Service

  • Exploratorium After Dark Event (2015 - 2017) Expert lecturer on the science of peppers and mint (July 2015) and hot sauces (July 2017)

  • Cell (2014 - 2017) Co-Ad hoc reviewer

  • Nature (2014 - 2017) Co-Ad Hoc Reviewer

  • Biophysical Society (2014 - Present) Member

  • American Heart Association (2012 - 2013) Member

  • American Chemical Society (2006 - 2007) Member

  • Alpha Chi Sigma (2003 - Present) Professional chemistry fraternity member


  • Selected Speaker South Hadley, United States (2016 - 2016)

  • Selected Speaker Los Angeles, United States (2016)

  • Invited Speaker Dedham, United States (2015)

  • Invited Speaker Leuven, Belgium (2015)

  • Invited Speaker Jupiter, United States (2011)

  • Poster presentation Saint Petersburg, United States (2011)

  • Poster Presentation Saint Petersburg, United States (2011)

  • Invited Speaker Anaheim, United States (2010)

  • Poster Presentation Lucca, Italy (2010)

  • Poster Presentation Ann Arbor, United States (2010)

  • Poster presentation Washington, United States (2009)

  • Poster presentation Ann Arbor, United States (2009)

  • Invited Speaker Ann Arbor, United States (2008)

  • Selected Speaker Ann Arbor, United States (2008)

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Contact Info

Candice E. Paulsen, PhD
Office Location
Bass Center
266 Whitney Avenue, Fl 2 Rm 234

New Haven, CT 06511
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Mailing Address
266 Whitney Ave
P.O. Box 208114

New Haven, CT 06511

Curriculum Vitae

Structure of TRPA1 solved by Cryo-EM

Three-dimensional structure of the ion channel, TRPA1, which is activated by many environmental and endogenous irritants including the active ingredients in wasabi, mustard, onions and garlic to initiate pain sensations. TRPA1 assembles as a homotetramer (each subunit is shown in a distinct color for clarity) in the plasma membrane of a subset of sensory neurons. During her postdoctoral studies, Prof. Paulsen (Yale, MB&B) used a biophysical method called electron cryo-microscopy to solve this first-ever structure of the TRPA1 ion channel. The structure is docked in the density map (grey) to illustrate the high-resolution portion of the ion channel. TRPA1 contains 16 ankyrin repeats, a common protein fold, 11 of which were poorly resolved in the density, but are docked below the core of the channel for completion. The structure revealed, for the first time, the binding site of a necessary cofactor, InsP6 (chemical structure near center).