Dr. M. Elizabeth Ross received her M.D. from Cornell University Medical College, Ph.D. from Cornell University Graduate School of Medical Sciences, and her training in Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and molecular genetics at Harvard and Rockefeller University. She directs the Center for Neurogenetics in the Brain and Mind Research Institute, Weill Cornell Medicine, which supports research into the genetic causes of neurological disorders in children and adults. The Center has both basic science and clinical arms, evaluating patients with neurological disorders of monogenic or complex genetic origin and operates the biobank for the neurological community at Weill Cornell in New York. Neuroscientist faculty members of the Center investigate the mechanisms underlying pathogenesis of these conditions. Dr. Ross' neurogenetic efforts bridge Weill Cornell Medicine campuses in New York and Qatar, leveraging faculty expertise and informative patient populations in both communities.
Her own research group, the Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Development, focuses on discovery of gene mutations associated with brain malformations and investigation of how these genes direct the construction of brain. Three major projects encompass: 1) complex genetic interactions that lead to spina bifida, 2) cell cycle regulation and its role in growth and cellular patterning of brain, and 3) regulation of neuronal cytoskeleton, necessary for neuronal movement, synapse formation and synapse turnover that are critical to the function of developing and aging brain. These three areas of study are approached both from a basic science perspective, using biochemical, cell biological and mouse genetic tools, and a human genetics vantage point, pursuing genotype-phenotype insights. Dr. Ross is the recipient of numerous distinctions, including the NIH Director’s Transformative Research Projects Award, which recognizes "innovative ideas that challenge the status quo and have the potential to propel fields forward and speed the translation of research into improved health".