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Laura Manuelidis

Laura Manuelidis is a physician and neuropathologist at Yale University. She earned her B.A. degree from Sarah Lawrence College, where she studied poetry, and her M.D. from Yale Medical School. She is head of the section of Neuropathology in the department of Surgery at Yale. She is also also on the faculty of Neurosciences and Virology. Her work centers around elucidating the mechanisms of infection in transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs).[1]

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She has challenged the conventionally accepted explanation for the cause of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (better known as "Mad Cow Disease") and the human equivalent, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The generally accepted explanation was put forth by Stanley B. Prusiner who won the 1997 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine.[2] In his work, he coined the term prion (a portmanteau for "proteinacious infectious agents") to refer to a previously undescribed form of infection due to malformed proteins.[3] In January 2007 Manuelidis and her colleagues published an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences asserting that they found a virus that could be responsible for the diseases. Manuelidis said, “Although much work remains to be done, there is a reasonable possibility these are the long sought viral particles that cause transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, The [prion] is probably not infectious, but is a pathological result [of] an infectious virus binding to this host protein.”[4]

In the 1970s, Dr. Manuelidis also first isolated and sequenced major repeated mammalian DNAs, such as human alpha satellite DNA and mammalian long interspersed repeats (also known as LINES). Repeated sequences are far more numerous than single copy coding genes, and are often referred to as "junk DNA" because their genetic function is not obvious. However, she showed that repeated DNAs are spatially grouped to define housekeeping, tissue specific, and inactive gene regions of chromosomes. In-situ high resolution hybridization also revealed that chromosomes are relatively compact and ordered in the interphase nucleus. Each differentiated neuronal cell type conserves its own distinctive pattern of nuclear chromosome organization. This suggested that repeated DNAs may act as organizing centers during differentiation.


  1. ^ Laura Manuelidis - Professor & Head of Neuropathology. Yale University. Retrieved on 2007-02-02.
  2. ^ Stanley B. Prusiner - Autobiography. Retrieved on 2007-01-02.
  3. ^ "What really causes mad cow disease?", Wired, January 31 2007. Retrieved on 2007-01-02. 
  4. ^ "Pathogenic Virus Found in Mad Cow Cells", Yale, February 2 2007. Retrieved on 2007-02-02. 
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Laura_Manuelidis". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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