Ishmail received a doctorate in cell and molecular biology from UPenn. He performed postdoctoral research at Weill Cornell and UPenn, and in 2018 he joined the faculty at UPenn. In 2021, he was recruited to Columbia University, where he is currently an assistant professor of biological sciences in the Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute.

Select Honors and Awards curriculum vitae

  • NIH DP2 New Innovator Award (2022)
  • Chan Zuckerberg Science Diversity Leadership Award (2022)
  • Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences  (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)


Andrea Subotic

B.S., UC Berkeley
M.A., Cal State University
as5515 [at]


Z. Anissa Jhumka

Ph.D., Aix-Marseille U. France
aj3020 [at]

Andre Toussaint

Junior Fellow, Simons Society of Fellows
PDEP Fellow, Burroughs Wellcome Fund

Ph.D., Temple University
at3658 [at]

Anastasia Zavitsanou

Ph.D., NYU
az2764 [at]

Graduate students

Brittany Bistis

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

Justin Burdge

Biological Sciences PhD student
B.S., University of Pennsylvania
jb4582 [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]


Victoria Saltz

B.A., Williams College
tsaltz83 [at]

Undergraduate students

Phalaen Chang

Abednego Delinois

Jonathan Ettricks Jr.

Melody Gomez

Alexis Knight

Alexis Imani Marshall

Wadzanayi Mayiseni

Sarah Sørensen Ogata

Simon Ogundare



Heather Rossi

2018 – 2021
Now: Research Associate  at UPenn

Graduate students

Leah Elias

NIH NRSA F31 Fellow
2018 – 2022
Now: Postdoc at Johns Hopkins

Melanie Schaffler

NIH NRSA F31 Fellow
2018 – 2022
Now: Teva Pharmaceuticals


Jared Boyce

2021 – 2022
Now: MD-PhD student at UWisconsin-Madison

William Foster

2018 – 2021
Now: PhD student at Columbia

Jessica Jones

2018 – 2020
Now: HHMI Gilliam Fellow & PhD student at UW

Isabella Succi

2020 – 2022
Now: PhD student at Columbia


Justin Arnold

2019 – 2021
Next: MD student at Northwestern U.

Justin Burdge

2018 – 2019
Next:  PhD student in the lab

Lucie Pham

2019 – 2021
Next: MD student at Rutgers U.

Samuel Kaufmann

2019 – 2020
Next: Research Assistant at UPenn