photo of Suzanne S. Mirra, MD

Suzanne S. Mirra, MD

Professor Emeritus
Department of Pathology


BSB 4-11

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, 198
Laboratory Members / Personnel

Department Administrator: Linda McGuire Ext. 2744

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)

  • 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. Aging 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).

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