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Leena Ali Ibrahim, Ph.D.

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology


Leena Ali Ibrahim is currently an Assistant Professor of Bioscience at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. Originally from Palestine, she grew up between Bulgaria and India, and completed her Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Science at Delhi University and a Master’s degree in Life Science at Jawaharlal Nehru University. She then moved to the U.S. to pursue her Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the University of Southern California. During her doctoral studies with Dr. Huizhong Tao, Leena investigated how auditory inputs influence visual cortical processing. She found that upon sound stimulation, the orientation selectivity of neurons in V1 was sharpened, especially in low contrast conditions. Additionally, she developed a genetic mouse line that sparsely labels neurons in a Credependent manner. Leena then moved to Dr. Gord Fishell's lab at Harvard Medical School for Postdoctoral research, where she worked on connectivity of layer 1 interneurons during development in the visual cortex. Leena started her lab at KAUST in 2021, and the Ibrahim Lab is broadly interested in mechanisms of cortical circuit assembly and function, especially within layer 1 of sensory cortical areas. More specifically, the lab is investigating how sensory experience and learning shape the connectivity and function of inhibitory neurons within layer 1, as well as how genetic and environmental factors alter these circuitries leading to sensory processing deficits in neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders.

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