Ishmail received a doctorate in cell and molecular biology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2012. After two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Weill Cornell Medical College, he returned to the University of Pennsylvania, where he continued four more years of postdoctoral training and in 2018 he joined the faculty as an assistant professor of biology. In 2021, he moved to Columbia University, where he is currently an assistant professor of biological sciences in the Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute.

Selected Honors and Awards curriculum vitae

  • Pew Biomedical Scholar  (2022)
  • Brain Research Foundation Award (2022)
  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellow (2021)
  • Kavli Fellow, National Academy of Sciences (2021)
  • Rita Allen Foundation Scholar (2020)
  • NIH K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award (2017)
  • Burroughs Wellcome Fund PDEP Fellow (2015)


In the lab with Ishmail Abdus-Saboor (YouTube) (2022)
“Behind the CV Interview” with Penn’s MindCore (YouTube) (2021)
Q and A Feature Interview for Neuron (2021)

abdus-saboor lab members

Andrea Subotic

Lab Coordinator
(2021 – present )
B.S., UC Berkeley
M.A., Cal State University
as5515 [at]

Anissa Jhumka, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow
(2021 – present )
B.S., Ph.D., Aix-Marseille University, France
aj3020 [at]

Andre Toussaint, Ph.D.

Simons Junior Fellow

Postdoctoral Fellow
(2022 –  )
Ph.D., Temple University
at3658 [at]

Brittany Bistis

Biological Sciences PhD student
(2022 – present)
B.A., Yale University
bb2977 [at]

Justin Burdge

Biological Sciences PhD student
(2020 – present)
B.S., University of Pennsylvania
jb4582 [at]

Rachel Frazer

NSF Graduate Research Fellow
SFN Neuroscience Scholar

Neuro & Behavior PhD student
(2021 – present)
B.A., Wellesley College
ref2154 [at]

Ryan Schwark

Biological Sciences PhD student
(2020 – present)
B.S., Elizabethtown College
rs4192 [at]

Jared Boyce

Technician (2021 – present)
A.B., Dartmouth College
Sc.M., Brown University
jeb2298 [at]
Next: MD-PhD student @ UWisconsin-Madison

Isabella Succi

Technician (2020 – present)
B.S., St. Joseph’s University
is2687 [at]
Next: PhD student @ Columbia U

Phalaen Chang

(2021 – present)
pc2908 [at]

Simon Ogundare

(2022 – present)
soo2111 [at]

Alexis Imani Marshall

(2021 – present)
aim2141 [at]

Wadzanayi Mayiseni

(2021 – present)
wmm2129 [at]


Heather Rossi, Ph.D.

Research Associate, 2018 – 2021
B.S., UNC Ashville
Ph.D., University of Florida
Current: Research Associate in the Herbert lab @UPenn

Leah Middleton Elias

NIH NRSA F31 Fellow
PhD Student, 2018 – 2022
B.A., Mount Holyoke College
Next: Postdoc @ Johns Hopkins

Melanie Schaffler

NIH NRSA F31 Fellow
Neuroscience PhD Student
(2018 – 2020)
B.A., Wesleyan University

William Foster

Technician, 2018 – 2021
B.A., Haverford College
Current: Tech @ Columbia U
Next: PhD student @ Columbia U

Jessica Jones

Technician, 2018 – 2020
B.S., UC Santa Cruz
Current: PhD student @ UWashington

Justin Arnold

Undergraduate, 2019 – 2021
Current: Research Assistant @UPenn
Next: MD student @ Northwestern U

Justin Burdge

Undergraduate, 2018 – 2019
B.S., University of Pennsylvania
Current:  PhD student in the lab

Lucie Pham

Undergraduate, 2019 – 2021
B.S., University of Pennsylvania
Current:  Analyst, Clearview Healthcare Partners

Samuel Kaufmann

Undergraduate, 2019 – 2020
Current: Research Assistant @ UPenn