In just a few short weeks, our annual appeal letter will be going out. Therefore, I wanted to take this opportunity to update all our wonderful donors and supporters regarding our research endeavors and grants.
Thanks to the Derfner Foundation’s recent grant, an expert committee of judges chose two more scholars at Johns Hopkins for a year of research support. They are:
Dr. Mark Kohr, who is analyzing the mechanisms that the heart uses to defend itself when the circulation to the heart muscle is interrupted and then restored. Women mount a relatively more robust defense to this process, which can damage the heart, compared with men.
Dr. Noel Muller, who is researching the importance of the intestinal flora in newborn babies, which the baby acquires during normal delivery from the mother’s vagina. This population of “microbes” is important in the defense against infection and in the regulation of metabolism.
We continue to encourage gender-specific scholarship at Columbia University through the Foundation-funded M. Irené Ferrer Award which supports a junior faculty member’s research in the Department of Medicine. This year, the Ferrer Scholar is Dr. Elaine Y. Wan, Esther Aboodi Assistant Professor of Cardiology (in Medicine). She is working on the molecular basis of the gender-specific aspects of atrial fibrillation, the most common of all disturbances in cardiac rhythm and which can have devastating consequences if it is not properly controlled and treated.
We encourage you to visit our Grants page to learn more about our research scientists and the projects we fund.
As you know, The Foundation relies heavily on philanthropy to maintain its important research work. Gifts from individual donors, foundations and corporations support our researchers as they explore the most pressing issues in gender medicine—from heart and autoimmune diseases to microbes, genetics and more. In addition, your gift allows us to mentor and encourage brilliant young scientists—who continue to push the boundaries in finding the answers to so many illnesses that plague our society today. Help us continue their work, please consider making a gift.
Marianne J. Legato, MD, Ph. D. (hon. c.), FACP is an internationally renowned academic, physician, author, lecturer, and pioneer in the field of gender-specific medicine. She is 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 is also the Director of the Foundation for Gender-Specific Medicine, which she founded in 2006 as a continuation of her work with The Partnership for Gender-Specific Medicine at Columbia University. She received an honorary PhD from the University of Panama in 2015 for her work on the differences between men and women.
At its core, gender-specific medicine is 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. Dr. Legato’s discoveries and those of her colleagues have led to a personalization of medicine that assists doctors worldwide in understanding the difference in normal function of men and women and in their sex-specific experiences of the same diseases.
She began her work in gender-specific medicine by authoring the first book on women and heart disease, The Female Heart: The Truth About Women and Coronary Artery Disease, which won the Blakeslee Award of the American Heart Association in 1992. Because of this research, the cardiovascular community began to include women in clinical trials affirming the fact that the risk factors, symptoms, and treatment of the same disease can be significantly different between the sexes. Convinced that the sex-specific differences in coronary artery disease were not unique, Dr. Legato began a wide-ranging survey of all medical specialties and in 2004, published the first textbook on gender-specific medicine, The Principles of Gender-Specific Medicine. The second edition appeared in 2010 and the third edition, 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. A fourth edition is forthcoming.
She also founded the first scientific journals publishing new studies in the field, The Journal of Gender-Specific Medicine, and a newer version, Gender Medicine, both listed in the Index Medicus of the National Library of Medicine. She has founded a third peer-reviewed, open access journal, Gender and the Genome, which focuses on the impact of biological sex on technology and its effects on human life.
Dr. Legato is the author of multiple works, including: What Women Need to Know (Simon & Schuster, 1997), Eve’s Rib (Harmony Books, 2002), Why Men Never Remember and Women Never Forget (Rodale, 2005), Why Men Die First (Palgrave, 2008), The International Society for Gender Medicine: History and Highlights (Academic Press, 2017), and most recently, The Plasticity of Sex (Academic Press, 2020). Her books have been translated into 28 languages to date.
As an internationally respected authority on gender medicine, Dr. Legato has chaired symposia and made keynote addresses to world congresses in gender-specific medicine in Berlin, Israel, Italy, Japan, Panama, South Korea, Stockholm, and Vienna. In collaboration with the Menarini Foundation, she is co-chairing a symposium on epigenetics, Sex, Gender and Epigenetics: From Molecule to Bedside, to be held in Spring 2021 in Italy. She maintains one of the only gender-specific private practice in New York City, and she has earned recognition as one of the “Top Doctors in New York.”