Dr. Legato

Is an internationally renowned academic, physician, author and lecturer. She pioneered the new field of gender-specific medicine, devoted to the differences in men and women’s normal physiology and in their experience of the same diseases

She received an honorary PhD from the University of Panama in 2015 in recognition of her groundbreaking work. She is also a Professor Emerita of Clinical Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons and an Adjunct Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins Medical School. Dr. Legato also the founder and director of the Foundation for Gender-Specific Medicine, which she created in 2006 as a continuation of her program, The Partnership for Gender-Specific Medicine at Columbia University. That initiative was the result of a remarkable partnership with Procter & Gamble, one of the first of its kind ever to illustrate the value of a relationship between industry and academia.

Dr. Legato began her work by rejecting what she called the bikini view of women, i.e., the assumption that apart from reproductive physiology, males and females were identical in every tissue of the body. As research in this new and unexplored science of gender-specific medicine expanded, the academic community slowly accepted the idea that this intellectually unsubstantiated view of human physiology was completely false. As a consequence, our understanding of the pathology of disease, risk factors for illness and treatment decisions were transformed.

Dr. Legato’s Award Wining publications

The Plasticity of Sex:

The Molecular Biology and Clinical Features of Genomic Sex, Gender Identity and Sexual Behavior provides a comprehensive view on the development of human sexuality. As there has been a crescendo of interest over the past several decades about the nature and diversity of human sexuality, this reference brings the evidence-based research into one place. The emergence of issues surrounding gender identity, genital ambivalence and the transition from one sex to another is striking, with the public and treating physicians alike clamoring for an evidence-based, comprehensive treatment of human sexuality and all its variations.

Dr. Legato’s Award Wining publications

Principles of Gender Specific Medicine 3rd Edition – Gender in the Genomic Era:

The announcement that we had decoded the human genome in 2000 ushered in a new and unique era in biomedical research and clinical medicine. This Third Edition of Principles of Gender-Specific Medicine focuses, as in the past two editions, on the essentials of sexual dimorphism in human physiology and pathophysiology, but emphasizes the latest information about molecular biology and genomic science in a variety of disciplines. Thus, this edition is a departure from the previous two; the editor solicited individual manuscripts from innovative scientists in a variety of fields rather than the traditional arrangement of sections devoted to the various subspecialties of medicine edited by section chiefs. Wherever it was available, these authors incorporated the latest information about the impact of the genome and the elements that modify its expression on human physiology and illness. All chapters progress translationally from basic science to the clinical applications of gender-specific therapy and suggest the most important topics for future investigation.

Suggested Reading

Suggested by Dr. Marianne J. Legato

The Postgenomic Condition: Ethics, Justice, and Knowledge after the Genome

By Jenny Reardon, Ph.D.

“Jenny Reardon's The Postgenomic Condition draws on decades of fieldwork to tell stories that lay bare the intricate tangle of technologies, individuals, institutions, expectations, experiments, businesses, communities, acts of resistance and superhuman efforts of grinding hard work that make up our genomic age… This is a book not just about what went wrong in genomics, and how hopes for a better world go awry, it is also about what happens when our democracy encounters new technologies that refuse to sit still long enough to be understood.”

New Scientist

The Gene: An Intimate History

By Siddhartha Mukherjee, M.D., Ph.D.

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling author of The Emperor of All Maladies―a magnificent history of the gene and a response to the defining question of the future: What becomes of being human when we learn to “read” and “write” our own genetic information?

A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution

By Jennifer A. Doudna, Ph.D. and Samuel H. Sternberg, Ph.D.

“When people refer to CRISPR now, they talk about wiping out disease, resurrecting woolly mammoths, and fashioning designer babies. Such implications fascinate and torment Doudna, and she writes about them movingly with Samuel Sternberg, a biochemist and former research colleague, in A Crack in Creation.”

Bloomberg Businessweek

Sex and Gender: An Introduction

By Hilary M. Lips, Ph.D.

Taking advantage of the abundance of current research that reevaluates and resituates the major issues of sex and gender, the Sixth Edition collects and distills this scholarship into a book that is readily accessible and relevant to today's readers.

Lips incorporates knowledge gained from a range of social sciences, taking a critical approach to empirical research. Throughout the book, she emphasizes culturally, racially, and sexually diverse perspectives. A discussion of the role that gender plays in social relationships and power hierarchies illuminates the experience of inequality between men and women in business, education, politics, and the media.

Human Genome Editing: Science, Ethics, and Governance

By Medicine National Academies of Sciences, Engineer; National Academy of Medicine; National Academy of Sciences; and Ethical Considerations Committee on Human Gene Editing: Scientific, Medical

This report considers important questions about the human application of genome editing including: balancing potential benefits with unintended risks, governing the use of genome editing, incorporating societal values into clinical applications and policy decisions, and respecting the inevitable differences across nations and cultures that will shape how and whether to use these new technologies.

Postgenomics: Perspectives on Biology after the Genome

Edited by Sarah S. Richardson, Ph.D. and Hallam Stevens, Ph.D.

