Ishmail is an awarded the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Science Diversity Leadership Award

October 28, 2022

Professors Ishmail Abdus-Saboor and Elham Azizi are among the 25 scientists nationwide who were awarded the inaugural Chan Zuckerberg Science Initiative (CZI) Diversity Leadership Awards to pursue science research, the initiative announced this month. The award “aims to recognize and further the leadership of excellent biomedical researchers who—through their outreach, mentoring, teaching, and leadership—have a record of promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in their scientific fields.” Abdus-Saboor and Azizi will receive $1.15 million each over five years to pursue new research and undertake outreach, mentoring, and teaching activities.

Professor Abdus-Saboor, assistant professor of biological sciences and principal investigator at Columbia’s Zuckerman Institute, was awarded for “Uncovering Peripheral and Central Neural Circuits for Inflammatory Pain,” a project that “aims to increase the fundamental understanding of inflammatory pain by mapping behavior, modifying peripheral genes, and constructing longitudinal brain-wide activity networks,” according to CZI’s website.

Columbia is one of only three universities with multiple faculty members to receive the award.

“We are proud that Columbia researchers are being recognized for cutting-edge research that also emphasizes diversity, equity, and inclusion, as all great research should and must,” Dennis Mitchell, senior vice provost for faculty advancement, said. “The fact that the Initiative recognized two projects on such disparate topic areas is a testament to Columbia’s wide-ranging expertise and our university-wide commitment to expanding the scope of who practices science.”


Ishmail is awarded an NIH DP2 New Innovator Award

October 21, 2022

HEAL Initiative DP2 New Innovator Award

Genetic background plays an important role in how different people feel pain. To understand how genes affect pain, researchers will study hundreds of mice from different genetic backgrounds. New artificial intelligence methods will be used to analyze the data gathered. The goals of this study are to find new genes involved in pain sensing and to shed light on why some people are more sensitive to pain. In the long term, this research will help in the development of non-addictive pain medications. Learn more about the project.

Ishmail is selected as a 2022 Pew Biomedical Scholar

JUNE 14, 2022
The Pew Charitable Trusts announced today the newest class of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences—22 early-career scientists who will receive four years of funding to explore some of the most pressing questions in health and medicine. The 2022 class of scholars—all early-career, junior faculty—joins a rich network of the more than 1,000 scientists who have received awards from Pew since 1985. Current scholars have opportunities to meet annually to build connections and exchange ideas with fellow Pew-funded scientists.

“This new class embodies diverse, creative, and unique new avenues of biomedical research,” said Craig C. Mello, Ph.D., a 1995 Pew scholar, 2006 Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine, and chair of the national advisory committee for the scholars program. “With support from Pew, these scientists will have not only resources but access to a network of colleagues and advisors that will spark new discoveries and push the boundaries of their work. I look forward to seeing where their discoveries take them.”

Scholars were chosen from 197 applicants nominated by leading academic institutions and researchers across the United States. This year’s class includes scientists exploring the design of “universal vaccines” against rapidly mutating viruses, how the brain processes pain, and the evolution of cancer-protective responses from radiation exposure.

Ishmail is selected as a 2021 Sloan Research Fellow.

FEBRUARY 16, 2021
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation today announces the names of the 128 early career researchers who have been selected to receive a 2021 Sloan Research Fellowship. Awarded annually since 1955, the fellowships honor extraordinary U.S. and Canadian researchers whose creativity, innovation, and research accomplishments make them stand out as the next generation of scientific leaders. A Sloan Research Fellowship is one of the most prestigious awards available to young researchers, in part because so many past Fellows have gone on to become towering figures in the history of science. Renowned physicists Richard Feynman and Murray GellMann were Sloan Research Fellows, as was mathematician John Nash, one of the fathers of modern game theory. For the past three years, the recipients of the Nobel Prize in Physics have included former FellowsAndrea Ghez (2020), James Peebles (2019), and Donna Strickland (2018). In fact, 51 Fellows have received a Nobel Prize in their respective field, 17 have won the Fields Medal in mathematics, 69 have received the National Medal of Science, and 20 have won the John Bates Clark Medal in economics, including every winner since 2007.

Ishmail is selected as a 2020 Rita Allen Foundation Scholar.

Four pioneering early-career scientists will receive support to uncover the biology of pain. The Rita Allen Foundation has named the 2020 class of Award in Pain Scholars, celebrating four early-career leaders in the biomedical sciences whose research holds exceptional promise for revealing new pathways to understand and treat chronic pain.

The Rita Allen Foundation Scholars program funds basic biomedical research in the fields of cancer, immunology, and neuroscience, as well as pain, through the Rita Allen Foundation Award in Pain. The Rita Allen Foundation Scholars program has supported more than 180 scientists since 1976. The program embraces innovative research with above-average risk and groundbreaking possibilities. Scholars have gone on to win the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, the National Medal of Science, the Wolf Prize in Medicine and the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences.

Ishmail and the lab featured in a story by Penn Today.

October 22, 2019
The Science of Sensations (by Katherine Unger Baillie). The touch of a feather, the itch of a mosquito bite, the prick of a needle: The body is capable of distinguishing and responding to all of these sensations in a near instantaneous relay, from skin to brain and back again.

“Our brain is constantly computing these things, and in healthy people it never gets it wrong,” says Ishmail Abdus-Saboor.

The details that drive these processes are now at the heart of Abdus-Saboor’s research. Using a variety of techniques and models, he and his lab—established at Penn last year—seek to tease out the nervous system pathways involved in translating sensations to the brain, with a particular focus on acute and chronic pain.