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Nancy Wexler
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Nancy Wexler
Higgins Professor of Neuropsychology,
Columbia University






In 1979, Nancy Wexler learned that the world's largest family with Huntington's disease lived by Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela. For the past 22 years, she has studied the disease, building a pedigree of more than 18,000 people and collecting blood samples from over 4,200 people in that family. Her work was integral to the discovery of both the gene for Huntington's disease and the development of a test that can determine carriers of the fatal gene prior to the onset of symptoms.

Before joining Columbia University in 1984, Dr. Wexler was a health science administrator with the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and executive director of the Congressional Commission for the Control of Huntington's Disease and Its Consequences. She currently serves as president of the Hereditary Disease Foundation, founded in 1968 by her father to research the causes and cures of Huntington's disease.

Dr. Wexler is an elected Fellow at the Royal College of Physicians and at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Section on Neuroscience, and an honorary Fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences. She is a member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts and of the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, as well as a Councilor, Society for Neuroscience.

Among her many honors are the Foster Elting Bennett Award, the J. Allyn Taylor Award, and the Albert Lasker Public Service Award.

Dr. Wexler received an A.B. degree from Radcliffe College and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Michigan.
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