Leena Ali Ibrahim

Assistant Professor, Bioscience

Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering Division

Laboratory of Neural Circuits


Education Profile

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School,2021
  • Ph.D Neuroscience, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 2016
  • M.Sc Life Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, 2008
  • B.Sc Biomedical Sciences, University of Delhi, New Delhi, 2006

Research Interests

My research interest lies in understanding how development and sensory experience shapes the emergence and function of cortical information processing. How does the brain make an internal representation of the world around us and how can we predict whether something in our sensory environment is meaningful and requires attention, or is a distraction that should be ignored? Moreover, how are these processes perturbed in neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders? My lab aims to dissect the circuitry underlying these phenomena with a focus on inhibition, neuromodulation and top down control of sensory information processing using high resolution structural imaging, slice electrophysiology, in-vivo 2-photon imaging and behavior.

Selected Publications


  • Wamsley B*, Ibrahim LA*, Yusuf N, Fisher E, Jaglin XH, Xu Q, Guo L, Khodadi-Jamayrab A, Favuzzi E, Yuan Y, Dimidschtein J, Darnell R, Fishell G. Nova proteins direct synaptic integration of somatostatin interneurons through activity-dependent alternative splicing. (Biorxiv Nov 2019 and in prep for resubmission)
Published Manuscripts
  • Leena A Ibrahim, Shuhan Huang, Marian Fernandez-Otero, Mia Sherer, Spurti Vemuri, Robert Machold, Bernardo Rudy, Gord Fishell. Bottom-up inputs are required for the establishment of top-down connectivity onto cortical layer 1 neurogliaform cells [In Press Neuron]
  • Emilia Favuzzi, Shuhan Huang, Giuseppe A. Saldi, Loïc Binan, Leena A. Ibrahim, Marian Fernández-Otero, Yuqing Cao, Ayman Zeine, Adwoa Sefah, Karen Zheng, Qing Xu, Elizaveta Khlestova, Samouil L. Farhi, Richard Bonneau, Sandeep Robert Datta, Beth Stevens, Gord Fishell. GABA-receptive microglia selectively sculpt developing inhibitory circuits. Cell, Volume 184, Issue 15, 2021, Pages 4048-4063.e32, ISSN 0092-8674,
  • Ibrahim LA, Schuman B, Bandler R, Rudy B, Fishell G. Mining the jewels of the cortex's crowning mystery. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2020 Aug; 63:154-161. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2020.04.005. Epub 2020 May 29. PMID: 32480351 Review.
  • Vormstein-Schneider D, Lin JD, Pelkey KA, Chittajallu R, Guo B, Arias-Garcia MA, Allaway K, Sakopoulos S, Schneider G, Stevenson O, Vergara J, Sharma J, Zhang Q, Franken TP, Smith J, Ibrahim LA, M Astro KJ, Sabri E, Huang S, Favuzzi E, Burbridge T, Xu Q, Guo L, Vogel I, Sanchez V, Saldi GA, Gorissen BL, Yuan X, Zaghloul KA, Devinsky O, Sabatini BL, Batista-Brito R, Reynolds J, Feng G, Fu Z, McBain CJ, Fishell G, Dimidschstein J. Viral manipulation of functionally distinct neurons from mice to humans. Nature Neuroscience, Aug 2020. doi: 10.1038/s41593- 020-0692-9. PMID: 32807948
  • Ibrahim LA, Mesik L, Ji X.Y, Fang Q, Li HF, Li Y.T, Zingg B, Zhang LI, Tao HW. Cross Modality Sharpening of Visual Cortical Processing through Layer-1 mediated inhibition and disinhibition. Neuron. 2016 Mar 2;89(5):1031-45. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.01.027. Epub 2016 Feb 18. PMID: 26898778.
  • Ibrahim LA, Huang JJ, Wang SZ, Kim YJ, Zhang LI, Tao HW. Sparse Labeling and Neural Tracing in Brain Circuits by STARS Strategy: Revealing Morphological Development of Type II Spiral Ganglion Neurons. Cereb Cortex. 2018 Jul 6. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhy154. PMID: 29982390.