Edmund Au, PhD

  • Assistant Professor of Pathology & Cell Biology
Profile Headshot


Email: ea2515@cumc.columbia.edu

Laboratory website: Au Lab

Academic Appointments

  • Assistant Professor of Pathology & Cell Biology


  • Male

Credentials & Experience

Honors & Awards

Whitehall Foundation Grant 2017

Irving Institute CaMPR BASIC Grant 2017


The Au lab studies cortical interneurons, a diverse population of locally-projecting GABAergic cells. They are involved in regulating spike timing, signal refinement and cortical oscillations, all of which are critical to normal brain function. We are primarily focused on how cortical interneurons wire into cortical circuitry developmentally, as well as their role in mental illness.

Our general approach is to apply developmental genetics to the differentiation of stem cells into specific interneuron subtypes. In order to study these cells in their native environment, they are transplanted in utero and we study their integration into host cortex. Since stem cells start off as a blank slate, we have the opportunity to manipulate various stages of interneuron differentiation and maturation by manipulating the cells in vitro. In this manner, we can therefore delve into molecular mechanisms that govern the process of microcircuit assembly.

Dysfunction in cortical interneurons has been linked to a number of diseases including autism spectrum disorder, schizophrenia, epilepsy and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder. We are interested in employing stem cell-based approaches to model neuropsychiatric disorders in order to study underlying disease mechanisms. From these studies we hope to pave the way towards more directed, specific and effective treatments for psychiatric ailments.

Research Interests

  • Cell Lineage Specification
  • Models of Psychiatric Illness
  • Neuronal Migration
  • Synaptic Specificity

Selected Publications

  • Nunnelly, L.F., Campbell, M., Lee, D.I., Gu, G., Menon, V., and Au, E. St18 specifies globus pallidus projection neuron identity in MGE lineage. Nat Commun 13, 7735 (2022).
  • Li M, Cabrera-Garcia D, Salling MC, Au E, Yang G, Harrison NL. Alcohol reduces the activity of somatostatin interneurons in the mouse prefrontal cortex: A neural basis for its disinhibitory effect? Neuropharmacology. 2021 May 1;188:108501. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2021.108501. Epub 2021 Feb 24.PMID: 33636191
  • Genestine M, Ambriz D, Crabtree GW, Dummer P, Molotkova A, Quintero M, Mela A, Biswas S, Feng H, Zhang C, Canoll P, Hargus G, Agalliu D, Gogos JA, Au E.Elife. Vascular-derived SPARC and SerpinE1 regulate interneuron tangential migration and accelerate functional maturation of human stem cell-derived interneurons. (2021) Apr 27;10:e56063. doi: 10.7554/eLife.56063.PMID: 33904394
  • Morikawa K, Furuhashi K, de Sena-Tomas C, Garcia-Garcia AL, Bekdash R, Klein AD, Gallerani N, Yamamoto HE, Park SE, Collins GS, Kawano F, Sato M, Lin CS, Targoff KL, Au E, Salling MC, Yazawa M.Nat Commun. Photoactivatable Cre recombinase 3.0 for in vivo mouse applications. (2020) May 1;11(1):2141. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-16030-0.PMID: 32358538
  • McKenzie MG, Cobbs LV, Dummer PD, Petros TJ, Halford MM, Stacker SA, Zou Y, Fishell GJ, Au E. (2019) Non-Canonical Wnt-Signaling through Ryk Regulates the Generation of Somatostatin- and Parvalbumin-Expressing Cortical Interneurons. Neuron. 103(5): 853-64.
  • Karayannis* T, Au E*, Patel J., Kruglikov I., Markx S., Delorme R., Heron D, Glessner J., Restituito S., Gordon A., Roy N.C., Gogos J., Rudy B., Rice M.E., Karyiorgou M., Hakonarson H., Bourgeron T., Hoeffer C., Tsien R.W., Peles E., Fishell G. (2014) Cntnap4 differentially contributes to GABAergic and Dopaminergic Synaptic Transmission. Nature. 511(7508): 236-40.
  • Au E., Ahmed T, Karayannis T., Biswas S., Gan L., Fishell G. (2013) A modular gain-offunction approach to generate cortical interneuron subtypes from ES cells. Neuron. 80(5): 1145-58.
  • Au E., Fishell G. (2008) Cortex shatters glass ceiling. Cell Stem Cell 3(5): 472-4.
  • Au E., Richter M.W., Vincent A.J., Tetzlaff W., Aebersold R., Sage E.H., Roskams A.J. (2007) SPARC from olfactory ensheathing cells stimulates Schwann cells to promote neurite outgrowth and enhances spinal cord repair. The Journal of Neuroscience. 27(27): 7208-21.
  • Au E, Fishell, G. (2006) Adult cortical neurogenesis: nuanced, negligible or nonexistent? Nature Neuroscience. 9: 1086-1088.