Postgenomics is transforming our understanding of disease and health, our environment, and the categories of race, class, and gender. The contributors to Postgenomics analyze these ruptures and continuities and place them in historical, social, and political context.

Sex Itself: The Search for Male and Female in the Human Genome

By Sarah S. Richardson, Ph.D.

“Erudite yet accessible, meticulously researched, and elegantly written, Sarah S. Richardson’s Sex Itself examines the history of modern genetic research on human sex difference. The book is ambitiously pitched and yet magisterially successful in delivering what it promises.”

History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences

A Calm Brain: Unlocking Your Natural Relaxation System

By Gayatri Devi M.D.

The Foundation for Gender Specific-Medicine supports the investigation of the ways in which biological sex and gender affect normal human function and the experience of disease.
One of the discipline’s pioneers, Marianne J. Legato, FACP, M.D. established the Foundation as a continuation of her work with The Partnership for Gender-Specific Medicine at Columbia University.

The Epigenetics Revolution: How Modern Biology is Rewriting Our Understanding of Genetics, Disease, and Inheritance

By Nessa Carey, Ph.D.

Epigenetics can potentially revolutionize our understanding of the structure and behavior of biological life on Earth. Nessa Carey, a leading epigenetics researcher, surveys twenty-years of history in field, highlighting its latest findings and innovations, and providing a readily understandable introduction to the foundations of epigenetics.

Size Matters: The Hard Facts About Male Sexuality That Every Women Should Know

By Harry Fisch, M.D. and Kara Baskin

A man’s anatomy is a lot easier to understand than his mind, and knowing what’s going on down there is just as important to a happy relationship as figuring out the deeper meaning of his every word. You can analyze your relationship with your girlfriends, but who can you turn to with the more . . . sensitive questions? In Size Matters, Dr. Harry Fisch, an expert on the male reproductive system, and writer Kara Baskin team up to introduce you, metaphorically speaking, to the penis.

Natural-Born Cyborgs: Minds, Technologies, and the Future of Human Intelligence

By Andy Clark, Ph.D.

A stunning new look at the human brain and the human self, Natural Born Cyborgs reveals how our technology is indeed inseparable from who we are and how we think. Drawing on his expertise in cognitive science, Clark explores ways in which we have adapted our lives to make use of technology (the measurement of time, for example, has wrought enormous changes in human existence), as well as ways in which increasingly fluid technologies can adapt to individual users during normal use.

Clinician’s Quick Guide to Interpersonal Psychotherapy

By Myrna Weissman, Ph.D., John Markowitz, and Gerald Klerman

“The authors of this book are pioneers of IPT. They have now written an accessible guide for busy clinicians. The book is very comprehensive and practical in scope. It is written in an interesting and stimulating style in which the authors have successfully distilled the core skills and principles of IPT.” –The Psychologist

Mastering Depression Through Interpersonal Psychotherapy: Patient Workbook

By Myrna Weissman, Ph. D

This book is a user-friendly guide to Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT), an empirically-tested and effective approach to treating depression. It is intended for persons affected by depression who are seeking or currently undergoing IPT.
Written to help destimatize depression and therapy, this book begins with a description of depression disorders and addresses common patient concerns. It then introduces the patient to Interpersonal Psychotherapy and also answers frequently-asked questions about the psycho therapeutic relationship. The next chapters, which are organized around common causes of depression, describe the process of treating depression with IPT and offer typical case examples at the end of each problem area. Throughout the book, worksheet guides help the patient think about problems and solutions to depression in constructive ways.

The Male Biological Clock: The Startling News About Aging, Sexuality, And Fertility In Men

By Harry Fisch, M.D. and Stephen Braun

Male sexuality is a topic discussed far more by stand-up comics than by responsible physicians. Dr. Harry Fisch’s book is a fascinating, well-written guide that provides enormous amounts of information that men — and their partners — of all ages will find useful and informative.
–Robert Bazell, Chief Science Correspondent, NBC News

What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Alzheimer’s Disease: The Complete Guide To Preventing, Treating, And Coping With Memory Loss

By Gayatri Devi M.D. and Deborah Mitchell

The director of the New York Memory and Healthy Aging Services offers sound advice for patients and caregivers facing Alzheimer's disease. This guide covers prevention, treatment, and coping with memory loss and examines the symptoms and stages of Alzheimer's.

Estrogen, Memory, And Menopause

By Gayatri Devi M.D.

“Informative, accurate, scholarly, yet entertaining.”
— Laurie Romanzi, M.D.; Asst. Prof. of Gynecology, Cornell University School of Medicine.

Exploring the Biological Contributions to Human Health: Does Sex Matter?

By the Institute of Medicine, Board on Health Sciences Policy, and Committee on Understanding the Biology of Sex and Gender Differences

Sex differences in health throughout the lifespan have been documented. This book begins to snap the pieces of the puzzle into place so that this knowledge can be used to improve health for both sexes. From behavior and cognition to metabolism and response to chemicals and infectious organisms, this book explores the health impact of sex (being male or female, according to reproductive organs and chromosomes) and gender (one's sense of self as male or female in society).