Byoung-Il Bae, PhD

Associate Research Scientist; Associate Research Scientist of Neurosurgery

Departments & Organizations



As a high school student, BYOUNG-IL BAE (pronounced as 'BE-YOUNG-EEL BAY') read a newspaper article that nitric oxide (NO), a free radical, had been identified as a neural messenger by an American neuroscientist. He was impressed by the news, and thus made a clipping of the article and kept it for a long time, but without remembering the name of the scientist.

After majoring in Molecular Biology at Seoul National University in South Korea, Bae came to the United States to pursue a PhD in Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. But he did not know that the American scientist was there. It was only during a rotation with Dr. Solomon H. Snyder, a giant in neuropharmacology, when he realized that the laboratory had purified all three NO synthases, establishing NO as a gaseous neural messenger. He enjoyed the rotation thoroughly and later joined the Snyder laboratory as a student.

During his PhD, Bae worked on roles of the tumor suppressor p53 and the stress sensor glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) in Huntington’s disease, a progressive and fatal neurodegenerative disease that is inherited. To this end, he used biochemical and cell biological tools in mouse and fly models of the disease. While pursuing his PhD, he appreciated that (1) genetics can provide enormous insights into biological mechanisms, (2) the field of cerebral cortical development has numerous problems to solve, and (3) model organisms with rigorous phenotypes are absolutely critical.

Thus, Bae joined the laboratory of Dr. Christopher A. Walsh, an audacious human geneticist and neurodevelopmental biologist at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital, as a postdoctoral fellow. He studied genes that control expansion and gyrification of the cerebral cortex. Specifically, he worked on a conserved noncoding element of G protein-coupled receptor 56 (GPR56), which controls gyrification in the perisylvian cortex including the human language area and other regions that are critical to human cognitive functions. In parallel, he studied genes that determine the cerebral cortical size, such as abnormal spindle-like, microcephaly-associated protein (ASPM) and WD40-repeat protein 62 (WDR62).

In 2015, Bae started his independent career as a research faculty or Associate Research Scientist in Department of Neurosurgery at Yale University School of Medicine. He fearlessly elucidates molecular and cellular mechanisms of brain development and evolution using novel animal models of human genetic disorders.


Instructor in Pediatrics Harvard Medical School & Boston Children's Hospital, MA (2015)

Postdoctoral Fellow Harvard Medical School & Boston Children's Hospital, MA (2013)

PhD in Neuroscience Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, MD (2006)

BS in Molecular Biology Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea (1998)


Dr. M. Judah Folkman Research Day Award Boston Children’s Hospital, MA (2014)

Goldenson Research Fellowship Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, MA (2011-2013)

Harvard Stem Cell Institute Training Grant (2009-2011)

Boston Children’s Hospital Neurology Training Grant (2008-2009)

Korea Foundation for Advanced Studies Predoctoral Fellowship Seoul, South Korea (1999-2004)

Education & Training

PhD Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Neuroscience (2006)

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Contact Info

Byoung-Il Bae, PhD
Mailing Address
Neurosurgery300 Cedar St.
TAC S330

New Haven, CT 06477
Research Image 1

The three animals inspiring Bae's research on brain development and evolution: mice, humans, and ferrets. (Left) Transgenic mice with fluorescent protein expression in the brain that is controlled by wild-type or mutated upstream region of human GPR56, a gene that regulates cerebral cortical patterning. (Center) The drawing of an exposed human brain in Vesalius's "De Humani Corporis Fabrica" (1543) demonstrating the large size and intricate gyri. (Right) The crest of the Vesalius family hung on the wall of The Yale Medical Library showing three weasels, which belong to the genus of Mustela. Image credit: Terry Dagradi. The Bae laboratory studies mechanisms of cerebral cortical development using both Mustela mammals and rodents.