Yalda Moayedi-Esfahani, PhD

  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Sciences (in Neurology and Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery)
Profile Headshot


Dr. Moayedi received her PhD in Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine, where she researched the molecular genetics of retinal and cochlear development. During her graduate work, she identified Sfswap as a regulator of mammalian hair cell development. This research spurred her interest in mechanosensation. She joined Dr. Ellen Lumpkin’s laboratory at Columbia University as a postdoctoral researcher in 2014, where she investigated oral mechanosensory neurons. In 2020, she was hired as an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery at Columbia University.

The primary research interest of Dr. Moayedi’s laboratory is to better understand the somatosensory neurons that innervate the oral cavity and upper airway, and how they contribute to orally-guided functions such as flavor perception, feeding mechanics, and speech. While it is well recognized that somatosensation is an important contributor to these daily tasks, little is known about the neurons and circuits that underlie them. Understanding this fundamental biology has far-reaching implications for developing new treatments for diseases of orofacial neurons including dysphagia, dysphonia, and cranial neuropathies. Her lab uses a combination of molecular biology, anatomical methods, in vivo functional imaging, and behavior to address these gaps in knowledge.

Academic Appointments

  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Sciences (in Neurology and Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery)

Administrative Titles

  • CTNI Scholar
  • Associate Director, TFFI Preclinical Models Core


  • Female

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • BS, 2004 University of Texas at Austin
  • BA, 2004 University of Texas at Austin
  • PhD, 2013 Baylor College of Medicine

Honors & Awards

  • 2023: Kavli Fellow, National Academy of Sciences
  • 2021: AChemS Polak Young Investigator Award
  • 2016: Columbia University Scott Smemo Memorial Postdoctoral Service Award


Selected Publications

Moayedi Y*., S. Xu, S.K. Obayashi, B.U. Hoffman, G.J. Gerling, E.A. Lumpkin. The cellular basis of mechanosensation in mammalian tongue. In press at Cell Reports.

Moayedi Y*., S. Michlig, M. Park, A. Koch, E.A. Lumpkin. Localization of TRP channels in healthy oral mucosa from human donors. eNeuro (2022) Dec 6. 0328-21.2022; DOI:10.1523/ENEURO.0328-21.2022. *Corresponding author.

Cole C.L., V.X. Yu, S. Perry, A. Seenauth, E.A. Lumpkin, M.S. Troche, M.J. Pitman, Y. Moayedi. Healthy Human Adult Laryngopharyngeal Sensory Innervation Density Correlates with Age. The Laryngoscope (2022) Jul 16. doi: 10.1002/lary.30287. Online ahead of print.

Moayedi Y*., S. Michlig, M. Park, A. Koch, E.A. Lumpkin*. Somatosensory innervation of healthy human oral tissues. J Comp Neurol (2021) Mar 31. *Joint-senior author. 

Moayedi Y., M.J. Pitman, J.C. de Nooij. Airway Protection—A Role for Vagal P2RY1 Receptors. Cell (2020) Apr 30;181(3):509-511.

Moayedi, Y., S. Greenberg, B. A. Jenkins, K. L. Marshall, D. M. Owens and E. A. Lumpkin. Camphor oil induces tumor regression through cytotoxic T cell-dependent mechanisms.  Mol Carcinog (2018) Dec 23.

Moayedi, Y., L. Duenas-Bianchi and E. A. Lumpkin.  Somatosensory innervation of the oral mucosa of adult and aging mice. Scientific Reports. (2018)8(1):9975.

Moayedi Y, M. Nakatani, and E.A. Lumpkin. Mammalian Mechanoreception.  T.J. Prescott, E. Ahissar, E. Izhikevich, eds. In Scholarpedia of Touch, 1st Edition. Atlantis Press; 2015. p. 423-436.

Moayedi Y, M.L. Basch, N.L. Pacheco, S.S. Gao, R. Wang, W. Harrison, N. Xiao, J.S. Oghalai, P.A. Overbeek, G. Mardon¶, and A.K. Groves¶. The candidate splicing factor Sfswap regulates growth and patterning of inner ear sensory organs. PLoS Genet. (2014) 10(1).