Ishmail Abdus-Saboor


Mitchell J. and Margo K. Blutt Presidential Assistant Professor of Biology


Research Interests

319 Leidy Laboratories


B.S., Animal Science, North Carolina A&T University, 2006

Ph.D., Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Pennsylvania, 2012

Postdoc, Neuroscience, Cornell University, 2012 - 2014

Postdoc, Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania, 2014 - 2018

Research Interests

The nervous system is exquisitely tuned to mount the appropriate behavioral response to sensory stimuli ranging from a gentle caress to a harsh mechanical insult. How our nervous systems encode this information, from the level of sensory neuron activation in peripheral tissues up towards the central nervous system, in both normal and diseased states, remains enigmatic. Taking advantage of mouse molecular and genetic tools, the Abdus-Saboor lab is addressing important questions about sensory system perception – from the level of the gene to the level of organismal behavior. Using an integrative approach spanning molecular optogenetics and chemogenetics, automated tracking of behavior coupled with high-speed videography, viral circuit tracing, in vivo and in vitro calcium imaging, and electrophysiology, our overall goal is to increase our basic understanding of the mechanisms governing encoding of somatosensory stimuli - with a particular focus on pain.

Courses Taught

BIOL 221 Molecular Biology and Genetics 

Selected Publications

Jessica Jones, William Foster, Colin Twomey, Justin Burdge, Osama Ahmed, Jessica Wojick, Gregory Corder, Joshua Plotkin, Ishmail Abdus-Saboor. A machine-vision approach for automated pain measurement at millisecond timescales. bioRxiv (2020)

Heather Rossi, Lily Pachanin, William Foster, Saumitra Pitake, Jennifer Gibbs, Brian Schmidt, Claire Mitchell, Ishmail Abdus-Saboor. Evoked and spontaneous pain assessment in a dental pulp injury model. Scientific Reports 10:2759 (2020).

Saumitra Pitake, Leah Middleton, Ishmail Abdus-Saboor, Santosh K Mishra. Inflammation induced sensory nerve growth and pain hypersensitivity requires the N-type calcium channel Cav2.2. Front. Neurosci. 13, 1 – 13 (2019).

Ishmail Abdus-Saboor, Nathan Fried, Mark Lay, Kathryn Swanson, Justin Burdge, Jessica Jones, Peter Dong, Weihua Cai, Xinying Guo, Yuan-Xiang Tao, Roman Fischer, John Bethea, Minghong Ma, Xinzhong Dong, Long Ding, Wenqin Luo. Development of a mouse pain scale using sub-second behavioral mapping and statistical modeling. Cell Reports 28, 1623 – 1634 (2019). 

William Olson, Ishmail Abdus-Saboor, Lian Cui, Justin Burdge, Tobias Raabe, Minghong Ma, and Wenqin Luo. Sparse genetic tracing reveals regionally specific functional organization of mammalian nociceptors. eLife 6:e29507 (2017)

Lian Cui, Xuerong Miao, Lingli Liang, Ishmail Abdus-Saboor, William Olson, Michael Fleming, Minghong Ma ,Yuanxiang Tao, Wenqin Luo. Identification of early RET+ deep dorsal spinal cord interneurons in gating pain. Neuron 91, 1–17 (2016). 

Ishmail Abdus-Saboor, Muhammad Al-Nufal, Maha Agha, M. Ruinart de Brimont, Alexander Fleischmann, Benjamin Shykind. An expression refinement process ensures singular odorant receptor gene choice. Current Biology 26, 1083–90 (2016).

Alexander Fleischmann, Ishmail Abdus-Saboor, Atef Sayed, Benjamin Shykind. Functional interrogation of an odorant receptor locus reveals multiple axes of transcriptional regulation. PLoS Biology 11(5):e1001568 (2013).

Ishmail Abdus-Saboor, Craig Stone, John I. Murray, Meera Sundaram. The Nkx5/Hmx homeodomain protein MLS-2 is required for proper tube cell shape in the C.elegans excretory system. Developmental Biology 366, 298–307 (2012).

Ishmail Abdus-Saboor, Vincent P. Mancuso, John I. Murray, Katherine Palozola, Carolyn Norris, David Hall, Kelly Howell, Kai Huang, Meera V. Sundaram. Notch and Ras promote sequential steps of excretory tube development in C.elegans. Development 138, 3545–3555 (2011).

CV (file)