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Scientific Bio

Dr. Marianne J. Legato, MD

Marianne J. Legato, M.D., Ph.D. (hon c), F.A.C.P., is an internationally known academic, physician, author, lecturer, and specialist in gender-specific medicine. She is an Emerita Professor of Clinical Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons and an Adjunct Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins Medical School. She received an honorary PhD in 2015 from the University of Panama in recognition for her work in establishing the importance of gender-specific medicine in basic research and clinical medicine.

Dr. Legato founded the Partnership for Gender-Specific Medicine at Columbia University in 1997. It was the first collaboration between academic medicine and the private sector focused solely on gender-specific medicine: the science of how normal human biology differs between men and women, and how the diagnosis and treatment of disease differs as a function of gender. The Partnership continues as the not-for profit Foundation for Gender-Specific Medicine, which is dedicated to the support of gender-specific biomedical investigation and educational outreach to both the lay and scientific communities.

Dr. Legato is the editor of the first textbook on gender medicine, Principles of Gender-Specific Medicine, published for the scientific community by Elsevier in 2004. The second edition appeared in 2010. The third edition, Principles of Gender-Specific Medicine: Gender in the Genomic Era, dedicated to explaining how gender impacts biomedical investigation in the genomic era, won the PROSE Award in Clinical Medicine from the Association of American Publishers in 2018 out of more than 15,000 entries. A fourth edition is forthcoming.

Her latest book for the scientific community is The Plasticity of Sex, published by Elsevier in May 2020. She is the founder and editor in chief of three scientific journals, The Journal of Gender-Specific Medicine and Gender Medicine, published for the scientific community. Both were selected by the National Library of Medicine and Elsevier Science to be indexed and included in their worldwide databases, MEDLINE and EMBASE. The latest is the official journal of the Foundation, Gender and the Genome, which launched in 2017 and is published by SAGE.

Dr. Legato writes extensively for the lay public. In 1992, she won the American Heart Association’s Blakeslee Award for the best book written for the lay public that year with her publication of The Female Heart: The Truth About Women and Heart Disease (Simon & Schuster). Her other works include:What Women Need to Know (Simon & Schuster, 1997), Eve’s Rib (Harmony Books, 2002), Why Men Never Remember and Women Never Forget (Rodale, 2005), and Why Men Die First (Palgrave, 2008). Her books have been translated into 28 languages to date.

Dr. Legato spent her research career doing cardiovascular research on the structure and function of the cardiac cell. The American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health supported her work. She won the Murray Steele Award, the Martha Lyon Slater Fellowship, and a four-year Senior Investigator Award from the American Heart Association, New York Affiliate. She won a coveted Research Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health and has been a member both of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute’s study section on cardiovascular disease as well as the Basic Science Council of the American Heart Association. Dr. Legato served as a charter member of the Advisory Committee to the National Institute of Health's Office of Research on Women's Health from 1995 to 1998, and was the co-author of their Task Force Report on Women's Health.

Her preeminence in the field of gender-specific medicine is reflected in the over 575 invitations she has received to both lay and professional audiences throughout the world. She has made keynote addresses at international conferences including: the State Street Executive Women's Dinner Series (2014), the Academic Emergency Medicine Consensus Conference (2014), the 25th European Students Conference (2014), the Annual FOCUS Fall Conference for Penn Women at the University of the PA Perelman School of Medicine (2015), Sex Matters: Update in Gender Specific Patient Care at Johns Hopkins (2015), 7th Congress of the International Society of Gender Medicine Conference, Berlin (2015), Gender and Lifestyle: From Puberty to Elderly Frailty (Matera, Italy, 2016), and International Congress of Cardiology: From Scientific Evidence to Clinical Practice (Taormina, Italy, 2016), The 8th Congress of the International Society for Gender Medicine: Trends in Gender Medicine: Super-Aging Society and Globalization (Japan, 2017), the NHLBI/ORWH Workshop: “Female Sex and Gender in Lung/Sleep Health and Disease” (Washington D.C., 2017), the Sex and Gender Health Education Summit

Dr. Legato was the President and speaker at the International Symposium: “The World Writes on the Body: How the Environment Impacts the Phenotype,” Florence, Italy (2018). She was a Distinguished Speaker and Guest of Honor at the 2nd and 3rdGlobal Men’s Health Summit” in Panama in 2018 and 2020. She is also a Keynote Lecturer at the “Sex and Gender Health Education Summit,” a national collaboration brought together by the Mayo Clinic, the American Medical Women’s Asosication, the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health, and Thomas Jefferson University. In collaboration with the Menarini Foundation, Dr. Legato will co-chair a historic summit on epigenetics with 30 of the world’s leading researchers, to be held in Spring 2021.

Dr. Legato has received many awards for her leadership role in gender-specific medicine, among them inclusion in the 2003 National Library of Medicine’s exhibit, “Changing the Face of Medicine”, which honored the lives and accomplishments of women who enhanced the practice of medicine in the United States. In the fall of 2000, Ladies Home Journal honored Dr. Legato as a “Heroine of Women’s Health. She received the “Woman in Science” award from the American Medical Women’s Association in February of 2002. She delivered the keynote address at the inaugural kickoff of the Gender-Specific Scientific Interest Group of the Intramural Program for Research on Women’s Health of the National Institutes of Health in 2002. In 2005, Dr. Legato won the Shirley Sacks Women’s Health Award for Distinguished Service in Gender-Specific Medicine from the National Council on Women’s Health, Inc. She was named the 2005 Lila A. Wallis Distinguished Visiting Professor in Women’s Health at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, NY. She received the President’s Award from Women in Health Management in 2006. Ladies’ Home Journal created the Marianne J. Legato award in Gender-Specific Medicine in 2006, awarded annually to a physician who has made an outstanding contribution to gender-specific science and clinical care. She received an honorary award for excellence in science from the University of Messina in Italy (2016). Most recently the prestigious financial services organization, TIAA-CREF, marked its 100th anniversary by naming Dr. Legato and the Foundation as one of 100 winners for their competition as “Difference Maker 100” out of more than 4,000 applicants. They have devoted a million dollars to support this contest. The prize for winning one of their awards is a donation of $10,000 for the Foundation (2018).

She maintains one of the only gender-specific private practice in New York City, and has earned recognition as one of the “Top Doctors in New York.”

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