Joy S Reidenberg, PhD
img_Joy S Reidenberg
PROFESSOR | Medical Education
Research Topics
Aerodigestive Tract, Anatomy, Biomechanics/Bioengineering, Biomedical Sciences, Bone Biology, Brain Imaging, Cartilage Biology, Comparative Anatomy, Computed Tomography, Computer Simulation, Developmental Biology, Education, Evolution, Imaging, Larynx, Lung, MRI, Neurobiology, Otolaryngology (ENT), Respiratory, Skeletal Biology, Speech, Systems Biology, Trauma, Vocal Tract
Multi-Disciplinary Training Area
Development Regeneration and Stem Cells [DRS]
Comparative anatomy of the upper respiratory tract in a wide range of mammals

Research in this laboratory examines the comparative anatomy, development, and evolution of the mammalian upper respiratory tract, particularly factors that may affect breathing, swallowing, and vocalizing abilities, or clinical disorders.

Our research focuses on upper respiratory tract anatomy in a wide range of mammals, with particular emphasis on cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises). Cetaceans are studied as a "natural experiment" to understand the evolutionary forces selecting for a highly modified upper respiratory tract adapted for an aquatic existence. Our current project is developing an atlas of mysticete (baleen whale) anatomy. As an extension of this interest, investigations are in progress to examine the controversial role of the cetacean larynx in sound production for communication or echolocation. Techniques include comparative dissection (including fieldwork at site of beach-stranded whale), histology, and imaging by CT or MRI. Our important findings in comparative anatomy include:

  • discovery of a vocal fold homolog in whales previously thought to lack this,
  • identification of the lack of posterior protection of the human larynx compared with other mammals and resulting exposure of the airway to incursions from the digestive tract,
  • use of MRI and CT scans to appreciate hyo-laryngeal positional asymmetries in toothed whales that correlate with functional and behavioral asymmetries,
  • impact of slow vs. sudden pressure changes on tissues of the respiratory tract in diving mammals.
  • New insights into the origin of human clinico-pathologies related to the upper respiratory tract include defining the lack of posterior laryngeal protection from gastric juices as the major anatomical cause of respiratory tract insult secondary to Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).

    Future directions we would like to take our research program include:

  • Comparative Anatomy: Investigate and compare respiratory tissue response to pressure change from natural (diving) and artificial (explosion) causes. Determine how diving marine mammals mitigate for decompression sickness. Understand how marine mammal lungs can vary compliance. Explore sound production/transfer mechanisms by aquatic mammals in air vs. water.
  • Development: Elucidate temporal/spatial relationships of branchial arches and normal and pathological development of skull/soft tissue relationships.
  • Human Clinico-Pathologies: Examine animals exhibiting posterior laryngeal protection (e.g., ruminants), create a similar artificial barrier (surgical or prosthesis), and develop an animal model of Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) in which to test this barrier. If model is successful, further develop in collaboration with surgeons for human patients with GERD.
  • Evolution: Reconstruct evolutionary trajectories of aerodigestive tract.
  • BA, Cornell University, College of Arts & Sciences,

    MPhil, PhD, Mount Sinai Graduate School of Biological Sciences, Biomedical Sciences Doctoral Training Program


    Jacobi Medallion

    Mount Sinai Hospital and Alumni Association


    William Mills Prize for “Narwhal: Revealing an Arctic Legend”

    William Mills Foundation


    Professor of the Year

    New York College of Podiatric Medicine


    The Mount Sinai Alumni Award for Achievement in Graduate Education

    Mount Sinai Alumni Association


    Lifetime Achievement Award

    Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai


    Jackson Hole Science Media Award: Big Blue Live

    Jackson Hole Film Festival Media Awards


    BAFTA Award: Best in Specialist Factual category for

    British Academy for Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award (equivalent of an Emmy Award in the US)


    Students' Choice Teaching Award

    New York College of Podiatric Medicine


    Science Hall of Fame

    Downers Grove North HS, IL



    American Association for Anatomy


    World Gold Medal TV & Film Award: Best Science/Nature Film category

    World Gold Medal, New York Television and Film Awards


    Highly Commended in the Best New Programme category

    The Broadcast Awards (London)


    BAFTA Award: Best in Specialist Factual category for

    British Academy for Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award (equivalent of an Emmy Award in the US)


    Thompson Reuters Zoological Record Award for Communicating Zoology

    Zoological Society of London


    RTS Award: Best in Science and Natural History category

    The Royal Television Society Awards (UK)


    Scholarly Achievement Award

    Center for Anatomy and Functional Morphology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine


    Scholarly Achievement Award

    Center for Anatomy and Functional Morphology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine


    Pre-Clinical Teaching Award

    Mount Sinai School of Medicine


    Excellence in Teaching Award

    Institute for Medical Education, Mount Sinai School of Medicine


    Basmajian/Williams and Wilkins Award

    American Association of Anatomists


    Recognition of Excellence in Science Communication

    World Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals


    Excellence in Science Communication Award

    Society for Marine Mammalogy


    Outstanding Doctorial Dissertation Award

    Mount Sinai Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences

    Physicians and scientists on the faculty of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai often interact with pharmaceutical, device, biotechnology companies, and other outside entities to improve patient care, develop new therapies and achieve scientific breakthroughs. In order to promote an ethical and transparent environment for conducting research, providing clinical care and teaching, Mount Sinai requires that salaried faculty inform the School of their outside financial relationships.

    Below are financial relationships with industry reported by Dr. Reidenberg during 2023 and/or 2024. Please note that this information may differ from information posted on corporate sites due to timing or classification differences.

    Board Service

    • American Association for Anatomy
    • Friends of Read Wildlife Sanctuary

    Consulting or Other Professional Services Examples include, but are not limited to, committee participation, data safety monitoring board (DSMB) membership

    • Windfall Films
    • InnerSprout, Inc.

    Mount Sinai's faculty policies relating to faculty collaboration with industry are posted on our website. Patients may wish to ask their physician about the activities they perform for companies.