Yasmine El-Shamayleh, PhD

  • Assistant Professor of Neuroscience (in the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute)
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Academic Appointments

  • Assistant Professor of Neuroscience (in the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute)


  • Female


Yasmine El-Shamayleh is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neuroscience and a Principal Investigator in the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute at Columbia University. She received a BA in Biological Basis of Behavior from the University of Pennsylvania, where she worked with Larry A. Palmer. She received a PhD in neural science from New York University, where she worked with Tony Movshon. She then completed two postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Washington, where she worked with Anitha Pasupathy and Gregory D. Horwitz. Yasmine joined Columbia University in May 2019.

The overarching goal of research in the El-Shamayleh lab is to discover how neurons in the primate cerebral cortex identify the objects we see—a process critical for informing our decisions and guiding our actions. In pursuit of this goal, we seek to understand how visual cortical neurons process information about the shape of an object—information that enables us to identify objects correctly and to interact with them appropriately. To furnish new mechanistic insights, we use and develop optogenetic techniques for the functional dissection of primate cortical circuits.

Research Interests

  • Cognitive/Systems Neuroscience
  • Sensory Physiology
  • Synapses and Circuits

Selected Publications

De A, El-Shamayleh Y, Horwitz GD (2020). Fast and Reversible Neural Inactivation in Macaque Cortex by Optogenetic Stimulation of GABAergic neurons. eLife, 9:e52658.

El-Shamayleh Y, Horwitz GD [2019]. Primate optogenetics: progress and prognosis. PNAS, 116(52): 26195-2620.

Fetsch CR, Odean NN, Jeurissen D, El-Shamayleh Y, Horwitz GD, Shadlen MN [2018]. Focal optogenetic suppression in macaque area MT biases direction discrimination and decision confidence, but only transiently. eLife, 7:e36523.

Pasupathy A, El-Shamayleh Y, Popovkina DV [2018]. Visual shape and object perception. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Neuroscience. Ed. S. Murray Sherman. New York: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/acrefore/9780190264086.013.75.

El-Shamayleh Y, Kojima Y, Soetedjo R, Horwitz GD [2017]. Selective optogenetic control of Purkinje cells in monkey cerebellum. Neuron, 95: 51-62.

Fyall AM*, El-Shamayleh Y*, Choi H, Shea-Brown E, Pasupathy A [2017]. Dynamic representation of partially occluded objects in primate prefrontal and visual cortex. eLIFE, 6:e25784. *Authors contributed equally.

Mendoza SM*, El-Shamayleh Y*, Horwitz GD [2017]. AAV-mediated delivery of optogenetic constructs to the macaque brain triggers humoral immune responses. Journal of Neurophysiology, 117[5]:2004-2013. *Authors contributed equally.

Galvan A, Stauffer WR, Acker L, El-Shamayleh Y, Inoue K, Ohayon S, Schmid MC [2017]. Nonhuman Primate Optogenetics: Recent Advances and Future Directions. Journal of Neuroscience, 37[45]:10894-10903.

El-Shamayleh Y, Ni AM, Horwitz GD [2016]. Strategies for targeting primate neural circuits with viral vectors. Journal of Neurophysiology, 116[1]:122-34.

El-Shamayleh Y, Pasupathy A [2016]. Contour curvature as an invariant code for objects in visual area V4. Journal of Neuroscience, 36[20]:5532-5543.

Kumbhani RD, El-Shamayleh Y, Movshon JA [2015]. Temporal and spatial limits of pattern motion sensitivity in macaque MT neurons. Journal of Neurophysiology, 113[7]:1977-88.

Kosai Y*, El-Shamayleh Y*, Fyall A, Pasupathy A [2014]. The role of visual area V4 in the discrimination of partially occluded shapes. Journal of Neuroscience, 34[25]:8570-8584. *Authors contributed equally.

El-Shamayleh Y, Kumbhani RD, Dhruv NT, Movshon JA [2013]. Visual response properties of V1 neurons projecting to V2 in macaque. Journal of Neuroscience, 33[42]:16594-605.

El-Shamayleh Y, Movshon JA [2011]. Neuronal responses to texture-defined form in macaque visual area V2. Journal of Neuroscience, 31[23]:8543-55.

El-Shamayleh Y, Movshon JA, Kiorpes L [2010]. Development of sensitivity to visual texture modulation in macaque monkeys. Journal of Vision, 10[11]:11.

El-Shamayleh Y, Kiorpes L, Kohn A, Movshon JA [2010]. Visual motion processing by neurons in area MT of macaque monkeys with experimental amblyopia. Journal of Neuroscience, 30[36]:12198-209.