Laura Manuelidis, MD

Professor of Surgery (Neuropathology); Section Chief Neuropathology (Surgery); faculty Virology and Neurosciences

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Years active at Yale: YSM Class of 1967; 1967-present

Dr. Manuelidis is being recognized for scientific innovation. She discovered major human DNA repeats, and showed they defined functionally specific chromosome domains. Her in-situ 3-D analyses revealed compact individual chromosome territories that changed the spaghetti-like concept of nuclear chromatin.These approaches are used in tumor diagnostics today. She also is known for substantial contributions to the transmission and pathogenesis of human Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD), kuru, and other "slow viral" agents in small animal models. The latency and environmental spread of these infectious agents, and their destruction by nucleases, indicates they are viruses, rather than protein only (prions). She recently found and sequenced a new group of circular "SPHINX" DNAs from the mammalian brain; these and other hidden viral agents can participate in neurodegeneration and evolution. 

Dr. Manuelidis was an advisor to Congress on Health and Human Services for Alzheimer’s and related dementias, served on other National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Food and Drug Administration, and Medical Research Council boards, was awarded the Chromosoma prize, and was an organizer of international genetics and other meetings in addition to teaching and working clinically as chief of service for many years. She has published poetry in magazines as well as two poetry books; see https://medicine.yale.edu/lab/manuelidis/poetry/.