Ishmail obtained a B.S. in Animal Science from North Carolina A&T University, followed by a Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Pennsylvania, with Meera Sundaram. He was subsequently a postdoctoral fellow at Cornell, then UPenn, with Ben Shykind and Wenqin Luo, respectively. Ishmail is currently a Freeman Hrabowski Scholar at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and an Associate Professor at Columbia University with primary appointments in the Department of Biology and the Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. In addition to research, each fall semester, Ishmail teaches a large undergraduate lecture course on cell and molecular neurobiology.

Awards and Honors

  • Young Investigator Award, Society for Neuroscience, 2023
  • HHMI Freeman Hrabowski Scholar, 2023
  • McKnight Scholar, 2023
  • NIH New Innovator Award, 2022
  • Chan Zuckerberg Science Diversity Leadership Award, 2022
  • Pew Biomedical Scholar, 2022
  • Brain Research Foundation, 2022
  • Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, 2021
  • Kavli Fellow, National Academy of Sciences, 2021
  • Rita Allen Foundation Scholar, 2020
  • Mitchell Max Award for Research Excellence, 2018
  • NIH Pathway to Independence Award, 2017
  • Burroughs Wellcome Fund PDEP Postdoc Fellowship, 2015
  • NIH IRACDA Postdoc Fellowship, 2014
  • Tom Kadesch Prize in Genetics, 2012

curriculum vitae

Q and A interview of Ishmail (Neuron, 2021)


Aleyna Silcott

Administrative Lab Manager

B.S., Ankara University, Turkey
aab2259 [at]

Alexis Knight


B.S., Columbia University
aak2220 [at]

Francesca Whitecross


B.S., Middlebury College


Sasha Fulton

NIH F99/K00 DSPAN Fellow
UNCF EE Just Fellow

Ph.D., Mount Sinai Medicine
B.S., Columbia University
slf2127 [at]

Anissa Jhumka

B.S., Ph.D., Aix-Marseille University (France)
aj3020 [at]

Aleksander Kaplan

Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
B.S., University of Maryland Baltimore Country (UMBC)
ak5200 [at]

Briana Nixon

Ph.D., Weill Cornell Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
B.S., Wesleyan University
bn2369 [at]

Andre Toussaint

Simons Junior Fellow
Burroughs Wellcome Fund PDEP 

Ph.D., Temple University
B.S., Hunter College
at3658 [at]

Anastasia Zavitsanou

Ph.D., New York University (NYU)
B.S., Imperial College London
az2764 [at]

Graduate students

Brittany Bistis

Biological Sciences PhD student
B.S., Yale University
bb2977 [at]

Justin Burdge

Biological Sciences PhD student
NIH NRSA F31 Fellow

B.S., University of Pennsylvania
jb4582 [at]

William Foster

Neuro & Behavior PhD student
B.S., Haverford College
wf2284 [at]

Rachel Frazer

Neuro & Behavior PhD student
NSF Graduate Research Fellow
B.A., Wellesley College
ref2154 [at]

Ryan Schwark

Biological Sciences PhD student
B.S., Elizabethtown College
rs4192 [at]

Preston Sheng

Biological Sciences PhD student
B.S., Emory University
ss6573 [at]

Isabella Succi

Biological Sciences PhD student
*Joint with Itamar Kahn
B.S., St. Joseph’s University
is2687 [at]

Undergraduate students

Amanda Arnold

ala2214 [at]

Aishat Bakare

aishat.b [at]

Max Comfere

mkc2182 [at]

Abednego Delinois

jad2321 [at]

Sevilla Duran

sevilla.duran [at]

Melody Gomez

mg3764 [at]

Ashar Khan

adk2176 [at]

Jake Kothandaraman

kothaj02 [at]

Sofia Marin-Quiros

sam2451 [at]

Sarah Sørensen Ogata

sas2451 [at]

Simon Ogundare

soo211 [at]

Simon Toney

sd3525 [at]

Olaedo Udensi

ocu2101 [at]

Leah Yadessa

lay2110 [at]