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Ishmail Abdus-Saboor, PhD.

Department of Neuroscience Perelman School of Medicine University of Pennsylvania,


2002-2006 BS, Animal Science, North Carolina A&T University, Greensboro, NC
2006-2012 PhD, Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia,PA
2014-present Penn-PORT fellow, Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania
  • Research mentor: Wenquin Luo, M.D., PhD; University of Pennsylvania
  • Teaching mentors: Karen Baskerville, PhD; Lincoln University
  • Tracie Paulson, Rutgers University - Camden

Research Topic: Optogenetic approaches to dissect neural circuitry of pain

The neuronal circuitry that drives tactile allodynia, where innocuous touch is perceived as painful, is a common phenomenon associated with chronic spinal and trigeminal pain.  In healthy subjects, information about light touch versus mechanical pain is transduced by Aβ mechanoreceptors and C-fiber nociceptors, respectively, whose cell bodies are located in dorsal root and trigeminal ganglia. In chronic neuropathic states, however these neurons undergo abnormal circuit properties such that touch mechanoreceptors may now signal pain. My long-term goal is to identify the neural circuits responsible for chronic pain associated phenotypes such as allodynia, in both the spinal and trigeminal pain systems. My overall objective in my research is to delineate the role of both Aβ touch neurons and C-fiber nociceptors in mechanical allodynia using a molecular optogenetic approach.

Courses Taught

  • BIO-313 – History of Biology; Instructor; Lincoln University; Oxford, PA
  • BIO- 50:120:110– Biology of Disease; Instructor; Rutgers University – Camden, Camden, NJ
  • BIOL406 – Molecular Biology and Genetics; Teaching Assistant; University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
  • BIO-101 – Molecular Biology of Life; Teaching Assistant; University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA


  • Abdus-Saboor I, Fleischmann A, Shykind B. Setting Limits: Maintaining order in a large gene family. Transcription. 2014 Jan 1;5.
  • Fleischmann A, Abdus-Saboor I, Sayed A, Shykind B. Functional interrogation of an odorant receptor locus reveals multiple axes of transcriptional regulation. PLoS Biol. 2013;11(5):e1001568.
  • Abdus-Saboor I, Stone CE, Murray JI, Sundaram MV. The Nkx5/HMX homeodomain protein MLS-2 is required for proper tube cell shape in the C. elegans excretory system. Dev Biol. 2012 Jun 15;366(2):298-307
  • Abdus-Saboor I, Mancuso VP, Murray JI, Palozola K, Norris C, Hall DH, Howell K, Huang K, Sundaram MV. Notch and Ras promote sequential steps of excretory tube development in C. elegans. Development. 2011 Aug;138(16):3545-55.

Contact info:

Ishmail Abdus-Saboor, Ph.D.
IRACDA Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of Neuroscience
Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
3610 Hamilton Walk, 145 Johnson Pavilion
Philadelphia, PA 19104


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