Find A PhysicianHome  |  Library  |  myDownstate  |  Newsroom  |  A-Z Guide  |  E-mail  |  Contact Us  |  Directions
curve gif

Suzanne S. Mirra, MD

Professor Emeritus

Department of Pathology

Office location: BSB 4-11

Tel: (718) 270- 4599

Fax: (718) 270-4416







Research or Clinical Interest Summary Dr. Mirra is a neuropathologist whose research encompasses basic and clinical science aspects of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.

Dr. Mirra’s current research involves investigation of (1) the potential role of nuclear pore complex-related proteins and nuclear-cytoplasmic transport in Alzheimer’s disease and (2) the underpinnings of regional neuropathology, i.e. specific vulnerability of different brain regions or neuronal groups, in Alzheimer’s disease.  For example, why does PKMzeta, a key memory molecule involved in LTP, colocalize with tau in those neurofibrillary tangles confined to the limbic system?  Why does apolipoprotein E colocalize with amyloid-positive senile plaques in cortex and other brain regions but not in the striatum? In previous studies, Dr. Mirra’s lab was among the first to identify phosphorylated tau as the major protein constituent of neurofibrillary tangles and to highlight the overlap between Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Leading the Neuropathology Task Force of the NIH-sponsored Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer’s Disease (CERAD), she also played a critical role in standardizing the neuropathological diagnosis of AD. Her work has been funded by National Institute on Aging, NIH (K07 and P30) and Veterans Administration Merit Award.

Confocal image of neuritic plaque in AD with immunolabel of amyloid (green) and tau (red) Prominent nuclear pores (arrows) and paired helical filaments in neurofibrillary tangle-bearing neuron (electron micrograph)



Selected Recent Publications

Sheffield LG, Miskiewicz HB, Tannenbaum LB, Mirra SS.  Nuclear pore complex proteins (nucleoporins) in Alzheimer’s disease.  J Neuropath Exp Neurol 2006;65:45-54.

Crary JF, Shao CY, Mirra SS, Hernandez AI, Sacktor TC.  Atypical protein kinase C in neurodegenerative disease I:  PKMz aggregates with limbic neurofibrillary tangles and AMPA receptors in Alzheimer’s disease.  J Neuropath Exp Neurol 2006;65:319-326.

Shao CY, Crary JF, Rao C, Sacktor TC, Mirra SS.  Atypical protein kinase C in neurodegenerative disease II:  PKCi/l in tauopathies and alpha-synucleinopathies.  J Neuropath Exp Neurol 2006; 65:327-335.

Mirra SS, Hyman BT.  Ageing and Dementia  In Greenfield’s Neuropathology, Graham DI, Lantos PL (eds), Seventh Edition, Volume 2.  London:  Arnold 2002, pp. 195-271

Gearing M, Mirra SS.  Neuropathology of Movement Disorders: An Overview.  In Movement Disorders: Neurologic Principles and Practice.  Watts RL, Koller WC (eds), 2004,  New York, McGraw-Hill, pp. 143-158.

Mirra SS, Sheffield LG.  The Neuropathology of Dementia.  In Handbook of Dementing Illnesses.  Morris JC, Galvin JE, Holtzman DM (eds), second edition, Taylor & Francis, New York, pp. 129-162, 2006

Mirra SS, Murrell JR, Gearing M, et al.  Tau pathology in a family with dementia and a P301L mutation in tau.  J Neuropath Exp Neurol 1999; 58:335-345.

Lowe J, Mirra SS, Hyman BT, Dickson DW.  Ageing and Dementia.  In Greenfield’s  Neuropathology, Graham DI (ed), 8th edition, 2007, in press.

Fillenbaum GG, van Belle G, Morris JC, Mohs RC, Mirra SS, et al.  CERAD (Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer’s Disease):  The first 20 years.  Alzheimer’s and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association. 2008 (in press).


Education and Training

Bronx High School of Science

BA, Hunter College, New York

MD, SUNY Downstate College of Medicine


Selected Honors and Awards

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service, 2006

Meritorious Contributions to Neuropathology, American Association of Neuropathologists, 2005.

President, American Association of Neuropathologists 1999-2000

Moore Award for Best Paper in Clinical-Pathological Correlation, American Assoc. Neuropathologists, 1998

Hall of Fame, Alumni Association of Hunter College, 1996

Distinguished Alumna Achievement Award, SUNY Health Science Center, Brooklyn, NY, 1992

Herbert Lansky Award for Leadership in Pathology, College American Pathologists Foundation, 1990

Residents Forum Award, College of American Pathologists, 1990

Presidential Award, College of American Pathologists, 1989 and 1987

Albert E. Levy, Science Faculty Research Award, Emory University, 1987


Laboratory Members / Personnel

Department Administrator:  Linda McGuire  Ext. 2744 linda.mcguire